The wind increases, the foam begins to streak, the Atlantic swell presses home.
Force 7: “In which a well-conditioned man-o’-war could just carry topsails, jib, etc in chase. And smacks remain in harbour, or, if at sea, lie to. And ashore, whole trees are in motion.” (Beaufort)
The North Cornwall coast, from Millook Haven
The images were taken in March and it’s not the “snowing gale” mentioned below but a fresh south easterly, blowing off this west-facing shore, the southern edge of a high pressure area, a low somewhere to the south, the wind funnelling between the two.
But how to describe weather?
Beaufort’s original description of Force 7 is one way – (and the accepted one when first introduced – and now modified), but the poets can be more vivid.
For example, Stevenson’s few words on a gale bring life to the scene. I particularly like the “flash of sun” and “the passion of the gale”.
“It blows a snowing gale in the winter of the year;
The boats are on the sea and the crews are on the pier.
The needle of the vane, it is veering to and fro,
A flash of sun is on the veering of the vane.
Autumn leaves and rain,
The passion of the gale.”
– It Blows A Snowing Gale, by Robert Louis Stevenson