Last updated: 11th August 2017

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The RRS James Clark Ross is now on passage to Southampton,  due to arrive on the morning of the 15th August.

Friday has been a bit on the lumpy side for all on board the James Clark Ross.  I think I became aware of the change in the sea state in the early hours of the morning but it was a big bang at about 05:00 as the Forecastle dipped into the sea that woke me fully.  In situations like this the only thing that can be done is to reduce speed and try to make the passage as comfortable as possible.  At breakfast our speed was down to about 4kts.

The view aft this morning.

In these conditions plans have to change to accommodate the weather and our original plan for today was to hold a fire and boat drill,  this has been postponed until tomorrow,  when it is hoped the sea will have calmed down once again.

The Galley continues to produce good food for us,  even in such lumpy conditions.  Surprisingly one of the more popular meals on a rough day is soup,  which can be a challenge to eat but is a bigger challenge to produce.  The stove is fitted with storm rails and this stops the pots and pans from sliding off and on to the deck.  John,  our Cook,  is in the background.

During the course of the day the wind has at times been blowing at 55kts with the maximum gust recorded being 65kts.  With the wind blowing so hard this is the perfect time to discuss the Beaufort Scale and the State of Sea:


The state of the sea, in open ocean environments,  is dictated by wind.  When calculating wind speed a good,  and accurate guide,  is to observe the sea state.  For the Met Observations carried out by ships at sea it is often the preferred method.

The scale was devised in 1805 by Francis Beaufort (later Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort), an Irish Royal Navy officer, while serving in HMS Woolwich. The scale that carries Beaufort's name had a long and complex evolution from the previous work of others (including Daniel Defoe the century before) to when Beaufort was a top administrator in the Royal Navy in the 1830s when it was adopted officially and first used during the voyage of HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy, later to set up the first Meteorological Office (Met Office) in Britain giving regular weather forecasts. In the early 19th century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective one man's "stiff breeze" might be another's "soft breeze". Beaufort succeeded in standardizing the scale although it has changed over the years since to what we now use and can be heard daily on BBC Radio 4 and the Shipping Forecast.

Wind speed is often described using the Beaufort scale and the table below will give this,  the speed in Knots,  and the sea state.

Beaufort Scale Speed in Knots Sea State
Force 0 Wind speed less than 1 knot Sea like a mirror
Force 1 Wind speed 1 - 3 knots;  mean 2 knots Ripples with the appearance of scales are formed but without foam crests
Force 2 Wind speed 4 - 6 knots; mean 5 knots Small wavelets, still short but more pronounced,  crests have a glassy appearance and do not break.
Force 3 Wind speed 7 - 10 knots; mean 9 knots Large wavelets; crests begin to break. Foam of glassy appearance; perhaps scattered white horses.
Force 4 Wind speed 11 - 16 knots; mean 13 knots Small waves, becoming longer; fairly frequent white horses.
Force 5 Wind speed  17 - 21 knots; mean 19 knots Moderate waves taking a more-pronounced long form; many white horses are formed.  Chance of some spray.
Force 6 Wind speed 22 - 27 knots;  mean 24 knots Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests are more extensive everywhere. Probably some spray.
Force 7 Wind speed 28 - 33 knots; mean 30 knots Sea heaps up, and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind.
Force 8 Wind speed 34 - 40 knots; mean 37 knots Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift. The foam is blown in well-marked streaks along the direction of the wind
Force 9 Wind 41- 47 knots; mean 44 knots High waves; dense streaks of foam along the direction of the wind. Crests of waves begin to topple, tumble and roll over. Spray may affect visibility.
Force 10 Wind 48 -55 knots;  mean 52 knots Very high waves with long overhanging crests. The resulting foam, in great patches, is blown in dense white streaks along the direction of the wind. The tumbling of the sea becomes heavy and shock-like.  Visibility affected.
Force 11 Wind 56 -63 knots;  mean 60 kts Exceptionally high waves.  The sea is completely covered with long white patches of foam lying along the direction of the wind.  Everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into froth, be lost from view for a time behind the waves.
Force 12 Wind 64 knots and over The air is filled with foam and spray.  Sea completely white with driving spray; visibility very seriously  affected.

Much of today has been spent with a Force 10 but we have enjoyed periods of Force 11 and Force 12 (the latter being referred to as a Storm).  Certainly by pre-dinner shower was a case of risking life and limb,  which thankfully I survived.  Even the simplest of tasks can prove difficult at times.  We have been fortunate in that the course we need to steer is the most comfortable course. This means that we have continued to make slow progress.  Had the sea been on the beam,  or side of the ship,  then it could have been much more uncomfortable and we may have then had to Hove-to,  which would slow us down much more.

With my cabin being on the Navigation Bridge Deck the wind can be very loud and can be heard above everything else in my cabin.

All being well the wind is due to drop later this evening and,  if I am fortunate enough to get some sleep tonight,  I should awake to much calmer conditions.

Previous updates from this trip

Noon Position Report 11th August 2017

Latitude: 63 23.48 N
Longitude: 004 28.22 E
Bearing: 318 T, 75 Nm from NY Alesund
Course Made Good 204 T
Destination: Southampton
ETA at 9.8 knots is 06:00 on 15 August 2017
Distance Travelled: 200
Total Distance Travelled: 527.9
Steam Time: 24.0
Total Steam Time: 47.3
Average Speed: 8.3
Total Average Speed: 11.2
Wind: Direction SSW, Force 9
Sea State: Heavy
Air Temp: 13.1 C Sea Temp: 14 C
Pressure: 997.9 Tendency (3 hrs): Falling



Mike Gloistein
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