Log Updates

Sitrep: 1215hrs 31 May 2005 UTC 47’24”N 011’26”W Map Ref 265 7196nm (302nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0615hrs 31 May 2005 UTC 47’08”N 011’57”W Map Ref 264 7170nm (329nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2215hrs 30 May 2005 UTC 46’47”N 012’40”W Map Ref 263 7133nm (365nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1200hrs 30 May 2005 UTC 46’18”N 013’47”W Map Ref 262 7079nm (419nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0930hrs 30 May 2005 UTC 46’07”N 014’06”W Map Ref 261 7062nm (436nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0615hrs 30 May 2005 UTC 45’57”N 014’24”W Map Ref 260 7046nm (452nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2100hrs 29 May 2005 UTC 45’30”N 015’02”W Map Ref 259 7008nm (490nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1015hrs 29 May 2005 UTC 44’54”N 016’07”W Map Ref 258 6950nm (548nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0615hrs 29 May 2005 UTC 44’39”N 016’30”W Map Ref 257 6928nm (570nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1200hrs 28 May 2005 UTC 43’29”N 018’13”W Map Ref 256 6826nm (672nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1025hrs 28 May 2005 UTC 43’23”N 018’18”W Map Ref 255 6819nm (679nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1015hrs 27 May 2005 UTC 42’02”N 020’22”W Map Ref 254 6697nm (802nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2222hrs 26 May 2005 UTC 41’26”N 021’27”W Map Ref 253 6636nm (862nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1230hrs 26 May 2005 UTC 41’18”N 022’09”W Map Ref 252 6604nm (891nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0945hrs 26 May 2005 UTC 41’21”N 022’23”W Map Ref 251 6593nm (896nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0800hrs 26 May 2005 UTC 41’22”N 022’32”W Map Ref 250 6586nm (901nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0030hrs 26 May 2005 UTC 40’59”N 022’36”W Map Ref 249 6563nm (918nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1445hrs 25 May 2005 UTC 40’14”N 023’03”W Map Ref 248 6513nm (964nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1124hrs 25 May 2005 UTC 40’05”N 023’15”W Map Ref 247 6501nm (977nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2310hrs 24 May 2005 UTC 39’31”N 024’12”W Map Ref 246 6445nm (1029nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1829hrs 24 May 2005 UTC 39’17”N 024’40”W Map Ref 245 6419nm (1054nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1115hrs 24 May 2005 UTC 38’52”N 025’14”W Map Ref 244 6383nm (1091nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0950hrs 24 May 2005 UTC 38’47”N 025’20”W Map Ref 243 6376nm (1098nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2225hrs 23 May 2005 UTC 37’58”N 026’18”W Map Ref 242 6309nm (1164nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1200hrs 23 May 2005 UTC 37’23”N 027’19”W Map Ref 241 6250nm (1223nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0940hrs 23 May 2005 UTC 37’14”N 027’34”W Map Ref 240 6235nm (1238nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2230hrs 22 May 2005 UTC 36’28”N 028’36”W Map Ref 239 6167nm (1306nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2300hrs 21 May 2005 UTC 34’46”N 029’48”W Map Ref 238 6050nm (1420nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2130hrs 21 May 2005 UTC 34’40”N 029’50”W Map Ref 237 6043nm (1426nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1015hrs 21 May 2005 UTC 33’56”N 029’58”W Map Ref 236 5999nm (1463nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2130hrs 20 May 2005 UTC 33’11”N 030’44”W Map Ref 235 5940nm (1522nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1300hrs 20 May 2005 UTC 32’31”N 031’13”W Map Ref 234 5893nm (1569nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0900hrs 20 May 2005 UTC

Sitrep: 2200hrs 19 May 2005 UTC 31’31”N 032’09”W Map Ref 233 5816nm (1645nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1030hrs 19 May 2005 UTC 30’40”N 033’00”W Map Ref 232 5749nm (1712nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2200hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 29’46”N 033’47”W Map Ref 231 5682nm (1780nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1700hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 29’23”N 034’07”W Map Ref 230 5653nm (1809nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1330hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 29’06”N 034’17”W Map Ref 229 5634nm (1827nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1050hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 28’50”N 034’23”W Map Ref 228 5617nm (1843nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0430hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 28’15”N 034’28”W Map Ref 227 5582nm (1874nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0003hrs 18 May 2005 UTC 27’48”N 034’31”W Map Ref 226 5554nm (1897nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0400hrs 17 May 2005 UTC 25’58”N 035’00”W Map Ref 225 5441nm (2001nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 2230hrs 16 May 2005 UTC 25’29”N 035’07”W Map Ref 224 5412nm (2028nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1515hrs 16 May 2005 UTC 24’52”N 035’17”W Map Ref 223 5374nm (2063nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1045hrs 16 May 2005 UTC 24’25”N 035’25”W Map Ref 222 5346nm (2090nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0630hrs 16 May 2005 UTC 24’00”N 035’27”W Map Ref 221 5321nm (2111nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1530hrs 15 May 2005 UTC 22’36”N 035’25”W Map Ref 220 5237nm (2180nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1030hrs 15 May 2005 UTC 22’10”N 035’29”W Map Ref 219 5210nm (2204nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1600hrs 14 May 2005 UTC 20’18”N 035’27”W Map Ref 218 5098nm (2298nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0900hrs 14 May 2005 UTC 19’42”N 035’25”W Map Ref 217 5062nm (2328nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 1500hrs 13 May 2005 UTC 18’00”N 035’21”W Map Ref 216 4960nm (2414nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0935hrs 13 May 2005 UTC 17’29”N 035’24”W Map Ref 215 4929nm (2442nm to Falmouth)

Sitrep: 0330hrs 13 May 2005 UTC 17’03”N 035’22”W Map Ref 214 4903nm (2464nm to Falmouth)


Sitrep: 0330hrs 13 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 214

Greetings from Tradewind Territory(North variety),


I've spent the last couple of days trying to avoid sitting on my pelvic bones. The gunwale bum is back again. I can sit sort of sidesaddle with all the weight on the bottom of the thigh on the cockpit seats or even better sit on top of the bottom washboard in the companionway. This last one is the most comfortable and gives the best relief to the constant jerky twisting motion that you get while sailing to windward in these lumpy short steep Tradewind seas. Many years ago I crossed the Atlantic and Pacific sailing downwind with the trades behind us beautiful,no sore bums in these conditions. Many times I would have looked back at the seas and thought....bloody hell I'd hate to be going into that....here we are doing just that.


Were about level with the Cape Verde Islands at the moment and a big slide to the left would send us downwind straight towards Antigua, I can seethe boat now parked stern to the quay in English Harbour, I can hear a steel band playing under the trees outside the Admiral's Inn .....Ahhhhhh ...downwind no sore bottom. But enough of this these are mutinous thoughts.....onwards..north ...Falmouth for orders and all that nonsense.


Sitting on the washboard with the rear end inside the cabin and the rest of you in the cockpit facing aft it reminds me of the old westerns. At the end of a thirty day cattle drive there they are at the railhead stockyards sitting on the top rail of the cattle crush rolling a cigarette hanging their rear ends over the rail, saddlesore. It's getting better now a little bit of harsh treatment to let it know who's boss, a liberal application of metho to the raw bits seems to have sorted things out. It must be at least 30 days we have been going to windward.


Allan just read your latest soliloquy I'll go out and contemplate the the night sky, consider us in silent companionship.


That's enough of my misery you know I'm better I'm sitting down to write again....cheers Pete.


Sitrep: 0935hrs 13 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 215

A bit over an hour ago, (now much more at send time...) we crossed 1640N. Why is this worth mentioning? - just another number except that it is exactly 1000 miles north of the equator. I think there may be something special with breakfast tomorrow. It has taken us a bit over 9 days and there are 2500 miles to go, so approximately 23 days?? I think my ETA was June 4 - still a bit optimistic, I think, but the numbers stack.


