The St Jude Storm 28th October 2013


Last weekend we saw some of the stormiest conditions experienced at sea in a number of years, some media outlets have described the situation as the worst storm to hit the South East of the United Kingdom since the Great Storm of 1987.

A deep depression crossing the Atlantic brought hurricane force winds to much of the Southern coast of the United Kingdom with the strongest official gust recorded at 99 mph on the Isle of Wight. Here in Dover the winds started to build on Sunday 27th October with a force 9 gale and heavy seas. After a brief rest bite through the night of the 27th October the wind again built in strength and was gusting up to a force 12 by 05:00 local time on Monday 28th October.

Although the Port of Dover remained open during the night of the 27th October many ships opted not to enter the port due to the severe conditions. The Dieppe Seaways departed the port in ballast (empty) and proceeded to the Downs (just to the North of the Port of Dover) to ride out the storm.  The Spirit of France was on approach to Dover with less than a mile to run when she was buffeted by winds of up to 80 knots resulting in her aborting her entry. She also headed to the downs where she was joined by the Pride of Canterbury, Dover Seaways and the Delft Seaways.

The Port of Dover officially closed to all shipping movements at 06:00 and eventually reopened at 09:30 when the worst of the winds had passed. The Spirit of France was the first vessel to enter the port and was shortly followed by the Pride of Canterbury and the Dover Seaways.

The eastern docks ferry terminal faired relatively well during the storm with only minor damage reported to some metal cladding and some minor damage to pads and fenders on the berths. Unfortunately the Western Docks didn’t fair as well due to the heavy seas crashing over the Admiralty pier which resulted in some structural damage to the pier itself and damage to over 50 passenger vehicles parked at the cruise terminal.

It amazed me that after the winds had dropped what a beautiful sunny day it was, it was hard to believe that just a few hours earlier it had been heavy rain and hurricane force winds.

I headed out on both the 27th and 28th of October to try and capture some images of the weather conditions and I even managed to get some video of the both the seas and a couple of ferry arrivals. Now I admit I am not a news camera man, I am a photographer and the quality of my filming is no way near the quality of many a video uploaded to YouTube but I hope it captures some of the energy of this weather event. Trying to film and photograph isn’t an easy task at the best of times especially when you factor in the effects of the wind rocking the tripod around, this video is quiet jerky in places and for that I apologise. The videos of the Ferry arrivals are at 4x speed in an effort to shorten the duration of the video and to show how much the vessels were moving around on approach to the Port of Dover. Its best to watch the video in HD.

Having experienced the effects of the wind from land I take my hats off to the ferry crews, the Port of Dover marine department crews on the tugs and all the passengers who were stuck out at sea, it must have been a difficult night for them all with the prevailing weather conditions. As much as I would have liked to have been out there I am glad that I was on dry land.

To all DFDS Group employees please look out for a selection of my photos depicting the arrivals of the Dover Seaways and Dieppe Seaways in your staff newsletter. I would also just like to say a big thank you to my sister for joining me over the two days. We rarely get to spend any time together and despite the weather it was really good to catch up.

Sunday 28th October

© Ray Goodfellow

Waves battering the promenade in Dover ahead of the storm

© Ray Goodfellow

Sea spray – thanks to a zoom lens I wasn’t as close as it looks!

© Ray Goodfellow

The Pride of Burgundy heads out into a choppy English channel

© Ray Goodfellow

Dieppe Seaways heads for Calais

© Ray Goodfellow

Dover Seaways entering the Port of Dover

© Ray Goodfellow

Dover Seaways `making fast’ the tug DHB Dauntless

Monday 28th October

© Ray Goodfellow

An empty Port of Dover

© Ray Goodfellow

With the port being closed we headed to Shakespeare Beach just to the West of the port to witness the wild seas

© Ray Goodfellow

Shakespeare Beach

© Ray Goodfellow

Shakespeare Beach looking out towards Folkestone

© Ray Goodfellow

Looking out towards Samphire Hoe and Folkestone

© Ray Goodfellow

An onlooker on Shakespeare Beach surveying the rough seas

© Ray Goodfellow

Having been on Shakespeare beach I missed the arrival of the Spirit of France but here she is safely in the harbour going astern to berth 9

© Ray Goodfellow

The second vessel to enter was the Pride of Canterbury

© Ray Goodfellow

Even though the wind had dropped significantly the seas hadn’t, here the Pride of Canterbury takes a wave on her port bow at the ports entrance

© Ray Goodfellow

The Pride of Canterbury safely through the entrance awaiting the assistance of the DHB Doughty

© Ray Goodfellow

With the Spirit of France acting as a wind break on berth 9 the Pride of Canterbury makes her way astern for berth 8

© Ray Goodfellow

As well as the Port being closed it would appear that all flights were cancelled as well 🙂

© Ray Goodfellow

The Dover Seaways approaching the ports Eastern entrance

© Ray Goodfellow

The Dover Seaways takes a wave off her bow as the Dieppe Seaways awaits entry to the port

© Ray Goodfellow

The Dover Seaways approaching the Eastern entrance

© Ray Goodfellow

Home at last

© Ray Goodfellow

After a quick turnaround the Spirit of France heads back to Calais

© Ray Goodfellow

The Spirit of France departing the port

© Ray Goodfellow

The Dieppe Seaways approaching the Port


Dieppe Seaways

© Ray Goodfellow

Having spent the night off the port the Dieppe Seaways finally enters the port of Dover

© Ray Goodfellow

The Dieppe Seaways in the bay as the Dovorian makes a routine patrol around the port

© Ray Goodfellow

Two `D’s together, Dover Seaways outbound with the Delft Seaways inbound

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All photographs were taken with a Canon EOS 550D and a Panasonic Lumix FZ100.

All Photographs on this page are the © Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos) 2013, All rights reserved.

I would like to remind you that the photos on this page may not be used without prior permission. If you require high resolution non water marked copies of any my photos for your own private collection or for publication please free to get in contact via email to discuss your requirements.


  1. Hello Ray, wow that was a very heavy storm last monday, but why did’t called a “Jude Storm”? perhaps i have missing something somewhere……………
    Well to look at those ferries who couldn’t get into the harbor and must stay at the open sea, i’m glad i was not on board, ha ha it seems terrible to stay
    on the ship in a storm like this one.
    But overall very well done to shoot that movie and knowing we are are just tiny pinballs when a storm comes up like this one.
    I’ve been through the storm of 1990, I came from the north of the Netherlands and had to go west to get home and had to stop several times because it was too dangerous to continue driving, have come home but was anxious and awareness you could blow any time with the truck.

    We had here yesterday a huge tornado in the middle of the country, much damage! Here in the west were i live much rain and thunderstorms, a very rare autumn i must tell you.

    Have a good day and looking forward to other stories, grt. Henk.

  2. Hi Henk,

    Good to hear from you.

    Here in the UK the storm was named after St Jude as it fell on his feast day – ironically Jude Thaddeus was the patron saint for lost causes – that’s the wonders of the UK press for you.

    The weather here has been the main talking point as we have just had about 12 hours of rain and more gale force winds, ironically its now a clear blue sky with lots of sunshine.

    I was very pleased to be on dry land that day, I have experienced a lot of rough weather in my time but I think I would have even struggled with the conditions.

    A lot of praise has to be paid to the Ferry crews, the tug crews, the port workers and the emergency services for keeping things going as much as possible.

    Hope your having a good day Henk.

    Best Wishes

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