On ‘Tenacious’ in a Force 10 storm, Atlantic Ocean April 2006. Note the spindrift (spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind), the flying rain, and the water surging onto the deck through the scuppers as the ship rolls.
The Beaufort Wind Scale is used to describe wind intensity based on observed sea conditions. The scale ranges from 0 (calm) to 12 (hurricane), with Force 10 known as a storm. A 10 is characterised by a mean wind speed of 52kt (60mph) and waves with a probable height of 9m (29.5 ft). Sailing through such a storm in a tall ship, you are in no doubt of the force of nature.
Sea State 8: Waves are described as ‘very high’, which is something of an understatement when you’re at their level.
Water pours over the rail as ‘Tenacious’ rolls.
This shot is horribly blown out, but it captures the sense of urgency and action, and the sheer difficulty of pulling on ropes while standing on the wet deck of a ship that is flinging itself in every direction.
‘Tenacious’ heeled 40 degrees. View forward from the bridge.
Those waves are very big — and very close when you’re standing on the exposed bridge and the ship is heeled and rolling!
Sea State 8: more ‘very high’ waves.
The breaking waves make a hissing sound, barely audible over the wind shrieking in the rigging.
These curtains are obeying gravity and hanging straight — it’s the ship that is leaning!
Of course, winds of that ferocity do damage — to the ship, the sails and the crew.
A sail on the fore mast blew out when the winds hit us. You can see it flapping behind the yard.
The remains of the sail.
The ensign was also torn in the storm.
People were injured, generally when they lost their footing and were flung against something. This is me: torn rotator cuff and slight dislocation of my shoulder, plus gashed scalp, due to flying into a steel deckhouse wall. Not a happy sailor!
A torn sail is removed from the mast for inspection and repair.