Berrimilla's Mighty Media Machine has swung into action in the UK - actually a couple of friends have got on to assorted newspapers and TV stations and we are Being Contacted and Stories will be Written.


Bill, as a sponsorship musing follow up, the big media opportunity actually happens when we get back to Sydney, especially if we make the Sydney-Hobart start line. We could carry all sorts of logos entering harbour and racing. If we actually do make it, we will probably enter Oz in Eden on the way past going north, so there would be an opportunity to decorate.


Like the S2H, the Fastnet can be divided into distinct stages. I don't know enough about the course to do it for you, but from here, it looks as if getting out of the Solent, then around Portland Bill, Lands End, the Rock, Lands End, Plymouth would go close. Big tidal gate at Portland and at other headlands to the west. Because we will be one of the slowest boats out there, there may well be smaller subdivisions for us, especially west of Portland in the Channel tides. Will have to do some serious reading when we get to Falmouth, and talking to the experts. And I haven't seen the sailing instructions so don't know what restrictions on automatic steering gear there may be for the 2 handed division, but there wont be much time for sleeping.


Three hours is a long time. Sitting in the cockpit surrounded by twinkling phosphorescence below and the glowing depths of the Bowl of Night, there is opportunity for lots of idle musing. Like what to write in the next of these - how, when it is almost impossible to distinguish one day from another at the moment, do I find something interesting to waffle on about? I was looking at the Pole Star a few minutes ago and thinking that humans must have been using stars to establish direction for longer that we have developed and used our other basic skills. And then - on an earlier theme - thinking about the Ghosts I sail with out here - the hundreds of early Portugese, Spanish and then English sailors and perhaps the Danes and even the Phoenicians long before them, who began to sail the North Atlantic and to use the Pole Star to find their way home. Some famous - Magellan, Drake, da Gama, but most lost to history yet still very much out here. It's easy to imagine them on the same open ocean in their primitive and tiny ships - probably apprehensive, often terrified, excited by discovery, united by their circumstances yet often divided by their difference in perspective about a particular voyage. Hence mutiny, and all sorts of cruelty and some brilliant achievements.


Sitrep: 1500hrs 13 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 216

Breakfast - Friday 13 May - the usual cardboard muesli activated by our composted dried fruit but this time washed down - no, washed has too much attitude  - stroked down perhaps? by a snort of The Glenfiddich. Too dreadful for words and, indeed, they fail me. So it seemed appropriate to break into my tiny stash of squashed Mars bars and nibble on the flat toffee-sticky end of one saved from some trauma a few weeks ago. We only have about 10 mars bars altogether - far too expensive in the Falklands, and they all got squashed around the time the liferaft departed. Pete is off chocolate - good lad, so the remains belong me.


I wonder if anyone found and reported the liferaft. Probably somewhere in or off southern Brazil. It is identifiable, so AMSA might know.


It's been an alcoholic day - today is also the 50th day out of Stanley, so we allowed ourselves an extra Consultation and we may just need another to appease whoever is in charge of Fridays with a 13.


Malcom - what would be the notation for infinite improbability? infinity to the power infinity to the minus one? Thanks for Milky Way stuff (Mal - could you post pse? Ta)- I was a bit off with my diameter. Hope my ETA is a bit closer.


Kevin F - could you please get the spares on the road to my sister if they aren't already. We'll be needing them in less than a month. Thanks.


Back to the Pole Star and Ghosts - it's surprising how, in an otherwise empty - vastly stretchily empty - space, all our forerunners have a real presence, yet who, standing at the corner of Times Square would even think of Columbus or Vespucci or Eric the Red, Cortez or even Cook and Vancouver. Or the Mayflower. And I wonder if there is any tiny space in the Atlantic that Berrimilla could claim to be the first and only boat to cross? Probably less likely than on the other side of the Wall in the Pacific. The whalers in particular would have been everywhere, both sides.


Malcom’s info on the Milky Way

The Milky way is just 100,000 light year wide (diameter).  Our sun is 26,000 light years from the center.  The bulge of the disk at the center protudes 12,000 light years either side.  The Milky way contains at least 250 billion stars, perhaps over 1 trillion.


By contrast the galaxy Andromeda (similar size of Milky Way) is 2.2 million light years away but it is on a collicion course closing at 8,000 km per hour.  Hence a collision between the galaxies will be in about 3 billion years which as far as I can gather given the curent dawdle will be just after you are likely to arrive at Falmouth (I've estimated 6 June 3,000,002,005).


Polaris, Pleaides and Orion are certainly part of the Milky Way and deduce that all constellations, close etc. nebulae are.that what we see beyond our galaxies are other galaxies with bugger all in between except gas, dust, dark matter, energy and gravitational fileds


We have a gigantic black hole at the center of the galaxy so don't sail too close to the edge of the Earth.]


Sitrep: 0900hrs 14 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 217

This one's a catch up on correspondence - I'm losing the plot a bit what with no sustained time on night watches to write these and all the Consultations required as we keep passing milestones - or should that be watermarks?. Yesterday we had 50 days, 1000 miles, Friday 13 and the normal morning and evening sessions with one GP or another, and today, if we get lucky, there will be another at 20N - now only 18 miles away. As I write, some of our families and long time Berri mates are having dinner together and we are hoping to hear the satphone beep at us so that we can talk to them all.


Rowley - thanks for all that Global Challenge stuff- we've been watching our stern, but I think we were just about on their track at the equator and we are now way to the north. They will slow down a bit when they get to the equator! The NE trades have been more NNE for us but they may get lucky. That will be Pindar's best chance of catching up a bit.


We are using an Autohelm ST 4000 autopilot when Kevvo is having a rest, mostly following the windvane rather than the compass, so working just like Kevvo (the Fleming). As for Isobars, sorry, can't help - can't see the map. GRIB stands for Graphics in Binary and it is a very sexy way of downloading weather information from NOAA computer models, I think in the USA. If you want to see it in action, you need sailmail or similar package or get onto pentacomstat website and find reference to Marc and sailmail and follow. Go and see Marc, if he'll let you, and he'll show you the setup we have on Berri. Grib takes some getting used to especially the scale versus your speed and has no localised predictions, hence our surprise down the S. American coast a few weeks ago.


Fiona, thanks for the Galaxy song - it's been in the back of my mind for ages sort of subconsciously.

[ed: I like it too so it’s here]


Kevin Fleming, you're an absolute bloody gem! Thanks so much for organising spares and especially $ - I don't know anyone else who would have done that! Kevvo, the unit, is still working fine - when it gets really rolly, like now, we give it a rest and use the autohelm as long as the sun is out warming the solar panel because it is just a bit easier to fine tune as we go. But it has saved our bacon so many times now we will have to frame it or something when it eventually gets us home. Did you use the photo for your advert? You have my permission to quote from the website too if you want to, just acknowledge copyright and permission.


Sitrep: 1600hrs 14 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 218

Would you believe that two experienced old farts can't tell the difference between The Glenfiddich and Lambs Navy Rum?? We have two brown plastic bottles with decanted libations of each but the labels have disintegrated. So the smell test - I actually got it right that time, but when we then looked at and tasted our 20N Consultative Offering, we both thought we had got it wrong. It was only after serious investigation that we concluded we had the correct bottle. I bet very few people in a properly conducted blind test can really tell the difference between Dr Plonk and Mr Screech the Barber Surgeon anyway, so why should we worry. Just Consult to make sure.


So, yes, we crossed 20N and are now 70% of the way from Port Stanley - or 31 degrees to go. About 25k in the Falklands marathon - just downhill but with almost all the rest uphill till the last 5 k. Grind it out - we have lots of work to do.


