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The South highway

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The South highway

The South highway

As we are about to leave the Norway Sea for the North Sea, serenity prevails onboard Tara. Found again serenity. Tranquility after the storm. One must say that we weathered a terrible storm, the strongest one since we started heading toward Lorient.

As we were navigating on the night from Monday to Tuesday with the staysail on the fore and the two great sails reduced with a reef, the wind rose first by 10 knots in a few minutes. We had already reached 40 knots which was forecast by the weather report. To withstand these unexpected gusts, we had reduced by an additional reef the two great sails.

But this was insufficient. As the wind continued to increase, the captain decided to lower all the sails. The wind had reached 60 knots. We lowered the two great sails and the staysail. At the moment when the watch team, Samuel Audrain, Charles Terrin and myself were going to lower the staysail, a gust of 64 knots literally banged on the sail and tore its edge. This gust can be classified in the hurricane category. It was an established force 11 wind. Despite the strain generated by these operations, the night was not restful. Propelled solely by her two engines, Tara was moving with difficulty at a little more than one knot in this storm. Tara was hitting, diving, and tilting. Onboard, not many of us were able to shut an eye.
In the morning, when day broke in by eight o’clock, the view was incredible. Around us, the sea whitened by the foam, a black sky, and troughs up to ten meters. And in the middle of all of this, unruffled sea birds were flying between these mountains of water. When Tara rose on one of these waves, we would wonder if the grey hull would survive! Thank you to the architects Bouvet-Petit and the engineer Franco in charge of building the whale. We really needed such a boat to confront a sea storm in Norway.

It is only by the afternoon that the wind calmed down little by little. And Tara was able to make headway again and also to increase her speed.
Weather conditions look much brighter now. If all goes well, we shall arrive in Portsmouth, our next call before Lorient in five days that is on Monday the 18th of February. After the coastal navigation off Norway, we are now taking the Highway for the South highway with her oil platforms, immobile metal sentries in the Channel. Welcome back to civilization!

Vincent Hilaire

Tara 2006-2007

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