Hello Shipmates,

First, a couple of meteorological items.

A large solar flare is heading toward Earth and could disrupt power grids, GPS and aeroplane flights.  Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Centre said the Sun erupted on Tuesday evening and the effects should start reaching Earth close to 1600 AEDT on Thursday. They say it is the biggest in five years and growing.  The magnetic storm has the potential to trip electrical power grids.  Its radio emissions can disrupt global positioning systems to make them less accurate. It also could damage satellites.  Scientists said communication problems and radiation from the storm will probably force aeroplanes to avoid flying over the north and south poles. Colourful auroras may be more visible.

For the next few weeks, Mars, the red planet, will be visible for a short time low on the eastern horizon just after sunset.  It will be more prominent in the sky than usual, and will be visibly red.

Now to sailing news.  The weather forecast for the Round French Island trip this weekend is looking good.  Saturday’s wind forecast is 10 to 15 kts from the SW easing to 10 kts in the afternoon.  Sunday’s forecast is for 5 to 10 kts from the SW.  There is a low possibility of showers both days.  A briefing note for those who will be sailing is attached.  At present there are six skippers taking boats, including three keel boats (draft about 1.2m maximum.)  It’s not too late to join the fleet, but please let me know by email if you haven’t already let me know.  If you are not available for a full weekend sail but would like to sail just on the Saturday or Sunday, please join us.  For Saturday sailors, come to the briefing session for details.  For Sunday sailors, we will be sailing up the North Arm passing Tortoise Head at about noon.  Call on 27 MHz for updated location information on the day.