1-20. Belmore and Pete swims


Logs ( 25 )

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 10, 2005 - 0530hrs ITC

0530hrs 10 Sep 2005 UTC 13’59”N 024’50”W Ref 346
The Cape Verdes were the first of the two big corners – now 50 miles astern, no Dancers evident, Brian, and now it’s the lonely sea and the sky for 90 days or so. It’s been quite slow and the run rate required is increasing – apologies to those not familiar with one-day cricket and the complex mathematics that every team captain has to master. I said earlier that we are sailing quite conservatively – we are, but we’re acutely conscious of the run rate and the fact that every mile scored here comes off the rate required and lowers the mountaintop – if that isn’t mixing metaphors too radically. So we’ve had the kite up for probably 50% of the time – and now we’re heading south and burning a bit more diesel on a flat calm mirror in thick haze. We have to get through the convergence zone into the Trades as fast as possible and then we will be pushed westwards again, I think, across the equator and towards the back of the high. Meanwhile, the numbers go on clicking over. We use the solar panel whenever possible, especially when it is so windless, because the turbine drag is worth 0.2 knot or 4.8 miles a day. Doesn’t matter so much when we’re doing 6 or 7.

I’ve been roundly and severeally chastised for even implying that Boags comes from Hobart when everyone knows it is brewed in Launceston. Sorry, Scott – serious lapse, senior moment even – just wanted to make sure you were still awake.

I saw the biggest meteorite – or whatever it was – I’ve ever seen last night. Huge glowing ball with a wide trail that lasted, it seemed, for several seconds. It was going more or less from south to north and it disappeared behind a cloud before it burnt up, so I couldn’t follow it all the way.

From Luis V.

Gentlemen, Been following your voyage through your web site. Vicariously sailing alongside. Thanks for the great updates.

We are constantly amazed at the number and variety of people reading this stuff – youse-all are all over the world – Luis, thanks for your note – do you sail on the Lake? How did you find us?

From Martin S., Barbados

From Barbados – Happy birthday Peter !!

I guess you are about 4 hours ahead of us, and I am being a night owlie here (it is 0215), so the sun must be up on your side of the Atlantic, and I guess you are having a special birthday breakfast fairly imminently with bacon sarnies (next time try Bajan pepper sauce instead of Tabasco – infinitely superior product!) – and of course an in depth consultation with whoever is available at the time.

Happy 60th Pete! Youze all are not such old geezers really – my dad is 74 and a keen sailor, altho he might balk at the prospect of undertaking a voyage like what the Berris are currently doing…..

Anyways, as Hugh wrote in his Berri article, and which YM had the editorial stupidity to omit, we shall dip our lids to the Berris today and join them in a virtual consultation, never mind that we are almost 2,000 miles west of youze at the mo.

Fair winds, and happy sailing times ahead – and look after that Dublin Doctor on board!

With best wishes from Martin in Barbados (and all the fan club who I have shanghaiied to be Berri followers)

Martin – nice to have news from Barbados – keep it coming. Glad you liked the Original Hugh version – so did we. Seems The Editor has worked his magic on Jo’s YW MO as well, but I hope you will get both versions. Still haven’t heard Trudi – will try harder. At 1411 GMT we are exactly 2100 miles east of you.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 10, 2005 - 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 10 Sep 2005 UTC 13’45”N 024’48”W Ref 347

DB: 97.10905 (GPS 100) Excruciatingly slow day – still on and off the tractor. We’re down to 150 ltrs – hardly worth onselling, Is, even at a quid a litre. At 5 degrees North, about 500 miles ahead, we will be half way down the Atlantic and about a quarter of the way home. Say day 26, or 104 days all up. Idle speculation still, but the numbers are starting to firm.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 10, 2005 - 1630hrs UTC

1630hrs 10 Sep 2005 UTC 13’20”N 024’49”W Ref 348

From Pete:

Pete’s birthday

Hello to everyone out there,

First, a big thankyou to everyone who emailed, phoned, and sent cards, what a wonderful response from all out there.

When I got up to take over for the morning watch, Berri’s cockpit lifelines etc. were covered in balloons Alex had spent his watch creating a carnival atmosphere for the following day. It being such an important day several consultations would be required. To maintain the required limit a noggin at the change of each watch was decided on, beginning with a taste of Dr. Boag’s best (thanks Laura). Little to no wind was the order of the day but our efforts to keep the boat moving were rewarded when late in the afternoon Santo Antao was sighted barely visible through the haze. This island was the last one we passed of the Cape Verde group and perhaps the last land sighting till Tasmania.

This may be the problem or perhaps its the light fickle winds and resultant slow progress, we need things to liven up.

Right now I think both of us would appreciate a decent blow from any direction. With the last passage from Falklands to Falmouth by the time we were in the soft spots around the equator we were half way there. With this final jaunt I think we will be about a quarter of the way, it now becomes a mind thing to stay focused and enthused. The heat and humidity don’t help, good books, music and crosswords provide a diversion but there is nothing better than a good breeze and the boat flying in the right direction to lift the spirits.

I’ve just been outside to check things,the wind has improved we’re now getting 4 knots slightly west of south…not bad.

The sun has gone down the breeze is warm and soft on the face the sky in the west is a beautiful wash of greys pink and mauve.

Can you just forget what I said about needing a big blow or some other drama to liven things up,I think I’ll make a nice cup of tea then go and contemplate that sky for awhile.

                                                         Cheers …Pete.

  ps. Isabella thanks for the cake with attitude it went down a treat with a short snort of Alex’s port.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 11, 2005 - 0415hrs UTC │Facial Reconstruction, Blind Spots

0415hrs 11 Sep 2005 UTC 12’45”N 024’53”W Ref 349

There’s a layer of haze all around the horizon and a very bright star or planet in the SE, just below Orion’s left foot and just above the haze – it is so bright that it has its own sparkling reflection on the water fleshing towards us and sometines disappearing behind what’s left of a NW swell. The star itself changes colour through all the primaries (Richard Of York Gained Battles In Vain and all that) presumably because the tiny water droplets in the atmosphere act as little prisme with ever changing faces. Noice. Very.

