SF Bay Current Forecast Maps
OverviewIt is often said that the best way to find out what the current will be for your race is to go out an hour earlier the day before. That actually works pretty well but is not always practical and observing all over the bay right at that time is impossible. What if there was a map that you can use to find out what the current will be. There are maps in the tide book but they are less than useless for sailboat racing because they just do not go close to shore. They were created for big ships and as everyone who has raced knows, it is the action near shore that is often the most important.
There is a source of maps that shows current predictions for the hour you are in. It shows it for a small section of the bay and you can move around the bay and see all the different areas if you want. You could then look the day before your race one hour earlier and try and figure out the best place to be. Or, you would check out the various tide charts for other days and find a match to a day even earlier so you can plan several days in advance. Then go on this SF Ports site and see what the current might be like on the day you are interested in. Or you could go on L-36.com and enter the date you are interested in and let the program figure out the best date that matches the one you want.
What I have done is collect the maps such as the one to the right. I have collected not just one of them but enough to cover the north and south bay racing areas. I then combined all the small images into a larger map and saved them every hour for the last few years. The program will compare the day and time that you are interested in and find a day where the current phase and strength match the day you want. What is displayed on this page is a smaller map covering a selected region. If you would like a different region covered, please send me a comment and let me know.
NOTE: As of March, 2012 SF Ports no longer offers these maps. As far as I know, I am the only one with a database of these detailed current maps. Enjoy and good luck in your races.
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