1-21. Equator to Left Turn


Logs ( 19 )

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 18, 2005 - 0930hrs UTC

0930hrs 18 Sep 2005 UTC 03’24”N 024’55”W Ref 371

DB 94,10282 (GPS 65 ) – about 6 USB crashes yesterday trying to talk to youse all. There seems to be no pattern to it except that it happens, when it does, as soon as I start transmitting. This may indicate HF energy getting into the system somewhere or that the computer reacts in some way and turns off the power to the usb. I dunno. Never happened on the way north and as far as I can see, we are configured exactly the same – all the new stuff is completely disconnected. Only difference is new motherboard in radio and perhaps some difference in wiring when it was installed in the boat. A bummer.

204 miles to the Equator – I’ve been looking for the Southern Cross but either too cloudy or to much moonlight. Must be out there though by now. We’ve got the expected lift – long may it last – and we should be able to miss S. America if it holds.

Not quite a woohoo yet.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 18, 2005 - 1800hrs UTC

1800hrs 18 Sep 2005 UTC 02’59”N 025’08”W Ref 372

We’ve had the same three birds with us for about a week – two very graceful flecked grey backed birds that glide around in the wavetops and settle on the water and watch us go by or sometimes park together behind us and we don’t see them for a day or so and the third is a little Black Petrel that flies and flollops around us and more or less keeps company with the other two.

Overcast and humid – short lumpy sea and we’re cracked off a bit to make the ride a bit easier. We will get headed again tomorrow but should still manage to avoid Fernando de Noronha. On present progress, we will cross the equator at about 2730W – not that far from where we were on the way up, at 2941W. Have just relented and used 5 litres of water to wash three shirts and two pairs of shorts. First litre just disposes soapy stuff through each garment in turn, then they each get 2 rinses in 2 litres. The second rinse water is just as black as the first but the things seem cleaner and smell a bit less.

From Charlie Y.

have been reading with great interest your log, your current position brings back memories of1977 we had just completed the fastnet on ballyhoo and were heading for grand canary ,barbados ,antigua,fort lauderdale where she was sold,seems like another lifetime.stan darling was our great leader , if i remember we did 7 days to the canaries and 15 days to barbados another 40 odd feet of boat made a difference.i wish you good sailing.

Charlie Y – interesting – Ballyhoo must have returned to Oz later because I started in the Sydney-Rio race in Jacqui in 1981/2 with Ballyhoo, Anaconda and a Kiwi S&S that eventually won it. We retired with a broken steering quadrant mid Tasman. I think she had a block of flats on deck by that stage. Or maybe that was Condor. Or both of them.

There’s not a lot to report, otherwise. I don’t think we’ll get to see any stars tonight, so no Southern X. We’re very much in bouncy bus shelter bash mode, but this time we’ve got some sensible cushions, so even my bum is not complaining. Yet. Pete had to apply the Purple Unguent yesterday as a precautionary measure. We are far enough from Gibraltar’s rock-rabbits for the Brits not to need to fuss.

Can’t wait to see the new Wally and Gromit – were-rabbit ideed! Missed THHGTTG in the UK too, so that’s out there as a little candle on a distant hill. Reports we got out here were not raving but it’s not easy to do some of the jokes in a movie.

From Pete & Mary

Note your progress.  Hope all is well and the wind keeps in the right direction.

Peter & Mary, nice to know you are still with us.

Roll on 1700 and G&T’s.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 19, 2005 - 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 19 Sep 2005 UTC 01’42”N 025’48”W Ref 373

DB 115, 10,167 GPS 115 but now highly suss because of all the crashes. Getting back up to speed, with a bit of luck, and we’re just about laying Trindade well cracked off. A little woohooo might be on the cards, I think. 102 to the Equator, so early tomoz perhaps. We will break out Dave’s RANSA rum, but I don’t think we’ll stop this time.

Have just had my breakfast consultation in bed – noice, and the Coolgardie frudge works best overnight so it was roooly coool too. Will try to send this while propagation window still open.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 19, 2005 - 1700hrs UTC

1700hrs 19 Sep 2005 UTC 00’59”N 026’04”W Ref 374

The flea has walked the walk and is a relative pooptillionth of a nanometre from the aftermost point of the crevass’d and foetid pacyhdermal rump, about to peer over the edge at the rolling creasy scaly slopes below – whence it shall be downhill all the way. We just crossed 01 00N so we’re 60 miles from the edge and the G & T is being mixed as I write. Should fall over into the southern abyss in about 10 hours – with some sadness and regret, I must say. We shall consult the Doctor from Bundaberg at an appropriate moment to console ourselves. Thanks Dave.

Welcome to all the Gusts who have written to us since YM and YW hit the streets – Thank You – I hope you find your end of this as rivetting as we find this end. Stephen sends us updates and we’ve just read some of your nice words. Best thing that could have happened for Cricket, Lloyd – enjoy it while it lasts. And we’d love all y’all to contribute to The Great Shirt Buyback for CanTeen – watch this space for details…

From Charlie Y.

A truly inspirational effort and great adventure. Davenport wrote a book “”the voyage of waltzing matilda”” it finishes with their arrival in the u.k. i think she was lost in the pacific some years later she was a sister ship to Wanderer( both built by jock muir) a s.hobt. winner.W.M finished first but relegated. 

Charlie, I believe PD is still around – we could perhaps put you in touch.

As for the technical stuff – we’re pointing at Trindade, broad reaching at 6 knots with 1280 miles to go. There was a big low down there but it seems to be dissipating – we’re at least ten days away so everything is speculation anyway, but the decision will be whether to blast off towards Cape Town using the top of the low if it is still there or go back to plan A, around the back of the high if it reasserts itself.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 19, 2005 – 2145hrs UTC

2145hrs 19 Sep 2005 UTC 00’30”N 026’11”W Ref 375

Some hours later – back on watch again, after what will have been the last Northern Hemisphere G&T and the Last Supper (rice, corn, bacon, mungies) and I’m definitely sad – this exercise is clearly becoming finite and there is a potential end out there. How could this be? – when we set off, the whole thing seemed impossibly distant and unlikely yet here we are very much on the way home after everything seems to have worked according to plan. Preposterous really.

30 miles to the edge.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 19, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

2315hrs 19 Sep 2005 UTC 00’22”N 026’12”W Ref 376

Some idle rumination – nothing whatever to do with the price of fish, but interesting.

