1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S


Logs ( 25 )

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 08, 2005 – 1200hrs UTC

1200hrs 08 Nov 2005 UTC 39’26”S 046’51”E Ref 534

to #5 and 3rd reef, tack to 210M – hoping further backing to bring up to GC track.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 09, 2005 - 1100hrs UTC

1100hrs 09 Nov 2005 UTC 40’56”S 048’29”E Ref 538

Steve, interesting re amm – ta, – also re cyc – keep us posted. just transferred to your wet wx gear. noice – mine now v. tacky. further 2 phone call – approx position of following system, h or l, plus likely strength and direstion system moving wd be appreciated – assume your strenght’s are averages so 40=60 etc.

small celebration – just managed to transmit on 18 megs. might mean troubles decreasing. there will be a con. – later – jst a fluke – still v difficult to get sailmail in or out paul has given us some more p’s to add to our 4 at the end – proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance promoting persevering patiently, prudently and persistently. you can see how stir crazy i get sometimes.

From Paul

Do you get any extra speed from your new main, a few megapixels perhaps?

I’ve been thinking about your desalinator, I’ve never used one, or even seen one! Could you point me in the direction of some information? In the last few exchanges I’ve read from you re economies of power consumption it hasn’t had a mention, don’t you need to use it? It would seem to be a pretty essential piece of kit to me. I’m assuming it purifies salt water which must use a lot of energy, would it be more efficient/use less if it was purifying collected rainwater? Can it be hand powered?

I can imagine your delight at finding extra tonic under the new main! If supplies get really desperate do you have the means to make some homebrew? I wonder if you’ve read Desperate Voyage, about a guy at the end of WW2 who tries to sail singlehanded from the US to Australia with no previous experience. He ends up eating engine grease, and his shoes (what would the boot ferals think of that?). Although you have plenty of ordinary supplies to get you home, how far would you be prepared to go to maintain regular consultations?

 On knowledge and wisdom… I was a teacher in the UK & Cyprus for 12 yrs, and then spent another 12 yrs working for a large commercial diving company in the North Sea. Some of the smartest, quick thinking guys I ever met were not professionals the staffroom, they were “”professionals”” in an unusual industry with no formal qualifications! In some places they might have been refered to as “”wide boys”” but they were successful because they were ahead of the game 24 hours a day. The 7P’s ruled their world.Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance! (Now I’m back teaching again which proves I never learned anything!)

paul – watermaker – swiss company called katadyn – they have a website. uses reverse osmosis and ours draws about 5.5 amps while producing 4.5 ltrs/hour. can be hand powered.

From Clive R.

Hi my name is Clive and I live in Lytham St.Annes.U.k.   I’M not much of a sailor but I have read all your logs with great interest .I follow your progress every day and I am amazed that you  are able to reply to all our questions with interest  and full of information .I wish all the luck in the world in your venture and I only wish I had the luck and the balls (sorry) to do the same . Keep the gin flowing,not too much tonic and a very safe journey to you both .Cheeeers. 

g’day clive – thanks for your note.

john m. st 4000 tiller autopilot – won’t cope with southern ocean warehouses but ok everything else – are you morning gold?

From Graeme

Have been reading your logs and can say that it is nice to be here in Oz on East coast with just a bit of rain. Good to see that you have headed north a bit. Hope you are getting the weather you want rather than just what is thrown at you. Have been talking to Gerry F and will do one of his Radio courses over the weekend.

I see that your entry is in for Hob. Hope yoiu have the crew arranged, if not and you can use a useless old  guy give me a call. Dont know if there is anything that you need but if i can assist give me a call.

graeme – you too – wow. thanks for offer of services – i think we’re ok as long as we can get there in time.

we are trying to head back down the gc – bashing directly into short steep corkscrewing sea – very violent motion, this typing not easy – green water past kitchen window, would be nice to get a break sometime and actually get moving. the nailbiting bit of all this is not easy to sustain.

condensation very bad – keeping computer dry is tricky – sitting with head under plastic bag, braced, poking keybd 1 handed.

