Tag Archives: Beaufort Scale

Road Trip – Dieppe to Newhaven in a Force 7 Gale

To make matters worse it was cold and our clothing was totally inadequate.  The crew were all wearing clothes suitable for Arctic conditions but we were still in Mediterranean attire.  The only sensible thing to do was to go inside where it was warm, but once inside I just began to feel sick so had to go outside again almost immediately.

Not long into the journey it started to get dark and that made it even colder so as I couldn’t go back inside without being ill I found a lounger in a reasonably sheltered spot and tried to go to sleep. And I was very successful and when I woke I was delighted to discover that we had been at sea for three and a half hours so must be nearly home.  The boat was listing at about 30° so walking was really difficult but I got to the front of the ferry and looked for the welcoming lights of England.

To my horror there were none and when I enquired a fellow suffering passenger told me that because of the conditions the crossing was now estimated to take eight hours!

Duty Free Storm

I was cold and stiff but at least I didn’t feel sick so I went inside and found Richard who like me had remained feeling well by sitting outside.  We went downstairs and it was like a scene from the gun deck of HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar.  There were no staff on duty anywhere because they were all too ill to work and in duty free bottles of spirits clattered together on the shelves and rolled about on the floor.  It was just there for the taking but the last thing we felt like was alcohol so we moved on to the dining room where we found Tony completely unaffected by all of this mayhem and quietly enjoying a meat pie.

Well, that was it for me and as my insides turned over several times I had to find my way back outside fast.  People were lying all around, some had collapsed in the corridors and everywhere there were crew members with mops and buckets washing down the vomit.  I made it to the outside but only just before I emptied the contents of my heaving stomach over the side but a gust of wind caught most of it and blew it back only narrowly missing a group of passengers all clinging on to the railings and like me wishing for the voyage to end.

I tried to sleep some more, but it was impossible so I just sat with Richard and felt thoroughly miserable.  Tony came by several times to see if we were feeling any better but was unable to locate Anthony to check on his condition and none of us had any idea where he might be.

Eventually the south coast of England came into view but it seemed to take an eternity to get close and finally to dock in Newhaven.  We were reunited with Anthony, who it turned out had spent all eight hours of the crossing in the lavatory in his own private cubicle and we made our way to the garage deck and back to the car.

The doors of the ferry opened and being at the front we were first off and the remarkable thing was that as soon as were on solid ground and the earth was no longer moving in conflicting directions we all felt instantly better.  I was amazed that I could recover so quickly and looked forward to the last leg of the journey home.  But our problems weren’t over yet and no sooner were we off the boat than we pulled over by Her Majesty’s customs officials.

They didn’t seem pleased to see us and probably wondered just what we were doing driving this knackered old UK registered, left hand drive car back from the Continent.  Their mood didn’t improve much when they enquired where we had come from and after Richard told them Portugal I added the rather superfluous detail that we had driven back through Spain and France.  They interpreted this weary response as taking the piss and asked all sorts of dumb questions about alcohol, cigarettes and smuggling in general and then told us that if he wasn’t satisfied with our responses that he could impound the vehicle.

Anthony was delighted with this piece of information and got out of the car, handed them the keys and invited them to take it away.  Between us we calculated that it was only worth about £50 anyway, which was way less than the motoring offence fine in Spain,  so between us we could easily compensate Gordon for his loss.

Eventually I think it must have dawned on them that we had just got off the ferry from hell and they grudgingly let us pass.  But it made us think? Just why did Gordon want this old wreck back anyway?  Were we four dumb mules and  were the door panels packed with illegal substances we wondered?

We didn’t really care that much we were just glad to be back in England but not looking forward especially to the three hour journey back to Nottingham.  We dropped the car off in Rugby and replaced it with something a bit more modern and with the luxury of a fully functioning heater completed the remainder of the journey and in the early hours of Monday morning were just so very glad to be back home and in a comfortable bed.