Think Hippopotami – lumbering ungainly beasts with ill fitting folded skin (perhaps someone can find Kipling’s story – better still, Jack Nicholson reading it?) and prone to sunburn. I once saw a short film clip of hippos swimming underwater – cloudy, muddy water and they were shapes rather that detailed images – probably Attenborough rather than Cousteau – and was utterly mesmerised. These huge lumbering beasts were gliding in slow motion and astonishing beauty on dainty toes in graceful arcs like Nureyev and Fonteyn on downers. Wonderful.

I was moved by the similarity between them and the Apollo astronauts moonwalking in one-sixth gravity and more recently remembered them when I watched Eileen Collins’ breathtaking Shuttle flip a few weeks ago when she looped the big lumbering beast and held it for 93 seconds while Krikalev and Phillips in the ISS filmed its belly and checked it for damage, before she brought it back to stable orbit. Wonderful stuff – that clip is on the NASA website at www.nasa.govif anyone is interested.

Here is the clip:

And I get goosebumps all over when I think that our satphone number is up there somewhere. ISS 11 must be due to land soon – they will have been flying for six months in October. Leroy Chiao is in Russia supporting ISS 12 as I write.

Who is this fool burbling on? Bring on Pelagia’s goat immediately – we desperately need ruminant digestive censorship on this website.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 20, 2005 - 0247hrs UTC │Equator Going South

0247hrs 20 Sep 2005 UTC 00’00”X 026’17”W Ref 377

000000 261708 200905/02:47:39 Over the edge and going downhill, just in time for Katherine’s birthday tomorrow. WOOOHOOO tinged with sadness. We crossed northbound on May 3 and sailed north to almost 52 degrees at the Fastnet, with a 250 mile diversion to Cowes to the east, so, adding in the curves, Berrimilla has sailed about 7000 miles in the top half of the world.

Onya Berri! About 10000 to go.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 20, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC │Boredom II

0900hrs 20 Sep 2005 UTC 00’28”S 026’22”W Ref 378

DB i35, 10032, GPS133. Better.

Response to Belmore South:

Hiya to you all in 5/6K! This is Alex, but Pete will do his bit later. Thanks for your thoughts, John, Adelia, Merna and Daniel – we are really pleased to know that you are interested in what we are doing – perhaps we could encourage you all to work hard in class so that you can one day follow your own dreams too. Maybe that’s too boring a message!

And thanks for your questions. Some of them are big questions if we are to answer them properly, so we might have to have several goes at it.

Pete will answer Nasaskia.

Junior: Why do you need all those tea bags?

I have a confession to make – I can’t count.  When I wrote that last email with the teabag number, I counted one too many boxes – we only have about 1600, not 2000 – but that’s still a lot. I make my tea with 2 teabags, so I use 4 teabags per day mostly and Pete drinks more tea and he uses about the same but one at a time. 8 bags per day times the planned 110 days of our voyage comes to 880 bags. This does not take into account what are often called ‘contingencies’ – things that come along and mess up your best plans – so for instance, if there is not as much wind as we think there will be and it actually takes another 30 days, then we will need another 240 bags – so with 1600, we actually have enough for nearly twice as many days as we think we need – just in case. It’s easy to overstock with teabags because they don’t take up much storage space but much harder, for instance, to do it with fuel which needs a lot of space.

Kellie: Have you run out of petrol for the motor?

And, talking of fuel Kellie, we actually use diesel, not petrol, because it is much safer to have in a boat. Most pleasure boats these days, except for some racing powerboats, have diesel engines. We left Falmouth with 240 litres of diesel, some in  6 x 20 litre cans in the cabin, some in a tank in the cockpit and the rest in the proper fuel tank under the cabin floor. We have about 110 litres left, so we have used just over half of it. We used it to drive the boat through some of the bits where there was no wind. We are hoping that most of these places are now behind us and that we won’t need the engine much more. Fingers crossed on that one!

George: When you are bored what do you do?

It’s quite hard to get bored. We work and sleep in three hour watches and there’s usually something necessary to do like changing a sail, sending emails, cooking, making tea with all those teabags and things like that. When it is really windy, we don’t get much chance even to rest, let alone get bored. Sometimes it is difficult for me to get over my natural laziness and actually get on and do the things that need doing but that’s another problem. And we now have all you people to talk to as well – good fun. But we do have lots of books and we both have CD players with MP3 discs for those times when nothing is happening. I like doing crossword puzzles too and my family cut out a whole lot of them from newspapers over several weeks and sent them to me in England so I’ve got no excuse for being bored. Also, I have a little short wave radio and out here, i can listen to the West Indies, to Brazil, North America, West Africa and the BBC from England.

Elvis: Have you seen any pirates?

We haven’t seen any pirates – at least, not that we know of. There really are pirates in some places, who steal whole ships but we hope we don’t meet any of them. We are a long way from the coast (at least 500 nautical miles most of the time) and it is not likely that – even if there were any – pirates would come this far out.

Thats a big enough email for now – we can only send quite small ones. Macky and Yehia, I will answer yours in the next one – they need quite long answers.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 20, 2005 - 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 20 Sep 2005 UTC 00’34”S 026’23”W Ref 379

We had our normal Breakfast Short Consultation today, bulk billed, of course, with the medico from Dublin and then we decided that the crossing should be appropriately celebrated with a southern hemisphere based medicinal potion so – half and half Dr Bundy and ASDA orange squash was the go. Noice. Very Noice – thanks Dave and RANSA. This could become habit forming. After all, from 1400 UTC today, it is Katherine’s birthday in Oz – even before that at the Antipodes Islands and in NZ – and we will have to follow tradition and celebrate in all the time zones. Happy birthday K. Looking forward to talking to you this evening.

Big welcome to all the new Gusts – thanks for signing on – it makes our day every time Stephen sends us an update. A bit intimidating too. Today’s co-incidence – I’ve been thinking about doing a note on Berrimilla’s sails, and who should pop up in the Gust Book but the guy who made them. A roar of applause, please, all y’all for Mr Brian Shilland – a true master of his trade. More on this guy later.

