1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner


Logs ( 20 )

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 30, 2005 - 0200hrs UTC

0200hrs 30 Oct 2005 UTC 38’32”S 025’39”E Ref 500

Another frustrating day – we are bare poling again in a NE/35-40 off the back of a high – I misread the grib, not that it would have made any difference except that it was unexpected. It’s not the wind – that is essentially trivial – but the combination of wind, waves and required direction. We were doing nearly 7 knots last night with just the 5 but rolling and crashing into a rising beam sea and we thought that prudence should take over. Bare poling gives us about 3, and a bit more to the south, rolling horribly. We haven’t had more than about 6 hours straight with any sail combination since we passed Tristan – or so it seems. We make radical sail changes several times a day just to stay safe and keep moving roughly towards Oz and it’s very much stop/start sailing. The weather systems just keep trucking through. It’s 0200 UTC as I write, with about an hour to daylight. The wind has blown solidly and steadily all night but should back and increase during the day, so we will await developments. Meanwhile, the house battery is down to 11.4 volts, I think it will be an overcast day, so we will need at least half an hour of engine. We can’t make water with the present motion and wind angle – the inlet line, with the seacock deep under the mast, still gets airlocks in it as we roll. We have about 70 litres in reserve, some of it in bottles we have carried sinceDunedin. This is about 18 days supply and I think it is time to start using this when we need it. Sadly, we will be unable to supplement it from the Medicine Chest for as long as we had hoped.

Despite the frustration, today we will have a small celebration for our longest passage – probably a Consultation each from the deteriorated ready use supply and an Allen’s jelly snake each to remind us of where we are heading.

One of the things I try fiercely to protect is the integrity of the stuff I sleep in – bunk, searug, bivvy bag and sleeping bag and clothes. Everything gets wet unless it is protected and there is often flowing water across the cabin floor when we roll like this – the residual water in the bilge comes up and around the edges of the floor with each roll – this morning, I got up, decided I would treat myself to a rare cup of coffee and scrabbled around for the coffee jar. Found only a jar with brownish coffee smelling water that might once have been it – so opened our last coffee brick and boiled the water and as I stepped back from the stove, felt something under my foot. It was my favourite red knitted beanie that cossets my uninsulated swede when I’m sleeping – knitted by Olga – and it was wringing wet. Bugger. Not Happy. The Navy in Port Stanley gave us a roll of wonderful paper towels that I’ve been using to wipe down the nav area during bad condensation – they are so good that I can recycle them and dry them out – so I rolled the beanie tightly in a couple of them to soak out the water and I’ve now got a damp beanie – might have shrunk a bit, which wont hurt.

Talking of jars,Gary- still got them all and they are doing the job – thanks – we’ll sign one for you when we get back – you can have whatever is left in it!

Now early daylight – engine ticking over and charging at 20+ amps. Trying the watermaker.

Things are starting to wear out. The seams have failed in my right boot so a whole colony of ferals has evacuated to who knows where and I’m down to wearing my waterproof socks again. I think I have a spare pair of boots but I haven’t seen them for ages. If I haven’t, it’s going to be a long trip home! Wet feet are the pits.kts

I wonder how they are going in the Lord Howe race.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 30, 2005 - 0345hrs UTC

0345hrs 30 Oct 2005 UTC 38’34”S 025’43”E Ref 501

For Malcom: Water T 17.8 – never calibrated so can’t guess accuracy – seemed ok aroundSydney.

Spare boots found – located by following loud yakka from the ferals, who knew they were there all the time and got there long before I did. Making water, will shortly set trisail and storm jib and go sailing again.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 30, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 30 Oct 2005 UTC 38’46”S 026’18”E Ref 502

DB: DMG 139 ! GPS 137? Something to do with the great circle? Real current on our side for once? 71/39

So we start another, shorter leg, perhaps. Consultation has occurred, jelly snakes consumed and back to the grind. Dirty grey overcast, rain showers, #5 and trisail, could probably hold more but gusty, big waves, almost beam on, wind due to back and increase. We seem to have a couple of knots of current with us. Malcom, continuous digital readout of T, now 17.8. Tks for ships – I’m sure you will let us know if there’s any possibility of a meeting…Ta.

From Martin S.

Re S2H news “BlankHello Berris – just read your latest log, re going for it balls to the wall, to the max, to get to the line on time, and I am impressed, and humbled, and mad at myself for even thinking that I would have said ‘Sod it’ at the first sign of adversity and headed for somewhere (Cape Town theoretically, probably impossible realistically) that had warm showers and cold medicines on tap.

I can just see Berri arriving on C’mas Eve (I wont say C’mas Day, but am hoping it will be at least a week B4), having a tumultuous welcome, quick Customs, hopefully not a pierhead jump for the S2H crew, re-stock with potions and foods, and then set off to do battle again – an extra 6 days on a 4 month voyage is so insignificant in distance and time that you will be thinking it will be an absolute doddle. I hope. And it will.

Anyways, hope this can be received by sailmail – Stephen, please edit or wait until C’mas if you have to use the Sat-man. We are rooting for you all the way here. Havent posted Merlin the Wizard yet, but will do on Mon or Tues – am pleased a place in Sydney can still resurrect Wizards.

Fair winds, and 8 knots home.

Martin, thanks for encouraging words and the Wizard – I shall cherish him just as I did his predecessor. John H – I hate to think what the EEO coordinator would do out here.

Need new grib so will send this.

Contributed by Ian of Chatham in the UK:

With apologies to all poets, past and present!!

