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Sitrep: 2130hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2711S 02418W Ref
Sitrep: 0900hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2618S 02457W Ref
Sitrep: 0830hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2610S 02458W Ref
Sitrep: 2200hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2531S 02513W Ref
Sitrep: 1500hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2503S 02520W Ref
Sitrep: 0900hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2435S 02526W Ref
Sitrep: 0710hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2417S 02529W Ref
Sitrep: 0550hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2421S 02531W Ref
Sitrep: 2230hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2350S 02541W Ref
Sitrep: 1200hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2311S 02556W Ref
Sitrep: 0930hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2300S 02558W Ref
Sitrep: 2330hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2210S 02605W Ref
Sitrep: 1400hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2120S 02609W Ref
Sitrep: 1130hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2107S 02612W Ref
Sitrep: 0915hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2057S 02618W Ref
Sitrep: 0330hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2036S 02617W Ref
Sitrep: 2200hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 2014S 02626W Ref
Sitrep: 1500hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1939S 02639W Ref
Sitrep: 0900hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1918S 02646W Ref
Sitrep: 0445hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1901S 02652W Ref
Sitrep: 0930hrs 28 Sep 2005 UTC 1736S 02650W Ref
Sitrep: 0530hrs 28 Sep 2005 UTC 1720S 02648W Ref
0530hrs 28 Sep 2005 UTC 1720S 02648W
The night started dark and overcast - gloomy and drizzly and
very empty. We haven't seen any sign of other humans since Pete saw a distant
ship near the Cape
Verdes nearly 2000 miles
behind us - and I stood out in the cockpit a few hours ago and had a little
crisis of confidence. We really are a long way from anywhere with an even
longer way to go. Keeping it all together for another 72 days and half way
around the world is a bit daunting. That's a few hours longer than it took Dame
Ellen to break the record. Circumnavigating at walking pace is not for the
squeamish. Or the sensible.
And then the sky cleared, with the astonishing speed that the
weather does change here and there are stars and distant Universal time out
there and it doesn't seem so long after all. But there's very little to report.
I think we will reach Trinidade in the next couple of days, passing about 100
miles to the east. We will start to feel the high and its attendant
uncertainties from about there and it will govern just how far south we will
have to go before we can really turn to the east. For the meteorologically
challenged, high pressure systems in the southern hemisphere rotate
anticlockwise and the wind moves out from the centre, so to get around the
South Atlantic high we must go with the wind down its western side and then
turn east as the wind flows around its southern side. The trick will be to
avoid the calm patch in the Horse latitudes along the southern edge of the
high. As I look at the grib files, it seems to me that around 32 S will be
In the last couple of days we have pulled the insides of the
boat apart, delved for buried gin and cider, found clean clothes and soon to be
required thermals, repacked emptying ready use food boxes, inspected the
remaining supply of The Doctor and found it to be in excellent condition and
repacked it along with the remaining Smoothies. Spraying the cans with WD40
seems to work, but keeping them dry is probably the real secret. We have raised
the storm gear from the bottom of the heap in the forepeak and generally
transmogrified things. We have calculated that we will run out of tonic before
we run out of gin, probably with at least a month to go, so we are preserving a
litre of lemon squash, just in case, and moving into an alternate day regime -
G&T on odd days and cider on even days - to eke out the supply. There just
wasn't room to cram in anything else. We have some bacon and eggs left and we
will set about despatching these fairly quickly to make sure that we don't have
to chuck them. Berri seems to be in good nick and, as far as we can see,
everything is working. I am never sure from day to day whether I will be able
to keep resurrecting the USB link, but so far so good.
0930hrs 28 Sep 2005 UTC 1736S
02650W Ref 391
DB: 113, 9002 (gps 116) day 39/71.
If we have the plan worked out correctly, this is the equivalent
point to our departure from Port Stanley. It
took us 71 days to get to Falmouth.
We're in a soft spot, #2, full main, bright sunshine, tracking 200M and for the
first time for days, no water over the deck so we can open a hatch and blow
away some of the greenish gases. We are now significantly south of the sun and
it is definitely getting cooler. Woohoo.