It had been a very interesting week, we discovered just how tight with money Tony was, how far Anthony would stretch the truth to impress supermarket check-out girls from Leeds and how much Richard and I liked going away on holiday together.

The following year the two of us went back to the villa but thankfully this didn’t involve driving a car all the way back home and we have been away several times since but never back to Portugal.  The channel crossing put me off ferries for several years and I didn’t take another crossing until nearly twenty years later, when I finally got over it in 2004 and went to France again using the Dover to Calais crossing, which wasn’t nearly so bad!

Have you ever had a rough sea crossing on a ferry?

Road Trip – Dieppe and a Rough Channel Crossing

This was probably just one of the best nights sleep of my whole life and I woke fresh and raring to go and because we had caught up so much time then we weren’t nearly in so much of a rush this morning.

We had time for breakfast and then we headed north again towards the port of Dieppe in Normandy and an afternoon ferry crossing home.  Twenty-four hours previously I don’t think any one of us was at all confident of making the English Channel by Sunday afternoon so this was a real bonus and we drove steadily the final two hundred miles first past Le Mans and then Rouen and on to Dieppe just after lunch time.

As we drove the weather continued to deteriorate and there were steel grey skies and patches of squally rain.  And it was cold, this was the end of November and we were getting closer and closer to home.  We arrived in Dieppe with plenty of time to spare, purchased our tickets for the SNCF Senlac cross channel ferry, parked the car and went into town.

Boulogne Street Entertainer

Dieppe is an interesting little place but it was cold and miserable and the pavement tables were all abandoned so rather than walk around the streets getting damp we found a bar instead and had a beer or two and a light lunch but didn’t eat much because our plan was to have a meal on board the ferry.

It was really cold and rather stupidly we just didn’t have any suitable clothing.  We had all packed for Portugal and southern European temperatures so we looked a bit silly in Dieppe in November in tee-shirts and hopelessly inadequate little nylon jackets.  It was very,very cold and we could see from the seafront that conditions in the channel were not that good so we were probably going to get a great deal colder before we got home.  It looked so bad that three of us were minded to abandon the crossing and wait until tomorrow but Tony had a private medical appointment the next day for a minor operation on his hand and as it was paid for he wouldn’t agree, so we were compelled to carry on.

So we made a plan!  We would be first on the ferry and get a good seat in the bar in the warm where we could have a drink and a meal and enjoy the crossing home and we returned to the car and made sure we got a first place on the boat.  After half an hour or so we started to drive on to the ferry and because there was a very strong wind blowing this was by no means an easy passage.

Even in the protection of the harbour the ferry was swaying dramatically from side to side and the staff had to be very careful about getting vehicles on board.  One driver in front lost his exhaust as the boat pitched at the wrong moment and metal ramp reared up and attacked the underside of the car.  Richard got us onboard safely and the green Escort was directed to a perfect place where we would be sure to drive of first in Newhaven.

English Channel Storm

On board we went to the bar, found a seat and ordered beers and settled in ready for the four hour crossing.  Even though we were in the harbour the boat was already pitching from side to side which made walking with a pint of beer in hand a little bit difficult but we really had no idea what was about to happen.  A member of the crew told us that there was a force seven gale and if it reached force eight that we wouldn’t be sailing anywhere.  Tony feared the worst!

Wind speed is measured on the Beaufort Scale that was developed in 1805 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort who divided weather conditions into twelve categories for the purposes of reporting consistency.  Force seven is a near gale, force eight is a gale and so on all the way to force twelve, which is a hurricane.

The ferry cast off and now that there was nothing to hold it to the land it immediately started to roll even more dramatically.  Anthony was the first to go and without an explanation he left the lounge in an almighty rush and that was the last we saw of him for the entire journey.  As it turned out he spent the entire journey locked in a cubicle in the gent’s loo!  Tony was perfectly alright but Richard and I felt a bit queasy so we finished our drinks and went outside where we hoped the fresh air might be beneficial.

