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Sitrep: 1115hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3905S 03723E Ref
Sitrep: 0900hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3858S 03722E Ref
Sitrep: 0415hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3840S 03708E Ref
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30 Oct 2005 UTC 3832S 02539E Ref 500
Another frustrating day - we are bare poling again in a NE/35-40
off the back of a high - I misread the grib, not that it would have made any
difference except that it was unexpected. It's not the wind - that is
essentially trivial - but the combination of wind, waves and required
direction. We were doing nearly 7 knots last night with just the 5 but rolling
and crashing into a rising beam sea and we thought that prudence should take
over. Bare poling gives us about 3, and a bit more to the south, rolling
horribly. We haven't had more than about 6 hours straight with any sail combination
since we passed Tristan - or so it seems. We make radical sail changes several
times a day just to stay safe and keep moving roughly towards Oz and it's very
much stop/start sailing. The weather systems just keep trucking through. It's
0200 UTC as I write, with about an hour to daylight. The wind has blown solidly
and steadily all night but should back and increase during the day, so we will
await developments. Meanwhile, the house battery is down to 11.4 volts, I think
it will be an overcast day, so we will need at least half an hour of engine. We
can't make water with the present motion and wind angle - the inlet line, with
the seacock deep under the mast, still gets airlocks in it as we roll. We have
about 70 litres in reserve, some of it in bottles we have carried since Dunedin. This is about 18
days supply and I think it is time to start using this when we need it. Sadly,
we will be unable to supplement it from the Medicine Chest for as long as we
Despite the frustration, today we will have a small celebration
for our longest passage - probably a Consultation each from the deteriorated
ready use supply and an Allen's jelly snake each to remind us of where we are
One of the things I try fiercely to protect is the integrity of
the stuff I sleep in - bunk, searug, bivvy bag and sleeping bag and clothes.
Everything gets wet unless it is protected and there is often flowing water
across the cabin floor when we roll like this - the residual water in the bilge
comes up and around the edges of the floor with each roll - this morning, I got
up, decided I would treat myself to a rare cup of coffee and scrabbled around
for the coffee jar. Found only a jar with brownish coffee smelling water that
might once have been it - so opened our last coffee brick and boiled the water
and as I stepped back from the stove, felt something under my foot. It was my
favourite red knitted beanie that cossets my uninsulated swede when I'm
sleeping - knitted by Olga - and it was wringing wet. Bugger. Not Happy. The
Navy in Port Stanley gave us a roll of wonderful paper towels that I've been
using to wipe down the nav area during bad condensation - they are so good that
I can recycle them and dry them out - so I rolled the beanie tightly in a
couple of them to soak out the water and I've now got a damp beanie - might
have shrunk a bit, which wont hurt.
Talking of jars, Gary
- still got them all and they are doing the job - thanks - we'll sign one for
you when we get back - you can have whatever is left in it!
Now early daylight - engine ticking over and charging at 20+
amps. Trying the watermaker.
Things are starting to wear out. The seams have failed in my
right boot so a whole colony of ferals has evacuated to who knows where and I'm
down to wearing my waterproof socks again. I think I have a spare pair of boots
but I haven't seen them for ages. If I haven't, it's going to be a long trip
home! Wet feet are the pits.kts
I wonder how they are going in the Lord Howe race.
30 Oct 2005 UTC 3834S 02543E Ref 501
For Malcom: Water T 17.8 - never calibrated so can't guess
accuracy - seemed ok around Sydney.
Spare boots found - located by following loud yakka from the
ferals, who knew they were there all the time and got there long before I did.
Making water, will shortly set trisail and storm jib and go sailing again.
30 Oct 2005 UTC 3846S 02618E Ref 502
DB: DMG 139 ! GPS 137? Something to do with the great circle?
Real current on our side for once? 71/39
So we start another, shorter leg, perhaps. Consultation has
occurred, jelly snakes consumed and back to the grind. Dirty grey overcast,
rain showers, #5 and trisail, could probably hold more but gusty, big waves,
almost beam on, wind due to back and increase. We seem to have a couple of
knots of current with us. Malcom, continuous digital readout of T, now 17.8.
Tks for ships - I'm sure you will let us know if there's any possibility of a
Martin, thanks for encouraging words and the Wizard - I shall
cherish him just as I did his predecessor. John H - I hate to think what the
EEO coordinator would do out here.
Need new grib so will send this.