We have started to open some of the Ryvita biscuits we brought
from Sydney -
they have been given a huge bashing, even in their big plastic bins, and some
of the packets have chafed and let in moisture. Big plastic bins are fine when the
store room isn't moving, but they crack and split very easily when subjected to
any lateral stress (of which they get heaps) or twisting. So they are all
damaged - but much better than nothing. If we'd had time - and knew better - an
individual ziplock bag for each packet would have been the go - are you
listening, Brian and Jen??
Propagation improving - You will get this via sailmail Chile or Africa.
Another milestone. Chile is
CEV773, Africa is RC01.
0445hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1901S
02652W Ref 392
Mal - I think half way down the Atlantic
was just north of the equator. By my calculations, we have sailed about 4400
miles from Falmouth and we have 2700 to go to a
point south of Cape Town.
And 9000 to Tasmania,
or about 80 days at current rather doddly progress. We'll catch up once we get
down past 35 S.
Here at 19 S, just past Townsville and closing on the Tropic of
Capricorn and Rockhampton, it's a moonless night with the apparently permanent
light haze that filters the deepest background out of our universe and brings
in the bowl of night so that it does not seem to reach the same black infinity
as it did in the southern ocean. As the sun sets, Venus dominates the sky to
the west at about 30 degrees, Rigel Kentaurus and Hadar, the two pointers to
the Southern Cross, are prominent directly ahead but the Cross itself is still
in the haze layer just above the horizon. Venus is so bright that it has its
own sparkling reflected trail on the water. Orion is at about 30 deg in the
east as I write, at 0430 UTC and there's a bright reddish object north of Orion
that must be Mars, which I have never seen so clearly. Saturn is hidden in the
haze low in the east and the Great Bear and Polaris have gone.
We haven't seen a bird for days - wonder how our friendly Cattle
Egret fared on its way back to Africa - and
the phosphorescence has gone except for individual twinkles. It's fun watching
these when pumping the toilet at night too - not the most romantic image, but
definitely fun. No dolphins, although I think I saw flying fish a day or so
Malcom has been sending us details of the voyages of the Viking
longships - I had always imagined, rather stupidly, that they had a very long passage from Greenland to
Newfoundland, but not so - the longest island hop from Norway all the way
across was about 500nm, relatively easily covered with the right amount of luck
with the weather and the accumulated knowledge of those that managed to get
home again over the years. But even 500 miles in a longship in North Atlantic weather would have been a touch trying.
The economic incentive to make the trip was cod - which they dried and traded.
The Basques got in on the act not very much later and it would be interesting
to know whether they found the Grand Banks for
themselves or whether they stole the Norsemen's Baedecker.
Doug, thanks for the Knight diary extract and for allowing us to
post it with your email. Like you, I find it desperately sad and we'll
certainly say G'day to young Henry in a week or so. I think we will pass quite
close to him.
[ed: the extract
I have absolutely
no problem with you repeating or posting my little thing with my ancestor Henry
Knight and his poor son. I cannot read the following aloud without breaking up
- it is a very tough image. Here is what Henry wrote in his diary the day
his son, young Henry died. He was buried the next day.
5th February 1853
5Fine day very Hot Calm Henry
very/ Ill could not take but very little Susan A little better betwixed 8
and 9 O'Clock/ Henry went down stair's took A Counterpane down with him that he
had/ been laying on all day previous to this he had been to the Closet but once
all day/ as soon as he got down to our Berth he started to the Closet I
followed after him was/ in the Closet with him we talked together a good bit I
then went up on the upper/ Deck same time Henry went down I stayed a short
time up on Deck because my/ wife was washing the children and she could
do better with the little Girl when I was/ out of sight as she used to cry
after me, mean time Henry had gone to the Closet/ again and for the last time
he was heard to groan but no one it appears Knew what/ it was or who it was he
had fasten himself in the Closet with the Hasp as was the / way of most of
the Emigrants and therefore could not be got at under 15 or/ 20 Minutes
no one had suspected a death had taken place untill the Door was opened/
but so it was poor fellow he was quite dead sitting on the seat & perhaps
my/ friends can be a better judge what my feelings were than I can express
I took/ George to see him after he had been carried into the Hospital which was
the place/ where all the Dead were taken poor fellow he wept over him most
bitterly nor/ was he the only one that wept for none of us expected/ all
I don't think I have written about this in this log, only to Ron
at the Adastra website, but Doug's mention of the Mitchell Library reminded me.