Down in the Southern ocean with seas so steep
Battles Berri onward while landlubbers sleep
Waves crash down from as high as the mast
And the crew want to know how long it will last

 A consultation or two with the doctor each day
Help these two old farts stagger on their way
Not for this pair are the slippers and pipe
Should I bid for their t-shirt using Hammersnipe?

They beat to the north to escape the worst
But it doesn’t work, this ploy of theirs
For the examiner hears of it and scuppers the plan
And orders more waves, then speeds up the fan

But “How did ‘he’ know?” ask the wily old pair
The answer is behind them, up in the air!
Old alby glides by all pink in the light
And reports back to ‘him’ what’s in his sight

The examiner laughs, there’s a glint in his eye
And the bomb doors are opened as alby flies by
They jink to the left and then the right
But it’s too late now, Kevvo’s covered in shite

It gets worse each day, can they take much more
For it’s still a long way to the old barn door
The folks at home read the sitreps each day
While the old farts onboard begin to pray

And it’s not over yet for while the duo heave to
The examiner plans more than a knockdown or two
Over she goes, to one twenty or more
Gear flying about to land on the floor

 But Alex writes on during this terrible spell
For this old sailor has much to tell
Stories of Merlin – defunct, dead, deceased
Lost sandals and glasses on their journey east

Jammed at the table by elbows and knees
Squinting to hit one in three right keys
Pete wedged in the bog, a little unsure
Shouts that this wasn’t in the bloody brochure

And wet socks are the order of the day
For the ferals have eaten the boots away
The doctor’s on ration, this isn’t a jest
The stock is depleted in the medicine chest

Water cannot be made without wrigglies we hear tell
And the genny and solar panel are both shot to hell
The tinnies in the eski have rusted away
Someone should have given them a monthly spray

Wet party gear on to change sail once more
As Berri is nearing the elusive barn door
Then at last, it’s here, they are finally through
And their shout can be heard……


1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 31, 2005 - 0040hrs UTC

0040hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 39’03”S 028’03”E Ref 503

From Warwick

Warwick here, an old mate of Pete’s and avid reader of the “”logs””, you do a fabulous job and thanks…..Alex referred to Linda and Kids at King’s…..do you know if this is The King’s School at Parramatta ? My son Cam attends King’s, and we were at CYC to see  Berri  off in S2H ..the start of the epic. I saw Pete for a beer in London…sounds like consultations may be light on from here

Woc – The King’s School, Worcester, notParramatta. Linda is the geography teacher. Happy to talk to Parra if they want to.

From John and S. M-B

Long time no speak, in fact the last time I e-mailed you you had been knocked down!  Hope this is not habit forming. 
I was mightily impressed by your Fastnet performance and am hoping you make it to Oz in time for the next Sydney Hobart.
The flag you sent is now in our lounge awaiting inspiration, it was passed on by Bernard when we were last in UK. We hope to step the mast on our small boat tomorrow so we can start sailing around and gaining experience of these waters.  I hope there not was exciting as yours at the moment! 

We have had a fellow RN observer here for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations in Stanley and Mount Pleasant. Chap by the name of Mike C, he was the CO of 801 in 1965.  Did you come across him?

Keeping you in  our thoughts

J &S MB- I certainly knew MC – but don’t really remember any context except the usual meeting in Shepherds or somewhere. Glad the flag in place – we hope it will give many years of service – as no doubt, its previous owner did! Good to hear from you and good sailing down there.

From Doug

I gave you a bumsteer when I said The Java was becalmed at 40deg S below WA I should have reread the diary rather than just check my plot (although they were later becalmed in Bass Strait off Cape Otway) – they certainly weren’t going anywhere though south of WA ! – I just checked Henrys scribbled and partly crossed-out entry for Friday 8th April 1853 – they were far from becalmed. It has a familiar ring to weather you have experienced recently.

“”Friday 8th but [ ? ] very [ ? ] till 6 oclock when we set sail & was of again doing nothing but drifting up to Six wife about [ ? ] Very rough all day drifting dreadful with this rocking very much wind Blew very much first night my wife was afraid she thought the ship struck against a rock but it was a very heavy sea wife about the same Doctor had a fall””  Nil forward progress but it wasn’t calm !

Hope the wind stays at your back all the way home.

Doug – I can relate to Henry’s diary entry – not much changes does it? – Steve, perhaps you could post it please?

We are getting our first freebie  – or at least noticeable one – since beforeCape Horncourtesy of Malcom, who has sent us some cold water. We have 2 knots of current behind us! I daren’t look at the instruments in case it goes away. It is now 1045 UTC and we have done 4 sail changes since 0300. Anyone would think this was a race. I think we must be getting impatient. Stir crazy?

12 hours later @ 3903 02803 31/0040

Still have about a knot of current. Water T 15.5. Wind has backed and we’re twin poled again with the 2 and the cutdown – yet another sail change.

I have just done the equation with a bit more precision. Assuming a 40 day trip, water maker every other day, we will need about 1900 amp hours from the battery. We have about 960 a/h in the diesel tank and I have assumed we can get 400 a/h from the solar panel. That will leave us about 540 a/h short without including the additional 20% needed to replace battery drop. This means that we will need to get them from the dying generator if possible and reduce power consumption to a minimum. Shorter trip, better solar, less power use will all contribute but that’s the bottom line. The VoA, perhaps. We will run the engine for 45 minutes three times per day on the overcast days if the generator finally stops generating. If we do start to run short, I will have to limit transmissions to perhaps one per day.

So it’s looking very likeAlbanyat this stage. I don’t see that we will be able to last as far as Eden or Hobart. If we get really lucky, we will get toAlbanyin under 40 days. FromAlbanytoSydneyis anyone’s guess, but assuming about 1700 miles, it will take about 15 days. 55 days from today is Christmas Day. Cutting things a bit fine but not out of the question.