Contributed by Ian of Chatham in
With apologies to all poets, past
Down in the Southern ocean with seas
Battles Berri onward while
Waves crash down from as high as the
And the crew want to know how long
it will last
A consultation or two with the
doctor each day
Help these two old farts stagger on
Not for this pair are the slippers
Should I bid for their t-shirt using
They beat to the north to escape the
But it doesnt work, this ploy of
For the examiner hears of it and
scuppers the plan
And orders more waves, then speeds
up the fan
But How did he know? ask the
wily old pair
The answer is behind them, up in the
Old alby glides by all pink in the
And reports back to him whats in
The examiner laughs, theres a glint
in his eye
And the bomb doors are opened as
alby flies by
They jink to the left and then the
But its too late now, Kevvos
covered in shite
It gets worse each day, can they
take much more
For its still a long way to the old
The folks at home read the sitreps
While the old farts onboard begin to
And its not over yet for while the
duo heave to
The examiner plans more than a
knockdown or two
Over she goes, to one twenty or more
Gear flying about to land on the
But Alex writes on during this
For this old sailor has much to tell
Stories of Merlin - defunct, dead,
Lost sandals and glasses on their
Jammed at the table by elbows and
Squinting to hit one in three right
Pete wedged in the bog, a little
Shouts that this wasnt in the
And wet socks are the order of the
For the ferals have eaten the boots
The doctors on ration, this isnt a
The stock is depleted in the
Water cannot be made without
wrigglies we hear tell
And the genny and solar panel are
both shot to hell
The tinnies in the eski have rusted
Someone should have given them a
Wet party gear on to change sail
As Berri is nearing the elusive barn
Then at last, its here, they are
And their shout can be heard
0040hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 3903S
02803E Ref 503
Woc - The King's School, Worcester, not Parramatta. Linda is the geography teacher.
Happy to talk to Parra if they want to.
J & S MB - I certainly knew
MC - but don't really remember any context except the usual meeting in
Shepherds or somewhere. Glad the flag in place - we hope it will give many
years of service - as no doubt, its previous owner did! Good to hear from you
and good sailing down there.
Doug - I can relate to Henry's diary entry - not much changes
does it? - Steve, perhaps you could post it please?
We are getting our first freebie
- or at least noticeable one - since before Cape
Horn courtesy of Malcom, who has sent us some cold water. We have
2 knots of current behind us! I daren't look at the instruments in case it goes
away. It is now 1045 UTC and we have done 4 sail changes since 0300. Anyone
would think this was a race. I think we must be getting impatient. Stir crazy?
12 hours later @ 3903 02803 31/0040
Still have about a knot of current. Water T 15.5. Wind has
backed and we're twin poled again with the 2 and the cutdown - yet another sail
I have just done the equation with a bit more precision.
Assuming a 40 day trip, water maker every other day, we will need about 1900
amp hours from the battery. We have about 960 a/h in the diesel tank and I have
assumed we can get 400 a/h from the solar panel. That will leave us about 540
a/h short without including the additional 20% needed to replace battery drop.
This means that we will need to get them from the dying generator if possible
and reduce power consumption to a minimum. Shorter trip, better solar, less
power use will all contribute but that's the bottom line. The VoA, perhaps. We
will run the engine for 45 minutes three times per day on the overcast days if
the generator finally stops generating. If we do start to run short, I will
have to limit transmissions to perhaps one per day.
So it's looking very like Albany
at this stage. I don't see that we will be able to last as far as Eden or
Hobart. If we get really lucky, we will get to Albany in under 40 days. From Albany to Sydney
is anyone's guess, but assuming about 1700 miles, it will take about 15 days.
55 days from today is Christmas Day. Cutting things a bit fine but not out of
Pete has been reading Shackleton's book 'South' and I apologise
if I have been hamming up the hardship a bit out here. What those guys went
through makes our little bits of unpleasantness seem like a doddle.
31/0450 Water T 14.5
0900hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 3922S
02852E Ref 504
DB: dmg 190 GPS 131 72/38
Odd. I am getting dmg by comparing distance to go to SE
Cape yesterday with today using SOB and there should not be a
discrepancy like that. Not sure what is happening. I need my Merlin! 190nm is
feasible but unlikely and I'm sure we did better than 131. For once, superb
sailing, although we had to do a few changes, as usual. We were hitting 8 kts
over the ground for a lot of the day, with Malcom's cold water pushing us
along. We still have a knot with us and the wind steady from the N, 20 - 25,
with the 2 and full main. A bit of swell, from all four corners, but not yet
anything to worry about. Can this be the real Indian Ocean??
We saw a huge sunfish this morning as we changed sail - at
least, thats what we think it was - sort of greenish white mottled, but
difficult to see its shape. Birds still with us - mostly black petrels with
short curved white beaks. There was a lone Albatross sitting on the water as
well - I first saw it silhouetted on a wave crest - they are very podgy and
dumpy when resting and then they spread those amazing wings and just rise into
the air and they become magnificent in a twinkling. We also have the stubby
birds with black tops with spotted white patches topside - lovely patterns
especially as the sun catches them.
Solar panel is now putting in about 4.5 amps and keeping the
battery fully charged. Just needs full sunlight and careful alignment. It will
not be enough to get us home on its own without working for 5 hours/day at that
rate, every day, but it's a help.