In about 1981, wearing a completely different hat, I carried out a stack survey
in the NSW State Library. The stack is an amazing place - it goes down about 6
levels below the street and there are hundreds of kilometres of shelves of
books, artefacts, paintings, maps and newspapers. I was wandering through it
one day when I saw, on a shelf, a line of the big nine inch film cans that held
the 240ft rolls of film we used to use in the massive Wild aerial survey
cameras in the Adastra aircraft. And - most surprisingly - the surgical tape we
labelled them with had my own handwriting on it. There were about 30 of them
and they were the partial record of a survey we carried out in Timor for an Indonesian oil company. We were based in
Kupang with the DC3 and we had to fly the exposed film to Baucau in what was
then Portugese East Timor to put them on the Ansett aircraft to Sydney. They are now out
in a repository somewhere, as one of the last remaining traces of Adastra.
0900hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1918S
02646W Ref 393
DB 105, 8897, gps 101 40/70 and still inching eastwards. In the
middle of huge re-invention of our space - jerry cans going, external tank
inside, empty cockpit etc. stuff everywhere while the wind allows - so must
keep this short. G'day Paul R - we'll wave from Perth - I've been to one of those clinics too
- I needed a medical certificate before the Consultation took place! Just up
the road from you in Labuan.
Nice one, JG.
1500hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 1939S
02639W Ref 394
When I bought Berrimilla in 1993, a year before the 50th Sydney - Hobart,
she came with about 20 sails all pretty much way past their use-by dates. We
sailed around a bit and tried them all out to see what worked and decided that
a new main and #1 would be the go. I had heard from a friend about this guy out
at Brookvale called Brian Shilland who made good workmanlike sails at the right
price and I went out to talk to him. I discovered that he already had a full
sail plan for a Brolga - an incredibly tattered old blueprint with a lot of
superimposed shapes on it. Pure coincidence - he was making sails for the only
other Brolga out there racing competitively, Take Time (which, at about that
time, won the CYC Blue Water Points Score with Brian's sails). We talked about
sails and sailplans and agreed on a fully battened main, triple reefed and with
a bit more roach (curve along the trailing edge of the sail to give it a bit
more area) plus a couple of headsails, a #1 and #2, all in bog basic Dacron.
That main and those two headsails are with us today, 12 years later - the main
sailed 8 Hobarts and 4 or 5 Lord Howes, winning PHS in one of each and the
headsails went about half as far. A third headsail, the lightweight #1 is the
much modified 'cutdown' I mention every now and again when we are twin poled.
The heavy #1 is pulling us along as I write. Likewise the main, which has about
30 patches in it and added rainwater gutters but it still has shape and works
well. I reckon that's value for money and they owe me nothing. Since then,
Brian has made all our sails, including a series of experiments - the splendid
assymetric kite, unlike any other, which we designed together and a staysail
and a cheater and a big exotic #1. There have been 4 other kites, two #3's, a 4
and a 5, a very sexy orange storm jib and a new main, exactly like the first.
At a guess, the lot probably cost me less than a new exotic main for a Sydney 38 and the Fastnet
result shows we can still be competitive with it. Occasionally!
Brian has become a good friend. He moved out of his loft after a
rent hike and into his big garage at Curl Curl and it's always a pleasure to go
out there to see him and talk about the next job. Very much the craftsman and
he has always produced the goods, on time and in budget. The only sails in the
wardrobe that he hasn't made are the trisail and the old storm jib, which came
with the boat and have been modified and reinforced in Brian's garage. Thanks
mate, you done good and some of this is down to you. Still thinking about the
next one - plenty of time!
2200hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 2014S
02626W Ref 395
To the Cookie Crumbler - buckle on those angel's wings and get
over here with the kit, kiddo - I haven't had a haircut since the one you gave
me way back when. It's not a pretty sight. We are about 2500 miles north east
of you and about as close as we will get - with a bit of luck. Please pass on
our congratulations and best wishes to C & H if you can, and greetings to
Suzanna. Did you ever find out who lives under the table?