chris – perhaps wisdom the state or quality of having seen it (or something like it) all before and being able to act on it. simply, the capacity to act – or, specifically, not act – from experience.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 05, 2005 - 0100hrs UTC

0100hrs 05 Nov 2005 UTC 39’51”S 038’33”E Ref 520

Tooling along, we were, full main and 2, middle of the night – isn’t it always? – headbutting the corrugations a bit and feeling the thumps but safe and easy. Heading down the great circle again, but – I fervently hope – just far enough east for the next one to slip below us. Many a pious hope… And up it comes and we go through the party gear routine straight from warm bunk – I’ll give you that in tiny detail one day – it’s interesting what one has to do to keep the whole exercise under control in a wildly tossing boat with limited stowage – up on deck, drop the 2, bag it and consign it, hank on the 4 on its strop, first reef in the main and up the 4. Way too much – wind had risen significantly – try second reef – still too much so go the third and then drop the 4 off strop, requiring change of car position as well. A biggie but now seems snug and comfy.

From Dave, Poole, UK

Wow what a night! “Hi Guys – one of your gusts here, just read last instalment and the hairs on my neck are still twitching and I’ve got a dry mouth just reading the Sitrep: 0350hrs 03 Nov 2005.

Your boat is amazing (and you two are of course even more amazing). You say  (intimate perhaps) it would be easier in a larger boat and I’m sure that an Ocean 80 would be ripping along in 60Kts and as long as the crew were up to it a fabulous experience. But I also think that the “”middle sized modern”” boats might actually have a serious problem in the conditions you have and are experiencing. I own an Oceanis 44CC which is a much distorted hull form, extreme beam of over 15 ft and relatively shallow draft (wing keel). My extreme weather is waves of 3m! I do plan to make Ocean crossings on this boat however so when I listen to your story I get the effect described in my first sentence! I would not expect my boat (called Moana btw) to be any more comfortable than Berri in such extreme conditions and I would expect that you are a lot safer on Berri than I would be on Moana.

 I am prompted to get stability data for Moana and it would be an interesting exercise to compare on paper with Berri’s.

Dave W from poole – I agree with your concerns – I don’t think your boat was designed for this. (Roger W, if you are reading this, could you please send Steve Berri’s IMS certificate number to post on the website or even fax him a copy to scan – Ta!) If Roger has the number you can get a copy from, I think, RORC and it has all the stability details. Berri’s point of vanishing stability – the point at which she will continue to roll rather than resisting – is, from memory, at 141.6 degrees (might be 146.1) which is way way stiffer than anything but an America’s Cup boat these days. Yours will be around 115 – 120,I suspect, and the fittings will be designed for closer inshore. Not good on the front of a breaking wave. I hope that’s not too distressing. There’s a photo of Berri out of the water in the ‘Preparations” doc on the website.

[ed: Hilary found an old IMS certificate and stability index, as Alex said, it is 141.6. The calculated limit of positive stability is 135.4 degrees]

Engine for first time in 3 days so have time to play. I really miss all my toys when we are conserving. We run the battery down to about 11.3 v and then hit it for 45 min at max charge – not good for it but best use of diesel.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 05, 2005 - 0700hrs UTC │Salute to the people who run Sailmail

0700hrs 05 Nov 2005 UTC 40’13”S 039’05”E Ref 521

This week’s Salute.

Imagine, please, how this venture might have progressed. Berrimilla finishes the S2H on New Year’s Day, 2005, 4 of the crew go home and Pete and Alex spend 10 days stocking the boat, have a farewell drink with some friends at Bellerive, clear Customs, phone their families and disappear for 9 days, to reappear, battered and bruised in Dunedin. They stay there for a few days and set off again, to reappear inPort Stanley56 odd days later. A few days more and away, to reappear inFalmouth71 days later, whence they phone Janet Grosvenor at RORC for the Fastnet entry kit. I wonder what she would have said and thought. But no word of the NZ knockdown, no International Space Station, no meeting with Leroy and Karen, no storms,Cape Hornrounding, drifting liferaft – no Fastnet light piccy on the web – no story. Just a static bus shelter and a couple of diffident old farts doing their thing in the studio and I wouldn’t have found a voice I certainly never knew I had.

