The wind


The wind is your friend but also your worst enemy.  Heading into the wind may be hard work and having it to your rear pleasant but to be honest heading out in a force 12 heading into it or out of it really isn’t the wisest option in a kayak/ canoe.

In the interests of your safety and to avoid a costly trip out by the RNLI/ Coastguard its best to look at the forecast before you go out.  If the forecast says force 6 allow them to be out a bit, if it calms down happy days but if it doesn’t- are you competent enough to be paddling in a gale should it blow up?  I know I definately am not.

Below is the Beaufort scale, pinched from the BBC webpages.  If you can’t see the sea before you head out but have access to a TV and weather forcaster then at least with the ickle chart below you will have some idea whether you are going to get the head blown off you or not, or indeed if the waves are so high that they will scare the wetsuit off you..

No. Knots mph Description Effects at sea Effects on land
0 0 0mph Calm Sea like a mirror. Smoke rises vertically.
1 1-3 1-3mph Light air. Ripples, but no foam crests. Smoke drifts in the wind.
2 4-6 4-7mph Light breeze. Small wavelets. Leaves rustle. Wind felt on face.
3 7-10 8-12mph Gentle breeze. Large wavelets crests, not breaking. Small twigs in constant motion. Light flags extended.
4 11-16 13-18mph Moderate wind. Numerous whitecaps Dust, leaves and loose paper raised. Small branches move
5 17-21 19-24mph Fresh wind. Many whitecaps, some spray. Small trees sway.
6 22-27 25-31mph Strong wind. Larger waves form. Whitecaps everywhere. More spray. Large branches move. Whistling in phone wires. Difficult to use umbrellas.
7 28-33 32-38mph Very strong wind. White foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks. Whole trees in motion.
8 34-40 39-46mph Gale. Edges of wave crests begin to break into spindrift. Twigs break off trees. Difficult to walk.
9 41-47 47-54mph Severe gale. High waves. Sea begins to roll. Spray may reduce visibility. Chimney pots and slates removed.
10 48-55 55-63mph Storm. Very high waves with overhanging crests. Blowing foam gives sea a white appearance. Trees uprooted. Structural damage.
11 56-63 64-72mph Severe storm. Exceptionally high waves. Widespread damage.
12 63 73mph Hurricane force. Air filled with foam. Sea completely white. Visibility greatly reduced. Widespread damage. Very rarely experienced on land.

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