David M - sailmail is fantastic as long as you understand its
limitations and have the patience to work within them. It is cheap (once you've
bought the radio and the modem and the laptop) and it works. As you can see, we
can feed a website with it from anywhere in the world and that's only half the
traffic - Steve sends us a couple of downloads of your mail each day and I get
a new grib file every couple of days - about a 4k download each time and that's
our weather. You do need a bit of practice with interpreting grib - mostly to
do with matching scale and speed and reading the movement between each
snapshot. For SatCom C, I have a Thrane & Thrane TT 3022-D Capsat which was
supplied by Telstra as a Sydney Hobart tracking device about 10 years ago and
then offered to us at a reduced price. I'm sure there are second hand ones at a
couple of thousand dollars or less if you ask - try calling Marty Andersen at
RPA, 02 9979 6160 who did our Sailmail installation - he had one in his hovel
up there at the time, about june last year. It is very expensive to use for
email - a cent per keystroke - so we only use it as backup, but it is fantastic
for free weather forecasts and safety messages all over the world. It is
important that you get hold of charts of Met areas in the places you plan to go
and you register and log on with the Land Earth Station (LES) etc. Talk to
Electrotech in Melbourne
about this - 03 9646 0555 was their number some years ago. Technically, you
need to get your operators' certificate endorsed before you can use it, but as
there are no courses available, this seems to be applied mostly in the breach.
You will need an account with Xantic - a Telstra outfit - to use it for email
plus an application called Easymail (Electrotech again) and you have to pay for
the messages you receive as well so you must nominate email addresses that are
authorised to send to you. Alternatively, anyone who has a Xantic or other
account can use that. I hope that
answers your questions - but check it out for yourself.
Trev in Ireland,
great to hear from you and we'll come a'knockin next time we're close.
Ross - Berri is developing some new squeaks and creaks but
holding up really well. The next bout with the southern ocean will be the real
test, in a month or so. Still can't see the Southern Cross because of the
Malcom - interesting. But 35 days in the Santa Maria would not have been a pleasant
outing, I suspect.
0330hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2036S
02617W Ref 396
We passed east of Trinidade a couple of hours ago at 2624 W.
Another black, moonless, porridgey sort of night. The darkness has texture and
substance, the wind comes and goes but we're still moving east. We are in the
area marked in all the literature with the word 'Variables' and they have a
0915hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2057S
02618W Ref 397
DB 102, 8795 GPS108, 41/69
Bleeaah! Raining, bleak, cold, wind comes and goes from 5kt to
25. Water temp 22 deg. Have to get out there and hand steer at the low end -
big swells from at least three directions and poor Kevvo gets the yips. More or
less heading for a waypoint at 30 S, 23 W which seems to be where it may all
start to happen. That's 600 miles or about a week away and everything could
change. But we're moving and we will pass quite close to young Henry in about 5
days time. Looking forward to saying G'day.
1130hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2107S
02612W Ref 398
Hi Amanda! Are you guys following us on the website? If you are,
we'll send you greetings every now and again from strange places. Like, maybe
the Kerguelens or the Crozets.
1400hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2120S
02609W Ref 399
First, a quiz question for the geniuses at Belmore South. I
expect you all know that the sun sets in the west. This means that if you stand
on a beach anywhere except in one place on the entire east coast of Australia, you
will see the sun setting over land. It goes down behind trees or sand dunes or
houses or cliffs. To be on the beach and see the sun setting red over water,
you need at least 20 km of water to the west of you and there is one place where this happens.
One of my friends has been there and he says it's true. I don't mean right at
the north end of Cape York, which isn't really the east coast and even there, I
think Horn Island gets in the way. So where is it?
No prizes, but you might be interested in having a look.
It has been a transformation week - the boat now has more space,
all the remaining fuel is inside and low down where it ought to be, we've
traced a leak that was giving us something to think about and we're getting
ready for the sleigh ride in a couple of weeks time. We've been on the port
tack since the Cape
Verdes and I've been
cutting barnacles off the hull under the starboard quarter with a long knife.
There are hundreds, all about 3 cm long and growing fast. The topsides at that
end are already covered in green slime.
Half way in days on our schedule happens on October 14, but I
think we will have a bit of distance to catch up. On the way there, we will
pass quite close to young Henry Knight and we will leave him some chocolate and
a jelly snake - a century and a half too
late, but I think his father and mother might have felt some tiny comfort if
they had known that someone would pass by and remember him.
I think it's most unlikely that any of us will be remembered in
150 years - Henry's memory has survived because his story was written on paper.