Pete has been reading Shackleton’s book ‘South’ and I apologise if I have been hamming up the hardship a bit out here. What those guys went through makes our little bits of unpleasantness seem like a doddle.

31/0450 Water T 14.5


1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 31, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 39’22”S 028’52”E Ref 504

DB: dmg 190 GPS 131  72/38 Odd. I am getting dmg by comparing distance to go toSE Capeyesterday with today using SOB and there should not be a discrepancy like that. Not sure what is happening. I need my Merlin! 190nm is feasible but unlikely and I’m sure we did better than 131. For once, superb sailing, although we had to do a few changes, as usual. We were hitting 8 kts over the ground for a lot of the day, with Malcom’s cold water pushing us along. We still have a knot with us and the wind steady from the N, 20 – 25, with the 2 and full main. A bit of swell, from all four corners, but not yet anything to worry about. Can this be the realIndian Ocean??

We saw a huge sunfish this morning as we changed sail – at least, thats what we think it was – sort of greenish white mottled, but difficult to see its shape. Birds still with us – mostly black petrels with short curved white beaks. There was a lone Albatross sitting on the water as well – I first saw it silhouetted on a wave crest – they are very podgy and dumpy when resting and then they spread those amazing wings and just rise into the air and they become magnificent in a twinkling. We also have the stubby birds with black tops with spotted white patches topside – lovely patterns especially as the sun catches them.

Solar panel is now putting in about 4.5 amps and keeping the battery fully charged. Just needs full sunlight and careful alignment. It will not be enough to get us home on its own without working for 5 hours/day at that rate, every day, but it’s a help.

I seem to be fresh out of whimsy – just been very busy and a bit knackered. And sore – I was taking off the trisail at dawn this morning and let go in the cockpit at just the wrong moment in a roll and was sat down from about a metre and a half, right on the pointy bit of the right cheek of the bott. And left elbow. Bruised and battered, but happy to be making the sort of progress we were expecting. Will send this and see what there is from all y’all – it will certainly inspire.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 31, 2005 - 1315hrs UTC

1315hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 39’35”S 029’30”E Ref 505

I’ve completely lost any sense if time or sequence. Some time in the last 24 hours – or more – we were twin poled with the 2 and the cutdown, and the trisail left over from an earlier stoush with some blast or other sheeted tightly fore and aft to see whether it helps to dampen the roll. Not appreciably, Hugh – it’s a tiny sail. Then we changed to the full main and the 2 – a big change because the tri had to go first, then a big rearrange of the headsails, poles and sheets, then raise the main and 2. Hoooning along for  a bit – some hours?? – touching 9 through the water, mostly 7’s and 8’s plus a knot of current. Then down to 3 reefs and the 5 for about an hour – not sure again – and we’ve just changed back to the trisail and the storm jib. Bloody ridiculous. And we are still doing 6’s and 7’s. NW at about 35 -40 with building sea. The last few weeks have been one long blur of sail changes, spray, unpleasantness and sunshine – a crazy cascade of images with no structure. And a sunfish and an albatross in a storm.

Got wet – yet again – during one of the changes this morning and my two layers of thermals were so sticky and horrible with salt and scroffles that I thought I should peel them. Don’t like the sight of my flaccid torso – much rehab needed. Now wearing my nice new Gill thermals direct from the factory all red and grey and the height of fashion. Thanks to the people at Gill for all the work they did restoring our gear.

From Malcom

Alex, except for a weak tongue of warm water that may intrude at yr latitude from the N at 30E you should be in waters of T 14 through 17 until 35E. Presently, there is, past 35E, a small tongue of warm water but that may have gone by the time you get there. 

Malcom – thanks for info – a bit hard to go hunting for current, unfortunately, we’re just not fast enough, but nice to know about it in case we can find it. And what it cost to know it’s there! Can in due course.

Mark A inPerth, thanks for offer of help inAlbany. We will need to clear customs, refuel and restock the medicine chest, perhaps have a shower if there is time, and move on out. Hardly even time for a proper Consultation, but we’ll make it happen. If you can find a generator and get it down there, that would be fantastic, but the refuel will get us toSydney.

From Roger

Congratulations on rounding the corner, now full speed ahead, we’re waiting for you!
Your S2H entry has been accepted, and the Race Committee are happy to wait for everything else ( signatures, entry fee, Cat 1 safety, radio insp cert, liferaft cert etc etc) until you get here.. We’re all still following your exploits in increasing numbers.. See you in about 7 weeks

Roger, thanks for all that – we’ve just got to get there now. I will be in touch.

Ian, great poem – thanks – you’ve obviously got a handle on my gibberish! I understand from Isabella that there will soon be a glossary for the mystified. My sister knows Too Much – not sure about all that!

An idea for those who want a project and a bit of adventure in their lives – only an idea at this stage but I’d like to know if anyone is interested. The London Marathon is run in the first couple of weeks in April. I may be able to get to London, perhaps score an entry and run it. Well, plod it really. Would any of all y’all like to join me – we could have a Berrimilla team and raise a heap of cash for the relevant charity and all the runners could have their names in the book when we write it. Would be easiest for the UKresidents, but no reason why anyone from anywhere in the world who can get themselves there and score an entry shouldn’t join us – all the green and white mob in Sydney, for instance. If you are interested, could you drop a (short!)line to berri@berrimilla.com. If you’ve never run one, there’s just time to get in enough training to give it a whirl, even though there’s an English winter coming up over there. But it’s only an idea at this stage and I wouldn’t like to quote any odds on its happening.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Oct 31, 2005 - 1745hrs UTC

1745hrs 31 Oct 2005 UTC 39’39”S 030’00”E Ref 506

Pete was reading some more Shackleton. There’s hope for us yet – when things were tough on Elephant Island, ‘the Men’, scientists, tradesmen, officers, were given a tablespoon of methylated spirit in a pint of warm water flavoured with sugar and ginger for their Christmas drink. MMMM! A Con with a difference when desperation really sets in. We haven’t any seal blubber, but I’ve been eying off the ferals and they are getting nervous.