Must write some more for 5/6 K at Belmore South. [see below…]

Diana and the PBers and anyone else who is interested – post Man Overboard modifications as follows:

  1. We will rig a second, lazy preventer on the other side of the boom so that it becomes a simple matter to pull it on immediately without having to re-run it from the other side after a tack or gybe. Will also be useful for locking boom in place when we are not using the mainsail.
  2. The MOB recovery tackle with its sling (not the same as the Seattle sling) has been retrieved from the lazarette and is now set up across the coachroof just fwd of the mainsheet track. It is designed to be snap-shackled onto a strop fitted to the boom (and now in place) or on to the main topping lift or a halyard forward of the shrouds, or to anything strong enough to hold it like the pushpit in a real emergency. It is a 4 part tackle with a jam cleat on the lower block, giving an upward pull, and there is a lazy block at the top which will enable a downward pull, for instance if the whole gizmo is hoisted on a halyard. The tail is set up to be run to a reefing winch on the boom if necessary. If we ever need it, the tackle simply unclips from its stowage and can be clipped wherever needed. Also doubles as a spare mainsheet. I hope we never need to test it for real, but I’m sure it will work.

Diana, are there Sydney PBers?

To Belmore

Macky: Do you use electricity? If you do where do you get it from?

That needs a big answer. Yes, we do use electricity. In fact, Berrimilla needs a constant supply of about 1.4 Amps during the day to run all the electrical and electronic systems and a bit more at night when we also need to have navigation and instrument lights on and more still when we are using the autopilot or the radio or the watermaker. We have three big storage batteries – one that is kept fully charged just for starting the engine (although it can be used as backup for the other systems if needed) and the other two, called the ‘house’ batteries, store all the electricity that we need for all the other things.

There are three ways that we can charge these three batteries.

  1.  First, the engine has an alternator, so every time we run it, the batteries get charged. We can select which batteries we want to charge as well.
  2.  Second, we have a big solar panel, which will provide about 4.5 amps in direct sunlight but is no good at night
  3.  And third, we have a generator that hangs over the back of the boat and is driven by a turbine that we tow through the water on the end of a 40 metre line. The turbine (sometimes also called the impeller – can you work out why?) is turned by the water flowing past it and it turns the generator at the other end of the line, but it only works when we are moving at better than about 2 knots. The generator provides up to 6 amps when the boat is going fast and the turbine is whizzing round, but less when we are going slowly. We can convert the generator so that it is driven by the wind by putting a big fan on it and hanging it in the rigging instead of over the stern.

Using a combination of all three of these, we can quite easily keep the batteries fully charged. Any extra electricity that we generate can be used directly to power the systems instead of using the batteries, so helping to keep them charged. We have various ways of checking for when the batteries need to be charged, but mostly, it happens automatically because the turbine and the solar panel are working.

And then we also carry lots of both rechargeable and throw away – expendable – smaller batteries for our torches, headlamps, CD players and the rest. If you are still hanging in there and interested, I can tell you about all the systems that we use to run the boat – for instance, how we send these emails. But I will wait to hear from you about that.

Silly question – do you know what a ‘knot’ is when used to measure speed, as I used it in this answer? It is quite easy to find out, (try a dictionary as a start) but I can explain it if you would like me to.

Yehia – sorry to leave you till last – Pete is going to answer your question and Nasaskia’s but, as usual when I am up writing emails, he is asleep because that is how we have to live (which may be part of your answer!) so when he wakes up, I will remind him.

From Pete:
Hi there kids,…..Pete here with answers to a couple of your questions.

  • First Nasaskia’s question “How many injuries did you get when you went overboard“.
    I didn’t hit anything when I was catapulted overboard, it was quick and clean one second I was standing on top of the boat’s cabin the next I was in the water. A quick swim to grab a rope that was trailing overboard then Alex was pulling the rope and me back to the boat. When Alex was was helping me get back on board my arm slipped from his grip because the back of the boat was bouncing up and down with the waves and I fell back in the water. My shin scraped past a heavy piece of metal (part of the self steering gear on the back of the boat). This caused a bad bruise down my leg and cut three bits of skin from my shin, each about the size of a five cent piece. These injuries are healing well and should be better in about a week. We now have to make sure that all the ropes that stop the sail from doing what it did to me are properly connected all the time.
  •  Now, Yehia’s question ” Is it hard to sail in a small boat“.
    Let me answer your question this way….it is hard to sail long distances on a small boat.
    Small boats cannot sail as fast as big boats so if you have to go a long way it takes a lot longer and this is where the problems such as storage space come in. Sailing from England to Australia we think will take about four months so we need to carry enough food for this time but what if something goes wrong, what if the mast breaks and we can’t use our big sails anymore, it will then take a lot longer so we need to carry more food. What if the saltwater gets into the food storage areas and spoils some of the food. For these sorts of reasons we are carrying enough food for six months. The problem with a small boat is where do you put it all.
    As well as food we need space for all our clothes, all the spare parts we need for the engine and other machinery. We need to carry lots of medical supplies in case an accident happens or one of us gets sick. We also have to carry lots of things to make the boat work. We have about 13 sails on board and all the ropes and things you need to keep the boat sailing well. So you can imagine how much room we have left to live in……not much.
    The other thing with a small boat is that out in the middle of the ocean you get very big waves and very strong winds. The big waves throw a small boat around a lot and at times make things such as cooking something to eat, impossible. That is why we have lots of grab rails and handles to hang on to, because at any time you can be thrown across the boat by a wave and you need to be able to grab something quickly to stop you being hurt. In front of the stove we have a harness where you can strap yourself in and not be thrown while cooking dinner.
    For most of the time though the weather is fine and there are no big waves or strong winds to worry about, that is when we can be out on deck enjoying the sun and the fresh air and the wonderful sailing and in these conditions it doesn’t matter how big your boat is it all feels the same…….absolute bliss.

If I don’t talk to you again before your break have a great holiday……..cheers

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 21, 2005 - 1015hrs UTC │RORC Award

1015hrs 21 Sep 2005 UTC 02’380”S 026’24”W Ref 380

DB 125, 9,907 (GPS 135). Truckin’ along reasonably well, touch wood, hold me breff till me eyes pop and waltzing matilda. I think we have hooked into the Brazil current too, which is nice.

A bit short of sailmail connection time because of all the Belmore South answers, so this will be short. K’s birthday has been appropriately marked and we will have a proper Consultative Engagement when she gets away from assignments and gets to celebrate with her friends. Might even crank up the satphone again.