The Chart puts us over the Cape Verde Basin - haven't got depth contours on the laptop digital but probably just east of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. We are sailing through clumps of seaweed - small, about half a metre in diameter, like tangled spiky string, yellowish brown with perhaps a tinge of green. Lots of it, and there seems to be a different smell in the air, but that may just be the boot ferals having a clandestine outing. I remember reading about boats marooned in the Sargasso Sea surrounded by weed and windless but this is in the middle of the trades. Anyone know about it?


Wildlife - the hawklike bird finally deserted us close to St Peter & Paul rocks after perhaps three weeks of sporadic visits - perhaps it just goes up and down the coast following boats. Yesterday we saw a lovely white bird about half a metre span - very finely boned, almost transparent, sun shining through its wing feathers, the whole bird sharply carved and beautifully curved with two very long white tail feathers trailing behind but even those streamlined. It dived on a flying fish which it caught, swallowed, did a curiosity pass over us and was gone.  Today two similar birds but black and without the long tail feathers, flying around in the wave troughs. Also did not stay long.


We seem to be approaching the northern edge of the Trades - some higher clouds over the last two days and the wind lifting us occasionally to point directly at the Azores. Noice! And two days of 6+ knots. Noicer!


Have you had a look at the Falmouth webcam? Will it be worth ringing home when we get close - doubt if we will manage the purple kite but you never know. That would be really cool and classy.


Sitrep: 1030hrs 15 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 219

Propagation dreadful this morning (15/1030Z) - you may not get this till tomorrow Z - started yesterday evening local.


Last night:

The Great big Bear is up in the top spreaders and - all going well - should be up over the masthead in a couple of nights. So the flea has humped its bluey all the way round the curve of the pachydermatous rump and is approaching the nice sunny bit half way up the topside. Pole Star at about our latitude (now 21N) above the horizon to the north. 25 knots, ENE, #2 and 2 reefs snugged down a bit for the night as the clouds looked rather dark and windy earlier. Now receding. I think the Cross has all but disappeared below the southern horizon - a bit cloudy down there so don't know for certain.


Hardly dare write about this in case the Examiner notices, but we've been hooning it a bit over the last couple of days probably averaging a least 6kts. Unheard of. We expect it to go soft in a day or so and then back around to the south east to give us a bit of a lift. All the parts are crossed.


Later - now early this morning local and breakfast time - sort of - hard if you're on 3X3:

And these two grizzled old farts from central casting at Fox still don't really know whether they are drinking rum or single malt. They think the colour is the real give-away and it's Lambs Navy but not absolutely sure. Never make real sailors out of these two. Lash 'em to the bus shelter and have pigeons poo on them - and dogs sniff a lot and lift their legs. The Ancestors are probably Aghast. Apoplectic. Agonised. Anguished. Abject. Ashamed. Astounded. Try it some time - get someone to wake you in the middle of the night in very dim light with a nip of something and see how good you are. Might be a bit easier if you have had lots of recent practice - which we haven't but might need to commence.


Later still:

15/1200Z - first time ever - can't connect to any sailmail station anywhere, so this update will just get expanded and the two messages I know are waiting for us will have to wait for at least another 6 hours. Poo.


Pete saw a ship last night, heading north west - perhaps Cape Verdes to NY - too far north now to see the Global Challenge boats which will have come up the east side of the S. Atlantic just west of the Benguela current, to cross the equator a long way further east than we did and will now be heading south of us towards Boston. I think.


And yet more later:

We are now in what looks like the beginning of the Azores high, although we are still 1000+ miles south of the archipelago. Overcast, cloud base getting lower, looking very frontal but quite soft. Pity we aren't 300 miles further north, where the wind should be turning southerly and later SW going towards Falmouth. But can't sneeze at tracking north at 6.5 knots.


Anne G - if you are still out there - I've lost the reference to the St Malo Cap Horniers mob - buried in the past logs, sorry - would you be kind enough to contact them and ask them if they'd like to hear from us (and, perhaps, if you think they don't take themselves too seriously, ask how we get our free DIY earring and p.i.t.w. kits)?. Seems like something worth investigating at least. Perhaps, on second thoughts, ear piercing out here is a pleasure we may not need.


This will be too big to send if I go wittering on so here endeth this idle nonsense.


Sitrep: 1530hrs 15 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 220

Here's a project for someone with time to spare. In the days of square riggers trying to minimise their costs, the shipping companies, especially the Germans, compiled statistical charts showing the data from the logs of thousands of voyages out from Europe via the Horn and the Cape of Good Hope to Australia, San Francisco, Hong Kong and just about everywhere else (and back as well). The charts had lines on them called isochrones - joining points that were the same number of days out from, say, London en route to Cape Horn using different tracks. These lines bulged outwards along the tracks that gave the fastest passages at different times of the year, so the Germans, in particular the Laeisz Line (also known as the Flying P line because all their ships' names began with a P - Preussen, Potosi, Parma, Pamir...), were able to direct all their ships to cross the equator going south at between  27 and 28 degrees west. As a result, their ships were able to make three voyages to Australia each year against everyone else's two.


I want the isochrone charts from August to December for our return trip leaving Falmouth for Sydney in late August via the Cape of Good Hope. A signed 'Berrimilla Around' shirt for the first person who gives me a viable reference that I can use when we get to Falmouth. This almost certainly means that they must be accessible via the internet in some way. I tried to find them before we left Sydney but ran out of time. Might help if you speak German. The word has another more modern usage, for things occurring at the same time, and Google finds all these but none of the others.


These days similar information almost certainly lives in lots of computer databases - Whitbread races, Volvo and Vendee races, Dame E. ad all the others - but is now proprietary and anyway I think there's something a bit special about using the older charts to plan the route.


Sitrep: 0630hrs 16 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 221

[ed: The HF radio (main form of communication) is currently inoperable so log updates will be via SatcomC. Unfortunately, at one cent per character, they will probably be much shorter until the problem is resolved. For example, this log entry would have cost $8.10!


Mail to Berri will suffer similar limitations. Please don’t stop sending messages but, if you can keep them very short, that would make my life easier! Short ones (about 200 characters) will go as is, long ones will probably be summarised and sent in full as soon as possible. Any critical messages will, of course, receive priority – and, by ‘critical’ I mean ‘important’ rather than ‘disparaging’ :-)


Those of you who have Berri’s SailMail address, please note that I will monitor it and forward any messages via SatcomC using the above rules.]


Sitrep: 1030hrs 16 May 2005 UTC

[ed: Phone call from Alex – HF radio is dead and tonight’s SatcomC email to them crashed the PC. Therefore only very short, urgent messages can be sent at this stage. They will do very short Sitreps to keep us abreast of progress.]


Sitrep: 1045hrs 16 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 222

catastrophe. will try to give all y'all short updates daily but must nurse system. also v. expensive to use satcom. examiner back with a vengeance - nasty low to nw and central casting heroes in the poo again.


Sitrep: 1515hrs 16 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 223

desperately frustrating day trying 2 find prob. with hf - huge un/repack of both sides of back of boat - clearly lots of moisture has got under q'berths - 30 amp fuse ok, has power. no luck. cant find spare fuses - thought they were taped to fuseholders but not, nor with elec. spares. physically v tiring. laptop crashing every time i managed to get sob and satcom to work together ) reboot each time. seems to be intermittent incompat'y - have sorted timeclock difference - may be when satcom receives or transmits. depressing - marvin without emotion - not this old fart.


advised to stay high because nasty low forming to west. wind/sea just 2 much for #2 + 2 reefs ) down to #3 tracking about 010t @ 5+ knots - down from 6+ with 3 but safer and easier on boat and rig. and crew. crossed trop of cancer too - consltd. it's lambs navy, but by colour alone. amazing.


jeremy b in falmth - appreciate if u cd finger best avail. marine electrician for us asap after arrival - probably minimum 2 day job.