On Imperfections #1: We all have a blind spot in each eye where the optic nerve meets the retina – there’s an easy way to find it if anyone wants to try – but I have an especially big one in my left eye as a result of an injury 40 years ago. Once a year or so, I sit in front of Michael G’s Field of Vision testing box and have tiny pinpoints of light flashed at me by a computer to check that the blind spot is stable. Michael, out here, I can do an instant FoV – just close the right eye and a lot of stars go out in that rather familiar comma shape that indicates the damage to the left retina. Good fun – and much nicer surroundings! The point being that I am especially conscious of both blind spots, but particularly the big one, as I sit here at the computer. There’s a row of blinking LED’s on the dreaded USB gizmo at eye level to my left and if I look down at the keyboard and back up, one or more LED’s sometimes disappear into the blind spot and I have the momentary surge of doubt – did it really go out? Is the damn thing shutting down again. Keeps one one one’s toes – or something. Bum bone?

Imperfections #2: The right side of my face is shored up with chicken wire and a handful of titanium screws – the result of the foredeck incident that Hugh talks about (and fixed up by another Michael G, by coincidence as I’ve just realised) – looks good in some dental xrays – and, because the injury distorted the original arrangement, I have an improvised tear duct drilled through a bit of face bone from the inboard end of the eye into the nasal passage. Makes for an interesting sensation when I blow my nose. In the local heat and humidity, I can actually feel all this stuff in my face – not as a painful sensation but I’m conscious that it’s there. There’s a spot of face under the eye where the nerves have gone and I have no feeling yet that bit particularly seems to be talking to me. Fascinating.
Hope you’re all enjoying your coffee!

Back in tractor mode – the equation is getting some form now, as we reduce our fuel and can see what might be left of the job it has to do. We are part way through the Doldrums – with a bit of luck, this week should see them off, and then we should be in the trades to the back of the high in the S Atlantic (Steve or Mal, could you please give me a rough fix on its centre?) and then we might get caught by the Horse Latitudes if we are not careful, so more tractoring. We should just have enough if we conserve whenever possible, and as long as the Ampair and the Solar panel keep working and we don’t need the engine to charge the batteries. It will be something to keep monitoring all the way in.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 11, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 11 Sep 2005 UTC 12’29”N 024’45”W Ref 350

DB : 75, 10830 (GPS 80) fuel remaining approx 140ltr. Assy just back up, hdg 174M, 6 kts – be nice if it lasts for a day or two – grib says a day anyway.

I have just realised – although I’ve been subconsciously aware all along, I think, that when the motherboard in the HF radio was replaced in Lymington, it came with a completely different program of user programmable frequencies – not Marc’s Australian oriented version with all the PentaComstat and NZ channels. So – I have to find the Penta handbook and reprogram 160 user frequencies. Really easy for most of them but Marc’s chart doesn’t give the actual frequency for the ‘channels’ 408, 608 etc. And then find the ham frequencies which it is useful to have programmed even though we are not allowed to use them except in emergency. So will have to do some unpacking to find the right filing box and the manual.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 11, 2005 – 1430hrs UTC

1430hrs 11 Sep 2005 UTC 11’59”N 024’34”W Ref 351

1159 02434 11/1430

As we move more or less south down the longitudes, progress seems very slow – every degree of latitude is 60 nm so at best we can knock off a couple per day and the longitude doesn’t change much. As we cross the equator and start counting up the latitudes again, we may also be able to work our way east, but still rather slowly, and the degrees of longitude near the equator are nearly 60 miles as well. But further down, as we really turn for home below Africa, the longitudes are much closer together and we will start reeling them off relatively fast. Roll on the day, but there’s still about 3800 miles to go – a bit over a month if all goes well.

Started programming the HF – too hot to do much – the sweat rolls off down here out of the breeze but progress – I’ve done 40 channels including the Penta Comstat duplexes.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 11, 2005 – 2330hrs UTC

2330hrs 11 Sep 2005 UTC 11’07”N 024’20”W Ref 352

We’ve been hand steering all day – since 0900 – with the assy pulling us along at about 7 knots in an erratic and gusty north easterly and a biggish swell – neither autopilot copes with it particularly well but we’re making up some time. Ship out to port, only the second since the Canaries. I have worked out a procedure for bringing the laptop back after a USB event and it’s not nearly so much of a threat – I can now get it back up in about 5 minutes instead of 30 – 40 – so I’m going to experiment with the AIS version of SoB (now closed down and completely disconnected) to see whether it was part of the problem or just incidental. Would be really nice to be able to see the ship out there on the laptop along with its MMSI and other details. Watch this space.

Really wild and empty out here – I was hit by a moment this morning during which I was acutely conscious of the emptiness and the elemental void so to speak. There is a very long NW swell – about 300 meres long, 3-4 metres high – with a cross swell over it from the north and on top of any two of these, you look down and across to the next few in line and feel very small indeed. Not quite as wild and scary as the southern ocean warehouses with roaring rolling tumbling crests but awesome all the same. I suppose I could do the sums and estimate how many more we will cross between here and Oz – but only if I get desperate for something to do.

