About this site

Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

This site will chart our ongoing adventures.

You can contact us here.

Where’s Play d’eau?

Find where Play d'eau is right now.

Click here.

Zoom in and our position will be shown on a map.

Recent Posts

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form

NNE storm forces crew to abandon

Synoptic chart for 6 October 2018 @ 1800
Guernsey is the small grey dot above the ‘2’ of ‘1002’
click to enlarge

St Peter Port’s Victoria marina

Having returned from our summer cruise around the north Brittany coast, we were moored in St Peter Port’s Victoria marina rather than Beaucette since metal works were still in progress.

Seeing the forecast cyclonic storm approach, we secured Play d’eau with 11 warps and additional fenders. We had no idea of the ferocity we would have to endure. As the storm hit, I kept an online blog running.

Sunday 7 October 2018 – 0136

Never been in such dreadful swell and surge, ever. Currently moored in the NE corner of Victoria Marina. The NNE 7/8 gale blew up yesterday and whilst the sea was above the sill the movement was so, so powerful. A yacht opposite us was breaking its warps and needed marina staff with heavy warps strung between the pontoons to stop it breaking free.

I was up at 0100 this morning checking the 11 18mm warps and multiple fenders I’d set before the tide rises over the sill at 0200. All in place and we’re as ready as we can be. Wind is still NNE 7/8. It’s not forecast to drop to NNE 6/7 until 0500, and NNE 5 by 1000 as the tide drops below the sill.

So a ghastly 8 hours yet to come. Hopefully warps will last and not snap, and fenders won’t pop. I expect I’ll be a tad weary by coffee time.

Monday and Tuesday look OK, but it’s back again on Wednesday and Thursday as a SSE’ly, but hopefully not so strong.

Must have a coffee before it all starts in 25 minutes….speak later.

0200

synoptic chart for 7 October 2018 @ 0600


Tide has just about reached the sill and 2′ swells are already jumping over. Play d’eau is starting to move and swing. It’s the ‘shortly to happen’ surge and snatch I loathe which could be with us for the next 8 hours. Hmmm.

0241

It’s reached the point where I woke Lin and ordered her off the boat. No time for niceties. ‘You must get off, now,’ I said. ‘And crawl along the pontoon. It’s too dangerous to walk.’ Lin quickly decamped into our car which was parked immediately above the mooring, to observe.

0313

I thought I’d stay on board in case fenders popped or warps snapped, but given our pontoon is doing an impression of a Mexican wave and it’s difficult to stand, I, too, have decamped to the car. I doubt there’d be anything I’ll be able to do from now on. If something did happen, it would be tricky to get off and I’d only end up compounding the problem.

Still keeping a watching eye on the boat and just in case, I’ve informed St Peter Port Control on Ch 12 I was about to leave Play d’eau and that no one would be left on board.

Really not seen anything like this in over 30 years of boating apart from videos on U-Tube. It’s extraordinary.

0424

We are in the car overlooking Play d’eau. It’s 2 hrs before HW, which seems to be a trigger point in Guernsey’s marinas when the sea tries extra hard to be more aggressive. Maybe it’s a burst of Neptune’s testosterone being released into the swell.

However, Play d’eau seems to be riding OK. Yes, warps are snatching (which I loathe and hope cleats won’t come flying off) and yes she’s dancing as though practicing for Strictly. There’s the occasional attempt when she squashes all the fenders, completely, and I’m surprised they haven’t burst under the strain.

Only (only?) 5½ hours to go until the tide is below the sill. Then we can catch up on some sleep and hopefully the forecast wind reduction will take effect.

0600

It’s 0600 and all seems to be well. Haven’t been on board, but it seems the fenders remain inflated and the warps are all intact.

In the last 2 hours the wind has decreased a strength to 6 but still from the NNE. The surging remains the same and may start to decrease if the forecast reduction in wind materialises. Warps have stretched so the snatching is amplified.

4 hours to sill time but I feel the worst of the gale has come and gone.

0814

Well, the sun is out, the sky is clear, and although the wind is from the same direction it’s dropped a knot or so.

We’re just waiting for Neptune’s 2 hour testosterone effort to pass, and then it’s back on the boat to have breakfast and some sleep, until the next tide creeps back over the sill at 1430 when it all starts again, maybe with a slightly lesser wind.

Oh the joys of boating!

0845

Back on board. Wind speed appears to be decreasing quite quickly (F3, gusting 5/6) but it’s veering from N to NNE. Hmmm. Forecast is that early evening it will be N, then backing and decreasing further.

Maybe a night on board rather than in the car tonight.

0930

It’s 0930 and the tide is close to sinking below the sill. Calm is starting to return the Victoria Marina.

Wind is now F4 and seemingly dropping further. Still from NNE. All looks good on Play d’eau. The heating’s on so we’re warm and two soft poached eggs on bread and (Guernsey) butter have made all the difference.

Next – check all warps and remake. And maybe have some sleep.

Monday 8 Octover 2018 – 0513

Good morning, everyone,

Seeing the forecasts for the next 10 days or more, we’re taking the opportunity of a good cruising day today to head for St Helier, Jersey.

Yesterday evening, the harbour staff were brilliant in searching for a spot in the QE2 marina. One was found, but it was uncertain if the owner would be returning as planned or be delayed a day or so. Although this could be established this morning, we need a good few weeks somewhere in the knowledge we can stay without the worry of having to move – again.

Hence, we’re planning to leave for St Helier (Jersey) around 0800. We’ll stay there until we know the iron works at Beaucette have been completed and it’s safe to return.

Piers and Lin
From our car’s observatory
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

4 comments to NNE storm forces crew to abandon

  • Sheila Brown

    Wow, what excitement!
    Are you going to publish more of your blog? Can’t wait for the follow up.
    Love RobnRod

  • Hi Robbie, Yes, we certainly are going to be posting more. The last 18 months have been hectic (that’s our excuse) so we’ll need to condense their happenings into short extracts instead.

    However, keep watching this space – we may even add a post about our joint 140th birthday party…

  • Glynis Reynolds

    Somewhat hair raising! But what excitement! Looking forward to the follow up!

    Glyn xx

  • Good mornoing, RobnRod and Glynis,

    Yes, it was certainly hair raising. I have to say that the violent movement and snatching really concerned me. It could easily have ripped the mooring cleats from the pontoon or even straight out of Play d’eau. If that had happened, Play d’eau would gradually have broken free and foundered. Nature’s strength must never be underestimated.

    I admit I was very, very concerned. The sheer ferocity of the storm and its effects on Play d’eau were extreme. If something had happened to her, we’d have lost not only our boat, but our home. I also admit that I couldn’t stop shivering even though the car’s heater was on full blast. Must have been shock.

    However, we and Play d’eau survived, and the short cruise to Jersey was perfect. It was good being in St Helier’s protected marina.

    Inspection of Play d’eau shows she wasn’t damaged. Phew. And as they say, all’s well that ends well.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>