Sitrep: 2230hrs 16 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 224

full o'cast - high, hazy thin cloud, some lower cu and pale half moon glowing thro directly o'head. #3 and full main - really needs #2 - and mkng - 5 kts )) azores. getting met area 2 egc wx from satcomc so not completely blind. tomoz, will unpack nav qberth again and try to get to 5 amp fuse in radio. cant think what else could be.


satcom seems to be working after frust'ing times earlier. if i had any hair... mal sending ferociously summarised mailcalls to keep cost down. boot ferals laughing again as weather cools - water temp now  23.


almost abeam canaries -  uk, spain, gib, nw africa + newfndld all on nav screen. exciting.


Sitrep: 0400hrs 17 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 225

wind up to 30 - 2 reefs, trkg - 015t - falmouth 035. vmg - 5.

still applying metho to tender nethers. oz metho is clear like gin (would that it were...) but stuff bought in f.i. @ gbsmkg price of - 3 pnds/ltr has purple dye added which also smells foul. when applied to tender parts, paints them purple. lucky, perhaps, no resident baboon population else in hi demand.


Sitrep: 0003hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 226

[ed: Alex’s description of current problems] all systems  off for 2 hrs this am investigating hf big double un/repack again. followed marty's instructions except ?no circuit breaker?if so where - 802 direct connect 2 battery?? no joy but found negative bus badly corroded and fixed.  even dismounted m802 box f'm bulkhd (try it sometime with boat corkscrewing 10 ft.)  removed cover and inner cover 2 check 5 amp fuse (and no spare fuse attached as instructions say there is). 20 tiny screws fiendishly diff 2 access and esp replace but managed sans dropping one.


amzg.  all reassembled  and still no power. spbf very difficult enterprise and no real result ) had double consultation with the doctor to recognise heroic failure. cd be combo of equipt. failure and dud  power switch else stumped. failure seemed catastrophic - no warning, total instant loss of power while transmitting.. wil have 2 wait til fmth.


so have decided hang expense and will continu (shorter) udates via satcom - this one about s15+ to send - pse buy lots of shirts, everyone - fenwick and isabella organising and should be arvailable soon - we'll need some support by the time we get to the start line in sydney. malcolm will send your emails to us as system allows and may have to sumarise to reduce cost. don't stop sending - we need youse and only a few days to go and all y'all can have a drink with us.


aiming for middle of azores - 30 kts from e and lifting us a bit. 766 to az so 6 days approx then 10 to fmth agw.  egc says nasty low forming to west - bloody promethea again - will really enjoy consulting with her when we eventually get there. hard examiners are best. now at 25k in marathon. headbang just beginning. baboon bott glowing. nearly time to meet boot ferals again - noticeably cooler at night and dry feet a good idea.


Sitrep: 0430hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 227

v mt ocean. no birds, fish, people -  1st ship for days just past astern lisbn braz?. still lots seaweed. + ghosts. doing 130 nm days ) w end of az's. xpct collect front to n with w change to carry us home - swiiing looow...no fun being out of contact - hugely enjoy interact'n w. y'all. anticp'n growing + dstnce seems growing parallel - long way 2 go, v chancy wx sit'n.. last few days for eta's rnvp @ 35n say 3 days. bferals thriving - other wldlfe in grotty clothes bags - all salt encrstd.


 3-6 nightwtch longest - moon down, shwrs, drk. gbear o'head polestar ahead - all hpng xcpt hf radio. cool 2 b here not s ocean.


tks ak 4 contacts. tks f'wick for lots. old glowbum here v grateful.


not confdnt in satcom some msgs not delvrd so kpng short.


luv youse all


Sitrep: 1050hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 228

gale force winds (34 - 47kts) forecast for our area next week - surprising how little concern that evokes - already in 30 - only real worry is for rig, nowt to report - just grinding it out - patience etc and titan ur(purple)anus. photo of tu ship might go well on back of t shirt  - is? fenwick? all y'all? will try to do chatty one later.


Sitrep: 1330hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 229

daily watch rutine 4 blubums midnt-3,pete:3-6alex these two are long and  lonely unless moon is up, phosph, dolphins etc.6-9 p -sets up solar panl, checks for damage, chafe etc 9-12 a -no hf so little to do - checks nav, satcom etc. try to read, write emails, not easy when on watch.


1200 hi point - consultation - half can of conslttve lubricnt each - only the dr and 2 smoothies left. 12-3 p,  3-6 a diff 2 sleep in these - hot, windy, humid big motion. general maintenance jobs when poss.


6-9 p - cooks dinner, evening consltn - if an 'on'day, g+t woohoo looked fwd to all day - else on 'off days' (on,off,off). glass of dr plonk. dr plonk with meal, wash up, a sleeps for last hour then 9-12a puts away panel, tidy up, watch stars and gbear climb. will prob run out of gin + dr p.


saw gb right way up yest 4 1st time pointing up to n star. woohoo. cross now below horizon - mixed feelings. achievement, work still to do (panic but still have towel) absent friend etc.


54nm to 30n + next watermark.hi fm pete


p,p,p,+ tu bigtime.


Sitrep: 1700hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 230

an hr ago got wind shift to se now pointing directly at falmth. with no lumps in between @ 6 kts. first time since boxing day. all y'all have to be here to know how good it feels - don't tell

promethea cos she'll move the pieces but temporary as it must be, its exhilarating. pete asleep - dont want to wake him but today is an 'on' day so g+t's later. wooohooo..

gives eta fmth 30 may. not possible but nice to comtemplate. enjoy your cornflakes.


Sitrep: 2200hrs 18 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 231

stll in se wind ) fmth.e of azores.  g+t cons. exlnt. - best ever. suspect drama of entprse now gone 4 most of ay'a - we like it that way. but nail btng 4 us. sad re comms cos i do best with immediacy - not up to journal entries for latr. so will try to do these really short ones for duratn. now at approx latit of fenwickery but getting colder. sydney lat 240nm up the rd.


isab ta re sj + recce. david - button pressed  - now in  gt w'shp on magtha. cool - slarty moving fmth closer. gm h, tks, good 2 hear.


Sitrep: 1030hrs 19 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 232

anor turner night blk clds rushng across haze veiled moon. gbear + polaris now nearly on p. beam as we head towards the barn. where they shld b. still in se wnd. cooool.

just had crosng 30n constn 4 brkfst. noiice. and anor big unpack 2 trace anor elec prob - all due moisture we think no joy.


jeremyb in fmth tks. lk fwd 2 mtg u. yc swing mrng wd b good if can access pontoon daytime. tks


Sitrep: 2200hrs 19 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 233

really misng ay'a. seems dream run endng - in se crnr of hi mvg ne wind now dropng + easng so hi perhaps mvg away. sw front xpctd perhps w'lies after.

o'cst high haze ctn wooly moon high above. grind. grind.grind. constve lubricnt praps just adeqte. all 3 p shrouds now suspct despite shock crd to prvnt flop. shkles clamped 2 each + can attach braces. have 2 clmb mst tomoz chck top swages. what is it wth stnls stl? new rig shld not fail like this. cnsdring gal + thimbles for return trip - cant afford this nonsense. serious tlk with rigger in fmth.


Sitrep: 0900hrs 20 May 2005 UTC

eta comp ends @ 35n. sugst ay'a amend pred'ns to exact time we pass br'wtr fmth. june 4@ 1200 still my bet, may b pesmstc. just recd safet msg re derelct 8-10tmtr s/v 60 nm to n. not enough wind to go look. all v soft - hi just to n weakng hope for sw front soon - xpctd 23rd may b 2 far away 2 help..

jeanne  pse send dym. address in fmth

ben tks 4 fedbak.

[ed: Based on Alex’s comment about the ETA competition, I’ve taken an executive decision and have opened up a second part of the competition. There will now also be a prize for the person who first guesses the closest time (irrespective of date) to the time they pass the breakwater at Falmouth. Times will be assumed to be UTC unless you specify otherwise. So send your guesses to falmoutheta@berrimilla.com.]