Aiming to cross the equator at about 24W and head for the back of the high – think I may have told you this already – and we seem to be almost out of the ITCZ and the Doldrums.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 12, 2005 – 0300hrs UTC

0300hrs 12 Sep 2005 UTC 10’48”N 024’16”W Ref 353
Just back at the coal face and the wind has dropped again and the moon has gone. Tea bag has probably stewed enough so will go and squeeze it.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 12, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 12 Sep 2005 UTC 10’24”N 024’05”W Ref 354
DB: 131, 10699 (GPS 133) so even hitting 7 knots for a lot of the day doesn’t make a huge difference – I know the log over reads by about 2% as well – but a good day and we’re still in the same breeze altho it’s a bit weaker.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 12, 2005 - 1245hrs UTC

1245hrs 12 Sep 2005 UTC 10’07”N 023’57”W Ref 355

Now only 607 miles to the equator, perhaps 300 to the trades. That would take us to 5N, half way down the Atlantic from Fmth to 40S. Too hot by half – and the laptop is hot to the touch. We are making about 5 litres of water per day to stay ahead, using the solar panel alone. Too hot to sleep during the day, not hungry, just grinding out the miles between Consultations. The very best moment is the first sip of G&T at about 5pm each day – even though it’s warm and we’ve used the last of the lemons and are into bottled lemon juice. The first one with ice in it in three months or so will be a bit special, like the one Isabella made for us in Falmouth on June 3. We have a makeshift Coolgardie fridge keeping the ready use potions a couple of degrees cooler, but they are still at about 30 degrees –  the sea is 31 degrees. Roll on the southern ocean – whoever wants to sail the tropics is welcome. I think I’m whingeing too much – where’s that goat? Does anyone know the name of the second goat, Corelli’s restitution? Does anyone care?? The little things that occupy the mind in a tiny, hot world.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 13, 2005 - 0330hrs UTC │Cattle Egret I

0330hrs 13 Sep 2005 UTC 09’22”N 023’18”W Ref 356

We’ve just dropped the assy and reverted to tractor after nearly 2 days of great reaching – I hope the grib is correct and we’ll get a south easterly later today, which, if it holds, might become the top of the SE trades. Woohoo. Meanwhile, the old bus shelter gets sniffed and watered by all the local mongrels and we carry on fantasising about ocean voyages in our tiny concrete world.

From Sarah Crozier

hi pet-eo, happy birthday and happy fathers day and all that jazz.  all is good on the home front, not much to report.  Do have some good news – Mel had a baby girl called Hannah, at about 10.15pm on friday, same birthday as you, 60 years apart. pretty cool, eh? I went to see them last night, very very cute.  any way, hope all is well, take care, see you in 3 months. Have you caught any fish yet?

Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, “”How old was your husband “”98,”” she replied.””Two years older than me.”” “”So you’re 96,”” the undertaker commented. She responded, “”Hardly worth going home is it?””

A 97 year old man goes into his doctor’s office and says, “”Doc, I want my sex drive lowered.”” “”Sir””, replied the doctor, “”You’re 97. Don’t you think your sex drive is all in your head?”” “”You’re darned right it is!”” replied the old man. “”That’s why I want it lowered!””

An elderly woman from Brooklyn decided to prepare her will and make her final requests. She told her Rabbi she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Bloomingdales. “”Bloomingdales?”” the Rabbi exclaimed. “”Why Bloomingdales?”” “”Then I’ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.””

Three old guys are out walking. First one says, “”Windy, isn’t it?”” Second one says, “”No, it’s Thursday!”” Third one says, “”So am I. Let’s go get a beer.””

A man was telling his neighbour, “”I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but its state of the art. It’s perfect.”” “”Really,”” answered the neighbour. “”What kind is it?”” “”Twelve thirty.””

From Jennifer

Optic nerves:     

Pete, just read your log entry about your eyes and face. Particularly interesting for me because I’m just finishing first year psych and spen the entire year doing experiments with vision and depth perception. That’s the first log I’ve read in a while, although Brian keeps me up to date with what’s happpening.

Clear skies and fair winds to you

A bit of a catch up – thanks for the jokes, John H and Sarah; Jen, how does that stuff fit into first year psych? I’ve taken part in lots of those experiments, mostly years ago and mostly for medical students. I hope you two are planning to come across for the Coming Home party.

From John C.

The phone call mentioned in Sitrep: 0900hrs 09 Sep 2005 UTC Ref 342 was me. Very clear from my end but must have been difficult for Pete. I was sitting on the Bateman’s Bay yacht club mariner on my way south. Unfortunately driving – not sailing. Fascinating to think a mobile phone can talk to a bus shelter in the mid Atlantic. Keep up the pretence for us land lubbers to dream about. Cheers and good sailing to you both

John C, Hilary told us it must have been you – Pete just missed your name in the static.

From Diana H.

Subject: solar storm

.. apprntly major inc in solar flare activty in recent days may affect computer equipment?  effectively an electromagnetic pulse that goes on and on? dunno what it does to radios?

take care

And, talking of static, thanks Diana, solar flares really mess up radio propagation but I don’t think they harm the radio itself. Every time I log into sailmail, the saildocs computer in Washington updates my propagation calculator with sunspot activity and solar flux info – clever and the calculator is astonishingly accurate. Will write separately about a PB idea that’s been simmering.

From Kate G.

Alex & Peter – What an excursion.  Have had to print out a few days of The Log (subject to Copyright 2005) to accompany me through the wilds of Warnie’s bowling tonight. Fine sailing to you. Cheers K. 

Hi Kate – we heard about The Ashes – probably a Good Thing for cricket, tho it hurts. Hope the log was sufficiently interesting to overcome the loss.

From Martin Z., Vienna, Austria

“greetings from vancouver, canada and vienna, austria etc” “During my stay at at a medical congress in Vancouver last week I had the opportunity to have an evening party where Michael Giblin, an ophthalmologist from Australia, was present.

We talked about this and that and also about sailing. I told him that  I recently had bought  a small sailing boat which I now use for sailing in an Austrian lake close to Vienna.

I told him that this ship type, SHARK 24, was already used to cross the Atlantic.

So it was not so far that Mr. Giblin told me about your journey and gave me your homepage address.

