12 June - Mr de Beaufort was an optimist...

Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
John Simpson
Sun 12 Jun 2005 19:17
Mr de Beaufort is that compatriot of mine who, I think, a couple of centuries ago came up with the brilliant idea of creating a windspeed scale going from 1 to 10, with 1 being barely no wind to 8 being the typical gale we know in the northern hemisphere. Nothing wrong with this really, the only snag in this story is that Mr de Beaufort obviously didn't know much about statistics. That is, windspeeds of 1 to 3, which are not much of help to heavy cruising yachts like ours, or windspeed of 7 to 8, usually making life a bit uncomfortable and asking yourself why on earth you ever set foot on deck, are much more likely to occur than the gentle 4 to 6 breezes which obviously are a transient state of nature. Mr Murphy, a very practical chap, which I want to believe was either Irish or Scottish, gave his name to a law translating in our case in something like "when eventually windspeed sets to an acceptable level, wind direction is dead on the nose", leaving us with the options to tack to Iceland or Portugal, in slow motion.
Anyway to make a long and dull story short, we are becalmed 552 miles away from Falmouth on the rhumb line from the Azores, but no worries, spirits on board are high, entertaining ourselves with music, reading and fishing (on the becalmed side as well) and endless scrutinising of weather fax...