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Sitrep: 1045hrs 14 Aug 2005 UTC 50’14”N 004’26”W
Sitrep: 0800hrs 13 Aug 2005 UTC Plymouth The morning
Sitrep: 1933hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC Plymouth Ref 298
Sitrep: 1213hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC 50’00”N 004’59”W Ref
Sitrep: 0700hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC 49’53”N 005’53”W Ref
Sitrep: 1505hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 50’31”N 008’12”W Ref
Sitrep: 0830hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 51’01”N 009’06”W Ref
Sitrep: 0236hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 51’23”N 009’36”W Ref
293 Rounding the Rock
Sitrep: 2045hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 51’21”N 009’04”W Ref
Sitrep: 1615hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 51’03”N 008’50”W Ref
Sitrep: 1000hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 50’50”N 008’26”W Ref
Sitrep: 0620hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 50’45”N 008’10”W Ref
Sitrep: 1845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC 50’30”N 007’07”W Ref
Sitrep: 0845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC 50’13”N 006’19”W Ref
Sitrep: 0534hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC off Lands End Ref 286
Sitrep: 0038hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC English Channel
Sitrep: 1446hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC 50’07”N 004’29”W Ref
Sitrep: 0500hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC 50’02”N 003’17”W Ref 283
Sitrep: 1619hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC 50’24”N 001’56”W Ref
Sitrep: 1351hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC 50’37”N 001’38”W Ref
Sitrep: 2000hrs 06 Aug 2005 UTC Cowes Map 279
Sitrep: 2000hrs 06 Aug 2005 UTC
It's going to be a very soft one - we'll
be lucky to get in in less than a week is my prediction based on the briefing
weather. We're berthed at the UK Sailing Academy - huge operation with BIG boats
- we're alongside an ex Global Challenge 65 ton steel boat and a couple of
sightly smaller ones. We will leave the berth tomorrow morning at about 0800
for the 1100 start (BST) - the usual trisail and storm jib with an identity
gate to find and go through. The press are after us but have not yet caught up
- I have handed over the satphone number - who knows, we might have such a slow
trip we will need someone to talk to...
The Solent will be wall to wall boats
for the start - it's vastly more crowded here than in Sydney and a real
madhouse today, the day after Cowes week finished.
Back to the website from here please if
you want to contact us.
I'm using the UKSA internet caf to do
this and I hope I can get in tomoz to print some wx charts.
An early night and off we go.... [briefing pic]
Sitrep: 1351hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC
This is what we came here to do -
Conservative start -100 metres from the
line, picked the right (north) end slowest class first off so had the whole
fleet behind us for most of the way to Hurst except for a few that got away
even further north. Big hole at Hurst near Shingles - big boats and us going
round in circles - now out of it, in SE breeze about 15 kts. Looks as if we
will take the outside line from here - Think there mat be more pressure out
here. Will tack to lay Portland and hope there's enough wind to take us over
the tide. That's the tricky bit. We're still way ahead of a lot of boats and
the insiders near Anvil pt don't seem to be doing as well. Fingers crossed.
[ed: and a short
mention on the Fastnet site here]
Sitrep: 1619hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC
Forgot to tell you - was a spinnaker
start. Now SSW 18 and Berri is just flying -super light, no stern wave at 6-7+
knots - lee bowing what's left of the tide so helping us along and still up
with lots of bigger boats. May have to tack in later but we hope the wind will
free us a bit as the sea breeze dies. Restorative consultation with Dr Murphy
once we cleared the Needles - noice - Conor has promised to come and find us
near the Fastnet - and watch change at 1700 so G&T to fortify us for the
David N & Simon - if you're out
there, the AIS gadget is working - seeing lots of ships.
It's good to be back in business. [ed:
Pictures from the mobile phone on board here]
Sitrep: 0500hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC
Early morning after a clear starry night
- right in the middle of the Channel along the northern edge of the traffic
separation scheme. Long procession of ships passing us, with Portland light
looming to the north early, and Cherbourg and Alderney to the south. We saw the
Channel light vessel and we can now see Start Point to the NW. Took a big punt
coming out this far and won't know if it paid off for a bit yet - perhaps when
we close Lands End and see who else is around. Certainly seems to have worked,
as we held the breeze for all but an hour during the night. Depends what the
rest of the fleet got close inshore.