I take the opportunity to send the best greetings of Mr. Giblin and me and we are looking forward to a good end of your journey.

Michael Z from Vancouver and Vienna – thanks for your good wishes and glad you found us – welcome to the bus shelter – a shark in a Vienna lake must frighten the locals a bit perhaps – happy sailing. It must be almost the end of your season – does the lake freeze? Michael G – a Junketeer? Hope you enjoyed it – Vancouver is spectacular. Send us a note when you get back and I’ll write to you.

From Malcom Robinson

Hi guys – and very happy belateds to Pete! – keep the beard on Pete, otherwise nobody will believe that you’re 60 :-)  

We celebrated Pete’s birthday by taking Wildfire in her first (semi)proper race down to North Bruny. We’re not sure who came second – by the time they got near the line (45 minutes later) we were too far away to see :-)) Total fluke of course – all the others stayed on the eastern shore while we went west and snuck along in our own little zephyr.

I’ve just started watching the South Atlantic high and at the moment it looks really weird
- sausage of high pressure NW to SE
- current centre (1028) is at 45S 010E (SW of Cape Town) with ridge (1024) extending NW to 20S 025W
-  Low of 1004 at 35S 005W (W of Cape Town) has a fairly localised influence
- looks like SE winds west of 015W and S winds east of there
- yuk

I been thinking seriously about the S/H and as honoured as I am to have been invited and as much fun as it would have been, have decided to give it a miss this year. There are several reasons but the biggy is that I reckon that I’ve had my turns and I’d love to see Catherine and/or Stephen have a go this time. I’m also really looking forward to coming out and meeting you and getting photos of you as you round Tasman Island.

And irrespective of that, I’ll also come and say g’day as you go past Tassie on your way home, no matter which end of the island you decide to go past! Sail safely guys!

Mal, you’ll have to sandbag a bit – remember Dennis Conner? – so they don’t mess with your handicap. Sounds good – next stop LHI lagoon? We’ll miss you on the S2H. Thanks re SA high – we also have our own Oracle who has clocked in again, so with the 2 of you on side, we should crack it. If there happens to be a good ISS pass any time, it’s pretty cloudless here at the mo – but don’t bother with regular updates – i don’t think they will talk to us again, but it’s nice to know they are up there. I think we may be closer to Africa than them at the mo.

And Malcom did the numbers – seems we’ve crossed over a million primary wave crests since Sydney and we’ve only got 785455 to go 785454 785453…zzzz We could put numbers on the 2 Most Significant Waves, I suppose.

From Roger W.

Simon & I will get your application for entry in; once that’s accepted it will be the entry itself, which we will also handle. The application requires 50% of crew for crew experience so I have included John Van O, no probs if you have to change later. I will keep my eye on entry dates etc.

Roger and Simon, many thanks – I’ll write separately.

Squeeze the bag time – must keep up the fluids. Is S.W. Bag still out there Steve?

G’day to the kids at Belmore South Primary
[from Alex] To 5/6 P and 5/6 S Hi from Pete and Alex in Berrimilla. This is Alex writing – Pete will have a go later, when he wakes up (we have to take it in turns to sleep) Its really good to know you’re out there. We are about 400 nautical miles off the coast of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa and it’s the middle of the night as I write. It’s hot and even this far out, I can smell the land – don’t know what the smell is but it’s there. Car fumes, dog poo, rotting leaves, the scent of flowers just like Sydney, I expect. The sea water is about as warm as an indoor pool in Sydney and it’s really sweaty even now at night. The Atlantic here is about 6 kilometres deep and it’s a funny feeling to be on top of that much water. There were dolphins all around us earlier – we could here them surfacing and snorting as they breathe and they make lovely phosphorescent trails in the water. Our actual position at this moment is 09 degrees 18 minutes North, 023 degrees 17 minutes West, which puts us 557 nautical miles north of the equator.

We’re in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ which is just a fancy name for what old sailors used to call The Doldrums and where they hated going because there is never much wind and it’s always hot and unpleasant and they could be stuck here for weeks. We’re lucky because we have an engine so we can still move even when there’s no wind. The ITCZ is where the very hot air that moves around the earth on either side of the equator mixes with the cooler air coming down from the north. Because the air masses are moving in slightly different directions there are big swirls where the two masses mix – just like when cigarette smoke rises in the air – and these swirls, called tropical waves, sometimes go on to become tropical hurricanes like Katrina.

Steve or Mal, any chance you could put up a link to relevant bit of the wind chart on one of the weather sites?
[like this?]

That’s probably enough guff from me – we’d really like to hear from you if you would like to write to us with your news or questions. There’s not much happening out here and and it would give us something interesting to do.

Best wishes to you all from

[from Pete]
Hi kids Pete here, it was good to learn that you are interested in what we are doing on the other side of the world.
I’ve been on watch for about one and a half hours now, I didn’t get much sleep in my 3 hours off, probably because I went to bed all hot and sweaty. Just before Alex took over we had to pull down the big spinnaker sail which had been slowly hauling us across the water in very little wind. Putting everything away after we drop this sail takes some time and running around the rolling deck in the dark to do this work makes you very hot. I should have stayed on deck and cooled off before going below as it’s very hot in the cabin with the engine running, too late to worry about that now I’ll try to catch up on my sleep later.
About half an hour ago the sun came up at about 7.30 am. UTC. This means that the sun was going down in Sydney at about this time, perhaps you could work out for me what time sunrise and sunset are in Sydney using UTC time (UTC used to be known as Greenwich Mean Time). I couldn’t see the sun till it was about 5 degrees above the horizon due to the heavy haze over the water. Time gets a little complicated when you’re at sea. We have to keep our watches on UTC because all our information (weather etc.) is transmitted at certain times during the day in UTC time. At the moment local time and UTC are about one and a half to two hours apart which is ok but once we get past the bottom of Africa and start sailing due east the two time frames start to separate quickly and you end up having your breakfast with your watch saying it’s midnight.
Sorry if I’ve been waffling on about this time problem but I think it’s important. With international communications so easy these days via the internet business is going on 24 hours a day and that’s the way of the future.

