|Shona battles it out, photo courtesy of RGYC|
Since the wind went down (a bit) the salvers and surveyors have been busy at work, but our coast is still strewn with wrecks. Most of the fallen trees have been dealt with, usually by locals who turned up with their chainsaws and got things moving before the council was fully awake. One of the local landowners was out late at night collecting the unexpected windfall for his woodstore before anyone else got it.
I have a huge respect for the professionals who deal with the sea and its behaviour, having in an earlier life done work for a diving company who handled some of the trickier jobs in the early years of the Scottish oil industry. I learned that in dealing with any disaster one must resist the natural temptation to rush in.
In those days the older fellows had acquired their skills during the War. Along the coast just now a new generation is making assessments of risk to life and the potential for damage to the stranded vessel and working out ways to proceed. Estimates vary, but it seems there are between 100 and 200 incidents to be resolved, so they will be busy for some time. (We've now learned that the wind at its height reached speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour.)
Locally Tony Ratcliffe and his team from North West Marine are working on the rescue of the Elsa, a nice American-designed centre-boarder that is perched on a rock ledge, pretty well undamaged but above the level of the pathetically small tides we have just now. With extreme high pressure forecasted there's little hope of improvement in the near future.
Longer term there are bound to be effects on yachting as a pastime. If you can suffer such weather in what is traditionally the mildest time of year many people will be looking critically at the sport. Although this storm was exceptionally fierce we have been seeing much stronger winds and wetter summers in recent years. Costs are bound to rise, as insurers consider the impacts and pressure increases on bases that are particularly sheltered. This may eventually lead to an increase in the number of smaller boats being dry-sailed, as one would certainly sleep better with one's pride and joy safely parked in the garden.