Time for a bacon sando and a serious
consultation to fortify me for the day.
An hour or so later - we're still going
well, past Start Point with about 10 other boats in sight around the forward
and starboard horizon. Anything we we can see, I think, we must be ahead of on
handicap, but we're still very much in Act 1 of this little Soapie. Assy flying
and about a knot of adverse tide, which will change in a couple of hours.
Sitrep: 1446hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC
The wheels have gone a bit squeaky -
we're trickling along with the assymetric kite set at about 30 degrees to an
apparent wind of about 5 knots, giving
us about 3. Lovely little sail. We can see 14 other boats around us including
one of the 80ft Ocean Challenge boats (64 tons of steel...kinda slow in these
conditions)so we must be going more or less ok. A bit short of sleep - we've
both had interrupted sleeps but Dr Murphy has been at hand to assist. We're
looking forward to a surgery visit from Dr Gordon shortly.
Not looking good for getting round the
Lizard tonight - tide due to change against us in an hour or so and we'll be
doing well to stand still unless the wind fills in a bit.
Hope the photos are arriving - not much
but better than nothing. [ed: Fastnet album here]
Sitrep: 0038hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC
verbal from hisself
Off the Lizard – rounded at midnight -
Crossing Mount Bay, Next target, the Runnel Stone which is south of Lands End –
a dirty big rock!
25-30 boats around horizon.
Verbals as emailing stuffs up autopilot
– but nice to talk to the machine.
Sitrep: 0534hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC
Rounded Lands End [ed: picture here], Surrounded
by Class 1 – big boats, must be doing OK.
Now into the Irish
Sea, with 10 boats visible, 3 off stern.
6knots – flying! 160 miles to the Rock, going swimmingly.
Difficult bit done, so now across the
Irish Sea, around the rock, then the Scillies and into Portsmouth.
The Traffic Separation ship for the
Channel is to port. We are well pleased.
The reporting system for this race is
not exactly high tech – each position report is by mobile phone to a mobile
phone answering service…..
[ed: as Alex called
in this report I had just clicked through a link to an article in Runners World
about Leroy Chiao, Alex and Pete’s astronaut mate - click Runners
World to read
it. Talk about coincidences]
Sitrep: 0845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC
25 miles out into the Celtic sea and
still with some much bigger boats. Either they've got it very wrong or we got
lucky somewhere - we would not normally expect to see anyone at this stage in a
Hobart race and
we are the second slowest boat in the fleet.
Fluky sailing with dropping NE breeze,
about 8-10 kts and we have the assy up, getting 5+ knots with apparents around
9-10,pointing at the Fastnet about 140 miles away. Just has to be good for the
A tiny finch-like bird - yellowish green
chest, olive/brown/grey feathers, short fine pointy beak has just landed on the
backstay - will send photo when we get back in range.
Tom & Vicky, Peter, Hugh, thanks for
wise advice - seems to be working out ok so far. Just hope this zephyr holds
out for the next three days or so. We leave the Fastnet to port from here, then
the Pantaenius Buoy about 7 miles SW of the rock and the Scillies to port and Plymouth breakwater.
A proper breakfast Berri style has been
consumed and we're on the case...We have 2 cans of Dr Murphy's medicinal potion
per day for six days, so we must finish by Saturday.
[ed: some relevant
and here] … and a classic quote from the Fastnet website:
“Alcohol seems to lie at the heart of
Berrimilla’s success in this race so far. This doublehanded 33-footer, sailed
by Australian friends Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier, is beating boats far
larger. In the absence of other crewmembers, Whitworth admits to “consulting
with Dr Murphy in the day and Dr Gordon in the evening”, referring to his two
morale-boosting tipples. There isn’t much rest for these two sailors, as the
three hours on/ three hours off arrangement isn’t always feasible when the
sailing gets difficult. “We’re trying to run with a very flat spinnaker at the
moment, which is taking all of our concentration. But we just passed one of the
Global Challenge boats [more than twice Berrimilla’s length], so we’re going
Sitrep: 1845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC
Here we are in unknown territory - we
are some way past the point where I got to last time in 1961 in Leopard - scary
stuff! Last time, we were in a force 9/10 storm just north of Lands End and
ended up running down with it, with the genoa halyard jammed, the sail still up
and every warp we had on the boat streaming behind us to slow us down. We found
ourselves south west of the Scillies and ran out of time and retired, going
back to the Helford
River. Quite a contrast -
we've spent a lot of today in glassy calm with 2-3 knots of wind trying to keep
the assy filled and drawing - we never stopped, but there was no speed registered
on the log for a couple of hours - hand steering and fierce concentration.