The noise the human race is making now, mostly digital, radio and optical,
will, I think, be unstorable and unreadable but not necessarily irrelevant in a
much shorter period. Which reminds me of a lovely SF short story by, I think,
Robert Heinlein called 'Beep'. Heinlein's mind picture was that every radio and
optical transmission ever made from the earth fills a sort of expanding cone
with a hemispherical base, racing out into the universe at the speed of light
and the speed of the earth's passage around the sun and through space. 'Beep'
was the idea that at some future time it could be harnessed into a single
'beep' and if you had the right equipment, you could delve into it. There's a
lovely line about a cry for help from the captain of some lost space freighter
out on the edge of the known universe - I'll have to find it and read it again.
Harrumph. Bring on the goat.
2330hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 2110S
02605W Ref 400
It's woolly black. It's raining. There's nowhere to sit inside
the boat on the port tack so out in the cockpit, crouched under the dodger.
Berri and I move through the night together - there's no outside world, just the glow from the instrument lights reflected
back from the cockpit sides and the shiny bits of Kevvo and the pushpit and the
backstay and the eerie shadow of our Oz ensign flapping on the tiny afterdeck
in the light from the sternlight at the masthead. Rhythmic thumping as the waterlogged RANSA burgee flaps against a
shroud in the 25 knot breeze. The occasional crash as we hit a wave and the
spray flashes back over the dodger and I cringe back even further underneath
its friendly but very limited shelter. The shudder as the forestay shakes after
the impact of the wave. If I pull my hood tight around my face and risk peering
over the top for long enough for my eyes to fill with rain and accustom
themselves to real darkness, I know that I will be able to - just - make out
the dimmest, faintest silhouette of the #3 against the background of the cloud
which seems to wrap the horizon very close all around us. The surge of water
around the hull and the brilliant gleam of the masthead light reflected by the
glowing white of the spray and froth as it bustles past us and occasionally a
few sparkles of phosphorescence. Lovely. Uncomfortable, dank, miserable but
lovely. Wouldn't be anywhere else. I wish I could film it so that I could
replay it some time in the noisy city and remember how I feel and how at the
same time, perversely, I long for dry clothes and a comfortable bed and more
that a couple of hours sleep. About 68 days to go.
We must still cross 45 degrees of longitude to pass Cape Town. From Cape Town to Tasmania
is another 130 degrees, so 175 in all, just under half way around. From Sydney to Cape Horn was about 140 degrees, plus another 70
175 against 210 - definitely on the way home. The log says we've sailed 21,800
miles since leaving Sydney.
Probably a slight over-read, but we have also lost some miles when it failed
just after leaving Hobart,
so near enough. And about 8500 to go to Hobart and another 600 back to Sydney, so it's looking
like about 31,000 if we finish the job properly. That will be a reasonable
year's work for a battered old boat. The wind has just pounded in at 35+ knots
- must go and sort.
0930hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2300S
02558W Ref 401
DB:127, 8568 gps 127 42/68
Following my last note, it got worse. And worse. 3 very wet,
gyrating sailchanges from the 3 to the 4 to the 5 with a reef each then drop
the main altogether. We have just put it back up with three reefs. The wind
went to 40 kts and stayed there, with 4 metre swells from everywhere -really
confused lumpy sea, Berri really crashing about, impossible to do anything like
cook, read, chop the dried fruit - raining hard and I haven't slept for 24
hours because I feel every crash and shudder. Wind back to 35 + but manageable.
This wasn't in the guide book or on the last grib I pulled in, but it is getting
us south and east. About another ten days before we can catch a downwind ride,
perhaps three down to Henry.
And three more hours before I get to try to sleep again. The
boat feels much better - for the moment. This has been changing so fast that we
could get anything or nothing in the next couple of hours.
Flop and Conor - did you get my email about the RORC dinner? I'll assume you
did not or are not interested if I don't hear from you in the next week. Please
at least acknowledge the email if you got it - I don't know nothing out here.
1200hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2311S
02556W Ref 402
Ed: wow navigating around the world seems easier that
instructions from Alex to me to collect the RORC trophy!]