Sitrep: 1300hrs 20 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 234

stll hdg ) the barn 6kts. huge tnkr (?tu?.) just past ahead 3nm.  no sign drfitng s/v (kahinka f. any 1  kno story?). fixd chrge problm - bypast regltr for turbne. xpct pass clse san mig is azores 3 days time. v big port m o 'wr all around. some flotsm - fshng gear? able get euro + n.af radio stns - 1st sign approachng lndfl. no birds, bootferals feastng on new sox + cheesy bits. baboons baying frm gib. hope poor swimmrs else brits may hve 2 leave rock. awaitng promethea's nxt move. mast climb pstpnd as wind up a bit - not rlly nec. precaut. only. today 'on' day. hoooley doooley woohoo.


Sitrep: 2130hrs 20 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 235

v soft - headed - slwng dwn.  2 birds - smll, blck, surfce flapprs. anor huge tnkr past astn 1nm, mt, hdg ne. serious lkout time. evening -lovely sft grey cld fmtns 2 e hi, med, lo, all diffnt dirctns. moon hi, no strs yet. approx syd lat. - qute cold @ nite - back 2 fleeces. so mch to say, not poss this frmat. dlghtfl sailing - but slow + rlly want to fnsh now. hope front has wlies when arrives so no need to stress rig hrd on p tack. will get out chnnel pilot (book) after azres for approach/entry. big mlstne.  constn. praps 3 days 2 azres.

dm - no way stop azrs - bggr oh+s.


Sitrep: 1015hrs 20 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 236

almst prked - v soft. clmbd mst - now have all p shrds dbled up w 6mm spectra braced @ foot back to wnch.v clever iff wrks..wll film + foto 4 recrd.  all shrds have rust streaks from top to bott. - is this signifcnt??  roger, praps cd ask don?  port m o' wr mst hve bn named here - all arnd us + we off port. cst + islands. big ones. lots of garbage in sea - praps jst 1 shp dump. 0 mre shps. past lat wollngng so opend a can aftr mst clmb. didnt tch sdes but sdly abstmg. rll on fmth. frnt due mon/tue slw till thn, mayb boost after. hve ampair gen directly on batry - no regltr - trcky but chrgng.

fm us bth - commisns to trum. at least she cn open a beer..


Sitrep: 2130hrs 21 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 237

prkd then hded now llng @ centre of azres. xpct s chnge 24 hrs then front wed 35-40 ssw 2 nw. .big pod dlphns snrtng + cvrtng 4 cple hrs good fun. white bird long tail fthrs back briefly. port m o'w by thsnds some wrappd rnd turbine. p shtds now braced - hope it wrks + esp hope stbd ok. v rusty at tops. expct p tack post frnt. gtng cldr - blnkst @ nite + cup o t now strt thro fltrd 2 pale straw clr - in trpcs, oftn did not reappr and was same clr as original twhn did.. 30k grind.ppptu srry boring stuff - 'sall there is.


Sitrep: 2300hrs 21 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 238

rndm stats - t bags 600ish:  rlls duct tpe, 50m, 12: sail chnges av. 2/day: cans food 200:  max wnd spd seen 86kt gust w of horn: sleeps 3/day each: dunkin bikkies 1200: emails 3000ish, bog rolls lots: winch hndles lost 0: max boat speed seen 12.5kt: bootferal mutations 13.5 x 10 5th, now have photsynth + melatonin. dlphns 100s: stars gigazllns, iss sightings 2: more as i think of them


Journal: 1035hrs 22 May 2005

Just spoke to Mal re IRC cert - nice to hear him. Hard to believe he and Steve have been working away there all this time to keep the site going.  Really appreciate it.


Still very apprehensive re state of rig – up mast yesterday and top swages very rusty and rust streaks all the way down.  Think bracing on port side will work  - hope stbd ok. Don’t really see why cant use spectra prestretched for rig – xcpt forestay. Will discuss in Fmth.


Dolphins yest great fun – first heard snort & looked around & saw them, big grayish, rounded dorsal fins, grayer patch aft of dorsal. Cavorted around for an hour or so.


Hoping for wind to veer to S later so getting us E of Azores or between Sao Mig & the rest. Front on the other side, 30 – 40 cd be tricky for rig  & hope not too severe.


Poor Berri looking rather scruffy – slime, barnacles, salt plus stuff lashed on deck to make room below. Jerry cans empty, must transfer rest of fuel from cockpit to tank today while still on stbd tack.


Journal: 1305hrs 22 May 2005

Port. Men o’War actually sail – float is curved and tapered – it has camber and chord, just like aircraft wing, sail also curves same way on top. Tendrils under cause drag. Float lines up with prev. wind (sail acts as windvane?) and the camber and chord causes lift on outer curve so drifts sideways and perhaps slightly forwards. Looking upwind, drift to the right and perhaps away, so in prev. E wind, PMOW drift south. Fascinating. Got some tendril on hand from turbine – stings even tho tendrils must have been on turbine for at least 48 hrs


Having major electrical investign & fix – Pete reconnecting ampair to its regulator, bypassing some unnecessary wiring to see if we can get it to work thro regltr. Connected and working, don’t know if measuring battery but seems to be. Xantrex U/s


Wind has lifted us towards gap <> Terceira & Sao M.


Abeam Gibraltar – last time I was down here was in Centaur Xmas 1963 when we went to aid Laconia on fire – just found derelict burning hulk and bodies in party clothes – delivered the dead to Gib on Xmas Day. Sad Xmas.


Journal: 1820hrs 22 May 2005

Today is a G&T day. Astonishing how simple anticipation improves the outlook. There is about enough gin for another 5 G & T days if we are careful and tonic to match. And a Dr. a Day too. Will be a sad day when it’s all gone but I hope we’ll be able to smell The Lizard by then. Short sharp lesson in preserving aluminium cans!


Been a day if fixing – we have the portable drill out to replace part of the cockpit footrest that has come adrift. Very slowly – it seems, although 5.5 kts – we are moving towards the Azores. We could pass between Terceira and Sao Mig. without seeing either if we bisect the gap -  they are about 100 miles apart.


Hilary, a few days ago I opened a plastic bag sealed with Sellotape which we packed in such a hurry in 1981 for the Rio race – a pair of knitted Norwegian ski sox perfectly dry and with their little packet of  Cremorne air – who would have thought, almost exactly 25 years ago?? I think there may still be some sealed woolly vests amongst my other stuff.


Sitrep: 2230hrs 22 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 239

randm stats - consltns: 2/day + emrgncies + celbratns cans of the dr: 240 dr cpr: 60: othrs: 50.  gin 8ltrs, ors 2 ltrs inc chrn rum fm ransa ta jnet.


strtd jrnal - gng crzy no hf. probly borng. but will post fm fmth.. mlcom tks 4 both offrs - wves + bbns. hdg cntr gap () terceira + sao m in azrs. thndrstrms 4cst. big fix day 2day. flop congrts u bth. constn w dr avlbl if u fly. g'day keelin.


Journal: 0330hrs 23 May 2005

Almost level with Santa Maria, SE Island of Azores – caution area ahead between islands ‘subject to seismic change’. Wind has started to veer – wx system is changing  & we are moving towards low forming to NW. Still doing 6 kts > Azrs.  Night sky – layers of cloud, dark, dangerous & threatening looking up-moon, softer patterns elsewhere. When whole sky visible patterns and layers take shape – we have upper layer cirro-strat, mid & lower Cu, defined edges, mid layer like blown sand in little ridges, lower fluffy, more or less in lines moving towards us. Wind @ 120 deg stbd qtr, 20 kt, Berri rolling not too uncomfortable, Electric autopilot driving – need to keep small load on battery so can monitor regulator & vltage.


Getting quite cool at night – Pete beginning to feel it, I’m still quite comfy and like it as is. Will get much colder yet. Due thunderstorms later today. Getting weather forecasts Met Area 2 from SatcomC and French Met bureau – don’t know forecast areas – just been thro Irving, into Acores, but Josephine? Pazenn? Iroise? Rochebonne?