As we go further south, I think we might leave the satphone switched on – just in case any of y’all want to waste your money. I’ll let you know.

RORC Award for Berri & crew:

The Royal Ocean Racing Club is pleased to announce that ‘Yacht of the Year 2005’ has been awarded to the Ker 55 ‘Aera’ owned by Nick Lykiardopulo.
This award, known as the Somerset Memorial Trophy, is awarded for outstanding racing achievement by a yacht owned or sailed by an RORC member and voted by the RORC Main Committee. It comes as a result of Aera’s success in the most recent Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, where she took the overall handicap trophy.
Aera’s success in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart is all the more remarkable as it is only the third time a British yacht has been the overall winner in the 60 years since the race was started. The first was Captain John Illingworth who won the inaugural race in 1945 sailing ‘Mani’ and the second was the late Sir Edward Heath who won with the first ‘Morning Cloud’ in 1969.

A special award has also been made by the RORC to Dame Ellen MacArthur, skipper of the trimaran ‘B&Q’, for her outstanding performance in setting the solo non-stop round the world record at 71days 14 hours 18 minutes and 33 seconds, reducing the previous record set by Francis Joyon by nearly 1½ days. Dame Ellen is an Honorary Life Member of the RORC and first joined in 1996.

The Seamanship Trophy, awarded each year by the RORC for an outstanding act of seamanship, goes to Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier and their Brolga 33 ft yacht ‘Berrimilla.’

Having sailed the 2004 Rolex Sydney-Hobart, the two set off to sail to the UK via the Falkland Islands, taking 159 days. They encountered severe storms with squalls of over 50 knots and were knocked down during a south-westerly gale south of New Zealand, subsequently having to put into Dunedin as Alex Whitworth had severely bruised ribs.

Having completed the voyage to the UK they then took part in the Rolex Fastnet Race, coming 8th in IRC Class 3, and shortly afterwards set sail again for Australia, in order to arrive in time to take part in the 2005 Rolex Sydney- Hobart race.

The prizes, together with all the other RORC Annual awards, will be presented at the AGM and Annual Prize Giving Dinner at the Drapers’ Hall on 22nd November.

ENDS 20th September 2005

Hi everyone in 5/6S from Alex and Pete and thanks for your questions. We will have to give you rather shorter answers this time because we are only allowed about 10 minutes connection time each day to send emails and I think we are already over our limit. So here goes:

Ahmed-Do you think in the future there will be cloaking devices to hide boats from pirates???

I don’t think there will ever be cloaking devices, although it’s a very interesting idea, because it would be impossible to make a ship invisible. Force fields and gravity curtains are interesting and provocative in SF stories but not that easy to arrange in real life. The Americans have Stealth technology which makes aircaft hard to see by radar but that’s about as far as it seems possible to go, at least with the knowledge that we have now. And anyway, clever people and pirates would would soon work out how to get around the device.

Allison – What would you do if pirates came?

As for what we’d do if they came – we would do exactly as they told us, give them everything they asked for, keep very still and hope that they go away. Real life is sometimes difficult to accept, but we would certainly get hurt if we tried to do anything else.

Maria.k- Have you had troubles with sharks?

No, we haven’t seen a shark anywhere. Lots of dolphins, some whales, turtles, flying fish and bluebottles (Portugese Men O’War) but no sharks. Even if there were any, we are not planning to get into the water with them, so no problem!

Charniece- how do the stars look at night on the ocean?

There aren’t words to describe the night sky properly – there’s no visible pollution out here and on a clear night the stars over the ocean are absolutely breathtaking – there are so many and they go so deeeep into the back of the sky and it’s awesomely mesmerising to be out here under them. The Milky Way – the side view of our galaxy – is a brilliant glittering slash from one side to the other. Did you know that looking out into the universe is like looking back into time? The light from our nearest star (does anyone know what it is called?) takes about 7 minutes to reach the earth so if you look at it (DON’T – without special goggles!) you are looking at something that happened 7 minutes ago. Light from the next nearest, which I think is Alpha Centauri, takes nearly 5 years to get here, so if AC explodes as you read this, you won’t know for 5 years. This happens right out as far as the most distant object we can see, whose light takes several million years. Not enough time to talk about this but it’s interesting to find out about it. Sitting in the boat at night, I can see how small the Earth is and how big the universe and it gives me goosebumps. You’d get them too!

Dyllan- How many times do you eat in a day?

We have one serious meal in the evening and we snack for the rest of the day. We don’t need to eat very much because we are not using much energy.

Gunter- If your food gets old, what do you eat?

We have used all the fresh food that could get old and spoil except for a few onions, some eggs and some bacon and cheese. We will try to eat this before it goes bad, but once it is bad, we have to throw it away. The rest of our food is dried or in cans, so it should last for the time we are out here. We can make bread and grow beanshoots.

Rend- How do you find your way at night?

We have a satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) for navigation and that shows us the way even at night. It needs electricity or batteries to run, but if it breaks down, we can navigate using the sun and the stars and a paper chart, a pencil (yeah, really!) and an instrument called a sextant which measures the angle of the sun and the stars in the sky and, with the help of a good watch, allows us to calculate where we are. We have a magnetic compass as well and at night, we point the boat in the direction we think we need to go. If we know where we started from and our speed and direction (our velocity), we can work out where we have got to by morning. This is called Dead Reckoning and it is not as accurate as GPS but it works.

Feras- How come you don’t have air conditioning in the cabin?

We don’t have air conditioning because it needs far too much electricity to run and we can’t completely close off the cabin. We would have to keep the engine going all the time and we can’t carry enough fuel to do this. And anyway, it’s horribly noisy and we can live without it! A little 12 volt fan would be nice but I forgot to bring it, so I’m an idiot.

Karanbir- Do you ever get sick, and if you do does the other person take care of the boat for the whole time?
Melisa- Do you use medicine when you are sick?????

We don’t seem to get sick out here – we are not in contact with sick people and as long as we started out healthy, I think we are fairly safe. We try to be as hygienic as possible and to keep everything really clean as well. We have some serious medicines – antibiotics and the like – as well as a big first aid kit in case we ever do get sick, or perhaps more importantly, one of us gets injured. If it happens, it would depend a bit on how bad the illness or injury was – it’s not too hard to manage the boat by yourself, but it’s nice to have help!