Stephen - to get to RORC, go to Green Pk U/G station, leave by
the Piccadilly South Side exit, which puts you at the NE corner of the park. Go
round the news stand into the park and walk south down the big walkway to the
left of the grass for about 200 metres. There are houses and gardens on your
left until you get to a very narrow alleyway with high fences between two
gardens that actually goes under a house at the far end. Walk through and turn
left in the street you come to. RORC is the building facing you with the flags.
Ring the doorbell... If you pick your
time, the bar might be open.
2230hrs 01 Oct 2005 UTC 2350S
02541W Ref 403
Out of the Tropics and south of Rockhampton.
The last few days of nastiness have led to my renewing
acquaintance with the boot ferals, who have been isolated and alone since
before the Fastnet. Those of you who have come to know and love them will be
pleased to hear that they are alive and thriving. Fiercely so, in fact and as
they have been evolving in separate communities, each with a festering sock,
there are now distinct Left and Right variations, like Darwin's Finches. There
is even a set of different dialects and
it will be interesting to monitor developments as cross trading via the sock
exchange (ugh!) resumes over the next few weeks.
Tonight has a soft and gentle overcast and there is a horizon
with glimpses of stars - last night's suffocating viscous blackness has gone
and the spiteful mix of wind waves and cross swells has halved. Berri is on the
wind in about 20 knots pointing at Tristan da Cunha.
We've become used to setbacks and now take nothing for granted, but it does
seem that we may have started on the long curve around towards a point at 40 S
below Cape Town.
There is a tight front forming to the south with a low behind it and I think we
are just inside the top edge. If we are really lucky and can stay in it for a
few days it will boost us across - but I think we are too slow and the
following high will catch us and force us back to the south and around behind
Still no Southern Cross - continuously cloudy to the south, No
people, no birds, no dolphins no nuffin. Just smelly old us, feeling distinctly
battered after the last couple of days of sail changing.
Malcom, I've forwarded your suggestion to a couple of people -
perhaps the book and the cd? Thanks for the Red Lief saga.
Geoff C, g'day - I last saw you up on Moreton Bay
- how did you go? I hope you got your ticket.
Is, did you know that there's a book about the discovery of the
graves of two of the early victims of the Franklin Exped's lead poisoning. They
were buried deep in the permafrost and almost perfectly preserved. I don't
remember the title or the author but it was fascinating and tissue analysis
supported the lead poisoning theory. Each had been autopsied before burial-
Setbacks - is there no constancy? The clammy darkness is back
and it's raining again. Tedious. I've just hand steered through a calm patch,
sitting under the boom because I can't see the wind indicator from the other
side - anyone who has been there will know about the masochism involved. The
mainsail gathers gallons of rainwater, which flows along the boom and off the
end, arriving in a waterfall just where neck, hood, collar and face interact. Yerk!
And yet another sail change - in my sleep time, as usual - and
we've got 35 knots again.
0550hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2421S
02531W Ref 404
40 kts - #4 & 3 reefs. Series of squalls with rain - may
last 10 minutes, maybe 10 hours. Painful.
0710hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2417S
02529W Ref 405
Down to no main, #4 fk, big swells. Dawn - wet. bedraggled,
0900hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2435S
02526W Ref 406
DB: 128,8440 gps 102! This will be hard to write - Berri moving so
violently - rolling, pitching gyrating - braced at nav table but precarious and
likely to be thrown out any time. Steady 35 kt from east, trivial in most
circumstances but huge confused swell, #4 only no main, #5 would be better but
coping - just. Moving about massive effort - have to brace with both hands
& feet, find balance, transfer one grip at a time and hold on during the
worst rolls. Several more days likely. Will pass fairly close to Henry. Feeling
every crash and judder and shake and groan. Awful. Berri unhappy too.
1500hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2503S
02520W Ref 407
Still creeping east despite the conditions. I've been trying to
read the swell - the dominant one seems to be from the east or just north of east
at about 5 metres, with a similar one from further south, but on top of that it
is complete confusion with the occasionally amplified freak monster that has
several waves from all over coinciding and contributing. Looking down from the
top of one of these is a bit like looking down from about the fourth floor -
but without nice solid walls to sustain the confidence. These are the nasties,
coming from anywhere and throwing and rolling Berri all over the place and, if
we hit them at the wrong angle, dumping tons of water on deck and horizontally
into the cockpit. The dodger is just big enough to cower under if one is
unlucky enough to get caught out there but it's not much fun, especially when
it is raining as well. If one is inside, the boat lurches and gyrates and yaws
and rolls and stuff jumps in the air and you hear this shuddering crash from
the bows as they slam into the wall. The rig quakes and the forestay shakes and
then there is the sound of rushing water and you can see it flowing blue and
frothy past the windows. Everything is damp if not outright wet that is not
double wrapped in plastic and ziplocks. We are in a bit of a lull with the sun
showing occasionally, but I can see more rainclouds and squalls away to the
east so I'm not going to shake a reef. The cone of silence is permanently down
now but at least it is cooler and I'm no longer drenched in sweat behind it.
