This may go down as the European Storm of the Century.

"Xynthia led to storm surges in coastal towns that saw floodwaters rise to the second story of buildings and smash sea walls. At least 51 of the deaths were in France, the country hit hardest by the storm, which flooded coastal areas with 25-foot-high waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds in coastal regions. In Les Sables d'Olonne, locals reported massive damage to the docks, some of which have been pushed ashore by massive surges. Yachts have been sunk, dismasted, ended up on land or were impaled. The storm originated in the Iberian peninsula on Saturday before sweeping north and east across the continent."  (Blue Water Sailing, March 3, 2010)

How heartbreaking to see all this damage. One does not expect hurricane strength storms in that region at this time of year, so none of the boats were prepped for a storm like this. One sailing friend in the area (s/v BeBe, Amel SM2 #387) reports that the Amel factory is located in La Rochelle. Their pontoons were damaged but none of the new Amels at the docks awaiting their new owners suffered any damage. Apparently, the factory is tucked far enough back in the harbor that the 25-ft waves didn't penetrate that deep. Let's hope our other sailing friends in the area rode it out safely.

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