Now in a 10 knot NEasterly and doing
about 6 knots up the rhumb line. Woohoo! If it holds, we'll be at the Rock
tomorrow evening. It won't, of course. We have no idea how we are doing - we've
been close to lots of bigger boats but they all seem to be somewhat
recreational so not really a good guide. No skeds, like in a Hobart, so we don't know where the real
competition is. We can see two other boats - both look larger than us but hard
Thanks, Joe Sq, Peter C. and David - got
your messages. Joe, we were going really well till your 2 plastic stinkpots
went past making a true southern ocean swell just for us - all those
heavyweights on board, I suppose. Took us till outside the Needles to
recover... Thanks for making the point with the sponsors tho.
Both bearing up well - we've both missed
out on sleep but when we do sleep, it's pretty solid. 3 hours on, 3 off works
well - we're effectively sailing singlehanded for our watches and can't afford
to goof off. Get a bit bleary eyed at times. We can pull in the BBC on long
wave out here, which helps to pass the time.
Sitrep: 0620hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC
Parked, we were, for a couple of hours
in Berri's first ever Irish parking lot. Except we never stopped moving, even
though the log said we had. Just about half way across the Celtic Sea
and half way thro the race distance. Misty dawn, plate glass sea with small
waves just enough to spill any wind we'd so carefully conserved in the sails.
Bits of seaweed imperceptibly moving past with the tiny bubbles of passage and
the little fan of ripples that doesn't really qualify as a bow wave.
The breeze has just filled in from the
NW - a feather brush against the cheek, then a ripple or two on the surface and
- bliss - .01 knots on the log - .02, .03... We've tacked to the west -
slightly better that going north and we're making 5 knots on 290M WOOOHOOO. 4
other boats ahead to leeward, 2 astern, small ship on the northern horizon.
Very occasionally, a seabird.
I can hear all the little Irish
barnacles that grabbed us when we were parked laughing themselves silly as they
clatter around this very sexy Oz bottom we've brought along for their greater
edification and pleasure. I wonder if they are immune to Oz antifouling. Or
processed medicinal potions.
Will be a special - almost Cape Horn - moment when we first sight the Fastnet. I've
had it out there since 1961 and I've always hoped to be back to go and find it
before SOTMC. (one for Malcom or Kris or Hugh). Teeny photos if we are in
mobile range, but we still have 64 miles to go, so not till this evening and
then only if we get lucky.
Leftovers from being too busy over the
last few days - there was thistledown blowing across the water off Falmouth a
couple of days ago - gentle white globes of fluff that sometimes settled in the
water - lots and lots of it - lovely. The Lizard and Lands End - tide with us,
luckily - ships everywhere, boats all around us, just able to keep the wind to
get out into the Celtic sea. Floated past our friends on their Cornish cliff at
2 in the morning - I'm sure I saw a candle in the window behind Tater Du?
Great unbating of breath when the
Sitrep: 1000hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC
Becalmed good and proper. Kite just
hanging limp - rolling with the swell. We're too far out for any land effect on
the breeze altho we're getting some breeze from the Irish radio stations.
Do dolphins live in pods or schools?
whatever, there's been a crown of them around us cavorting and snorting - quite
big ones and about 40 or 50.
Time to try the old Hobart cheater - very light tall thin cut
down headsail that sometimes works to catch the wind from the boats roll.
Sitrep: 1615hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC
Difficult day but we're progressing
visible and 35 miles to the Rock, but upwind. Maximus has finished, so the
clock has been ticking since about 0830 this morning - not much chance of
getting close to them on handicap but I think we're still very much competitive
in our class - maybe not in the 2 handed division tho - we're flying blind -
nobody knows where the opposition is. Still several bigger boats around us and
we're the second slowest rated boat in the race so something must be working.