Noice to be out of the tropics.
My interpretation of our latest grib file says we will get two
more days of this, with the possibility of a lift on the second day. That file
is now three days old and I've sent for another which should come it when I try
to send this.
We are in contact with the Chile
and Africa sailmail stations and get
reasonable coverage here although propagation is still woeful. If it goes this
afternoon, this email will reach you via Africa,
RC01. We can just hear, but not read, the Patagonian cruise net operating on
8164 mc out of Ushuiaia. I hope we can speak to them as we go past but I now
think that is unlikely. A great bunch of people. If anyone is going down there,
the regular sked is at 1200 UTC.
I've lost touch with all the new gusts - I lose the plot and
fail dismally to say g'day to you all but thanks for signing on and for your
hugely inspiring words and good wishes. Stephen sends an update every now and
again and it's inspiring to know that we also inspire. Thanks. Danny P, you
have to make these things happen! If you want to sail home, then somewhere
there is a first step. And Helen O'R, of course I remember you - sad we missed
Conor at the Rock. Tell him to read his work email asap - there's a bit for him
about the RORC annual dinner. If I don't get a full house, (quite probable) and
the two of you are interested, you could both go. If your pockets are long
Brian and Jen - hard to believe that we were only nine days into
this potboiler when we met you in Dunedin.
That seems to be about as far away as the Viking voyages - how goes the boat
hunt? Assuming we get this old lady back home again and finish the job, there
will be a lot of gear for sale if you are interested. I think, for instance, my
faithful sextant should move to someone who is more likely to need it, and we
will be looking to part with the truly wonderful Kevvo and the Ampair generator
and maybe the solar panel. Books, pilots, maybe a laptop. A couple of colonies
of boot ferals, some foetid socks - all going for a song.
David C - thanks for fatherly concern. How are you both?
2200hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 2531S
02513W Ref 408
If you happen to be very very unlucky, sitting in your bus
shelter on the Fox studio lot with your clackerboard and your nice mug of tea -
very very unlucky - the Vogon constructor fleet will arrive and decide to chuck
you about a bit. Drench you with their foul smelling bilge water. Scratch and
grunt a lot and give you the full benefit of Vogon armpit though the atmosphere
control vents. You, of course, will keep your cool, brace for the worst, hold
your nose for as long as possible and continue sipping your tea. You will have
developed the technique over several unlucky episodes and it goes like this -
first, of course, make the tea - tricky if you haven't got past this bit before
they arrive - and then sit with your toes curled around the edge of the opposite
bench, heels firmly wedged underneath, non-tea hand gripping the nearest
upright and shoulders wedged under the frame. It's black darkness - so black
that you can feel it. Next bit all done
by feel. Tea hand holding mug in float mode - arm half extended but kind of
hanging loose, every sense twitching for the feel of the next bit of violence,
arm and hand in continuous fluid motion trying to keep the surface of the tea
horizontal. Now for the really tricky bit - getting the tea into the face calls
for truly advanced technique - move mug towards face, senses now in overdrive,
blow across top of - hopefully - horizontal tea and extend puckered lips
towards rim of still moving mug. If you get the coordination right, tea, mug,
arm, lips and bus shelter will all freeze for a nanosecond while tea is
transferred across the gap. Mostly, you will get it wrong and at best, mug will
depart from face at warp speed leaving nothing behind. Then there are grades of
disaster starting with half mug of scalding tea in mouth and over face
requiring instant ejection to prevent serious burn. If mug, meanwhile, has
moved - fluidly - away, then there's nothing to eject into and clean up will be
necessary once Vogon armpit and other nasties have been neutralised. I expect you
are getting the picture. No doubt you are sitting at your computers with nice
square bottomed mug of tea in Newtonian conjunction with desk - well, it ain't
always so. I've just come in from the cockpit having managed to get about a
quarter of my tea actually into my face. And there are 67 more days of this?