All the best A & P

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 22, 2005 - 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 22 Sep 2005 UTC 04’33”S 026’38”W Ref 381

DB: 121, 9786 (GPS 125) My propagation window now ends at about 0900, resuming again if we’re lucky, at around 1700, so I think I will not get your next post till this evening. This may not go either.

 We have been outrunning the sun on our way down the heffalump’s rump and we just beat it across ADC – aft dead centre, the equator – today is the equinox. We should continue to stay ahead of it down to the Tropic of Capricorn so the bus shelter will start to get cooler – woohoo. The moon passed very satisfactorily to the north of us last night, Orion is turning on his head with dear old Betelgeuse heading towards the northern horizon. I saw the pointers, Rigil Kent and Hadar, last night before the moon rose, but the Southern Cross itself was down in the murk layer just above the horizon. Tonight perhaps. We are still going west, by a smidgin, and we won’t turn properly for home for about 10 days at least – it will depend on what develops down at 20+ south near Trindade.

 I have just discovered that some of my emails are not getting through – please let me know if you didn’t get yours. Ho Hum. I think it may be to do with virus checkers not liking our sailmail address. For instance, nothing I have ever sent to RORC has got there and I’ve been wondering almost since NZ what we might have done to offend them.

And on RORC, I think our best imitation of Uriah Heep might be in order – we are deeply happreciative of the great ‘onour bestowed hupon us and werry ‘umble. Two old geezers in a battered old boat should BE so lucky! And once again we will be late for the party. Must do better.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 23, 2005 - 0330hrs UTC

0330hrs 23 Sep 2005 UTC 06’11”S 026’48”W Ref 382

Still broad reaching south and a bit west – not sure whether we are actually getting closer to Oz but it’s definitely good progress and great sailing. And getting cooler too.

It has been a lot of fun talking to Belmore South and a nice diversion. We hope the kids got as much out of it  as we did. Did anyone pick up the bit on the cheesy feet bacterium?

From Kevin O’S.

Congratulations on showing that a small older boat(I am the owner of Stormy Petrel) can still rate against the high tech modern boats ,a great result in the fastnet .I am in awe of your trip so far and await to hear about the trip home,Good Luck 

Kevin O’ – I don’t know about rating against modern exotics – in long ocean races, luck is as important as skill – you need both in abundance, and this year was a good year to pick to do a Fastnet in Berrimilla.

From Diana H.

Subject: What Do Points Mean?

In case no one mentioned:  you got the RORC Seamanship Trophy “”For an outstanding act of seamanship BERRIMILLA, (Brolga 33) Alex Whitworth/Peter Crozier””
it says in their annual awards listing.
I was at RORC last night and u got a v loud round of applause
many congrats!

Diana, thanks – i didn’t understand the subject line about Points – am I being obtuse? I sent you a direct email and it bounced – your virus scraper not liking our sailmail address?

From Charlie Y.

i dont think it was ballyhoo that started the syd/rio as when she was sold she had a total refit , was painted blue and went back to the med. as misstress quickly for the second half of her carreer. she gave a lot of yachties alot of fun over the years.as an interesting aside to our arrival in the west indies we came accross two ex. aussies yachts, freya which stan darling had navigated to her three wins, owned then by a canadian couple, still with her syd/hob plaqes and a little 30′ double ender carronade(swanson) that had been sailed like you by three intrepid aussies from syd. to cape/horn in the mid sixties i think.they took a big hit and were lucky to make it ,owned by a young yank who had singled  handed it down from the us east coast.where are they now.? that was 28 years ago. keep dry, and keep those miles ticking over.

Charlie – I’ll find out which boat it was in the Syd-Rio – it was big and black. I wonder who the aussies in the Swanson were.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 23, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 23 Sep 2005 UTC 06’41”S 026’52”W Ref 383

DB: 129, 9657 Gps 131 Definitely going downhill…

[ed: Berri is tracking about 200nm to the east of the northward journey back in May.
Map here:
Berrimilla track ]

Not much to report – the Coolgardie fridge (a TESCO supermarket tray with two cans and a wine bladder wrapped in a wet sheet kept in the shade and the wind and periodically doused) is really cooling the ointment these days – it’s getting noticeably cool at night and this morning’s breakfast Con is next to me as I write and very pleasantly below room temperature.

Steve will be away for the weekend, so you wont get any updates but I will keep sending them so you will all get a major fix on Monday. [Ed: Sorry ‘bout that]

We are on the direct line for sailing vessels bound for Cape Horn or the East Indies from Europe and the US – mostly Portugese, Spanish and English and Dutch in the early days. Then came the Germans, the Americans from the US east coast – traders bound for California and Nantucket whalers and then everyone else down to todays round the world  racers and silly old geezers. In the early days, most of the Cape Horners would have been to the west of us here, preferring to sail down the coast, but once time became important and ships were better able to sail to windward, they would have followed almost exactly our route, before some turned east as we will in a week or so. If we could bring them all back to life for a moment, I wonder what we would see. There would be ships from horizon to horizon – all shapes, sizes and rigs, Magellan, Drake, Anson, Cook, Bligh plus R K-J, Chichester, Connie van Riechshouten (?)and the Whitbread Racers, and the Volvos, Ellen MacArthur, Pete Goss, the Vendees, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. And then there would be all the others going North from the Horn as well. Quite a crowd – Sydney Harbour in 1988 would have nothing on it.

PeterB thanks for your note – did you notice the coincidence? It will be the second time we have shared a platform with Nick Lykiardopulo and one if his Aera’s. The last time was after the 1998 Hobart, when he won IRC and we won PHS but we really couldn’t celebrate. I hope this will be different. but we still have to get home to enjoy it!

From Trudi S.