Instead, I have a fragile USB cable linking my laptop to an ICOM M802 HF radio and a Pactor PTC IIPro digital HF controller and modem. Lots of loverly blinking red and green lights – no idea what they all mean! Beyond those two boxes are Steve and Malcolm and the website, the World, all y’all, and you know the rest. The link that made it all possible is called Sail Mail and this is a huge Salute to the people who conceived it and run it and make it work. To Jim and Sue Corenman and their team, to Stan and Sally Honey (Stan, I think is navigating ABN AMRO in the Volvo) and all the station managers around the world – thanks for your competence, your generosity, your willingness to help and for a great service. Without you, we would have been unable to share this adventure and send and receive the 4000 or so emails that have crossed the worlds oceans between us all. It’s a subscription service, there are strict usage rules to give everyone a fair go, but beyond that it’s open slather and amazing value for your money. Jim and Sue are in Sail Mail HQ inFriday Harbour,Washington and you can see the other stations on their website. I have sent messages throughChile,Panama, Daytona, Rock Hill S. Carolina,Lunenburg,Belgium, Red Sea,Maputo (Hi Justice!) and Firefly, NSW, run by Derek and Jeanine Barnard at Penta Comstat. We may yet talk toBrunei. Pete and I dips our lids to you all.

And special thanks to Marc Robinson who put me on to it, sold me the equipment, spent a lot of his time helping me to learn how to use it – and if I can use it, anyone can – you can find him via the Penta Comstat website or – if he approves, we can put his email address on the Berri website.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 05, 2005 - 1030hrs UTC

1030hrs 05 Nov 2005 UTC 40’23”S 039’21”E Ref 522

DB: DMG 116, GPS 126, DTG Alb 3623, 77/33 I shall have to start recycling these updates. We’re bare poled again – went straight there this time, from 3 reefs and the 5. In retro, might have been better to have set the tri,  but 20/20 hindsight is always better than a prediction. Same as the last two or three – wind banging in from the north off the back of a high, will probably increase from current 40 and back into top of low and the fan will start to revolve. I’m still hoping we’re just far enough across now to miss the worst of it. Clench, babes, and lets wait and see! The frustration is that every time we do this, it’s a day added to the end. We’ve got to break out of it sometime. Now fore reaching about 170M, expecting, if last time any guide, about 24 hours of this, then backing to west and we’ll be blown back north again. Tedious. Another jolly day in the bus shelter. It’s a lot like the corner ofS. Americaon the way up.

Isabella tells me that Wally and Gromit have the best equipment ever for getting into party gear. I remember the first one – why didn’t we think of that?

Who was the MC at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe? I think it was Max Quordlepleen – we need him right here, to wrk the levers and rock us out into the end of the storm past 42 degrees or so and gently waft us back in again as we eat our specially presented piece of genetically engineered cow. We could watch the blue rinse SFX in comfort rather than sitting upended on the floor. Zarquon’s followers could give us a rousing cheer to encourage us from time to time. Marvin could park HotBlack’s ship and come inside after his zillion years as a parking attendant and we could all be hammered by HotBlack’s band – don’t remember it’s name but rather noisy, then we could go and jump the improbability drive back to Sydney. Summon the Goat!

From Juddy

Phew! it doesn’t sound too relaxing out there at the moment. Perhaps as you get further away from the Cape the lows won’t be as viscious, although you are a fair way away now. Anyway I hope you get some fair sailing as well.

 Sorry for taking a few days to reply; I needed to negotiate the `leave pass’. I’d be delighted to join you for another Sydney Hobart. I was going to ask you though, if we could get in for New Year’s Eve because as much as I enjoyed the last time I spent New Years eve on Berri with Alex, a bubble slowly going past the transom and a seal, it would be nice to kick up our heels together in Hobart….

