FROM 1-12. 26°S-Nose Brazil

Apr 22 2005 - 1950hrs UTC

1950hrs 22 Apr 2005 UTC

Greetings all,
I have to answer a few questions.

Siobhan in sunny London asks “are you still enjoying it out there“.
Tonight I’m enjoying it,not so last night.

The same watch last night was a horror.We had lots of rain squalls, wind 5-35 kts from every direction short steep lumpy seas.The self steering couldn’t handle this so I hand steered standing in the rain.This watch starts with the moon going down and ends at dawn.In heavy cloud conditions it’s pitch black.Late in the watch I noticed the hint of a light to the left of our bow,you could only see it occasionally through the gloom.Thought it was a ship so switched on the radio ch.16.The light was steady on the bow but seemed to be moving left to right,then the light disappeared.Two things,it could in a rain squall or it could be something more sinister,a boat switching it’s lights off to avoid detection.I didn’t want to consider the second option,so altered course a little to the left and waited.Nothing on the radio and nothing sighted.After what seemed a bloody long time I had enough,I tacked the boat to port and moved 100 deg. further left. A little later it started to get light I looked astern and there emerging from the low cloud and gloom was this huge ship about a mile away. It was one of those modern box shaped slab sided grey megamonsters. The bit I enjoyed was watching him move quickly away from us. Was he aware of us I don’t know but at that distance we would definitely be a blip on his radar.

You seem concerned about other injuries and general miseries. Don’t be, all is well now ,Alex stubbed his big toe and later spent too long in the bath and ended up with grandpa fingers.

Other questions, are we worried about lightning.
Definitely but that result is in the lap of the gods. The mast and all major metal parts are earthed in the water via large earth plates. I think the boat will survive a strike,the problem is with the electronics they cannot handle a huge voltage surge we would lose gps,satphone,computer,HF radio,and all our instruments. Not a pleasant prospect but we could continue on using paper charts and celestial navigation which I have been practicing with good results. You also ask about problems now with the trade winds. In the seventies Jeanne and I were sensible and crossed the Atlantic and Pacific with the trades which blow from basically east to west behind us. We are now crossing the trades from south to north and because we are so far west now they are a headwind.

Your last question Berri’s longest voyage before this epic was about a thousand miles. Thanks Siobhan see you when we arrive.

John and Sherryl,congrats on the state title win,you deserve it. I didn’t see Sampi’s mark but those guys seem to have an uncanny knack of knowing where the ball will end up even before it’s kicked. They have a natural hand eye control perhaps this transfers in some way to a feel for the helm and what this is telling you about the boat’s speed direction etc.

Jeanne is in Perth at the moment visiting our daughter Eve who now lives there and is working on an oil rig offshore. From the emails they both love the west especially Margaret River area,Jeanne is due back in Sydney today teaching starts again Monday.

Woc when I get back I might take up rowing. Calm seas Mosman Rowers for G and T’s at sunset it all sounds good. We will definitely see you in England for a beer in July. Tell me Woc how was the sphincter performing during the three hour wait for the final result. Once again Cam congrats on a huge effort it must make all the work and pain worthwhile it’s a great honor to represent your country.

I have a question:

When is the dog watch,is it the one that finishes just before dawn. Why is it called the dog watch, is it something to do with the dog star visible in the northern latitudes?

[ed: responses are summarised here]

That’s all for now we’ll talk again later cheers Pete.

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