Thank you very much for the personal message, Alex. Well – I am not sure what the requirements for Ham radio are in Oz, and things have changed recently, as in most countries morse has been made obsolete, which is a pity in many ways, as a morse signal would sometimes get heard in poor conditions when a ssb one is unreadable. At the moment conditions are too poor for anything to get through, it seems. Our singlehander on the Lunatic is not doing very well, his position yesterday at 19.00UTC was 02º25’north, 04º06’west, wind is SSW 10k, he is getting a bit close to the African coast, I think, I am not sure that is a good thing…..Here’s hoping the wind will be better when you get there, keep a good lookout for all that traffic in you area and fair winds from Trudi 

Trudi, thanks. I think your single handed friend may be in trouble. He is probably stuck in the north flowing current along the African coast where the SE trades are southerly or even SSW. If it were me, I would be looking at trying to sail WSW or SW to about half way across, getting lifted all the way and then turning south east near Ilhas Martin Vaz (Trindade) at 21 S 28 W. It’s a long way and I would have to cross most of the South Atlantic twice to get to Cape Town, but perhaps my only hope of making any distance south. It would almost certainly mean going to the west and south of the predominant high in the S. Atlantic. Does your friend have enough food and water? Martin has probably told you that we are nearly 700 miles south of him now and way over the other side at 07 22 S, 27 00 W.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 24, 2005 - 0930hrs UTC

0930hrs 24 Sep 2005 UTC 09’08”S 027’11”W Ref 384

DB: 145, 9512 gps 147. Wooohooo. And what a day! the Swannies get up, we’ve got 4000 miles in the can, going down the hill.

We had an early email from Jeanne with the result, and then a satphone call. Noice. So we had a little consulting session for the Swans and another 4 4k nm.

From Simon B., Digiboat

[…] just reading through Alex’s adventures and discovered he’s still having USB problems? My own onboard experiences with laptops has shown me that mechanical failures can be common – with the USB joint being levered up and down with normal use, the soldered joints holding the socket does “”crack”” off the motherboard.

If this be his case, then inconsistant and erratic behaviour are to be expected.

However, I did read sonething in his logs that might be important:

Sitrep: 1715hrs 07 Sep 2005 UTC 18’26”N 025’51”W Ref 339
Does anyone know how to permanently remove the serial ballpoint mouse so that it doesn’t boot or isn’t seen by XP?

This is the WRONG idea, he actually wants the wrong mouse driver to install itself (serial ballpoint mouse driver), then to DISABLE it in Device Manager – NOT delete it! (He may need to unplug the offender after it installs itself to regain control of the laptop, so he can get to Device Manager).

Installed like this, XP will now: “”see”” the USB converter as the serial mouse, check for a driver – FOUND – but disabled, so won’t use it as a mouse, leaving it free to be used correctly by other programs.

Anyway, don’t know if he’s resolved it already, or if this approach is the solution, but I offer it anyway.

Simon, I’ve worked out how to disable – but you cant do it if the whole screen has gone ape. I tried on the last crash and got the blue screen. It destroys the active desktop as well and makes a real mess. Deleting the serial ballpoint when it appears (not always) seems to work. Still have to repair the desktop each time..

G’day to all the new Gusts – welcome aboard the flea’s back. We’re racing south as fast as its little legs will carry us.

From John S.

  I Have thoroughly enjoyed following  your voyage since 700 miles west of the horn…I sent an email re super glue somewhere off Rio, but have enjoyed your reference to being on the Fox sound stage and buckets of water being thrown over you at irregular moments….I too am in an upside down cruise liner and a small group of us have been battling our way out since June, we have survived the water and explosions and flooding that happens in an upside vessel and we hope to emerge into the daylight early in Nov…

 We are on the sound stage at Warners in Hollywood, and even tho I am an OZ and live in Sydney ,I am privileged to be able to work on these kinds of films ..I joined with Wolf \gang Peterson to do “”The Perfect storm “” a few years back

The film is a remake of “”The Poseidon Adventure “” and will be released in May 06

Safe sailing

John S., I hope your boat comes in too – and the Vogon constructor fleet leaves you alone.

From Richard G., Malta

I wish both of you the best of luck. I have relatives in Sydney and one of my cousins races his own boat in Sydney Harbour. You may wish to contact me directly maybe you may meet when you get home.

Best regards from Malta

Richard G, I will contact you direct as soon as I can. You can send us more details if you like via berri@berrimilla.com.

From Bill W., Sydney

Only now just caught up on your logs to current. Great trip (congrats on Fastnet what a great result). See you in december at RANSA.

Bill W at RANSA – we are really looking forward to a twilight or two!

From Jose V.

Indeed, there are people out here that are are keeping an eye on what you’re doing and wish you all the best. Hope you will be able to get some nice wind now – after all you’re following pretty much the route that Vasco da Gama (and Pedro Alvares Cabral – he seems to have been the first European to get to Brazil) followed some 500 years ago. I just hope you’re having more fun than they did!

Jose -I wonder what da Gama and Cabral would have made of GPS and weather by email grib file and above all, a satellite phone? Cabral was probably the first one to find his way back to make a report… Selwyn, G’day.

We’re still a bit gobsmacked by the RORC award – something to be proud of and appreciate for ever. Shame we can’t go and collect it – late again for our second RORCfest.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 25, 2005 - 0949hrs UTC │Sail Change

0949hrs 25 Sep 2005 UTC 11’24”S 027’20”W Ref 385

DB 134, 9378, gps 146, day 36, 74 to go. Seems we are about a third into the planned 110 days and we’ve sailed about a third of the distance – but it’s all in the unknowable variables. Now in 40 kts.

I don’t know how it happened but I have just lost about an hours worth of hard worked middle-of-the-night creative headbanging as I was trying to get it to your breakfast tables. I’ll have a go at recreating it, but it may lack that je ne sais quoi that comes from the immediacy of experience. Here goes:

Small milestone: we are south of Bamaga, (this was written at about 1049S) at the tip of Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost point on mainland Oz. Woohoo!