Journal: 0930hrs 23 May 2005

I think we’re away – wind has veered, low to NW, front in a couple of days with 40++ from S then round to NW, N and shld get us very close. Fingers crossed.

Today is day 59 ex Stanley, day 116 sailing ex Hobart.


Expect pass Sao Miguel around midnight at about 15 nm so might see lights or island if the moon is not behind cloud.


Just made 7.5 ltrs water in 90 minutes. V good voltage to desalinator perhaps some pressure from fwd motion – tube in aft cockpit drain.


Sitrep: 0940hrs 23 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 240

2day day 59 ex fi, 116  (slng ) ex hbrt - don't kno nm cvred but cd get vmg - mal do u kno nm? approx 13k? use gt o. i thnk we're on the slide - wnd s 25, lo to nw more bhnd, frnt 26th 40++ then nw, n + shld get us 2 smllng dstnce the lzrd. 31my, 1jn poss. but no predn's yet. trkg 060t @ 6+. pass azrs 2nite. a bit wld + wooly but ok. sme apphnsn about frnt but shld b ok. xpct water to trn grn sn.

is - gd noos. ta. - pse fone eth.


Sitrep: 1200hrs 23 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 241

hi dinah - wlcme to ths slly ntrprse - sorry no xtndd nnsnse.  jenny - ntrstng but dn't thnk lghtng - wd ov fried electrncs as well nlss our crde earth systm wrks. sj ta ndrstnd re gsm - but if fstml wks 4 bth, btr vlue, only 4 b/up in cse hf fails again + need satphone - ithnk data d'ld mch chpr than xtrtnate satcmc.


Journal: 1400hrs 23 May 2005

I have a tiny stash of squashed mars bars – squashed by moving bodies in storms and melted in the tropics and congealed again but still mars bars. As we pass the line between Terceira and Sao Miguel, we will be at 36k in the Falmouth marathon – half way – and time to attack a blob of toffee and chocolate. Small, intimate celebration.


Journal: 1915hrs 23 May 2005

36 nm from land – clouds perhaps over, but no sighting. Perhaps by moonlight.


Sitrep: 2225hrs 23 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 242

sry u cnt rd my eglsh. wll post jrnal on arrval. passng sao mig azrs this time - lghthse 1/7 stbd beam. 36 k + half way - #4 + 5 pled out, 5.5kts slow, cnsrvtv, nxt lnd the lizrd wooohooo.


[ed: In response to a couple of requests for clarification from readers, Alex has agreed that I should unabbreviated some of these entries. I’ll do my best! Alex writes:

Sorry you can’t read my English. I will post a journal on arrival in Falmouth. Passing Sao Miguel in the Azores at this time – there is a lighthouse [1/7] on the starboard beam. Reached the 36km mark in the marathon – psychological half way. Sailing with the number 4 and 5 jibs poled out (no mainsail), doing 5.5 knots. Slow, conservative. Next land is the Lizard wooohooo.]


Journal: 2259hrs 23 May 2005

Lighthouse stbd beam fl 4? NW corner Sao Miguel approx 15 miles away. That makes it about half way in the Falmouth Marathon – 36k. Small bite of blobular mars bar. Iff all goes well, next land will be The Lizard, now 1160 miles away. Expecting front day after tomorrow with S 40++ then NW, N – not easy ride but workable. Now have #4 & 5 poled out being conservative in about 18 kt down from 25 – safe but a bit slow. Just spoke to Smead on satphone.


Journal: 0320hrs 24 May 2005

Past the Azores – big ship passed us going south fast.


More on Port M o’W – young, small ones crystal clear membranes, firmly contoured, small air sacs,  brilliant pinkish colouring, older bigger ones opaque and rather milky, becoming flaccid. We rolled several over on sides as we passed – they flip back upright decisively, and apparently after almost exactly the same time – perhaps depends on their speed and the wind strength.


Journal: 0550hrs 24 May 2005

Sailing vessel crossed our bows about an hour ago, heading east – perhaps from Terceira to Lisbon? Quite close, going much faster than us.


Sitrep: 0950hrs 24 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 243

we passed the azores around midnight - saw a sailing boat during the night, heading ) lisbon perhaps. dolphins, birds around. big following sea, 25-30 kts  uncomfortable but progress. some much dirtier weather forecast for later today but should not last too long. azores = mental half way to fmth - small consultation with breakfast and we get under 1000  nm to go tonight if all goes well, so another cons. tomoz. whoopee. will soon get out the channel pilot to get us into fmth and yet another watermark. time to go and look around. may see the new planet tonight.


Sitrep: 1115hrs 24 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 244

this is beaufort fce 7 - 8 near gale/gale. 28 - 40 kts sea heaps up  foam blown off, wind streaks, long breaking crests 5+ metre waves. not to be sneezed at but definitlely not yet rough rough. sea is grey, sky partly overcast, low to nw bringing perhaps force 9 strong gale tomorrow. after c hn + montevideo, not really threatening. yet. 2 storm jibs poled out - vivid slash of orange + white over breaking crests.


we have been asked many times why we are doing this. it's what there is to do today, basically - there's a huge sense of exhilaration, achievement, joy even, in being a living part of the elements where there is no infinite improbability drive, no 'beam me up scotty' but just the 2 of us  moving on. so far, the planning has held out.  it has been made infinitely more personal, interesting, absorbing and fascinating because all y'all seem to be coming along for the ride and getting some of the joy and exhilaration as well. we're grateful to have you along - it certainly didn't start out that way and it's been a big surprise. all in all, a wild, heart catching , sometimes terrifying ride and soon we get to see our families and all y'all again. very special sense of anticipation. thanks for sharing it.


have decided hang the expense + will do these in english. but keep them shortish.


Sitrep: 1829hrs 24 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 245

boadicea rides again  - surfing down 5 mtr waves in 35 - 40 kts 2 st jibs poled out wiith tether end attatched to strongpoint at fwd end cockpit seat, holding tether, leaning back a bit, flexing ze knees and riding the chariot. no woad, but metho might do - wooohooo - what a ride. foam, froth, bubble and a bit of sideways. towards fmth on the nose. gusty, wet, pretty dismal n hemi weather but getting closer every second, every minute...


at this rate the gin and the plonk and the dr will last us till we can smell the lizard's foetid breath. hang in there with us. all y'all - it's happening.


Sitrep: 2310hrs 24 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 246

acores :


variable cyclonic 4 to 6, increasing 5 to 7 soon. severe gusts.


becoming rough locally very rough. rain and squalls.


that's us for the next 24 hours. we're in 5-7 now - surging off waves at hull speed pushing out great swathes of frothy phosphorescence which sometimes overtakes as we slide back off some waves - and the dolphins are around and i could see their trails too - often you can't - so there were these smoky lines flowing around the bows. lervly. but going in the right direction at 6kts - sorry malcom, even your generous offer (bribe?) will need a bit of a top up. some serious watermarks coming up - we will cross 40n in a few hours, and there will be less that 1000 miles to go at about the same time plus the channel pilot. consultations almost hourly.

changrd to 2 hr watch system o'night because of need to keep very good lookout - murky, biggish waves, fast approach speeds - need to be awake.


Sitrep: 1124hrs 25 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 247

dank, dismal drizzly n atlantic day. happy reminder of times past. everything sodden, pary gear, hands, boat, us. great fun, wish you were here. really too wet to be at computer but can't leave all y'a in lurch. we crossed 40n ad we have less than 1000 to go (977) so that's the good news. rummy breakfast. there's still a nasty front lurking behind us and we're due to be headed right after it passes. bloody examiner again. but can almost smell the lizard's foetid breath.