And Shackleton talked of a ‘presence’ that both he and Wilde felt during the boat trip and on their trek across S. Georgia, that helped them make the right decisions. I’ve often wondered about that – is it simply an artifice of the godfearing mind to enable it to cope with superhuman obstacles? I’ve never felt presences out here, although I don’t really think one can compare experiences like that, but I have sometimes reached what I think Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – cult book when I was at Uni) meant when he described ‘the high country of the mind’ – an intensely heightened awareness of self and surroundings induced by circumstance rather than drugs and alcohol. But, of course, I’m sure that the Albatross in the storm was Tommy’s ghost! Far too knowing an eye for anyone else’s presence!

We’re still rolling along, storm jib and tri, although the wind has abated a bit. I pulled in the latest grib after sending my last and there is a very tight little low forming directly behind us with attendant nastiness. More exercise for the freckle, I fear, so we are not rushing to change sail – might even see the night out.

Somewhere back in the blur of all this, I wrote about things starting to wear out – my boots, I think. My hands too – they have started to wrinkle and the nails are going white. Noice. Insufficient Medicinal Compound – where’s Lily? And my searug – worn almost skinless before we left, is now gossamer thin and mildewed as well. Still works though.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 01, 2005 – 0400hrs UTC

0400hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 39’41”S 031’01”E Ref 507

An idea for the next competition – for anyone with imagination and a palette. Kids’ art class, perhaps? Create a painting or a drawing called ‘Albatross in the Storm’, any style, any medium and send me a small jpeg or a scan and we will provide an authentic Berrimilla souvenir to the one we like best. Here’s my image: On an A4 page in ‘landscape’ orientation draw an imaginary diagonal line from top left corner to bottom right. This represents the horizontal. I’m crouched at the forward end of the cockpit facing aft and about 2 metres away is Berrimilla’s pushpit – a sort of fence around the back of the boat with GPS aerials and other paraphernalia attached to it. There are photos on the website for the perfectionists. The backstay rises from the deck just inside it and disappears at the top and Kevvo and his vane are working away behind it. The boat is at the end of a roll to the right – so to my left as I face aft and the backstay and pushpit are oriented more or less vertically up the page. Subdued light, Turneresque clouds, perhaps a glimmer of sunshine from the right somewhere. It is blowing 60 knots from the right. Directly behind and above the pushpit and about 30 metres away is a serrated ridge of grey blue green wavetop with spray blowing off the top and white wind lines running down its face. This ridge slopes down from the left and merges with a towering mass of water on the right – a crest just beginning to break but with ice blue green translucence in the top edge and again, spray breaking away to the left. Above all this – so in the top right hand corner, is an albatross, head to wind, huge wings curved downwards – hovering immobile and serene on the wind. It is about 15 metres away and I can see its eye and beak clearly. The contrast between the fury and the stillness is profound.

That is what I remember – but it’s just to give you the flavour, not the actual picture. Make of it whatever your imagination provides. Leave out the bits of boat entirely, if that works better for you. If you want to do one, get it to us at berri@berrimilla.com by email by the time we get to Sydney. If the idea really does get into a kids’ art class, perhaps a bit of prejudging by the teachers might help – send us say the best 5, as judged by the class? Izzo – a dental flossed version??

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 01, 2005 – 0730hrs UTC

0730hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 39’35”S 031’16”E Ref 508


For Malcom:@ 3935 3116 01/0730 T 19.5. No noticeable current. Thanks for callsign IA – we’ll holler as we get closer and could perhaps phone them.

H – into the pear and fennel chutney – yum – thanks! Fisting a triple decker biscuit sando as I poke at the keyboard.

Still doing a sail change every few hours – and every time we do, it makes us a few miles – which we’d lose and never recover if we shirked the change. Knackering in the extreme sometimes – but we’re eating up the miles. Seems we have a softish spot behind us and then serious stink, which just might slide down below us. When I look at the large scale chart, there is now clear progress over the pond – my large scale is similar to the tracking charts on the website. The most optimistic guess would put us at Albany in about 35 days.

To all y’all who might have joined me for the London Marathon – seems like it’s a no hoper for this year as entries are firmly slammed shut. Any takers for 2007? Same deal – just an idea at this stage, but let me know.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 01, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 39’34”S 031’24”E Ref 509

3934 3124 01/0900 73/37

DB: dmg 124, gps 128 seems reasonable. Another sail change – now broad reaching east with the cutdown and the trisail. 6’s and 7’s, but perhaps a smidgin of current against us. Grey thick overcast, solar giving us about half an amp – better than nowt! Generator sounding very close to the end, so saving for desperate times.

I reckon this feels like about 30 k in the marathon – seems we’ve had a few of those this year! – finish nowhere near in sight, the hard work still to be done and every metre a little Everest to be climbed. Every muscle complaining, feet sore and blistered. Head firmly in neutral, trying not to think about it else how would you ever go on doing it? Persistence and perseverance. And truckloads of patience.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 01, 2005 - 1330hrs UTC

1330hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 39’29”S 031’52”E Ref 510

Picture competition: change of plan – it has been suggested that we change the painting competition to a painting or drawing of anything you imagine from reading the logs – I think that’s a much better idea, so go for it. A portrait of a boot feral, perhaps?