What are we doing here?
I think that we will be in this stuff for another week or so and
then it could quite possibly get worse. The fronts down south look very intense
- the grib puts the average wind speed
in the current one at 45 kts - so 60 - 80 knot gusts. I hope we will be able to
stay north of that lot but I'm not sure how it will work out. I'm hoping we
will start getting some definite westerly airflow from about 30 S but we might
have to go much further. Cross your fingers and toes, all y'all - this is where
we start to earn our keep. Should get a bit easier once we can turn downwind,
but that may not happen almost to Cape
0830hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2610S
02458W Ref 409
Between Double Island Point and Noosa.
Just put the main back up with 3 reefs. Pathetic really - 25
knots of breeze but we cant afford to go any faster until the seas abate - or
until we know these squalls have stopped. Which they haven't - there's one a
couple of miles to windward looking at us.
Wendy P, we've just Consulted with one of your medicinal potions
and very effective it was - thanks. Haven't got to the sweeties yet - they are
for when things get really tough. Which they will.
A word of explanation for all those who have signed on after
reading YM or YW: all this twaddle about bus shelters and Vogons goes back a
long way - before we spoke to the International Space Station, somewhere in the
south Pacific. I started to make fun of the conspiracy theorists who know -
doesn't everyone? - that NASA never got to the Moon, it was all done in a Hollywood studio. Likewise, we're not really flogging
ourselves through the South Atlantic - we're in Fox studios in Sydney dreaming it all up over countless
Consultations. The bus shelter was a way of explaining how the cockpit moves
around in the warehouse seas down there on the other side of the Horn or it
might have been this side - I don't remember. And Vogons? Well, a bit of
Hitchhiker never does any harm. Interestingly, I've been listening to my tiny
Chinese short wave radio when the weather has allowed and there's a station
which I'm sure must be based in the southern USA on which the talkback host and
his callers seem to be convinced that the US
Government has the technology to influence the weather and was
responsible for sending Hurricanes Katrina and Rits to the Gulf of Mexico. They
get quite passionate about it. I wish - would someone ask G Dubya to fix our
little spot of bother down here and send us off towards Cape Town!
0900hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2618S
02457W Ref 410
DB: 107, 8333 GPS 107. 44 down, 66 to go and I can listen to the
last le Carre Constant Gardener disc any time - I have managed one a week and it
has been something to look forward to.
2130hrs 03 Oct 2005 UTC 2711S
02418W Ref 411
A good friend of ours, who has sailed about as many miles as we
have, wrote and told us that when he read "It's woolly black. It's
raining." a couple of days ago, he was instantly right there in the
cockpit with me and he wondered how many others were squeezed in there with us,
not letting on. I thought it would be interesting to ask - did that piece
transport anyone else out here? And as an extension, are there favourite bits
of the log for any of you? And why? The 'why' is the fascinating bit because it
speaks about you and your experience. If anyone is brave enough, perhaps you
could write a few lines about it and we could post your stories (suitably anonimised
if you wish). My sister has her favourite entry stuck to the wall near her
computer and I suspect that any such list would have very few duplicates.
Malcom, thanks for book details on the Franklin expedition - here they are. I may
have borrowed your copy.
Re book about bodies in the permafrost in NW passage. Book is available on Amazon. "Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin
Expedition" by Owen Beattie and Geiger. Fascinating book especially if you like
colour piccies of deep frozen jolly jack
tars, Beattie is an anthropologist. The
book was republished as a new edition in 2000.
I guess I have an unusual book collection.
Jo, thanks for your note - I'll write to you soon.
I think we have missed the big front further south - we are just
hooking into the top of it and have been lifted round onto about 150M - noice.
I hope it continues to lift - it should, for a day or so. The wind and seas
have abated a bit and it's a lot more
comfortable. We will pass Henry tomorrow morning, probably about
75 miles to the north east, and we will have a small ceremony for him.
I've just been up to look for the Southern Cross - it's still
buried in the murk layer but the pointers are bright and clearly visible. Venus
is huge on our starboard quarter with a
glowing aura and Berrimilla's wash is rippling through the reflected trail.
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