Weather by Toro

Last season, Capn Cumulus decided that he needed to learn more about weather, so he special-ordered a book called Weather Predicting Simplified and had it delivered to us down here in Mexico. He tried to read it several times, always with the same result: he’d come to about an hour later, drool running down his chin, and none the wiser in the meteorology department.

Then, when we put the boat up in San Carlos, Toro insisted that we bring the book back to California, so he could read it under less soporific conditions. Somehow, those conditions never materialized, and the book served as a dust collection device.

So, I was taken aback when, soon after we arrived for our second season in Mexico, he asked me where the book was. I explained that since he hadn’t managed to read it in either country, I just left it at home. “This time,” he insisted, “I would have stayed awake.” It became a kind of running joke with us; I’d see some clouds and say, “Gee, I wonder what those clouds mean. If only we had a book about weather…”.

Unfortunately, having no proven techniques for forecasting the weather, Toro has resorted to inventing his own system for forecasting wind speeds. This he has applied to the night-time coromuel winds that blow through La Paz in the spring and summer months. After one uncomfortable night at Ensenada Grande, and many hours fretting about the possibility of another such night, this is what he’s come up with:

  • If there is a wind with a Northerly component during the day, that wind will die in the late afternoon, and the Southwesterly coromuel will be twice as strong, as it rushes in behind the receding North wind.
  • If there is no wind at all during the day, the day will be really hot, and the Southwesterly coromuel will be twice as strong, because the coromuel is drawn in by the hot air rising off the land.
  • If there is a wind with a Southerly component during the day, the coromuel will be twice as strong, because it will combine with said Southerly wind.

Of course, he has only stated these different elements of his theory individually; I’m giving him a few more years to put them together into a synthesized whole.

I think this theory explains a lot, actually… but not about weather. I think it illustrates why sailors are such a superstitious lot. By nature, people are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Rather than accept that the weather is highly variable, and that we’ll just have to deal with whatever Mother Nature sends our way, we try to come up with explanations and ways to predict the unpredictable. And even if these predictions are based on ridiculous notions, well, at least we don’t have to feel helpless and completely out of control!

2 Responses to “Weather by Toro”

  1. Bachan says:

    Sounds scientific to me. Toro: ignore the ridicule and document your research – submit it for publication to the US Maritime Journal.
    Happy sailing!

  2. MArcus says:

    Todd’s musings sound suspiciously similar to the weather section of Charlie’s Charts of Western Mexico…
    I, of course, am only implying that great minds think alike.