We watch the weather in October, ready to jump if there’s a day warm enough and with enough breeze to move our little O’Day Day Sailer. The sailing season will end soon, and our every sail may be the last one for the year.
The weather Sunday was glorious: crisp skies, high cirrus clouds, high of 60℉, and light wind. And by light wind, I mean barely a breath.
It was a great day to study light air. I wrote about Force 3 wind, the gentle breeze, from my living room. On our sail I observed what Force 1 wind, also known as light air, looks and feels like. The water is glassy, you might feel a cool breath on your cheek, but only if your face is angled exactly right. Force 1 wind is classified as 1-3 mph.
Force 2 wind, or a light breeze, is 4-6 mph and creates an overall ripple pattern on the water. When you’re sitting in a patch of glassy water, and you see ripples coming toward you, you can expect a puff of light breeze to come up and move you soon.
Mix of Force 1 and Force 2: ripples with a patch of glassy calm
Between Force 1 and Force 2 — glassy ripples
Our boat is small, so it doesn’t take much to push it. If there’s any air movement at all, including 1-3 mph light air, Egretta will sail, but it will take a long time to get anywhere. In this low wind, we moseyed up the lake to the dam in about twice the time is usually takes us.
The lake was quiet except for the honking of geese and the light taps of water against the shiny blue hull.
On the way back, the wind behind us, we turned on some music, Alex the Astronaut, and we let the wind push us home. Again, it took about twice the time it usually does. I didn’t care. The sun was out, and the cirrus clouds were beautiful.