I seem to be fresh out of whimsy - just been very busy and a bit
knackered. And sore - I was taking off the trisail at dawn this morning and let
go in the cockpit at just the wrong moment in a roll and was sat down from
about a metre and a half, right on the pointy bit of the right cheek of the
bott. And left elbow. Bruised and battered, but happy to be making the sort of
progress we were expecting. Will send this and see what there is from all y'all
- it will certainly inspire.
1315hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 3935S
02930E Ref 505
I've completely lost any sense if time or sequence. Some time in
the last 24 hours - or more - we were twin poled with the 2 and the cutdown,
and the trisail left over from an earlier stoush with some blast or other
sheeted tightly fore and aft to see whether it helps to dampen the roll. Not
appreciably, Hugh - it's a tiny sail. Then we changed to the full main and the
2 - a big change because the tri had to go first, then a big rearrange of the
headsails, poles and sheets, then raise the main and 2. Hoooning along for a bit - some hours?? - touching 9 through the
water, mostly 7's and 8's plus a knot of current. Then down to 3 reefs and the
5 for about an hour - not sure again - and we've just changed back to the
trisail and the storm jib. Bloody ridiculous. And we are still doing 6's and
7's. NW at about 35 -40 with building sea. The last few weeks have been one
long blur of sail changes, spray, unpleasantness and sunshine - a crazy cascade
of images with no structure. And a sunfish and an albatross in a storm.
Got wet - yet again - during one of the changes this morning and
my two layers of thermals were so sticky and horrible with salt and scroffles
that I thought I should peel them. Don't like the sight of my flaccid torso -
much rehab needed. Now wearing my nice new Gill thermals direct from the
factory all red and grey and the height of fashion. Thanks to the people at
Gill for all the work they did restoring our gear.
Malcom - thanks for info - a bit hard to go hunting for current,
unfortunately, we're just not fast enough, but nice to know about it in case we
can find it. And what it cost to know it's there! Can in due course.
Mark A in Perth, thanks for offer
of help in Albany.
We will need to clear customs, refuel and restock the medicine chest, perhaps
have a shower if there is time, and move on out. Hardly even time for a proper
Consultation, but we'll make it happen. If you can find a generator and get it
down there, that would be fantastic, but the refuel will get us to Sydney.
Roger, thanks for all that - we've just got to get there now. I
will be in touch.
Ian, great poem - thanks - you've obviously got a handle on my
gibberish! I understand from Isabella that there will soon be a glossary for
the mystified. My sister knows Too Much - not sure about all that!
An idea for those who want a project and a bit of adventure in their
lives - only an idea at this stage but I'd like to know if anyone is
interested. The London Marathon is run in the first couple of weeks in April. I
may be able to get to London,
perhaps score an entry and run it. Well, plod it really. Would any of all y'all
like to join me - we could have a Berrimilla team and raise a heap of cash for
the relevant charity and all the runners could have their names in the book
when we write it. Would be easiest for the UK
residents, but no reason why anyone from anywhere in the world who can get
themselves there and score an entry shouldn't join us - all the green and white
mob in Sydney,
for instance. If you are interested, could you drop a (short!)line to email@example.com.
If you've never run one, there's just time to get in enough training to give it
a whirl, even though there's an English winter coming up over there. But it's only
an idea at this stage and I wouldn't like to quote any odds on its happening.
1745hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 3939S
03000E Ref 506
Pete was reading some more Shackleton. There's hope for us yet
- when things were tough on Elephant
Island, 'the Men',
scientists, tradesmen, officers, were given a tablespoon of methylated spirit
in a pint of warm water flavoured with sugar and ginger for their Christmas
drink. MMMM! A Con with a difference when desperation really sets in. We
haven't any seal blubber, but I've been eying off the ferals and they are
And Shackleton talked of a 'presence' that both he and Wilde
felt during the boat trip and on their trek across S.
Georgia, that helped them make the right decisions. I've often
wondered about that - is it simply an artifice of the godfearing mind to enable
it to cope with superhuman obstacles? I've never felt presences out here,
although I don't really think one can compare experiences like that, but I have
sometimes reached what I think Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance - cult book when I was at Uni) meant when he described 'the high
country of the mind' - an intensely heightened awareness of self and
surroundings induced by circumstance rather than drugs and alcohol. But, of
course, I'm sure that the Albatross in the storm was Tommy's ghost! Far too
knowing an eye for anyone else's presence!
We're still rolling along, storm jib and tri, although the wind
has abated a bit. I pulled in the latest grib after sending my last and there
is a very tight little low forming directly behind us with attendant nastiness.
More exercise for the freckle, I fear, so we are not rushing to change sail -
might even see the night out.
Somewhere back in the blur of all this, I wrote about things
starting to wear out - my boots, I think. My hands too - they have started to
wrinkle and the nails are going white. Noice. Insufficient Medicinal Compound -
where's Lily? And my searug - worn almost skinless before we left, is now
gossamer thin and mildewed as well. Still works though.