No idea where the slowest one is - I think I perfer the Hobart system but it wouldn't work here
because no-one has HF radio. We're reporting in by satphone to a mobile phone
message service and the press office are talking to us the same way. Don't know
where the articles are, but maybe on the www.yachtingmonthly.com site.
Long procession of kites returning from
the Rock - we're about 20 hours behind the ones we can see now.
Irish accents on all the radio stations
- noice - and Berri is now further north than she's ever been. Pete is hand
steering and we're doing it easy for the mo -as long as this fickle Murphy's
wind holds. We hope that Conor from Cork
will be out near the Rock to say G'day in Gaelic but it will be around midnight
if we get lucky, so maybe not. And probably no photos either.
Sitrep: 2045hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC
The Examiner is back. We are now
headbutting a 25 knot NW wind with a short steep sea that makes life very
uncomfortable. No 3 and one reef. The Fastnet is directly upwind at 19 miles -
cant see it yet, tho its range is 27 miles. Have to catch its one flash every
15 secs when we are on top of a wave. Irish coast visible 9 miles ahead,
traffic separation zone between us and the Rock. Looks like at least five hours
if the wind holds as is - seems to be moderating a bit. All the other fast 2
handers will be hooning off downwind now - poo. Rumour has it we were 12th
overall IRC some time yesterday, but we've probably fallen from grace since
Sitrep: 0236hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 51’23”N
An update from the web team – thanks Mal
– Berri rounded Fastnet at 2:36am and is in 113th place out of the
256 still sailing. More info here.
This picture from
Berri seems to show the Fastnet light (we think) as Berri rounded it…. We
Sitrep: 0830hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC
We've turned for home - the numbers are
decreasing in the header... We rounded the Fastnet at 0335 BST this morning -
awesome experience - very dark night, lots of boats of all descriptions around
and everything dominated by this huge light. It livee on a 30 metre tower on
top of the rock and it flashes every 5 seconds. Not just any old flash - this
one has attitude - it means to grab your attention. Range is 27 miles and it
has (I think from memory), 4 lenses which therefore revolve once every 20
seconds. Underneath it, it feels like being under a massive spoked wheel with
almost solid white spokes spearing off towards the horizon and rotating. Love
to have seen it in daylight. The piccy is of one flash and I tried to get a bit
of video but we were rather busy. More pics of other stuff, but we're way out
of range now.
There are still 18 boats behind us and
we are hooning downwind averaging 6+ with the big purple and gold kite. There's
a boat called Alert, also 2 handed, on our starboard side and at least 4 others
in sight. We've just been interrogated by the Irish Navy - very politely - and
they wished us Godspeed. And, sadly, we were too late for Conor, who was
waiting for us at the rock yesterday afternoon. Sorry mate - too many Irish
parking lots out here.
Looks like we'll miss the prizegiving on
Friday - tomorrow but they promised us all another one on Saturday. Thanks for
all your messages and good wishes. We'll give it a shake.
Sitrep: 1505hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 50’31”N
All y'all may get a message from Andy
Rice saying that we could win this thing on handicap if we finish by 0220 on
Saturday. I think he really means we could beat the line honours winner,
Maximus. There are a lot of other boats still out on the course who could do
the same and also beat us, so don't get too excited.
Having said which, we will be Consulting
frequently to ensure that we don't miss any opportunity to go faster. At least
until we run out of the good Dr Murphy's medicament. No bloody sleep for the
wicked - again. We have to average just over 5 knots to do it, I think. A
gobsmackingly small possibility, given the bits we still have to sail through,
but just on the cards.
So watch this space.
[ed: press release
via Andy Rice (thanks):
Alex and Peter are storming along in the Fastnet. It has turned into a
small-boat race. Here is an extract from the press release for Berrimilla
Weather expert Mike Broughton’s analysis of the weather suggests the westerly
breezes should hold steady for the next 48 hours. The wind could vary in
strength from 10 to 15 knots over the next day, then start building during late
Broughton’s forecast will be sweet music to the slowest boats in the
fleet, still running downwind from the Fastnet Rock. Alex Whitworth and Peter
Crozier were enjoying the best sailing conditions of the race this afternoon,
their Brolga 33 Berrimilla making a very respectable 7 knots’ boatspeed in a
16-18 knot north-westerly. “We’re going like the clappers, this is by far the
best breeze we’ve seen. We’ve been having a ball,” he said.