I just went out to see if there were any ships about and there was this pure white ( except for its black tail feathers ) bird,circling around the boat. Sometimes they hitch a ride on the boat for a few hours and have a rest. We have not seen that many birds recently, it will be good to get further south where once again we will meet up with the big beautiful albatross. Did you know that they sleep while flying, how efficient is that bird.
Cheers for now, hope to hear from you soon…….Pete.

ps. I’ve just been up on deck again and that bird did stop for a rest, it was up on the bow of the boat. Had a good look at it this time, it has long thin legs like a shallow water feeder. It also has a long orange coloured beak and the top of its head is an orange colour.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 13, 2005 - 1030hrs UTC

1030hrs 13 Sep 2005 UTC 09’01”N 023’10”W Ref 357

DB: 96, 10603 (gps 99) Slow, but we’re creeping south out of the ITCZ so it’s progress.

Apologies – it should have been Martin, not Michael Z. from Vienna in my last note – good sailing Martin.

Back with the tractor – just transferred fuel from Jerries into tank – very messy business and hot and sweaty too. We’re both pretty cheesy – same clothes for days, but you don’t seem to get really smelly – just that sensual Havarti/ Gorgonzola/ Roquefort/ Parmesan whiff around the pits and crutch every now and again. Clothes permanently damp – no point whatever in changing them because in 10 minutes, the next lot will be just as bad. I rinse mine in fresh water every ten days or so and I’ve got two sets going – one ready for use and one cheesy. The water goes an interesting colour – maybe one for Kim or Jude to analyse?

We have a lovely visitor – an Egret or Heron – about 30 cm high, sturdy legs with huge four toed feet with big claws, wider that its body, a beigey gold crest and with a touch of the same colour on its breast feathers, golden beak, about 4-5 cm long, bright golden irises with brown rings around the edges and brown pupils and the brightest snowy white feathers. It stands on the foredeck and flies off if we approach but doesn’t go far and returns. We’ve put water up there, but it seems to be a very long way from home and sadly, I don’t like it’s chances of finding its way back. It can only stay with us until we start sailing to windward again, so it will get a rest anyway. Looks like one of those birds that walk on water-lily leaves and catch tiny fish.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 13, 2005 - 1530hrs UTC

1530hrs 13 Sep 2005 UTC 08’48”N 023’03”W Ref 358

A Snowy Egret perhaps? – it is very firmly still with us and seems to be getting used to having us around – it just flies from one end of the boat to the other as we do sail changes (we’ve had the assy up and down twice and the #1 once since this morning – hot and dripping work and ones eyes start to get filled with sweat and sting). It drinks water from a dogbowl, but doesn’t seem to go for biscuits. It would probably prefer something slimy – a worm or a snail or small fish and insects. All of which we ain’t got – anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps dissolve biscuits in the water bowl? Boot ferals are all in hiding and anyway, would probably poison it. Perhaps a Consultation?

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 13, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC

2330hrs 13 Sep 2005 UTC 08’19”N 022’44”W Ref 359

I’m a real scaredy-puss when it comes to lightning and I’ve just spent the last couple of hours going round the back of a big thunder cloud with lots of lightning and the classic roll along the front. Motoring on a glassy sea to start with, then the wind came in and we were able to sail

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 14, 2005 - 0330hrs UTC

0330hrs 14 Sep 2005 UTC 08’05”N 022’31”W Ref 360

Still trying to sail again after another 3 hours of tractor – wind almost dead on the nose but at least it’s there for the mo. Amazing Egret has stood on the foredeck under tacking #1 – has real sea legs and just sways with the boat’s motion on those huge feet. Don’t know what to do about it – it will surely die if it stays with us, but it doesn’t know how to leave and won’t go. Still have thunderstorms around us. Propagation abysmal so may not be able to send this for perhaps 24 hours

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 14, 2005 - 0945hrs UTC

0945hrs 14 Sep 2005 UTC 07’41”N 022’14”W Ref 361

DB 98, 10505 (gps 89 – more crashes) Not a happy day, but stll progress. Visiting bird won’t go away – tried everything last night but it kept finding us again. It’s now sitting looking at me over the stormboard. Young and curious. And now it’s poking into the cockpit drain looking for food. There doesn’t seem to be anything we can give it – we’ll try canned fish and meat later.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 14, 2005 – 1300hrs UTC

1300hrs 14 Sep 2005 UTC 07’33”N 021’59”W Ref 362

Still surrounded by thunderstorms. Only able to make 135M at 3 kt using the tractor and sails to punch thro the sea and swell. It’s like that awful time in a marathon – usually hits me at about 12k – where I think I feel dreadful, want to stop, go home, anything but run another 30k. So I have to tell myself that I started so I’ve got to finish and anyway what’s wrong with a bit of pain and perseverance – it will end eventually. And it does. But this bit is not much fun, especially as we seem to be stuck here for the time being. We are nearly a quarter of the way along the track, which helps.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 14, 2005 - 1600hrs UTC │Cattle Egret II

1600hrs 14 Sep 2005 UTC 07’24”N 022’01”W Ref 363

moving again, surrounded by squally rainclouds – #3 and a reef, best we can do is 4kt on 250 – heading for the hump of S. America for as long as it lasts. Woohoo. Not long as it turned out – back on 120, big sewll, short lumpy sea all over the place on top of it – can’t make any real progress in any direction but heading for the back (I hope!) of a huge storm cloud – thick, black, scuddy low cloud in front, extends from dead ahead back to our starboard quarter. Looks quite nasty.