0400hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 3941S
03101E Ref 507
An idea for the next competition - for anyone with imagination
and a palette. Kids' art class, perhaps? Create a painting or a drawing called
'Albatross in the Storm', any style, any medium and send me a small jpeg or a
scan and we will provide an authentic Berrimilla souvenir to the one we like
best. Here's my image: On an A4 page in 'landscape' orientation draw an
imaginary diagonal line from top left corner to bottom right. This represents
the horizontal. I'm crouched at the forward end of the cockpit facing aft and
about 2 metres away is Berrimilla's pushpit - a sort of fence around the back
of the boat with GPS aerials and other paraphernalia attached to it. There are
photos on the website for the perfectionists. The backstay rises from the deck
just inside it and disappears at the top and Kevvo and his vane are working
away behind it. The boat is at the end of a roll to the right - so to my left as
I face aft and the backstay and pushpit are oriented more or less vertically up
the page. Subdued light, Turneresque clouds, perhaps a glimmer of sunshine from
the right somewhere. It is blowing 60 knots from the right. Directly behind and
above the pushpit and about 30 metres away is a serrated ridge of grey blue
green wavetop with spray blowing off the top and white wind lines running down
its face. This ridge slopes down from the left and merges with a towering mass
of water on the right - a crest just beginning to break but with ice blue green
translucence in the top edge and again, spray breaking away to the left. Above
all this - so in the top right hand corner, is an albatross, head to wind, huge
wings curved downwards - hovering immobile and serene on the wind. It is about
15 metres away and I can see its eye and beak clearly. The contrast between the
fury and the stillness is profound.
That is what I remember - but it's just to give you the
flavour, not the actual picture. Make of it whatever your imagination provides.
Leave out the bits of boat entirely, if that works better for you. If you want
to do one, get it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by email by the time we get to
Sydney. If the idea really does get into a kids' art class, perhaps a bit of
prejudging by the teachers might help -
send us say the best 5, as judged by the class? Izzo - a dental flossed
0730hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 3935S
03116E Ref 508
For Malcom:@ 3935 3116 01/0730
T 19.5. No noticeable current. Thanks for callsign IA - we'll holler as
we get closer and could perhaps phone them.
H - into the pear and fennel chutney - yum - thanks! Fisting a
triple decker biscuit sando as I poke at the keyboard.
Still doing a sail change every few hours - and every time we
do, it makes us a few miles - which we'd lose and never recover if we shirked
the change. Knackering in the extreme sometimes - but we're eating up the
miles. Seems we have a softish spot behind us and then serious stink, which
just might slide down below us. When I look at the large scale chart, there is
now clear progress over the pond - my large scale is similar to the tracking
charts on the website. The most optimistic guess would put us at Albany in
about 35 days.
To all y'all who might have joined me for the London Marathon -
seems like it's a no hoper for this year as entries are firmly slammed shut.
Any takers for 2007? Same deal - just an idea at this stage, but let me know.
0900hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 3934S
03124E Ref 509
3934 3124 01/0900 73/37
DB: dmg 124, gps 128 seems reasonable. Another sail change -
now broad reaching east with the cutdown and the trisail. 6's and 7's, but
perhaps a smidgin of current against us. Grey thick overcast, solar giving us about
half an amp - better than nowt! Generator sounding very close to the end, so
saving for desperate times.
I reckon this feels like about 30 k in the marathon - seems
we've had a few of those this year! - finish nowhere near in sight, the hard
work still to be done and every metre a little Everest to be climbed. Every
muscle complaining, feet sore and blistered. Head firmly in neutral, trying not
to think about it else how would you ever go on doing it? Persistence and
perseverance. And truckloads of patience.
1330hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 3929S
03152E Ref 510
Picture competition: change of plan - it has been suggested
that we change the painting competition to a painting or drawing of anything
you imagine from reading the logs - I think that's a much better idea, so go
for it. A portrait of a boot feral, perhaps?
Malcom - I have Vito Dumas' book. Astonishing bloke, and he
went the whole way around using an old raincoat as his wet weather gear.
There's a boat in Hobart that looks very like Legh II and may have been built
Peter S, as far as I know, there are no scale drawings of a
Brolga. I asked Peter Joubert and he has no plans. Brian Shilland has a sail
plan and there may be something in an old Sailing Mag that we were told about
but that's all. Do any of the BOGgers out there know of a set of plans or scale
drawings - please let us know.
Bernie, thanks for Horace.