Whitworth and Crozier are not professional racers, but two friends on a
global adventure. Having sailed their boat up from Sydney, they plan to sail back
via the Cape of Good Hope to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race this
Christmas. Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race had never even entered their minds,
and on hearing that they were in the running, Whitworth still refused to
believe his ears. On current progress Berrimilla would cover the remaining 180
miles to Plymouth by 1730 Friday evening, and yet such is her handicap rating
that she could still beat ICAP Maximus’s time if she arrived by 0220 hours
Saturday morning. “I rate our chances of doing that no better than 2 per cent,”
said Whitworth. “The boat you should be watching is Aye! We saw her earlier and
she is sailing very well.”
Sitrep: 0700hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC
Bishop Rk @ 0400, eta Lizard around 1200
local, earliest possible finish around 2100 if we get really lucky. If you have
Andy Rice's email address, please forward to him. Ta.
Sitrep: 1213hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC
Lizard astern, Plymouth and the finish
in about 7 hours. Sadly, not in the money, but not a bad result - will be in
touch again later. Knackered and smelly and still lots of work to do. G&T
to follow as restorative but not deodorant.
Sitrep: 1933hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC
We finished at 193355 and cracked second
in the 2 handed division - half an hour behind Pascal Loisin - google him. Will
try to do proper update on shorebased pc tomoz.
Sitrep: 0800hrs 13 Aug 2005 UTC
The morning after. Pete and I went to
bed really early last night - 2 consultations, a big plate of lasagne at the
yacht club and a visit to a huge catamaran that a friend was on and that was
Checked the results this morning and
it's true - we really did crack second in the 2 hander and 11th overall.
Blimey! Andif we'd had the tide for the last leg into Plymouth, we'd probably
have won the 2 hander. Having said all of which, it was very much a small boat
race. All the top few boats arrived at the Fastnet at exactly the right time to
catch the sleigh ride home. We flew the big purple kite all the way from the
Pantaenius turning mark 7 miles SW of the Rock to Mevagissey, past the Lizard.
18 - 20 knots on the quarter and clocking sustained periods of 8 knots plus.
WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! Wearing Malcolm's daggy hat. A slightly hairy bit
approaching Bishop Rock where we had to sail dead downwind in biggish following
sea to get around but no dramas.
We put up the assy almost immediately
after dropping the biggie and ploughed past the Eddystone right on the edge to
within a mile of the finish at the Breakwater. That's probably what got us into
second place - we were doing 7.5 - 8 knots with the lee gunwale awash and lots
of overpower against a 1.5 knot tide for 50 miles. Grand - Berri was wonderful.
I've just heard Pete open our very last
can of Smoothie - cheers.
Rations minimised for the race - got it
just about right - ran out of tsnk water in the marina! - half an hour too
late. Cant win em all.
And now the press and the TV mob are
looking for us. Prizegiving around mid-day.
Lot’s of articles on http://www.regattanews.com
[ed: 11th overall, 8th in class,
2nd two handed, details here, the map is here , and Fastnet Piccies are
including the awards ceremony and a damn big trophy!]
Sitrep: 1045hrs 14 Aug 2005 UTC
We left Plymouth a couple of hours ago -
a bit sad in lots of ways - I was thinking about my Dad as we passed the
breakwater and wondering how many times he'd done the same thing, in war and
peace - and we passed Cawsand and the house we lived in for a few months when
he was stationed in Devonport and I was about 10 - I could see the sea wall and
the ruins of old fortifications
we used to play in. And all those nice RORC and Rolex people who looked after
us so well. Hope we will see most of them again in Sydney real soon now.
The last boat, Pickle, finished around
midnight last night - 8 NHS medical people hired the boat from one of the Very
Big outfits that hire boats having checked it out and done their qualifier in
it only to find the spinnaker in two pieces when they hoisted it after the
start. Not a happy event. I'd sue the Very Big outfit for my money back.
Dont know whether Bekens of Cowes - have
a website [ed: they do http://www.beken.co.uk/
but no Berri results in the search just yet] but we asked them to take
photos of us and they did in the Solent after
the start. They will send Proofs to Jeanne so there will eventually be real
pics for the website, if copyright allows.
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