Just spent a rough and wet half hour doing a sailchange in 35 knots – I was lying awake on my sweaty bunk cushion listening to Berri crashing into waves and creaking and feeling the rig flexing and generally stressing. Climbed reluctantly out about half way into my sleep time because I knew there was no hope of sleep till we’d fixed things. Short confab with the pee bucket and pass it up to Pete in the cockpit to empty and rinse and discuss what to do. Agreed sailchange necessary, down from #3 and a reef to #4 and two reefs. Into full party gear for the first time for a long time – the whole works, WWG, lifejacket, tether, gloves, epirb etc. but this time over T shirt and shorts – you may ask Why bother? – partly for protection if things go wrong and it’s always better to stay dry if possible. Pete put the rest of his on, we turned on the spreader lights – wild gyrations, bright flashing sheets and clouds of spray, solid water running down the decks. Pete went forward while I ran the boat down wind a bit to ease the motion and reduce the quantity of water over the top. When he was tethered and ready, I dropped the 3 into his hands as he dragged it flogging across the lifelines onto the foredeck. He tied off the halyard, I locked it and went forward up the lee side, knee deep in water occasionally. I moved the sheet car to the #4 position on the way, took the sheets off and started to pull the foot then the leech of the 3 aft into a rough flake as P unhanked it. It has a full width batten about a third of the way down and this is bigger than any sailbag on the boat and also the hatch, so its a pig to bag and stow, but we got it done, still braced on the heaving foredeck sitting in streams of water. P hanked on the 4 as I went aft down the weather side, moving the weather car on the way. We left the sail flaked on the foredeck while we put in the second reef (with the preventer on this time!) and then adjusted Kevvo to sail upwind again, hoisted the 4, adjusted the sheets and we were going faster than before, in the same direction but sailing almost upright over the waves rather than crashing through them. Much easier motion. Will go through reefing procedure in another update.

Tidied up the spaghetti of reefing lines, sheets, halyard etc in the cockpit. By this time drenched in sweat inside the party gear and soaked outside – skin on hands starting to pucker. Only half an hour of sleep time left, so no point in going back to bed – just took off safety gear and jacket, dropped WW pants to knees, removed Tshirt and wrung it out and hung it on stormboard while I made a cup of tea. Tea made, shirt back on, hitch up pants, give P an early mark and take Tea into cockpit where cool 35 kt breeze starts to dry T shirt. Hit a nasty wave sideways, huge blast of almost solid spray into cockpit and over dodger and shirt soaked all over again and tea salsified. Poo!

That’s more or less it. In Falmouth and Lymington we carefully fixed all the leaks into the cabin – really successful except for the one right over my bunk. Drip drip… Will try to plug it with lanoline later when the deck stops messing me about.

From Doug M.

I am still following your journey with anticipation with what the next day will bring. Your mind picture of Friday 23rd with all the history makers travelling north and south together was great but it made me contemplate a sad event in my ancestry that took place at a position in the Sth Atlantic where you may soon pass closely by.

In 1852-53 my gr gr grandfather Henry Knight, a humble gardener and his family had a horror of a trip on the immigrant ship JAVA. The voyage took over six months from the Thames estuary to Sydney heads and over fifty died on the trip, some from starvation ?!. Henry wrote a heartrending diary which a number of years ago I transcribed and both the original and my copy now reside at the Mitchell Library Sydney. Poor Henry, despite his efforts on the voyage had two of his children die of starvation, one in the Sth Atlantic and one as they entered the harbour at Capetown. Henry’s diary descriptions of these events bring tears. There is a small slip of paper glued into the front of Henry’s Bible, written by the ships captain dated the 6th February 1853 (after two and a half months at sea) for the burial at sea of Henry Knight Junior aged 13 at 28deg35minS by 26deg 9minW. The thought of a friend or two passing by might cheer young Henry up. Could you please dips your lids as you pass him by? I am sure he would appreciate it.

Doug, there’s a small pink waypoint on my chartplotter for young Henry at 2835 S, 02609 W. They must have been stuck in the Horse latitudes. We should pass fairly close, I hope a bit to the north, but we will certainly say G’day and dip the lids. Could we post your email with the story, please? I think it helps to recognise the ghosts that live out here. Please let Stephen know if ok. I will visit the original when I’m next in the Mitchell – which reminds me – there’s a story there too. Later.

From Ron C.

I suppose you have no way of sending images to Berri but I suspect that this one might have special significance for Alex.  I’m not a sailor so I don’t know where Gabo Island features in the “”ten lighthouses”” navigation method but I’m sure it has been a regular source of comfort for Alex. What is special about the photo is that it was taken from an Adastra aircraft (probably an Anson) in 1948. It came to me recently as part of the Tom Carpenter Collection.  Given the sailing and Adastra connections, it could be one of those “”Alex Whitworth this is your life”” images. I’ll leave it with you for what it’s worth.

Thanks Ron – I look forward to seeing it.

From Isabella Whitworth

Hey there chaps and all that. Glad comms with RORC ok eventually. No, I think we’ll pass on the poss of £196 for beans on toast, ta ever so, and also hope you can find someone to go and accept your gong, or whatever it is they give you. I expect the news of Hurricane Rita has reached you by other means than me, but if not it’s hitting right now (Sat am our time) demoted to a Category 3 but still 400 miles wide, expected to dump a foot of rain and last from 12-16 hours. They evacuated Galveston and a lot of Houston and the resultant traffic jams stretched 120 miles as people set out north. Then many couldn’t buy gas and broke down so the chaos was spectacular. However, overall preparations at least seem to have been better managed that Katrina. The aftermath is another problem. Sadly, the repaired levees haven’t held up in NO and the city is reflooding. More anon. We have a guest this weekend and so are steaming around the countryside looking at the sea, Dartmoor and observing the definite approach of autumn. M an R are 18 next sun and so we are going out to have a posh lunch with them on the day. Yest we went to recce the hotel and the thing that sold it to us was the small spotty pig that was trotting about the place. Not, I think, one intended to end up as jambon flambe au creme anglaise or whatever, so we think it’ll be there next time looking cutesy XX croo

Isso – hurglaffboolagerry budnoodladingburtle to M & R for 18.

And Brian S, your time will come! Just a bit busy… The old main now has about 30 patches but still going strong.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 26, 2005 – 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 26 Sep 2005 UTC 13’38”S 027’24”W Ref 386

DB: 138, 9240 GPS 128 (long crash) Another wet and windy night, down to 3 reefs, but now seems to be easing. Nasty front forming to the south. Propagation dreadful so will keep this short. It seems my idea about a Team Berri bid for the shirt at the Lord Howe auction is not going to happen unless anyone out there wants to volunteer to organise it – it’s a big ask, and I think we will quietly drop it otherwise. A pity.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 27, 2005 - 0530hrs UTC │Rutters

0530hrs 27 Sep 2005 UTC 15’24”S 027’06”W Ref 387

I’ve been taken to task (what’s the derivation of that expression?) for leaving out Australian and Kiwi round the worlders from my mind picture of all the sailing vessels passing here over the centuries – so, apologies to Kay Cottee, Naomi James, David Adams, Don Mcintyre and Peter Blake – to name a few. And I got Connie van Rietschoten wrong too, but who wouldn’t? He won the first two (I think) Whitbreads in boats called Flyer and he was reported to have told his crews that if they went overboard in the southern ocean, he would not turn back to look for them. A practical man!

