« on: September 22, 2016, 05:10:39 pm »
On holidays in Charente I stayed in a bed and breakfast some miles north of Bordeaux not far from the coast. The hostess was French but her partner was English. It turned out that he was a retired sailor, he had spent 35 years working for P and O. Over a glass of wine he told a story of the storm that ran across northern France, southern England and the Channel on the night of 15th-16th October 1987. He explained that he was the helmsman on the P and O ferry that ran out of Le Havre to Portsmouth? that night [the Pride of Portsmouth he thought]. It left around midnight and took 13 hours to make the trip. He explained that the captain decided to sail as he feared the ship being smashed against the quays if it stayed in port. He said that the passengers had been warned that it would be a rough trip and that some chose not to sail. He noted that when it got out to sea the ship moved in a spiral motion- up and down and sideways at the same time-his view was that it made it very difficult not to be sick. There was a lot of damage caused to the passenger areas of the ship and some of the trucks turned over. The first truck off was a Pilkington's glass lorry, it took a long time to right it and get it off the ship. A sequel to the story was that some years later he was at the helm of the same ship and Michael Fish the weather forecaster who had made the famous forecast that evening was shown around the bridge----nobody said a word!