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West Cornwall - Biggest swell of the winter

PostPosted: 2015 Feb 24, 11:59
by Graham Easterling
The recent long run of strong to gale westerly winds across virtually the full width of the north Atlantic has resulted in the biggest swell of the winter in west Cornwall. The swell peaking at 26' just off Land's End. (Pic of conditions at Cape Cornwall ... 546158.jpg ) . This, combined with a period of around 12 seconds, made it fairly powerful, though nothing out of the ordinary. There has been a lack of very large swells (as opposed to rough seas) this winter. A swell of this size (say 8m) has a return period of approx 4 months. An 11m swell has a return period of 5 years.

Last winter the largest swells were around 11m, it was the very long period due to the exceptionally persistent long fetch that made the waves so powerful.

The largest waves in recent times being on 10th March 2008, that was scary!

The big sea means that visibility is far less than the 'excellent' forecast, sadly the 5 day visibility forecasts take no account of salt spray, a persistent feature across west Cornwall at this time of year.