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Thread: Bay of Biscay

  1. #81
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    Quote Originally Posted by James Curry View Post
    Is this correct, one of the reasons that the Bay of Biscay can get so bad is the swell that comes in with an Atlantic storm. It is the reduction of the depth of water because of the continental shelf that causes the height of the waves to drmatically increase within the Bay.?
    Nearly there James, the sea in the Bay can be smooth like a millpond, but it is never still, sea rollers building up from 2000+ miles from the Atlantic when they reach the Bay have nowhere to go and rebound off the Continental Shelf and the rocky coast prevalent in the Bay causing an underlying swell to rebound seawards under the surface, so although the surface is smooth you will always roll when crossing the Bay. The short sharp seas experienced are caused by strong westerly winds combined with the influx of Atlantic rollers increase that rebound effect, much like the short sharp seas in the North Sea which is surrounded by land in fairly close proximity. The Western approaches have different sea conditions to the Bay because the Atlantic rollers can dissipate by escape channels such as the English Channel, Celtic Sea and the Northern approaches so you will not experience the same conditions as in the Bay, where many ships depending on their length cannot find their rhythm and tend to pound more when fully loaded. Going across the Bay is always a surprise, one crossing blissful with a slow gentle roll and another time like a submarine. But we loved it!

  2. #82
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    What always amazed me, as well of thousands more i guess, was the absolute calm in some Areas of the Atlantic, where the Sea was just a Sheet of Glass not a ripple on the Water. On three occasions i can recall this happening and on all these occasions the Capt of the Ship stopped in Mid Ocean for a spell, to give all the Passengers and of course Crew the full effect of this phenomenon.

    As most here know called "The Doldrums"

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  3. #83
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    #82. Great when the ship has mechanical propulsion Vernon but a nightmare in the days of the sailing ships.
    Bill.

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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    Could be correct Bill , however would have thought that in very calm conditions such as the Doldrums , as there is no Wind the Sailing Ships would stop anyway! LOL
    cHEERS
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  6. #85
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    During the days of sail, vessels heading for the Cape South Africa, did they not sail towards South/Central America to aviod the Doldrums. Then they would pick up favourables winds? Roaring 40's or am I just talking rubbish?
    Last edited by James Curry; 28th November 2022 at 11:05 PM.

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  8. #86
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    No, the roaring forties do exist.
    Many old sailing ships coming to Oz made use of them.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    When my brother was on the Pamir and they hit the Doldrums it was no holiday, as he said, the Captain had them had them keep wearing ship in order to catch any little breeze they could. Worked harder there than coming around the Horn, where the roaring forties blew them around the Cape.
    Des
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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    Funny you should mention The Winchester and the bay.I was a young traineen cook on the Winchester in 1956 when we were in a force 12 storm in the bay,as you know the Winchester had a staight bow which used to crash into the waves .We went onto the aft well deck to see the storm i was only 17 and had great fun jumping up as the ship dropped into a swell which left you suspended in mid air for a while. It was exciting and scary when in the bottom of a deep swell looking up a
    mountainous waves above you ,I will never forget that exerience. During the storm all the deck cargo was washed overboard .
    I remember when in my bunk that night the ship dropping into a swell then started dropping again thinking we were going straight down ,but needless to say after much creaking and groaning with a big bang she rose again.The joys of having a cabin up forward.
    Manny happy memories of the Winchester Castle

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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    Great old Ship she was the Winchester, did a few trips on her and had many a good Trip. She was however a workhorse to the Catering staff (Like Me) with us running around like chooks with our heads severed. LOL
    2 sittings of fourteen Bloods at each meal, and the Bloods would get down no mate the conditions and eat, the old Farmers from South Africa (Yarpies) were the worst. LOL I was on her from early 58 onwards.
    Yes recall the up and down of the old girl, and as you say at 17 it was all just pure fun!

    Was also on the Round Africa Runs and that to me was the very best of my Service with UCL. Loved that run some great ports and lots to see.

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    Default Re: Bay of Biscay

    The Bay is not the only bad water spot, the Great Australian Bight can be as bad, if not worse.
    Went through there on the Paparoa and for three days the whole ship was locked down.
    No one allowed on deck, only cold food as it was almost impossible to keep pots on the stove aad for some time we thought we were in a Submarine it was so bad.

    But we made it to Freeo and docked in some obscure part, had to use the water taxi to get to a bar.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
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