While many cruises take us away from civilisation, there is an alternative, particularly if a storm is inbound.... Theo Stocker introduces the November 2021 issue of Yachting Monthly
The forecast was deteriorating, the impending storm’s arrival accelerating. Force 6, Force 7, no, Force 8 to arrive by Saturday, Friday evening, no, Friday morning.
The heatwave in which we had basked our way down to the Isles of Scilly was emphatically over.
Our morning departure was abandoned in favour of a night-time passage.
The anchor chain rattled in the locker not a moment too soon.
Clear of the islands, a long, powerful Atlantic swell augured a real storm.
Dark frontal clouds towered astern, snuffing out the sunset.
We raced eastward as blackness engulfed the stars and the wind built and built.
We surfed ahead of it as we rounded the Lizard, and took our chances to make for Salcombe.
Safely across the bar, the storm finally caught us two hours later, all but closing the harbour for the next two days.
That was in 2018.
July 2021 saw the much more severe Storm Evert hit the islands, and Ken Endean was there to witness the whole thing, tucked into a bay and dried out for some of it.
Gusts of up to Force 10 seemed to come from most points of the compass through the night, casting boats adrift and onto the rocks.
If you have to weather a storm in these exposed islands, or in other anchorages for that matter, Ken’s observations on the anchoring and mooring tactics that did and didn’t work are worth reading (see p42 of the latest issue).
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While many cruises take us away from civilisation, there is an alternative, particularly if a storm is inbound.
Britain and Ireland’s coasts are peppered with maritime cities into the heart of which you can sail (p22 of the latest issue).
If restaurants, concert halls, Roman fortifications, cobbled streets and buzzing nightlife appeal more than rolling at anchor, a sailing city break might be just the ticket.
And at the end of the evening, the only rolling is back down to the quayside where your home-from-home is ready and waiting.