2250hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 3924S
03236E Ref 511
Story of a watch - 01/1500-1800: Grey overcast with light, barely
visible diaphanous mist over the water. Black petrels plus a small grey one and
a lone, twin tailed tern milling around. The watch started with the storm jib
and the trisail - comfortable and easy in about 25 kts from the N, 2 metre
confused swell, 5.5 through the water, no measurable current, T 19.4. I came on
and almost immediately the wind began to fade and we took down the tri and storm jib and set the main with 3 reefs
and the cutdown - big, fiddly job. Pete started cooking the evening meal, I
rinsed some grease from a newly opened packet of cheese into the sea and the
petrels moved in and fought for the bits - they are with us because they must
sense a source of food and they fly tight circles around the back of the boat,
especially when we are eating in the cockpit. The wind came back in at about
30+, Berri sliding off the waves, green water over the decks and we dropped the
cutdown and set the 4. Half an hour later, back to the cutdown and we gave
ourselves a gin for effort, despite today being a day of abstinence in the new
conservation regime (on the basis that as we close the Australian coast,
anything - even no gin - will be bearable). I sat, damp and draggly, in the
cockpit monitoring developments and Pete sent up the Pasta of the Day - Chefsway
Spag Bog, with the block of cheese to grate into it. Petrels very interested,
tighter circles. Wind dying to nothing. Rinsed out bowl, Pete to bed and I
tossed the third reef - wind now all but gone, sloppy confused sea, lots of
gyration killing forward progress. Immediately tossed the second and first
reefs - no appreciable wind but enough showing on the instrument to give a clue
as to direction to steer. Both sails slatting and banging - mostly inside out,
or so it seemed. Not enough for Kevvo,
so alternately hand steered and fiddled with sheet leads, mainsail shape,
preventer - bloody everything that could help to induce forward motion. Wet,
cold, white wrinkled hands. For a few minutes there was a flaming orange gash
in the gloom to the west as the sun set behind a thinner patch of overcast.
Around 1700, faint suspicion of breeze - re lead cutdown sheet right aft to
spinnaker turning block to flatten sail, sheet in main and slowly bring Berri
up onto the new breeze. Numbers on the log - 0.4, 0.7, 1.2... Direction more or
less E. Handed over to Pete at 1800 with 2.5 kts on the clock, T now 15.8,
heading East. Total miles for the three hours, about 6, GPS showing snaky path
all over the ocean, but generally east. Huge headbang, but every mile coming right
off the top.
The Ampair generator has just about expired, with what sound
like completely collapsed bearings. It has done a wonderful job, considering
the extreme abuse it has endured. It worked perfectly for about 16000 miles
including some the severest and nastiest bashings available, with every
variation of speed, waves, skipping turbine and turbulence thrown at it. I
should have thought to have its bearings serviced in the UK - or have looked
for a second hand spare. Big mistake - next time I will know. I think that its
eventual expiry has been well within the definition of fair wear and tear and I
have no complaints. I'm sure that with more benign treatment, it would have run
for a lot longer. (is - don't know if george reads this - pse tell him he can
quote this para if he wants . ta)
On experience over the last few days, we are not going to get
enough sunlight to get us home at our present power consumption rate. Tomoz has
promise, and will wait and see. I think, though, that we will need to consider
turning off the instruments and the gps for large chunks of each day - or
perhaps overnight. I will try to keep the laptop running so that I can write
these and we'll look at one transmission per day, probably in our evening when
propagation is best.
Sitrep: 0500hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 3931S 03326E
Juddy suggested we should turn off the instruments. I had an
initial scoff and then thought, no, the man is quite right. I have got so used
to all these goodies that I have begun to take them for granted but there's a
perfectly good GPS that runs at less than half an amp and keeping the laptop
off but charging adds another 0.2 or so. So, that's what we are doing. I will
write as many of these as I can during the day and do 1 or 2 transmissions when
propagation is good. Steve, please keep up what you are sending and monitor for
a couple of days to see how we go. good prop at all times except 0800 - 1400
No DB for the time being - all y'all can work it out from the
positions. Solar p, even under cloud gives nearly 0.5 amp.
So - here goes.
0850hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 3940S
03353E Ref 513
74/36 - dmg about 115. Back on song tomoz with new numbers from
Juddy, thanks for jolting us - me, really - out of my gizmological
complacency. This seat of the pants sailing is much more fun and we're not
dependant on pulling in gribs or actual wind speed or any of that stuff. What's
the wind speed? Don't know, about 30 kts, but there's no green water over the
decks, no pounding, the lee rail is a foot out of the water and we've got 6 - 7
knots through the water. Who cares what the actual speed is, Berri is handling
it. So what's the weather going to do - still looks pretty murky to the west -
might pack in a bit, better keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, let's have a cuppa.
Woooohoooo! And, as long as I haven't got this turned on, the solar is holding
the charge under thick cloud with dank, misty rain, vis often 300 metres.
Wooohooo again. We're going to get there - where I'm not yet sure - Albany
looks most likely, but SE Cape might just be possible. Eden direct might be
possible too, also just. Decisions after half way across - taken to be south of
Our S2H entry has been accepted - so we have to get there.