From Malcom C.

When at Boatbook shop this morning finding out about Amsterdam call sign I bought a book by Vito Dumas, “”Alone through the Roaring Forties””.  An Argentinian who in June1942 (yep in middle of WW2) set sail from Buenos Aires to Capetown (55 days), Cape Town to Wellington (104 days) Wellington to Valparaiso (72 days) Valparaiso to Me del Plata via Horn (37 days).  All this solo in a 31 foot ketch rigged yacht, “”Legh II”” finishing at Mar del Plata in July 1943. You’re retracing his route at present.  Interesting ideas for yr book.

Malcom – I have Vito Dumas’ book. Astonishing bloke, and he went the whole way around using an old raincoat as his wet weather gear. There’s a boat in Hobart that looks very like Legh II and may have been built that way.

From Peter S.

Any ideas where I can obtain a scale drawing of Berrimill or other Brolga 33? I have searched the web without result.
I intend doing a computer drawing but need to have the measurements right before I start. I can use the web photos for details and colors.

Peter S, as far as I know, there are no scale drawings of a Brolga. I asked Peter Joubert and he has no plans. Brian Shilland has a sail plan and there may be something in an old Sailing Mag that we were told about but that’s all. Do any of the BOGgers out there know of a set of plans or scale drawings – please let us know.

From Bernie B.

An ode from Horace, a Roman philosopher (I think 79AD).

Happy the man,
And happy he alone,
He who can call today his own,
He who secure within can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst for I have live today.

 Keep it going boys. The technology might be different from Shakeltons time, but the fortitude, guts and tenacity is the same.

Bernie, thanks for Horace.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 01, 2005 - 2250hrs UTC

2250hrs 01 Nov 2005 UTC 39’24”S 032’36”E Ref 511

Story of a watch – 01/1500-1800: Grey overcast with light, barely visible diaphanous mist over the water. Black petrels plus a small grey one and a lone, twin tailed tern milling around. The watch started with the storm jib and the trisail – comfortable and easy in about 25 kts from the N, 2 metre confused swell, 5.5 through the water, no measurable current, T 19.4. I came on and almost immediately the wind began to fade and we took down the tri  and storm jib and set the main with 3 reefs and the cutdown – big, fiddly job. Pete started cooking the evening meal, I rinsed some grease from a newly opened packet of cheese into the sea and the petrels moved in and fought for the bits – they are with us because they must sense a source of food and they fly tight circles around the back of the boat, especially when we are eating in the cockpit. The wind came back in at about 30+, Berri sliding off the waves, green water over the decks and we dropped the cutdown and set the 4. Half an hour later, back to the cutdown and we gave ourselves a gin for effort, despite today being a day of abstinence in the new conservation regime (on the basis that as we close the Australian coast, anything – even no gin – will be bearable). I sat, damp and draggly, in the cockpit monitoring developments and Pete sent up the Pasta of the Day – Chefsway Spag Bog, with the block of cheese to grate into it. Petrels very interested, tighter circles. Wind dying to nothing. Rinsed out bowl, Pete to bed and I tossed the third reef – wind now all but gone, sloppy confused sea, lots of gyration killing forward progress. Immediately tossed the second and first reefs – no appreciable wind but enough showing on the instrument to give a clue as to direction to steer. Both sails slatting and banging – mostly inside out, or so it seemed.  Not enough for Kevvo, so alternately hand steered and fiddled with sheet leads, mainsail shape, preventer – bloody everything that could help to induce forward motion. Wet, cold, white wrinkled hands. For a few minutes there was a flaming orange gash in the gloom to the west as the sun set behind a thinner patch of overcast. Around 1700, faint suspicion of breeze – re lead cutdown sheet right aft to spinnaker turning block to flatten sail, sheet in main and slowly bring Berri up onto the new breeze. Numbers on the log – 0.4, 0.7, 1.2… Direction more or less E. Handed over to Pete at 1800 with 2.5 kts on the clock, T now 15.8, heading East. Total miles for the three hours, about 6, GPS showing snaky path all over the ocean, but generally east. Huge headbang, but every mile coming right off the top.

The Ampair generator has just about expired, with what sound like completely collapsed bearings. It has done a wonderful job, considering the extreme abuse it has endured. It worked perfectly for about 16000 miles including some the severest and nastiest bashings available, with every variation of speed, waves, skipping turbine and turbulence thrown at it. I should have thought to have its bearings serviced in the UK – or have looked for a second hand spare. Big mistake – next time I will know. I think that its eventual expiry has been well within the definition of fair wear and tear and I have no complaints. I’m sure that with more benign treatment, it would have run for a lot longer. (is – don’t know if george reads this – pse tell him he can quote this para if he wants . ta)

On experience over the last few days, we are not going to get enough sunlight to get us home at our present power consumption rate. Tomoz has promise, and will wait and see. I think, though, that we will need to consider turning off the instruments and the gps for large chunks of each day – or perhaps overnight. I will try to keep the laptop running so that I can write these and we’ll look at one transmission per day, probably in our evening when propagation is best.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 02, 2005 - 0500hrs UTC

0500hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 39’31”S 033’26”E Ref 512

Juddy suggested we should turn off the instruments. I had an initial scoff and then thought, no, the man is quite right. I have got so used to all these goodies that I have begun to take them for granted but there’s a perfectly good GPS that runs at less than half an amp and keeping the laptop off but charging adds another 0.2 or so. So, that’s what we are doing. I will write as many of these as I can during the day and do 1 or 2 transmissions when propagation is good. Steve, please keep up what you are sending and monitor for a couple of days to see how we go. good prop at all times except 0800 – 1400 gmt.

