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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 12:22 GMT
R.I.P. Finisterre
FINISTERRE shipping forecast sea area, a familiar friend taken away from us after a lifetime of service.

A renowned friend of sailors, Finisterre was one of a new breed of post-war sea areas to figure in every one of the Met Office's four daily weather forecasts.

Born in 1949 of Latin extraction (finis terre translates as "end of earth") and one of the biggest of the sea area family, she immediately took up station off the northwest shoulder of Galicia.

In finer times, colleagues remember her fondly as being both "moderate" (visibility of two to five nautical miles) and "good" (five nautical miles).

Gordon Jackson kisses Peggy Mount
Sailors will have to find a new friend
However, in sadder times Finisterre was "occasionally poor" (with visibility down to 1,000m). Friends have also remarked on her unsettling episodes of "veering" (changing of the wind in a clockwise direction).

Some have tried to explain this away as a result of the grief she felt at the loss of her brother Heligoland - who was lost in a battle with the Germans in 1956.

Even the birth of German Bight - a precocious and popular new member of the sea area family - could not raise her spirits.

Ironically, Finisterre was to lose her fight for life in similar circumstances to Heligoland. She was rubbed out by international agreement, since one of Spain's meteorogical areas confusingly bears the same name.

Finisterre is survived by siblings Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Trafalgar, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes and Southeast Iceland.

The funeral will be held at sea and will double as a christening for baby sea area FitzRoy - named after the grandpa of all shipping forecast areas, Met Office founder and HMS Beagle captain, Admiral Robert FitzRoy.

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Your tributes:

It may be finis for Finisterre, but there is still joy to be had in mind and voice from Biscay, Cromarty and Fastnet. Insomniacs avast!!
Neville White, UK

It's high time somebody honoured Captain FitzRoy for his role in navigating HMS Beagle around the world. His contributions to Darwin's work on "The Origin of the Species" are under appreciated.
Professor Colin Pillinger, Lead Scientist of Beagle 2 - The British-led project to land on Mars.

Definisterration can be very painful.
Brian Woods, Ireland

When I was a small boy I used to think that the newsreader was saying "finished there", and now I suppose it is.
David Brankley

I'll miss Finisterre - but it's not the end of the world...
Jeremy, England

Time to up date the lot. My proposals for new areas are "Eric" and "Kevin".
Bill Brooks, Belgium

Well, it will make an interesting change to my bed time listening. I hope FitzRoy will ease me to sleep just as effectively as good old Finisterre, God rest her Sole ;)
Richard, UK

Being a late-night R4 listener I deeply mourn the loss of Finisterre. But I am still at a loss to know who this Gale woman is, whom we keep hearing warnings about...
Alec Muffett, UK

Just hearing the word "Finisterre" always made me think of Ginger Rogers. Word association football, I guess. "Fitzroy" probably won't have this effect.
Mike Clark, France

I am really sad that Finisterre is disappearing. It's the end of an era. Why do we have to lose Finisterre though? Couldn't the Spanish have renamed their sea area?
Carolyn Renison, England

FitzRoy hardly has the same resonance as Finisterre, therefore I mourn.
F Brocklesby, UK

Are you mourning Finisterre? Or excited with the new arrival, FitzRoy? Send your tributes or congratulations using the form below.

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