Is - salty dacron - 5 - 7 oz, I think. You can have as much as
you need for your stuff.
About 4 hours later - so just who is funding the Examiner?
Seems to me this inquisition has been far beyond any reasonable test of the
product. Since I wrote the first para, we've gone from a full main and cutdown
to the 4 and 3 reefs to what was to have been the Tri and the 5 but which
became just the tri after we had hanked on the 5 and decided to shove it back
down the hole and ride out the nastiness on the tri. Wind at high frequency
howl, not yet quite shriek - perhaps gusting 50+. Wave tops blowing off, even
grey sky - dark grey green sea, almost jade with the whitecaps stark and
beautiful. Enough ambient light scattering around for the panel to go positive
and give us 0.6 amps over the 0.4 that we need to keep the gps going with this
baby on charge. We were doing between 4 and 7 over the ground. Soaked, white
crinkly hands, nails going inside out.
We have new rules for Consultations in this stuff - beer is
served on a needs basis and hang the consequences as we get closer to home. Gin
will continue to be served at 1700 local time - now over 2.5 hours ahead of
Greenwich. There will be a further celebratory Con when sunrise occurs at or
about midnight UTC - some time to go yet.
Paul, I thought of portrait A4 too, just as I pressed the
transmit button - but landscape works as well - leaves room for other stuff top
And now we have a glimmer of sunshine - still at incipient
shriek, but must be backing off a bit. Solar panel carrying the laptop -
02/1025 - not for long. We're now firmly in shriek mode - looks
like steady 50, gusting 60+ - short, breaking seas, 4 - 5 metres, masses of
white water moving horizontally. Berri catching the occasional one side on and
thumping and shuddering in sheets and clouds of spray. I've just come in from
the cockpit and shed my sodden party gear - wow! huge gust - boat on almost
beam ends 70+? - where I was trying to help the poor old trisail cope - it is
now so old and battered that it has a big belly in it and it tends to bag and
hold the wind rather than spill it as designed to do, so the leech vibrates
horribly occasionally. I tried to tweak it down but that made it worse, so
eased the working sheet a bit and ground on the lazy - windward - sheet and
that has improved it a little. Brian S, if you're reading this, could you
please try to find us a second hand trisail that you could alter to fit - if
you have the plan for it. If you do, the foot needs to slope down from the tack
so that the clew is about 8 - 10 inches lower than on the present one to get
the lead right. The present one is right-angled at the tack. I have a halyard
tape on the old one that we can transfer to the new one. Thanks heaps - also
looking at a battenless #3 along the lines of the cutdown - will discuss when
we get there. Pse email email@example.com if you see this to confirm. Ta.
Enough - will try to send in a couple of hour.
1200hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 3947S
03413E Ref 514
Past shriek into full blown scream. Pulled in the trisail in
uproar of crashing water - sea going from dirty grey to swimming pool blue with
white icing and back into smoky blue grey streaks and foam. Tennis court sized
swimming pools. Scary and beautifrul. But I do wish it would blow away - we're
just sitting it out again - waves perhaps not so bad as knockdwn storm but
fingers crossed and clench firmly in place. No idea of wind speed, mst be at least 70. Bare poling -
feels a bit better without tri. New rainsquall - more wind. So dark in cabin,
need headlight to see keybd. Ferals in hiding - dont like bootfuls of water.
New birds - dirty grey/brown - sort of cigarette ash muddy all over with same
coloured beaks - look like small albys. Sitting on water in midst of maelstrom.
Unable send so will write more - in a lull - not fooled - had
one before and came back stronger. Percy Vere, get over here! Had half
knockdown - not serious but waves big enough. Was rgiht about lull - coming
back again. Heavy driving rain. Vis 100 mtrs. No sign of abating. Can someone
please tell me whether this is normal for here, now, or are we just unlucky?
Seems we have had a succession of nasty ones that we had not expected. But
whatever, we shall overcome.
Simon the examiner visits us all we shall have a
consultation to your good health. Perhaps a sail when you recover? Best to Lucy
and the kids, Steve speaks highly of you, and that is good enough for us.
0350hrs 03 Nov 2005 UTC 3943S
03533E Ref 515
One of the nastiest nights of my life. I feel gutted, drained,
pulverised. Not really sensible to sit here but show must go on. Laptop lashed
2 nav tbl across keybd.
This direct from scribbled notes from midnight ish:
Yest pm storm abated to gentle 30 kt or so. G&T around 5
because it had been that sort of day. Another instead of dinner - THAT sort of
day. I went to bed 1 hr - thought worst over - pete saw sun going down under
overcast - relieved him, black overcast again - 1 star faintly vis.
used to Berri being quite light inside @ night - instruments,
LEDs etc - now all off to conserve - no longer warm friendly light - blackness
- reaches out, surrounds, - envelops, grasps suffocates. Wind past shriek to
scream like persistent scream babies have designed to corrode insides of any
listener till shove bottle in mouth - problem is can't bottle feed storm in
SIO. Impotent & scared. Must sit, listen and be assaulted - drillls into
soul and starts to melt from inside.