No DB for the time being – all y’all can work it out from the positions. Solar p, even under cloud gives nearly 0.5 amp.

So – here goes.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 02, 2005 - 0850hrs UTC

0850hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 39’40”S 033’53”E Ref 513

74/36 – dmg about 115. Back on song tomoz with new numbers from GPS.

From Juddy

 daylight savings just started and did first Monday night spin twighlight last night…feels like summer now.

 Re power needs. Have you considered turning instruments, GPS and VHF off. Maybe leave VHF on when you’re both below but I reckon you could save at least 30 amp/hrs per day that way. Just turn the GPS on to do a plot on the chart twice a day. You guys would know Berri well enough not to need wind info, in fact it might be a blessed relief not to know the wind velocity sometimes.. I’m assuming you have a steering compass, of course.

I did this on Tamboo saing to Tonga and found it made a huge difference. In fact I ended up not using instruments mid ocean on all the other legs.

Juddy, thanks for jolting us – me, really – out of my gizmological complacency. This seat of the pants sailing is much more fun and we’re not dependant on pulling in gribs or actual wind speed or any of that stuff. What’s the wind speed? Don’t know, about 30 kts, but there’s no green water over the decks, no pounding, the lee rail is a foot out of the water and we’ve got 6 – 7 knots through the water. Who cares what the actual speed is, Berri is handling it. So what’s the weather going to do – still looks pretty murky to the west – might pack in a bit, better keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, let’s have a cuppa. Woooohoooo! And, as long as I haven’t got this turned on, the solar is holding the charge under thick cloud with dank, misty rain, vis often 300 metres. Wooohooo again. We’re going to get there – where I’m not yet sure – Albany looks most likely, but SE Cape might just be possible. Eden direct might be possible too, also just. Decisions after half way across – taken to be south of St Paul.

Our S2H entry has been accepted – so we have to get there.

Is – salty dacron – 5 – 7 oz, I think. You can have as much as you need for your stuff.

About 4 hours later – so just who is funding the Examiner? Seems to me this inquisition has been far beyond any reasonable test of the product. Since I wrote the first para, we’ve gone from a full main and cutdown to the 4 and 3 reefs to what was to have been the Tri and the 5 but which became just the tri after we had hanked on the 5 and decided to shove it back down the hole and ride out the nastiness on the tri. Wind at high frequency howl, not yet quite shriek – perhaps gusting 50+. Wave tops blowing off, even grey sky – dark grey green sea, almost jade with the whitecaps stark and beautiful. Enough ambient light scattering around for the panel to go positive and give us 0.6 amps over the 0.4 that we need to keep the gps going with this baby on charge. We were doing between 4 and 7 over the ground. Soaked, white crinkly hands, nails going inside out.

We have new rules for Consultations in this stuff – beer is served on a needs basis and hang the consequences as we get closer to home. Gin will continue to be served at 1700 local time – now over 2.5 hours ahead of Greenwich. There will be a further celebratory Con when sunrise occurs at or about midnight UTC – some time to go yet.

Paul, I thought of portrait A4 too, just as I pressed the transmit button – but landscape works as well – leaves room for other stuff top and bottom…

And now we have a glimmer of sunshine – still at incipient shriek, but must be backing off a bit. Solar panel carrying the laptop – woohoo.

02/1025 – not for long. We’re now firmly in shriek mode – looks like steady 50, gusting 60+ – short, breaking seas, 4 – 5 metres, masses of white water moving horizontally. Berri catching the occasional one side on and thumping and shuddering in sheets and clouds of spray. I’ve just come in from the cockpit and shed my sodden party gear – wow! huge gust – boat on almost beam ends 70+? – where I was trying to help the poor old trisail cope – it is now so old and battered that it has a big belly in it and it tends to bag and hold the wind rather than spill it as designed to do, so the leech vibrates horribly occasionally. I tried to tweak it down but that made it worse, so eased the working sheet a bit and ground on the lazy – windward – sheet and that has improved it a little. Brian S, if you’re reading this, could you please try to find us a second hand trisail that you could alter to fit – if you have the plan for it. If you do, the foot needs to slope down from the tack so that the clew is about 8 – 10 inches lower than on the present one to get the lead right. The present one is right-angled at the tack. I have a halyard tape on the old one that we can transfer to the new one. Thanks heaps – also looking at a battenless #3 along the lines of the cutdown – will discuss when we get there. Pse email berri@berrimilla.com if you see this to confirm. Ta.

Enough – will try to send in a couple of hour.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 02, 2005 – 1200hrs UTC

1200hrs 02 Nov 2005 UTC 39’47”S 034’13”E Ref 514

Past shriek into full blown scream. Pulled in the trisail in uproar of crashing water – sea going from dirty grey to swimming pool blue with white icing and back into smoky blue grey streaks and foam. Tennis court sized swimming pools. Scary and beautifrul. But I do wish it would blow away – we’re just sitting it out again – waves perhaps not so bad as knockdwn storm but fingers crossed and clench firmly in place. No idea of wind  speed, mst be at least 70. Bare poling – feels a bit better without tri. New rainsquall – more wind. So dark in cabin, need headlight to see keybd. Ferals in hiding – dont like bootfuls of water. New birds – dirty grey/brown – sort of cigarette ash muddy all over with same coloured beaks – look like small albys. Sitting on water in midst of maelstrom.