The bird flew away with a bit of persuasion – sad to see it go, but really its best chance of survival. Seemed quite comfortable sitting on the water, so it may get home.

[from Hilary Yerbury, Alex’s far better other half]
Subject: That bird
Is a cattle egret. I won’t make comments about what it is doing with you two. So, you are right that it needs a diet of insects and worms. What is it doing where there are no cattle of the four-legged kind? Either running away to Brazil or on its way back home after a holiday somewhere. Cattle egrets do cross the Atlantic from Africa to South America on rare occasions, although normally they are happier among the lowing herds.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 15, 2005 - 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 15 Sep 2005 UTC 06’34”N 022’08”W Ref 364

Have just spoken to Steve after one of the worst nights ever in my sailing career. As if the Vogon Constructor Fleet parked itself at Fox studios with nowt to do so thought it would indulge in a bit of idle chuck-the-bus-shelter. Plus emptying their water tankers by superjet. So they picked us up in their grapplers and flung us about through the jets – farting and growling and grumbling amongst themselves. Not for fun or anything – they don’t do fun – just because they were there.

Seems we can’t escape this nasty strip of evil weather system – storm clouds everywhere, wind from everywhere, short lumpy sea on big swell from nowhere in particular. And no visible sign of improvement over 48 hours so far. 10 kts to 40 kts from anywhere, but trend from the south. Sail changes, tacks to nothing, headsail up and down, tedious. But could be much worse.

DB: 60, 11543 (gps 99) Yuk! 39 wasted miles…

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 15, 2005 – 1300hrs UTC

1300hrs 15 Sep 2005 UTC 06’29”N 022’16”W Ref 365

0629 02216 15/1300 – we seem to be in a steady southerly at last – what we were expecting when we trekked east from the Cape Verdes to give us the angle when it arrived. Here’s hoping it sticks and carries us into the trades proper and then lifts us east of Fernando de Noronha and down to Trindade. Cross your fingers for us.

[more for Belmore South…]

Hi – this is Alex in Berrimilla in some awful weather just off the Gulf of Guinea. We are surrounded by big storm clouds and heavy rain and it’s hot and sweaty even at night. We have just started to get a steady wind from the south, so we are hoping that we can sail over towards Brazil and then down the coast of South America. We are heading to pass close to a tiny island called Trindade, part of the Ihlas San Martin Vaz group of islands belonging to Brazil at 20 degrees 27 minutes south, 28 degrees 44 minutes west. See if you can find them on a map – they are pretty small.

It’s really nice to be able to talk to you all, even in this rather clumsy way and we’d like to hear from you too if you are interested. We are going to be sailing towards Australia for another 90 days or so. We send these emails over a high frequency radio – a bit stone age these days with satellite phones and other high tech goodies, but it works. Unfortunately, we can’t send photos. Probably just as well – we’re not the prettiest – I’ve worn the same clothes for 10 days now and they are damp and cheesy, but it saves water if we don’t wash them. As for water – we need about 6 litres per day to survive, cook, shave and all those things. We brought about 200 litres with us from England and we have a watermaker called a Reverse Osmosis de-salinator which gets the salt out of sea water by passing it through a membrane. It’s clever and necessary – we could save some rain water, but not much and it’s always salty

I hope you enjoy your class

Best wishes from Alex.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 16, 2005 - 00hrs UTC│Pete's Swim

00hrs 16 Sep 2005 UTC 05’41”N 022’51”W Ref 366

From Grahame McL

I’ve just read the article in Yachting Monthly here in UK and now gone on to your site. I think what you’re doing is sensational and I wish I was doing one of the legs with you both. I’m a composer and conductor and also run a music publishing company. My main hobby was flying for the past 25 years or so but I did my yachting exams at night school a few years ago just to keep learning something new. Last year my partner Lyn (Kiwi) and I bought a 36′ Legend at the boat show, enlisted the help of Tom Wilkinson, a well known RYA Examiner in UK and did the day skipper course. Neither of us had sailed before and it looked daunting. On the morning Tom arrived it was blowing a hooley and he asked if we still wanted to do it, of course we did and 5 days later, after going through hail, rain, thunder, heaving to off Felixstowe because we lost the engine and had a jam with the Jib we were handed our bit of paper and went straight back out. We sailed all through last winter, loved it, no one around and made masses of mistakes but learned as we went on. Our passages are now as far as Ramsgate which is pathetic compared to you two but we don’t take crew and work as a team. Next year we’ll get across the channel and I’d like to think keep heading south for ever.

We’re both now dreaming of the time when we can hopefully sell our companies and follow your path, (Lyn is a film producer with all the stresses that that brings).

Thank you both for the inspiration, you’re doing what lot’s of us want to do and I just can’t imagine, after sailing for the past year, how you get all the skills you both must have to do the passages that you’ve done, I’m full of admiration for you.

If you’re able to get onto web sites and like music go on to www.northstarmusic.co.uk – this division of the company sells relaxation music, if there are any titles that take your fancy let me know your next port of call and I’ll send, they may just calm the passage to Hobart a little next time.

Grahame Mac thanks for your note of some days ago – you have clearly worked out that you have to make these things happen. Best of luck with the channel crossing and please feel free if there’s anything we can do to help as you and Lyn move on to bigger things. Thanks to for offer of music – we can’t get the internet and don’t intend to stop anyway so won’t be able to take you up.

We’ve had a wearying few days but we seem to be south of the nasties and pointing more or less at the hump of Brazil instead of the Amazon. We hope that we will be lifted around to head for Trinidade as we move south.