Turned on inst - watched wind speed 2-3 minutes - never below
65. Later some massive gusts very much over - boat almost laid flat, wind
banshee. Can hear somewaves coming -xpress train roar - awful sickening wait
for crash and roll as arrives - roaring water, violent motion - some sneak up - complete silence,
shuddering crash, fear gripping totally - no remedy. Always fear that next one
will be THE one. Sitting as write on floor back to sink legs uphill feet on
side of nav tbl. Unsafe sleep in my bunk - might get hurled out again if anchoring
spectra takes out shelf - land on pete, both injured. Just sit/stand, sweat it
out. no way can sleep antway - pete says can sleep when knows I'm up fretting -
nicest thing heard for ages!
Every lull -lotts of them - is this the end of storm??
Perhaps easier with more experience - can't know but don't
think so. Made cuppa 4 p & self - mine completely lost as massive roll at
exact moment let go of mug on bench to hand pete his. Damn. PPPP start again -
something to do pass time. Wonder if will ever read this in comfy armchair with
Too much stuff on coachroof - catches water can't help it now -
Kevv0 wonderful took us along 120M last night - now 070ish -
big wind change fm N to W - on top of low? Went south of 40 during night, now back north.
Sort of happy grin to think storm Alby Tommy M having a laugh.
Amanda- gotcha - no probs - pse be nice to S Jinks RYA if too
Must write re diff between big boats small boats. Ocean 80 a
small ship - Berri a tiny plastic soapdish half length of cricket pitch. Much
smaller than waves - cant outrun, must cooperate with them as much as poss but
feel every single one.
Near knockdn 02/2302 getting worse - scary. loose stuff
hurtling cant secure everything. 2 big waves in succession. Erk! Gets bloody
uncomftble on floor.
Small abate - wake pete and get into his bunk - but wind abates
then slams back from soft silence to scream in an instant.
3 hours later - daylight - small drop - wind prob about 40 -
45. Hard tight lines of cloud to west
and around. Big big waves, blue translucent swimming pool tops, crashing light
blue foamy water in daylight. Fabulous lethal indifferent power.
03 Nov 2005 UTC 3927S 03546E Ref 516
DB: dmg 106 gps 118 75/35
In the residual turbulence after the storm. About 25 - 30 kt, 7
-8 mtr swell from west, occasionally breaking leaving smoky blue swathes behind
with foaming windlines. Confab half an hour ago and decided on conservative
approach - Berri rolling severely still, so just # 5 till swell abates so don't
roll poles into water. Big potentially showstopping mistake if do! Really need
twin poled 5 & 4 to get direction East but settled for about 030 for time
being. Amazing how much better it all feels in daylight!
Round about now must be shirt auction on Lord Howe. Wonder how
it's going and who won the race?
I was rabbiting on a couple of days ago about the joys of
seat-of-the-pants sailing. It's great for us cruising boozing Old Farts but of
course doesn't compute for the round the world racers who must know with great
precision exactly what is ahead and behind - they have the speed to go hunting
for favourable combinations of wind and current and they have the internet
access and communications to get real time data all the time. And the brains to
use it all.
The solar panel, even stowed under cloudy overcast gives us
half an amp - almost enough to keep us going on its own in sotp sailing mode.
Chris - thanks for Homer - rings bells everywhere, but he knew
the name of his Examiner - we don't know who we've offended. Hope there's a
nice Goddess out there looking out for us too. Hi Lindsay - thanks for your
note and yes. we are trying to get back in time to do the Sydney Hobart this
year. I'm glad you liked the pink albatrosses - so did we!
0415hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3840S
03708E Ref 517
It seems the Vogon Constructor Fleet has found someone else to
chuck around for a time. The little bus shelter has been relatively stable, the
studio is not in motion, although there is a virtual swell out there, coming in
from the SW that is so big that when we
are at the bottom of a trough, Berri loses the 15 kt or so breeze she's
headbutting into and stands up with flapping sails for a few moments. That's
With no weather info, we are much more on the alert fro changes
- monitoring the barometer every few hours and looking out of the window much
more. There is the beginning of s new system coming across from the west and
north that we will need towatch. Big high
cloud with depth and attitude.
We have a Xantrex battery monitor - wonderful gizmo, except
that in the various bits of electrical surgery we have performed during the
year, we must have left off a connection somewhere and the monitor no longer
measures the battery level, but it does give a very accurate indication of
current draw - we know, for instance, that the backlight on the GPS uses 0.1
amps, as does the computer screen. It allows us to be very careful in
conservation mode, and it nitpicks at me when I want to sit here and provide
you all with goat fodder. I've got so used to being able to mess around with
idle whimsy that it is a bit of a restriction. You may well notice a change in
style - I think I can feel the difference already.