Sitrep: 1445hrs 25 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 248

it's still foul and drizszly and dismal and claggy and we're not going very fast. seems achievement is always to be leavened with adversity - have just tried to revert to main + poled out 4 + found big tear in poor old main  - pete now heroically out in the rain trying to sew it up - it's his watch - and i've just sent him a cup of tea with a bit of attitude to cheer him up. we have the race main if needed. the old one has been amazing - bought in 1993, it's done 8 x s2h, 5 x lhi races and half way round the world - almost without hassle and it will get us home too. brian shilland builds a good product.


i think i hinted earlier that i had a plan to involve leroy chiao a bit more in this venture -  i suggested to cyc some time ago that they or rolex might like to invite him out to fire the starting gun for this year's s2h -  a good story even if we don't make it back and even better if we do. just heard that cyc have rejected the idea - no budget for star guests, unfortunately. would have been nice to do. if there's a philanthropist out there who would like to buy a plane ticket for an astronaut and his wife, talk to cyc. leroy says he would love to visit oz. we hope to meet him in a pub in scotland where he will be on holiday. rather a special occasion if we can. watch this space - there will surely be a photo for the website.


Sitrep: 0030hrs 26 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 249

today looks like the day - we're almost under te front according to french metarea f'cast and due force 8, 34-40 kts with lots of nastries. probably means 45-55 kts. pissing with rain now, cold, very black o'cast no glimmer moon or stars. wind s, 20, going with it ti n so as to be right side when n wind after front. hope we're right.  'orrible 'orrible weather and just why oz is the place to be.


Sitrep: 0800hrs 26 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 250

here we go  again - bleak grey green n atlantic, short steep sea, whitecaps breaking off every wave, spume flying low scudding overcast 300 ft horizon obscured 45 knots nne - came up v fast, hope won't last - on port tack so apprehensive about the rig - crashing into the seas storm jib vivid orange wreathed in spray. good fun. enjoy your cornflakes. gotta go.


Sitrep: 0945hrs 26 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 251

still hanging in there - examiner really twisting the knife, down to storm jib, 45 -55, fore reaching beam on or just abaft, boat not threatened but boody uncomfortable - experimenting with best way to handle - longer dssertation fot bog people in journal too expensive for here. eveerything wet except - so far - laptop. libate your gods for us - we are.


Sitrep: 1230hrs 26 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 252

poo - everything absolutely sodden - party gear as wet inside as out. no sign of abating yet - ocean spectacular long breaking crests, rushing foaming backs - boat enveloped in spray, occasional biggie fills cockpit. green  grey ocean, bluish green grey where light through wave - lovely. for the bog people - storm  jib  set on 1 mtr strop, main tied tightly to boom, boom in normal position. wind on or just aft the beam boat heels 10 - 15 dcegrees only in 55 kt gust - no threat to rig as long as not going too fast and stopping in wave back.


handling really well, balanced, kevvo steering, small vane. can't go higher with just storm jib. add trisail, too much(too fast) but ndould point - just trisail ok and cd poss go signif higher perhaps to wind 60 deg off bow as we did in '98.


Journal: 1900hrs 26 May 2005

Storm just abating sunlight on the angry water – the colours  -sea grey lumpy glass, but where light shines thro – brilliant greenish blue  - like/Roman glass and smoky trails behind breaking waves as light catches the bubbles. Spray off the boat curves – thrown out, caught by the wind and blown back as curling mist with plenty of sting.

Main with 3 just up – after storm jib all day – hoping wind will back and abate some more now 25 – 35 and steep.



Some interesting floating organisms – lots of what look like fat, tight white calamari rings – but not complete circles, more spiralled and different sizes from 5c piece to bigger than 50c – thousands of them – in places several to the sq. mtr

And what look like button mushrooms with three or four different shaped leafy fronds hanging below the float – one seems tubular with anemone-like spikes around the outer lip – the others more leafy and brownish grey with a touch of pink - have tried to capture one but they get pushed away by the boats wash. The bigger ones are perhaps 150mm across.

Looks like a burst beanbag all over the surface


Sitrep: 2222hrs 26 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 253

i've lost the plot - big, unannounced storm we were smack in the centre of now abating at last. examiner retired tail between legs to reconsider position. stunning colours after storm - sea grey rocky glass, brilliant white breaking crests, 20+ metres long huge streaky swathes of foam behind and where sun shining thro,  amazing bluey green amethyst glowing from within. worth the storm just for that. and smoky  blue opacity where foam rolling into wave. back on track - port tack, still very violent, nursing a bit. real storm in a teacup at some time during storm - made cuppa, leaned from companionway to put in cupholder, wormed self in full party gear out of hole into cockpit to see real waves on tea surface and tops whipped off as brown spume. fun.


travails with a turbine, leeway, storm sailing with combos of st. jib and trisail wind angles etc. in journal to be posted on arrival - observations only - your boat may behave differently.


Sitrep: 1015hrs 27 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 254

sparkling morning - 35 kts still but due to abate. trying to dry out - leak over my bunk has been good fun + everything else sodden too. big beam sea very hard to move around inside or outside. desalinator going for next 2 days' supply - we seem to use about 5-6 litres/day depending on what has been cooking - pasta uses a lot, frinstance. lots of ships around - extra vigilance.. soon be under 800 - i remember the feling 800 from the horn  - serious apprehension, watching the weather, knuckles grey. different here - real sense of anticipation, achievement etc, but wish it would speed up a bit. channel pilot still in bag - too wet to get it out so that consultation with dr lamb delayed. hoping pete's mainsail mend holds out - under some stress now with 3 reefs. will use trisail to get us home if fails catastrophically. travelling with trisail dissert in jjournal if i get time to wirte it.


love yaz all - cross the fingers that it all holds togetrher for a few more days and put some bottles on ice.


Sitrep: 1025hrs 28 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 255

gone very very soft. back in a high @1026hp and trickling along at 3.5 slatting and banging. still 680 to go. sparkling day and the ocean has gone green - just as i remember it. lots of interesting marine floaties for the biologists - see journal after arrival. celebrated the emergence of the channel pilot and under 700 concurrently this morning. small watermarks - almost in the bay of biscay.getting uk weather forecasts now on satcom. all the familiar names  - rockall, malin, sole, - sadly, finisterre has been replaced by fitzroy (who was the captain of the beagle and took darwin round the world) but doesn't have the romance of the name.


we have local mobile numbers for after we arrive - don't try immediately - have to get them activated - and my oz mobile should work as well for messages only

alex: (0)781 600 4379 and pete (0)781 600 4093


looking good for june 2 or 3 - makes my falklands estimate of june 4 look rather serendipitous.


Sitrep: 1200hrs 28 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 256

wildlife: some interesting floating organisms - lots of what look like fat, tight white calamari rings - but not complete circles, more spiralled and different sizes from 5c piece to bigger than 50c - thousands of them - in places several to the sq. mtr.  and what look like button mushrooms with about three different shaped leafy fronds hanging below the float - one seems tubular with anemone-like spikes around the outer lip - the others more leafy and brownish grey with a touch of pink - have tried to capture one but they get pushed away by the boats wash.


hi gordo - at bloody last. mal sent summary - look fwd to reading the full version in fmth. and julie - wonderful surprise - i think i met ben before we left -. are jenny and skye out there somewhere too? g tks for sims  gerry, tks for msg - look fwd to talking. colin g - good to hear from you - kevin's gadget is brilliant. happy to expand on preps etc any time. kevin, the bearings arrived - thanks.


working on fmth to-do list - huge - wiill post when we get there.


