Storm Ciara - hats off to high-speed cat | Rick Jackson

The wrong type of trampoline on the line caused train cancellations, trees blocked roads, but Storm Ciara couldn’t stop one unsung hero.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 7:06 pm
Wightlink catamaran Wight Ryder II entering Portsmouth harbour.

Winds peaked at 96mph at The Needles, Hovertravel didn’t run a single hovercraft, the Lymington ferry didn’t dare pop its head out of the river and Red Funnel had to stop its car ferry and Red Jet catamarans.

By 9am on Sunday, the Isle of Wight was only being served by ferries from Portsmouth and Wightlink’s new giant Victoria of Wight was taken off the run as her high sides made it too difficult to manoeuvre her into the berth at Gunwharf.

So the veteran St Faith soldiered on alone until making that move back into the terminal, when a gust of wind brought her dangerously close to her much larger running mate.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The sensible decision was made to suspend the service.

That meant for the first time ever, the island could only be served by one ferry and that was a high-speed catamaran!

It shows how good the design of the purpose-built Wight Ryder II is as she was able to operate throughout the storm, on time. A high-speed craft is usually the first to cancel. Their predecessors were certainly more for fair-weather sailors.

As the winds reached Storm Force 10, Brittany Ferries’ ships continued to plough across the Channel too, and from Portsmouth.

At Dover, the harbour was closed so many passengers had to spend more than six hours on a good number of ferries riding out the storm several miles out at sea.

In the air there were reports of screaming passengers suffering airsickness from turbulence and aborted landings as flights were diverted.

In all of this, we must congratulate the staff and crews of these ships and planes for working through the most difficult and uncomfortable of situations with skill and professionalism.

Every plane landed safely, every ferry made its berth and no one was injured no matter how dramatic the footage looked. All I can say is, thank goodness I wasn’t on any of them!

Child-like urge to drive in storm nearly cost me dearly

I knew it would be a stupid thing to do, but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to drive along Stokes Bay Road, even though the wind was more than 80mph and it was high tide.

The waves were crashing over the sea wall and the road had turned into a river.

I reckon the waves were more than 20ft as they crashed on to the car. I was surprised the road was still open, but others also had the same idea as we slowed to walking pace.

Well, the clutch jammed, the brakes now squeak and the turbo stopped working as the sensors put the car into limp mode.

A good engine wash and a long drive sorted the car out, but that could have been a very expensive urge!

I really know how to treat my wife on St Valentine’s Day…

No expense will be spared when it comes to my Valentine this year. I’m making an important trip to the new food hall at M&S to get her something very special indeed.

Valentine’s Day for me is a load of old tosh, a marketing ploy to make us part with our money. Like many men, I don’t need a specific day to express my love for my nearest and dearest. But we do need this kind of cattle prod to get our act together!

So off to M&S I go as I notice they are doing a special £20 meal-for-two wine and dine deal.

Upon further investigation online, I’ve noticed they are also selling the one thing I know will put a massive smile of my wife’s face – the Love Sausage is back!