Unable send so will write more – in a lull – not fooled – had one before and came back stronger. Percy Vere, get over here! Had half knockdown – not serious but waves big enough. Was rgiht about lull – coming back again. Heavy driving rain. Vis 100 mtrs. No sign of abating. Can someone please tell me whether this is normal for here, now, or are we just unlucky? Seems we have had a succession of nasty ones that we had not expected. But whatever, we shall overcome.

Simon – the examiner visits us all – we shall have a consultation to your good health. Perhaps a sail when you recover? Best to Lucy and the kids, Steve speaks highly of you, and that is good enough for us.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 03, 2005 - 0350hrs UTC

0350hrs 03 Nov 2005 UTC 39’43”S 035’33”E Ref 515

One of the nastiest nights of my life. I feel gutted, drained, pulverised. Not really sensible to sit here but show must go on. Laptop lashed 2 nav tbl across keybd.

This direct from scribbled notes from midnight ish:

Yest pm storm abated to gentle 30 kt or so. G&T around 5 because it had been that sort of day. Another instead of dinner – THAT sort of day. I went to bed 1 hr – thought worst over – pete saw sun going down under overcast – relieved him, black overcast again – 1 star faintly vis.

used to Berri being quite light inside @ night – instruments, LEDs etc – now all off to conserve – no longer warm friendly light – blackness – reaches out, surrounds, – envelops, grasps suffocates. Wind past shriek to scream like persistent scream babies have designed to corrode insides of any listener till shove bottle in mouth – problem is can’t bottle feed storm in SIO. Impotent & scared. Must sit, listen and be assaulted – drillls into soul and starts to melt from inside.

Turned on inst – watched wind speed 2-3 minutes – never below 65. Later some massive gusts very much over – boat almost laid flat, wind banshee. Can hear somewaves coming -xpress train roar – awful sickening wait for crash and roll as arrives – roaring water, violent motion  – some sneak up – complete silence, shuddering crash, fear gripping totally – no remedy. Always fear that next one will be THE one. Sitting as write on floor back to sink legs uphill feet on side of nav tbl. Unsafe sleep in my bunk – might get hurled out again if anchoring spectra takes out shelf – land on pete, both injured. Just sit/stand, sweat it out. no way can sleep antway – pete says can sleep when knows I’m up fretting – nicest thing heard for ages!

Every lull -lotts of them – is this the end of storm??

Perhaps easier with more experience – can’t know but don’t think so. Made cuppa 4 p & self – mine completely lost as massive roll at exact moment let go of mug on bench to hand pete his. Damn. PPPP start again – something to do pass time. Wonder if will ever read this in comfy armchair with Dr Cooper.

Too much stuff on coachroof – catches water can’t help it now – think later.

Kevv0 wonderful took us along 120M last night – now 070ish – big wind change fm N to W – on top of low? Went south of 40 during  night, now back north.

Sort of happy grin to think storm Alby Tommy M having a laugh. Bastard!

Amanda- gotcha – no probs – pse be nice to S Jinks RYA if too late Ta.

Must write re diff between big boats small boats. Ocean 80 a small ship – Berri a tiny plastic soapdish half length of cricket pitch. Much smaller than waves – cant outrun, must cooperate with them as much as poss but feel every single one.

Near knockdn 02/2302 getting worse – scary. loose stuff hurtling cant secure everything. 2 big waves in succession. Erk! Gets bloody uncomftble on floor.

Small abate – wake pete and get into his bunk – but wind abates then slams back from soft silence to scream in an instant.


3 hours later – daylight – small drop – wind prob about 40 – 45.  Hard tight lines of cloud to west and around. Big big waves, blue translucent swimming pool tops, crashing light blue foamy water in daylight. Fabulous lethal indifferent power.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 03, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 03 Nov 2005 UTC 39’27”S 035’46”E Ref 516

DB: dmg 106 gps 118 75/35

In the residual turbulence after the storm. About 25 – 30 kt, 7 -8 mtr swell from west, occasionally breaking leaving smoky blue swathes behind with foaming windlines. Confab half an hour ago and decided on conservative approach – Berri rolling severely still, so just # 5 till swell abates so don’t roll poles into water. Big potentially showstopping mistake if do! Really need twin poled 5 & 4 to get direction East but settled for about 030 for time being. Amazing how much better it all feels in daylight!

Round about now must be shirt auction on Lord Howe. Wonder how it’s going and who won the race?

I was rabbiting on a couple of days ago about the joys of seat-of-the-pants sailing. It’s great for us cruising boozing Old Farts but of course doesn’t compute for the round the world racers who must know with great precision exactly what is ahead and behind – they have the speed to go hunting for favourable combinations of wind and current and they have the internet access and communications to get real time data all the time. And the brains to use it all.

The solar panel, even stowed under cloudy overcast gives us half an amp – almost enough to keep us going on its own in sotp sailing mode. Wooohoo.

Chris – thanks for Homer – rings bells everywhere, but he knew the name of his Examiner – we don’t know who we’ve offended. Hope there’s a nice Goddess out there looking out for us too. Hi Lindsay – thanks for your note and yes. we are trying to get back in time to do the Sydney Hobart this year. I’m glad you liked the pink albatrosses – so did we!

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 04, 2005 – 0415hrs UTC

0415hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 38’40”S 037’08”E Ref 517

It seems the Vogon Constructor Fleet has found someone else to chuck around for a time. The little bus shelter has been relatively stable, the studio is not in motion, although there is a virtual swell out there, coming in from the SW  that is so big that when we are at the bottom of a trough, Berri loses the 15 kt or so breeze she’s headbutting into and stands up with flapping sails for a few moments. That’s big.