Sitrep: 0615hrs 29 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 257

572 to go - easily imaginable distance again - about wollongong in a hobart race and 39k in a marathon, where the stern questions get asked, like am i strongt enough to climb over that line painted on the road? been hooning along during the night 7.5 - 8.5 knots, full main and poled out #2 in rain squalls but too hairy and put in two reefs. wind has now veered and eased but still pointing us at the barn door. will need to adjust kevvo's linkages when we arrive - he's a bit recacitrant when asked to go to starboard.


dolphins again most of the night, sometimes black silhouettes against the moons refelction, sometimes rocket trails through the phosphorescence. great when 3 or 4 of them dive and weave in formation. snorting as they breech - often that's the first sign they are there if you are not looking. i wonder if they are having fun or trying to tell us to get the hell off their patch. 


june 2 still looking good - probably lateish. will stop sending these about a day out and get on the mobile when we get in range so anyone who wants can get on the webcam. if we get there at night, tough - not hanging around waiting. saw an aircraft this morning, about 5, redeye west indies to london pehaps. will have landed by now.


know we're getting close - dawn around 0330 and daylight by 5. we're now at a higher latitude than hobart. greatbear south of us.


Sitrep: 1015hrs 29 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 258

just had a satphone call from brian and jen in dunedin  - great to talk to you both and thanks for buying shirts and stuff. we'll be in touch as soon as we get back to cheap communications.

wildlife: water now covered in little button mushroom floaties, as if a burst beanbag with polystryens. a few more birds around don't seem interested in floaties. we're banging along in quartering sea with dropping wind but should hang in for a bit yet.  to do list grows and grows. berri looking very scruffy - desperately needs to be emptied, demoulded, de-feraled and scrubbed.

h + k thanks for message  - look fwd to talking maybe around thursday. let me knw xantic satcom bill when it comes pse. will be ugly.


Sitrep: 2100hrs 29 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 259

491 to go and the gps has an eta. sort of woohoo. the number is not relevant, the significance is that it is there and so must be less than 100 hours. it's 40k, where the finish line is still out of sight, the pain is enhanced by the knowledge that it's just round the corner and there's still work to do. in fact, the sense of disbelief and anticlimax is growing - so much work in planning + execution, so much time looking at the ocean, so many climbs into dank wet party gear for night sail changes, the tension and anxiety, the sheer joy of the night sky and dolphins, the enormous fun we had with leroy and the iss - all about to stop for a bit. perhaps the sense of achievement will come with the first shoreside consultation. then we must start on the to do list - almost as big as the 6 months pre start version.


we have saved a small supply of the doctor to placate the lizard and to libate the manacles on the way in. chances are, we will first smell the lizard at night and see its flashing eye.


i'm doing a burst on storm sailing in the journal for the boggers and anyone else in small displacement boats that go much slower than the waves. not comprehensive by any means but might be useful as it's based on our experience. the usual caveat will apply.


get those bottles on ice and get your party shirts and hats on - thursday is still looking good but you might have to get up in the night if you want to watch us on webcam.


Sitrep: 0615hrs 30 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 260

i think i may have been in this bit of ocean before - i recognised a bit of it this morning - and i'm sure my father, who spent most of his life at sea, would have crossed this stretch many times. so, another ghost but a more personal one. i think he would have approved of rhis little venture. lovely fiery cherry pink sunrise this morning and the half moon was clearly visible at the same time so that the angle of the moon's reflected light was apparent - doesn't often happen.


might be a difficult summer on the english beaches - the water surface here is carpeted with tiny portugese m o' war - hundreds to the square metre - and the wind is blowing them ne. we're still pointing at the barn door - rather slowly just at the moment but thursday is still possible. had our -500 consultation with dr lamb at breakfast - goes very wellwith muesli and composted fruit.


arlette - down to last six dunkers - jammy ones. and the eggs lasted till last week - we've been rationing them and only lost a couple - one broke and one suss. vaseline works.

bid  hope we can co-incide

m + e - thanks for msg - plymouth is a distinct possibility once we have fixed the boat up a bit - i'll ring you when we get in. may stay with my sister in n devon too, so could be within pub range.


Sitrep: 0930hrs 30 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 261

i've just had a message from fenwick, who's been very quiet recently. the shirts are up and running after a huge effort by allan, tori, fiona and isabella, with allan's son and julie actually doing the production - thanks heaps everyone - it's all being done at cost  and allan wants any left over profit to go to canteen. thanks everyone - we will wear the gear with pride. just remains for all y'all to be generous and buy lots of it and get your friends and staff and footy teams into it too. i'm not yet sure how much it will cost to replace the liferaft and fix the radio and the rig and pay the bill for the satcom updates, but it's going to need a lot of shirts. thanks to all y'all in advance and we'll keep you posted on progress.


bill, thanks, and colin - the mind boggles. 


and allan - thanks for doing something useful for a change.


Sitrep: 1200hrs 30 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 262

a couple of things to ponder as you work your way through your breakfast cuppa.


.. we just passed a big balk of timber - half the length of the boat, square section about 30 cm each side. say 100 -150 kilos waterlogged. if berri hit that at hull speed of about 7 knots, she'd probably ride over it and turn it aside - perhaps into the prop or rudder and the turbine towline, but essentially, without making a hole in the hull. if one of these record breaking sleds that are hooning around the world at the moment, dame ellen being the latest, were to hit it at 20+ knots, the hull would ride over it and it would probably spring the keel and certainly wipe out one or both rudders. a showstopper.

2. we are well into the mouth of the huge funnel that becomes the english channel and we have just been overtaken by a very big ship. we will soon be seeing lots more and will have several in sight at once as we close fmth. during pete's last watch, we passed some fibreglass debris that could have been parts of a small yacht. still clean, not barnacled, so not long in the water. something to pucker the brow a bit and make one reach for one's towel.


now have the whole british isles on the gps screen. hard to come to terms with - but it's there.


Sitrep: 2215hrs 30 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 263

the gap is closing. astonishing to see the number of wrecks marked on the large scale digital chart between here and fmth - so many tragedies, so many  people waiting and watching - we grew up with kathleen ferrier singing 'blow the wind southerly' -  have the same record with me in the boat - hauntingly beautiful and the chart gives it a poignancy that i had never felt so strongly. so many ghosts.


david mck - you can't be serious?

carol, thanks - we'll wait to hear

jeremy, thanks and thst's basically what we intended to do - any beartraps with tide as we are coming in? we may be doing it at night. not fussed, but useful to know.

fiona - no way kiddo - we're almost out of guinness.

gordo - woohoo and no, we don't think so..


nailbiting....and the visibility is shortish in drizzle - bloody typical - so i've got to go and look.


Sitrep: 0615hrs 31 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 264

whales.. at least three of them although i only saw one - the other two sounded from just below the surface and left two huge flat swirls on the surface so big that they flattened the waves. the one i saw breeched just ahead of the boat - perhaps a couple of boatlengths - going at right angles towards the nw. sort of olive grey, great long smooth back, with an incongruously small dorsal fin, definitely not a humpback like we see in oz, seemed to be flowing across our bows for ever, didn't see its head or its tail and it seemed to be at least as long as the boat. beats muesli for breakfast. can anyone identify it? not much to go on.


we've slowed down a lot - rain, very low overcast, long rolling swell - vis about half a mile - 3rd still possible but need some more wind. wonder what the delightfull and inventive examiner still has in store for us - plenty of opportunity for her yet . i've been doing some rudimentary tidal vectors - something unfamiliar to many oz sailors but essential here, where the channel tides run at up to 4 kts in the middle and 7 around some of the headlands.


Sitrep: 1215hrs 31 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 265

one of those special days - just been thro' v. big pod/school of what looked like small humpbacks  - about 15 ft long, maybe more, dark olive brown, big triangular dorsal just ahead of hmp , horiz. tails, curved like whales'  and round heads - travelling mostly in pairs. porpoises? big dolphins? small whales?


looking like late thurs gmt or early fri - probably in the dark - don't want to hang around outside for daylight - so may miss webcam but will phone mal when have better estimate + he can alert all y'a.

[ed: If you want to be alerted as soon as I hear anything (and you’re not already registered), put yourself on the Berri Update list by sending an email to alert@berrimilla.com].