Our difficulties were capped by some unintended man overboard practice yesterday. We’d just finished one of the many headsail changes and put in a reef. Pete went up to weather of the boom to put in the knitting along the foot – something we’ve done a hundred times – I went down to get my jacket because it had started to rain quite hard and as I got inside, the boat gybed violently. I jumped back up, looked forward, no Pete, looked aft and saw him in the water swimming for the turbine line. I let go both sheets and brought the boat into wind and we were almost stopped by the time Pete had grabbed the line and turned on his back. The boat parked beam on with the sails feathered – essentially hove to – and I pulled him in on the line. At which point it became clear just how hard it is to get someone heavy, wet and slippery back into a tossing heaving boat. We managed – Pete has a big graze on his shin but otherwise undamaged and we’re both much wiser and less complacent. I will write this up more fully with all the do’s, dont’s and the mistakes that caused it – an edifying experience and one that should not be wasted.

Some info for Brian and Jen and anyone else who might follow us – If you have it, SatCom C is fantastic as a free text weather forecast source and a great complement to grib files but you must get hold of charts of all the worlds forecast areas (I have asked Simon to include a database on future versions of SoB but that may be some time off). Reeds Almanac gives the european and north african ones but SatCom (using our GPS position as a guide)has now switched us to the Brazilian Navy forecasts for the South Atlantic and I don’t have the areas (Alpha, bravo etc) so can’t use it. Aggravating. I didn’t know to look before we left but now all y’all do – so do! SatC is also a good backup for sailmail, as we discovered on the way north – but expensive.

And Jen, I was just checking to make sure you know what you’re talking about :-) and I find all that stuff fascinating too. Having most of one eye u/s is all about depth and compensation.

Hi CaroI

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 16, 2005 – 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 16 Sep 2005 UTC 05’30”N 023’02”W Ref 367

DB 91, 10452 (GPS 95) Not bad considering. We are now 2825 miles from Falmouth and at best we have about 9760 miles to sail – not quite a quarter of the way and this is day 27. Dec 11th is still on the cards and we should go a bit faster from here. Mostly on the wind down to Trinidade so will depend on the sea state. Actually very difficult sailing – a boat this size just stops in this sort of sea unless there is enough wind to drive it through – at the moment there isn’t and the best we can do is about 245M @ 3.5 kt. Could be a long ride south.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 17, 2005 - 0345hrs UTC │Pete's Swim

0345hrs 17 Sep 2005 UTC 04’49”N 023’45”W Ref 368

Pete’s Swim: (I will add to this as we think of more)

What happened:

We are not sure how the boat came to gybe. I think that we had used the electric autopilot to tack after we put the reef in and – as often happens – the actuator arm had disconnected from the tiller so the boat was not under the control of either autopilot. It was so sudden that we assume a wave tossed the stern a long way sideways and caused the gybe.

Pete was leaning against the weather side of the boom about a metre back from the gooseneck and just got flung.


1. Complacency – the preventer was not on – should be the first thing that happens – we had taken it off for one of the operations and had not re-run it. Had it been properly in place, the gybe would not have been dangerous.

2. I took my eye off the ball and went below, assuming that all was ok – as it always has been. Had I not done so, I might have seen it coming and been able to do something.

3. Pete was not tethered – as it happened, probably saved him from serious injury because he was thrown 10 – 15 feet off the boat into the water without any restriction. We both think, after analysing his trajectory, that he would have crashed into the hull if he’d been tethered. Difficult one.

4. The recovery sling with lifting tackle is (still) buried under a ton of stuff in the after locker. We will need to extract it and find more accessible stowage.

What worked:

We have talked a lot about what we would do in exactly that situation – first, the person in the boat must stop the boat as quickly as possible, then think about recovery – keep the person in the water in sight. The person in the water should swim for the turbine line faster than he’s ever swum before. Luckily, the turbine was streamed and the boat was not going fast. Once Pete had grabbed the line, the rest was easy – except for getting him back on board.

Iffy stuff:

1. There’s no way Pete had time to shout – it was so fast that he was in the water before he had time to realise he was on the way. Also, with all the ambient noise, it’s unlikely I would have been able to hear him shouting from 20 metres back in the water.

2. Having seen that Pete had the line, I didn’t even consider the rescue goodies in the cockpit – we have a throwing line that really works = we’ve tried it, and a Seattle rescue sling. I think (hope!) that if I’d actually had to consider more complex recovery action, I would have got brain into gear and used them as appropriate.


1. Man overboard drills in the harbour don’t give you any idea of the fear that grabs you and the time and difficulty involved in doing it for real. We should use a Seattle sling occasionally and really pick someone up under controlled conditions. (Would the sling line actually pay out and not tangle? How easy is it to deploy and what could it snag on? Could it get into the prop?) A real rescue would almost certainly involve releasing the lifelines, for instance, and making a crane with the boom or a halyard. Does the recovery tackle actually work – if it’s hard to use in the harbour, in yesterdays conditions it would have been very much harder.

2. These things do happen and out here they are potentially much more dangerous than in sight of and radio contact with help. We were lucky – it could have been much worse.

[Belmore 3!!!]

Hi again from Alex. Just waffling to give myself something to do.

A number for you – we started out with more that 2000 teabags – and I thought some of you might be interested in some of the technology in the boat – for instance, the watermaker works because water molecules (H20)are much smaller than salt molecules (NaCl) so if you force sea water through a special filter called a membrane that has holes in it just a bit bigger than water molecules, only the water goes through and the salt gets stuck on the outside. A bit like pouring sandy water through a sock – you get cloudy water through the sock but the sand gets caught inside. The watermaker uses two cycles – 2 pumps of water – and the second one is used to wash the salt back out into the sea. Might not work with my socks out here though – very cheesy – did you know that there’s a bacterium (I think) that is found in all those cheesy smelling things that makes them smell that way. I’m sure someone else reading the website knows all about this and can post it for us.

And, using the same idea as the watermaker, our waterproof breathable clothing works just like the membrane. It is made in 3 layers and, as water molecules this time are much bigger than the atoms and molecules that make up the air we breathe, (do you know what they are?) so air can get through both ways (with attendant cheese bacterium?) but water gets stuck on the outside and we stay dry and not too hot and sweaty inside. Before breathable fabric, it was horribly sweaty inside wet weather gear.