Conditions were really bad and things didn’t look good and the ferry was finding it difficult to even get out of the harbour but when it did then matters took a turn for the worse.  Officially, according to the Beaufort Scale, in a force seven, sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind.  Well, it was certainly heaping up today and spray was coming up over the sides and once outside the protective walls of the harbour the ferry started to bob about like a helpless cork.

Sealink Ferry SNCF Senlac

Photograph by: Newhaven Dieppe Ferries- Paul Smith / 1985-senlac-02

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

Sealink Ferry SNCF Senlac

Even in the protection of the harbour the ferry was swaying dramatically from side to side and the staff had to be very careful about getting vehicles on board.  One driver in front lost his exhaust as the boat pitched at the wrong moment and metal ramp reared up and attacked the underside of the car.  Richard got us onboard safely and the green Escort was directed to a perfect place where we sure to drive of first in Newhaven.

On board we went to the bar, found a seat and ordered beers and settled in ready for the four hour crossing.  Even though we were in the harbour the boat was already pitching from side to side which made walking with a pint of beer in hand a little bit difficult but we really had no idea what was about to happen.  A member of the crew told us that there was a force seven gale and if it reached force eight that we wouldn’t be sailing anywhere.

Wind speed is measured on the Beaufort Scale that was developed in 1805 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort who divided weather conditions into twelve categories for the purposes of reporting consistency.  Force seven is a near gale, force eight is a gale and so on all the way to force twelve, which is a hurricane.

The ferry cast off and now that there was nothing to hold it to the land it immediately started to roll even more dramatically.  Anthony was the first to go and without an explanation he left the lounge in an almighty rush and that was the last we saw of him for the entire journey.  Tony was perfectly alright but Richard and I felt a bit queasy so we finished our drinks and went outside where we hoped the fresh air might be beneficial.

Conditions were really bad and things didn’t look good and the ferry was finding it difficult to even get out of the harbour but when it did then matters took a turn for the worse.  Officially, according to the Beaufort Scale, in a force seven, sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind.  Well, it was certainly heaping up today I can tell you and spray was coming up over the sides and once outside the protective walls of the harbour the ferry started to bob about like a helpless cork.

Read the full story…

Road Trip – Dieppe to Newhaven in a Force 7 Gale

To make things worse it was cold and our clothing was totally inadequate.  The crew were all wearing clothes suitable for Arctic conditions but we were still in mediterranean attire.  The only sensible thing to do was to go inside where it was warm, but once inside I just began to feel sick so had to go outside again almost immediately.  Not long into the journey it started to get dark and that made it even colder so as I couldn’t go back inside without being ill I found a lounger in a reasonably sheltered spot and tried to go to sleep.

Read the full story…

Greece 2009, Sifnos to Milos in a Force 7

Leaving Sifnos

In the morning it was clear that we should have taken notice of the weather forecast of doom because overnight the weather had changed just as predicted by all of those who knew better than us.  From the balcony all that could be seen were dark and threatening clouds scudding in from the north and obscuring the sun, which was struggling for some sort of recognition of its presence in the sky.  The weather forecast had got worse and the breakfast television weather map showed Greece with gloomy rain predictions for the mainland and the north and fierce force seven winds in the Cyclades.

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Greek Islands – Sifnos, My Favourite Greek Island

Once on board we made our way to the open top deck and made ourselves comfortable in the sun.  We knew all about the Agios Georgios because we had used it last year so we knew the best place to sit.  After the commotion of leaving the harbour the ferry settled down on course for neighbouring Sifnos and it was quite perfect.  There was a calm blue sea, electric yellow sunshine and a cloudless sky, with a mythos in hand I could have stayed there on the top deck for a fortnight but it was only a short forty-five minute journey and as we watched Serifos disappear behind us in haze of heat we quickly approached Sifnos where we had stayed last year but needed more time to see the things we missed.

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