Long way from home ... Alex
Whitworth takes Berrimilla around
Photo: Alex Whitworth
Sometime over the next few days, in the South Atlantic, one of the more unlikely rendezvous will take place between the International Space Station and a small yacht sailed by a couple of Sydney men.
Alex Whitworth, owner and skipper of the 10-metre yacht Berrimilla, and Peter Crozier have arranged to shine a super-strength spotlight towards the heavens as the spacecraft passes overhead.
Whitworth said he was certain the men aboard the spacecraft would be able to see it.
As a piece of science it is not worth much, but Whitworth feels it is all about people, isolated and with little hope of rescue if something goes wrong, reaching out to each other and sharing a common bond.
Whitworth and Crozier left
Two weeks ago they rounded that
Everest of sailing, Cape Horn, and made for the
The voyage has had its uplifting moments and, said Whitworth, some terrifying ones.
Whitworth and Crozier sailed Berrimilla to a class win in the infamous 1998 Sydney-Hobart race but said that last year's race was the worst weather they had ever seen. But, said Whitworth, not any more.
And it was while sitting thousands of kilometres from land that Whitworth thought about the International Space Station. He estimated they were so far from anywhere that when it went overhead they were probably the closest human beings around.
He recorded it in his log, which is
emailed regularly to friends in
After the rendezvous, Berrimilla
will continue northwards, hoping to arrive in
In between, they are planning to catch up with Dr Chiao who returns to Earth in April.