With no weather info, we are much more on the alert fro changes – monitoring the barometer every few hours and looking out of the window much more. There is the beginning of s new system coming across from the west and north that we  will need towatch. Big high cloud with depth and attitude.

We have a Xantrex battery monitor – wonderful gizmo, except that in the various bits of electrical surgery we have performed during the year, we must have left off a connection somewhere and the monitor no longer measures the battery level, but it does give a very accurate indication of current draw – we know, for instance, that the backlight on the GPS uses 0.1 amps, as does the computer screen. It allows us to be very careful in conservation mode, and it nitpicks at me when I want to sit here and provide you all with goat fodder. I’ve got so used to being able to mess around with idle whimsy that it is a bit of a restriction. You may well notice a change in style – I think I can feel the difference already.

Today’s dmg is going to look very ordinary and unimpressive – we have only been able to make about 050M in a headwind and tack through about 120 degrees in the slop and dying wind. Every day seems to require a drastic change in ETA  – I don’t really have any sort of feel for what is ahead, but it does not look immediately promising. I’m pretty certain that we will have to go via Albany unless we get some more usable wind than we have over the last couple of weeks.

Chris, I like the idea of Homer’s position, but it’s way beyond my limited talents. There will be some ace navigators out there – are you there Brooksie? – who could give it a whirl. In fact I would be surprised if it hasn’t been done somewhere already.

[ed: Based on the star information in the quote, work out Odysseus’ position and course direction. Bear in mind the precession of the equinoxes and assume a date in the summer of 1250 BCE. You may ask a classics scholar where people think the ‘Phaiakian land’ was.”

Maybe see what Aelx thinks.

Best regards

Chris Nailer (Canberra)

Glorious Odysseus, happy with the wind, spread sails
and taking his seat artfully with the steering oar he held her
on her course, nor did sleep ever descend on his eyelids
as he kept his eye on the Pleiades and late-setting Bootes,
and the Bear, to whom men give also the name of the Wagon,
who turns about in a fixed place and looks at Orion,
and she alone is never plunged in the wash of the Ocean.
For so Kalypso, bright among goddesses, had told him
to make his way over the sea, keeping the Bear on his left hand.
Seventeen days he sailed, making his way over the water,
and on the eighteenth day there showed the shadowy mountains
of the Phaiakian land where it stood out nearest to him,
and it looked like a shield lying on the misty face of the water.
Coming back from the Aithiopians the strong Earthshaker (Poseidon)
saw him from far on the mountains of the Solymoi. He was visible
sailing over the sea. Poseidon was the more angered
with him, and shook his head, and spoke to his own spirit:

11 hours to today’s Consultation. My how the days drag from Con to Con! It will be nice to once again inhabit a freely libatory bus shelter one day soon.

Big boats and small boats – Berrimilla is a very small boat for the conditions out here in the studio. Even a pile of dead leaves tends to get in the way and the starlings make a right mess. Ellen MacArthur’s trimaran was more that twice as long and about 5 times as wide, and the new Volvo boats are similarly huge by comparison. They can outrun the waves and swell, surfing at 30 knots, go hunting for weather and fly huge reaching sails deep in the southern ocean. We can’t do any of this. Full stop. It’s a bit like being in a small car with small wheels on a corrugated Australian outback road, or an English road full of potholes. The corrugations and potholes match the wheel diameter so every tiny bump is transmitted via the suspension to the chassis. A truck with huge wheels and lots of mass can more or less ignore them. In the same way, Berrimilla, at about 10 metres, often matches the wavelength of some of these short steep seas and stops every time she hits one, without time to get going again before the next one. Exactly what’s happening as I write – on Sydney harbour in this wind, we’d be doing 6 knots – we are lucky to get 3 in this slop, but the water T is low and it could mean that there is wind against current and we are getting a boost. (Can’t tell without instruments or proper plot on chart. Too big a rearrangement needed for chart unless essential). Also, Berri can be completely enveloped by big breaking crests. Although we are driving the boat as hard as we dare, realistically we have to sail very conservatively – almost timidly, sometimes, to preserve the boat and get her home, in conditions in which the Volvo boats are designed to excel. They would romp through this.

I’ve been watching our flock of black petrels – about 20 of them, with a little grey one along for the ride and the occasional albatross or two. They are aggressive scavengers – drop anything over the side and they are onto it instantly – the one that happens to be in the right position on their incessant orbits around our stern just drops on to it and the others all close in. Sometimes they fly formation, usually with an albatross, perhaps trying to shoo it away and when they can’t see anyone on deck, they come in very close, although I have noticed that they seem to be getting used to us and now often fly over the cockpit. Perhaps just getting hungrier. If we have a camera out, they seem to know and stay away. They are quite big birds, body about the size of a wild duck, but they chitter and squeak like sparrows. Quite disconcerting. I’m sure they are the same birds that have followed us for as long as I can remember – Tristan maybe. Just like us, they are out there more or less in survival mode all the time and I have a feeling of some sort of empathy – they seem to be doing it very hard, because we are not the source of food they might have expected.

The last 50 odd days of this venture are going to be the hardest 10k at the end of a marathon that I have ever run. Sheer, stoical headbanging patience and dogged persistence required. All day, every day, especially when the gin dries up and the Vogons are around.!

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 04, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 38’58”S 037’22”E Ref 518

Finished  this at 3858 03722 04/0900 76/34 DMG 56, GPS 117  seems about right. 3739 to Albany, perhaps 35 days if we’re lucky.

1-27. Indian Ocean Examiner

Nov 04, 2005 – 1115hrs UTC

1115hrs 04 Nov 2005 UTC 39’05”S 037’23”E Ref 519

For Malcom T 13.4