Today's dmg is going to look very ordinary and unimpressive -
we have only been able to make about 050M in a headwind and tack through about
120 degrees in the slop and dying wind. Every day seems to require a drastic
change in ETA - I don't really have any
sort of feel for what is ahead, but it does not look immediately promising. I'm
pretty certain that we will have to go via Albany unless we get some more
usable wind than we have over the last couple of weeks.
Chris, I like the idea of Homer's position, but it's way beyond
my limited talents. There will be some ace navigators out there - are you there
Brooksie? - who could give it a whirl. In fact I would be surprised if it
hasn't been done somewhere already.
[ed: Based on the
star information in the quote, work out Odysseus' position and course
direction. Bear in mind the precession of the equinoxes and assume a date in
the summer of 1250 BCE. You may ask a classics scholar where people think
the 'Phaiakian land' was."
Maybe see what Aelx
Chris Nailer (Canberra)
Glorious Odysseus, happy
with the wind, spread sails
and taking his seat
artfully with the steering oar he held her
on her course, nor did
sleep ever descend on his eyelids
as he kept his eye on the
Pleiades and late-setting Bootes,
and the Bear, to whom men
give also the name of the Wagon,
who turns about in a
fixed place and looks at Orion,
and she alone is never
plunged in the wash of the Ocean.
For so Kalypso, bright
among goddesses, had told him
to make his way over the
sea, keeping the Bear on his left hand.
Seventeen days he sailed,
making his way over the water,
and on the eighteenth day
there showed the shadowy mountains
of the Phaiakian land
where it stood out nearest to him,
and it looked like a
shield lying on the misty face of the water.
Coming back from the
Aithiopians the strong Earthshaker (Poseidon)
saw him from far on the
mountains of the Solymoi. He was visible
sailing over the sea.
Poseidon was the more angered
with him, and shook his
head, and spoke to his own spirit:
11 hours to today's Consultation. My how the days drag from Con
to Con! It will be nice to once again inhabit a freely libatory bus shelter one
Big boats and small boats - Berrimilla is a very small boat for
the conditions out here in the studio. Even a pile of dead leaves tends to get
in the way and the starlings make a right mess. Ellen MacArthur's trimaran was
more that twice as long and about 5 times as wide, and the new Volvo boats are
similarly huge by comparison. They can outrun the waves and swell, surfing at
30 knots, go hunting for weather and fly huge reaching sails deep in the
southern ocean. We can't do any of this. Full stop. It's a bit like being in a
small car with small wheels on a corrugated Australian outback road, or an English
road full of potholes. The corrugations and potholes match the wheel diameter
so every tiny bump is transmitted via the suspension to the chassis. A truck
with huge wheels and lots of mass can more or less ignore them. In the same
way, Berrimilla, at about 10 metres, often matches the wavelength of some of
these short steep seas and stops every time she hits one, without time to get
going again before the next one. Exactly what's happening as I write - on
Sydney harbour in this wind, we'd be doing 6 knots - we are lucky to get 3 in
this slop, but the water T is low and it could mean that there is wind against
current and we are getting a boost. (Can't tell without instruments or proper
plot on chart. Too big a rearrangement needed for chart unless essential).
Also, Berri can be completely enveloped by big breaking crests. Although we are
driving the boat as hard as we dare, realistically we have to sail very
conservatively - almost timidly, sometimes, to preserve the boat and get her
home, in conditions in which the Volvo boats are designed to excel. They would
romp through this.
I've been watching our flock of black petrels - about 20 of
them, with a little grey one along for the ride and the occasional albatross or
two. They are aggressive scavengers - drop anything over the side and they are
onto it instantly - the one that happens to be in the right position on their
incessant orbits around our stern just drops on to it and the others all close
in. Sometimes they fly formation, usually with an albatross, perhaps trying to
shoo it away and when they can't see anyone on deck, they come in very close,
although I have noticed that they seem to be getting used to us and now often
fly over the cockpit. Perhaps just getting hungrier. If we have a camera out,
they seem to know and stay away. They are quite big birds, body about the size
of a wild duck, but they chitter and squeak like sparrows. Quite disconcerting.
I'm sure they are the same birds that have followed us for as long as I can
remember - Tristan maybe. Just like us, they are out there more or less in
survival mode all the time and I have a feeling of some sort of empathy - they
seem to be doing it very hard, because we are not the source of food they might
The last 50 odd days of this venture are going to be the
hardest 10k at the end of a marathon that I have ever run. Sheer, stoical
headbanging patience and dogged persistence required. All day, every day,
especially when the gin dries up and the Vogons are around.!
0900hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3858S
03722E Ref 518
Finished this at 3858 03722 04/0900 76/34 DMG 56, GPS
117 seems about right. 3739 to Albany,
perhaps 35 days if we're lucky.
1115hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 3905S
03723E Ref 519
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