Berrimilla's Adventures

1st circumnavigation

Her first circumnavigation, with Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier as crew, started with the 2004 Sydney- Hobart yacht race, continued from Hobart via Cape Horn and the UK and back to Sydney around the Cape of Good Hope in time for the 2005 Sydney-Hobart race.

While in the UK she competed in the Fastnet race and finished 11th overall out of 300 and second in the Double Handed division.

As a result of this achievement, there is now a Berrimilla Dogbowl Trophy for the best double hander from Class 4 in the Fastnet Race.

During this circumnavigation, while crossing the Southern Ocean towards Cape Horn and later in the South Atlantic, Berrimilla’s nearest neighbours for a short time each day were the crew of the International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Dr.Leroy Chiao and Russian Cosmonaut Colonel Salizhan Sharipov. The ISS was in orbit about 300 km above and the two crews were in contact several times. They recognised the similarity of their situations.

Pascal Lee’s map

Berrimilla’s crew were subsequently invited to present their voyage to a symposium of astronauts at Louisiana State University as an analogue for a journey into deep space. At the symposium, Dr. Pascal Lee who runs the Houghton Mars Project camp on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, drew a map in Alex’ notebook and invited Berrimilla to rendezvous at Beechey Island (74.42N 091.46W) for the total solar eclipse on August 1st 2008.

2nd circumnavigation

The second circumnavigation started on April 8th 2008 with Alex and Corrie McQueen as crew. Berrimilla sailed directly from Sydney to the Aleutians and then via the North West Passage to Falmouth in England where she was laid up for the winter.

En route, she sailed to within 40 miles of Beechey Island but called off the rendezvous because of dangerous ice conditions.

The original intention was to return to Australia from the UK via the Northern Sea Route – the North East Passage north of Russia – but the permit to do so arrived too late for a safe transit before the 2009 winter freeze.

Accordingly, after sailing the 2009 Fastnet, Berrimilla returned to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope, with stops at Lisbon, Cape Town and the Kerguelen Islands, arriving back in Sydney in March 2010. Peter Crozier was back aboard for this voyage.[map]

Between circumnavigations

Between circumnavigations, Berrimilla was rolled, severely damaged and dismasted south east of Gabo Island while returning from the 2006 Sydney – Hobart. Subsequent repairs took about 6 months.