We’re plugging on through the night. Going through a series of squalls about 20 miles apart with 35 knots and pretty vicious seas. Uncomfortable, frequent sail changes and quite hard work just to hang on – you have to do everything one handed while holding on grimly with the other, your toes and eyebrows too. Berri banging through the seas as well, but short of slowing down to 3 knots or so, we can’t do much about it. Would be trivial but for the seas.

Have not yet seen the Southern Cross – it has been cloudy to the south for days. Clearing as I write now, so will go up and have a squizz and make a cuppa with some dunkers. Which done, I have to report that things change out here rather fast. I went up into the cockpit with my cuppa to find the sky completely overcast again.

I know I’ve been banging on about this a lot in these logs – and I’m going to do it some more: Nelson said of Cook that you had to be familiar with the sea to appreciate the magnitude of Cook’s achievements. As someone now reasonably familiar with the sea and going back to that mind picture of all the ships here together and then transporting the picture to the North Atlantic, a Viking longship was a marvellous vessel for its time – seaworthy, fast and rugged and it almost certainly got to Newfoundland via Greenland long before Columbus found the West Indies. Think, though, of the conditions for the crews on those voyages. Berrimilla is a tiny world, but enclosed, relatively dry, very uncomfortable but bearable for very long periods, with sophisticated watermaking technology and safely preserved food and the space to store enough to last for at least a year as long as the water holds out. And she sails very efficiently to windward, with GPS to record every twitch of her wake. A longship was open, the crew sat on thwarts or on a deck below the thwarts in the spray and the rain where they also slept, probably in running water for a lot of the time. They had to bail with buckets. Their sails were made of wool and could not sail better that about 45 degrees to the wind, their wet weather gear was cowhide and they had to store water in casks and food preservation technology was salting and drying. One of those in a North Atlantic storm would have been desperately frightening and cold, with the crew unable to cook food and close to death from exposure and starvation. And on top of all this, the captains had not only to preserve their vessels and crews on the way out but also remember how they got there and then find their way back and pass on the knowledge. No GPS, no instruments, probably no facility for writing, no charts. I don’t know whether any of the longships ever got back from Newfoundland but it would have been an astonishing achievement if they did. A nation’s capacity for empire building – or theft on a grand scale if you are a revisionist – depended on this capacity to get superior technology into action in distant places and then get home again with the spoils and the knowledge.

Closer to where we are now, there’s an account of this process written by Bernal Diaz, who was one of them, of Hernando Cortez’ destruction of the Aztecs with his few hundred soldiers and sailors and their guns, horses and armour (and considerable local help) not very long after Columbus first found his way back to tell them how to get there. I read it as a schoolkid and wondered then – but not half as much as I wonder now. I might bang on a bit more about rutters and charts and computers in another update.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 27, 2005 - 1040hrs UTC

1040hrs 27 Sep 2005 UTC 15’46”S 026’58”W Ref 388

DB 125, 9115 gps 128. As you can see, we are creeping infinitesimally eastwards again. We have been further east since the equator, but this may be the beginning of the real turn for home. As I write, we are heading directly for Tristan da Cunha nearly 1500 miles ahead.

We have passed Ascension Island and are just passing St. Helena way over to the East. Watch this space – here’s hoping. I have learned not to take anything for granted out here, though.

1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 27, 2005 - 1200hrs UTC │“All Were Lost”

1200hrs 27 Sep 2005 UTC 15’51”S 026’55”W Ref 389

I’ve been thinking about young Henry Knight and the thousands of people like him who died out here in truly appalling conditions and have no marker or memorial – some, like Henry, properly buried at sea with a log entry and a tiny slip of paper to record the position, but most just abandoned like a bucket of galley slops. Think for instance, of the million or so Africans who were just tossed overboard from the slave ships when they died, unnamed and unwanted. It must have been quite common to sail past floating bodies and, in the very worst calms, they would have floated with the ship for days perhaps. This is my tiny attempt to pay my respects to them all and to acknowledge their existence. Perhaps their ghosts will find a little comfort in our passing and remembering them. Perhaps not.

My father, who flew aircraft off carriers and survived the second world war and would never talk about it, used to sit quietly and play Kathleen Ferrier singing ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’ and I could see that it affected him emotionally – not just the sheer beauty of her unaccompanied voice but also the words. I think I now have some idea about why. As an illustration, Hilary did some research for us into Pedro Alvarez Chabral and found that he was sent by King Manuel 1 to follow Vasco da Gama’s route to India. Sailing with him were four tiny caravels commanded by Bartolomeu Dias. All were lost. Think of the grief, courage, pain, uncertainty and loneliness in those three words – all were lost. Many of my father’s friends disappeared without trace too (and even some of mine) and Kathleen Ferrier was his way of remembering them all. I will play it for Henry and all the others when we get closer to him.

Kathleen Ferrier singing ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’ on YouTube

Yesterday I wrote about finding the way back. Every captain kept a log of a sort, partly to get him home again and partly for those who were to follow. It was more a word picture of what they saw and did – “we steered through the night towards two bright stars close together and the swells came from the east…”. The Dutch called these logs ‘rutters’ and I think the French equivalent would be ‘routiers’. I don’t think there is an exact English equivalent – routemap is the best I can do – even the dreaded travelogue, perhaps. Pedro Alvarez Chabral would have carried a copy of da Gama’s rutter. These rutters were highly prized and were seized by the national authorities whenever any captain was skilful or lucky enough to find his way home and they became part of – in today’s terms – a nation’s intellectual property. The Portugese kept them in an archive in Lisbon until it was burned down in the 1700’s and the Dutch, English and Spanish guarded them carefully as well. Nevertheless, copies were made and smuggled across borders and I have seen an amazing atlas that was presented to Henry VIII that is almost certainly the result of this covert intelligence work. There is conjecture that Cook had pirate copies of the early Portugese or Dutch rutters when he sailed through the Torres Strait for the first time.

As an afterthought, modern computer gizmos are called routers.