I hope all that is interesting – if not, tell us what you REALLY want to know and were afraid to ask and we’ll have a go.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 17, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 17 Sep 2005 UTC 04’40”N 023’59”W Ref 369

DB 91, 10452 (GPS 95) Not bad considering. We are now 2825 miles from Falmouth and at best we have about 9760 miles to sail – not quite a quarter of the way and this is day 27. Dec 11th is still on the cards and we should go a bit faster from here. Mostly on the wind down to Trinidade so will depend on the sea state. Actually very difficult sailing – a boat this size just stops in this sort of sea unless there is enough wind to drive it through – at the moment there isn’t and the best we can do is about 245M @ 3.5 kt. Could be a long ride south.

1-20. Belmore and Pete swims

Sep 17, 2005 – 1530hrs UTC │Pete’s view of events

1530hrs 17 Sep 2005 UTC 04’24”N 024’16”W Ref 370

DG 76, 10376 (GPS 76) Seem that’s going to be about par for the next couple of weeks – we’re going to be hard on the wind down to Trinidade, but I hope we’ll get lifted so we don’t have to tack around S. America.

H – we’re in contact with Jo, so no need to do anything. Ta.

Came up on deck this morning to an amazing sky – there seemed to be 4 separate layers – sorry, but I don’t remember my clouds and don’t want to unpack the boat to find the book – the ice crystals way up on top, with creases and bands going SW/NE, then a layer of almost lenticular bands of thicker fluffier but tightly rolled cumulus-like clouds, with the bands approximately E/W, (some indication of a jetstream up there?) then a layer of perhaps AltoCu – fluffy, tight little puffs very close together, then the low level diurnal type cu moving towards us at the gradient wind speed. All patchy and confused. And the sea is dark gunbarrel grey.

I hung myself over the transom to do what blokes do and saw a small fish positively gambolling around Kevvo’s paddle – wasn’t a flying fish – short and stubby. I also saw something very strange – a globe shaped object, perhaps 15 cm diameter – apparently full of holes, a bit like those things that get put into vases for flower arrangements – and every hole seemed to be blowing bubbles. Odd; all I can think of is that it might have been a chance symmetrical arrangement of barnacles around something. Kevvo’s paddle has two barnacles already on the trailing edge. I covered the entire paddle with lanolin spray in Falmouth when Berri was slipped and that seems to be keeping the slime and other stuff off the rest of it.

Kevin, Kevvo is going really well – new arrangement is working with slight mods from me. There’s a tricky bit that I think you can fix with a tiny design change too – f you can get to the coming home party, I’ll show you else I’ll draw you a picture. Definitely not a showstopper and might just be peculiar to the Berri arrangement.

[Pete’s view of events]

G’day out there,

So, did he jump or was he pushed? ……I know Fenwick would like to have the story spiced up a little at this stage, what with there being no severe storms forecast for the next few weeks, the punters out there need a bit of drama to liven things up with their morning coffee, a bit of biff a decent stoush a bloody good argument about anything. Unfortunately no such luck.

I didn’t jump and a push from where I was would have been difficult to organise.

I was on top of the coachroof, just about to lace up the reef that we had put in the mainsail. I had the rope in my left hand and was leaning against the boom and mainsail, next thing I remember I was catapulted through the air and I saw the lifelines pass beneath me. I remember dropping the line I had just before I dived into the water. The whole incident from launch to hitting the water would have taken only a second. I had thought some time ago of what I would do if I went over the side and decided that the best recovery from this situation would be to get hold of the rope which trails astern with a propeller for generating electricity. I probably then swam the fastest 20 metres possible to get to the generator rope which was on the surface of the water before it trailed off under water with the propeller spinning on its end. I got there in time grabbed the rope then turned on my back and enjoyed the ride. By this time Alex had thrown the sheets and the boat was slowing down, he then hauled me in and attempted to get me on board. In calm water, it is fairly easy to get back on board via the stern, unfortunately we were in heavy seas and the stern was pitching up and down at a great rate.

Alex’s grip on my arm slipped on the first attempt and I went back down hitting my left shin on the stainless self-steering paddle ( later this was found to be badly bruised with a couple of lumps of meat missing ). The second attempt was successful and I was back on board.

So what did we learn from this. Throughout the last few days we had been doing a lot of sail changes and had probably become complacent through this repetitive exercise. The boat should have been on autopilot but apparently it had disengaged itself from the tiller and this was not noticed ( we were sailing to windward at the time and the boat will hold its course for a longtime to windward if the sails are balanced ). The preventer which stops the boom from crashing from one side to the other during an unexpected tack or gybe had been let go and earlier and not been replaced. These two things allowed the unexpected tack but it must have been a very steep wave lifting the boat’s port side violently which caused the tack. Generally you can feel the boat straighten upright just before one of these uncontrolled tack or gybe but there was no warning to this one, it was all in one movement…tip..tack…whack. We were both lucky the way things panned out.

Obviously more vigilance is required and this was a good wake up call. The problem of getting the MOB back on board proved to be a lot more difficult than first thought, Alex is now leaving a harness and tackle on deck so it can be quickly rigged if an injured MOB had to be hauled out and the place to do this is midships not over the stern. ( Berri has boarding steps on the transom and this was thought to be the best place for an uninjured person to get back on. ). What has emerged as the real problem is that if the MOB is injured or worse unconscious then we must have a routine worked out so that one person can recover the other without assistance.

To finish on a lighter note here’s my daughter Sarah’s latest attempt to humour us.

Two old farts were sailing a small boat on a large ocean,

“Its windy”

“Its Thursday”

“I certainly am I’ll get the beers”.

Cheers everyone………..Pete.