Juddy, thanks – great. We’ve just got to get out of this nonsense and back there. Not at all what I was expecting – got it badly wrong somewhere. Do you have SSSC? If not, any chance you could get it? Gerry Fitz might be around between now and then. Not a showstopper if too hard -I’m sure one of the others will have it.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 05, 2005 – 1430hrs UTC

1430hrs 05 Nov 2005 UTC 40’27”S 039’35”E Ref 523

Didn’t last long – won’t bore you with the transitional stages – back to 2 reefs and the 4 – in the lumpiest, most corrugated, mogul like serrated chunky rotten sea ever and we have to cater for the max likely wind so can’t really set any more sail. Worst rolling gyrating pitching yawing motion we’ve had yet. When we stop, our escort of petrels all park around us on the water. They usually sit in a big gaggle chirruping. Was trying to see whether the 2 smaller grey ones joined them – I think not. Also two terns flying around earlier. Lovely graceful finely drawn birds.

Afternoon Con has arrived – that sort of day, so strictly rationed gin and lemon squash and water. Noice – when you’ve got no tonic.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 05, 2005 – 2150hrs UTC

2150hrs 05 Nov 2005 UTC 40’13”S 040’34”E Ref 524

About 5 hours ago, I was out shaking the reefs – furious rolling, decks covered in running water, but I was sustained by the vision of the Moon and Venus close together in a clear patch of sky surrounded by a gleaming fractal halo of clouds. An image to be here for – made up for lots of frustration – stark clarity, no city grime in the air. If Turner had painted it, you wouldn’t have believed it.

AndIndian Oceansunsets and sunrises are something else again. I remember the first time I saw them, a thousand miles further north about 40 years ago – I still have the photos. The cloud formations are spectacular on their own, but the blue of the sky seems much deeper and the flaming orange, pink, red and greys in lines and mares’ tails and puffs and waves across the sky – and the cherry pink at dawn – it all has a depth and burning lustre that stay in the memory for ever.

We are going in the right direction at the right speed for a nice change – with some current under us too. Depending on how you count them, I think there are now 51 days to the start on Boxing Day. From now on the DB will simply count down instead of measuring the old Dec 11 schedule. I think that is now well and truly an ex-parrot.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 06, 2005 – 0500hrs UTC

0500hrs 06 Nov 2005 UTC 40’09”S 041’38”E Ref 525

We’ve torn our tired old warhorse of a mainsail at the second reefing cringle in the leech. I’m astonished that it has lasted this long – the sail has now travelled further than most – made in 1993, 8Hobartraces including ’98 and return, 5 Lord Howe and return, plus all the normal sailing in between and this year around the Horn and the world. A true and faithful servant indeed! We have the third reef in now so the sail is still set but we will exchange it for the new one when the wind changes.

Wonderful sailing – we’re broad reaching at 6 – 7 in a 30-40 kt southerly, short steep seas on the beam but not threatening, tho may build. Berri surfing at times, main feathered right off so that it is only fully occupied when the boat gets a bit pear shaped and needs a bit of a shove to get it back up and on line again. #4 at the front, decks constantly awash and heading due east along 4010 south – Brill! Long may it last and it’s going to have to if we’re going to make the line.

By my reckoning, we have sailed about 9200 miles fromFalmouth, with about 5000 toSydneyand 50 days to go. Still doable, but only via Bass Strait and preferably bypassingAlbany. We still have 70 litres of diesel and I think we can make it last – as long as we start to get some distance in the log and a bit more sunshine. The flea is inching its way across the chart maddeningly slowly – still not pastMadagascar- I no longer have the pretty SOB nav system picture to play with, so I don’t get to look at it as often as I’m used to, which may not be a bad thing. Still feel bereft!

Small squid arrived on deck last night – inked everywhere – was too busy when I first saw it to get it back into the water but it’s gone now. Petrel escort still with us and the cigarette ash and mud albatross type birds are back – they have very dark brown heads and similar beaks, ash mix mostly between shoulders and part way out along topside of wings.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 06, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 06 Nov 2005 UTC 40’20”S 042’06”E Ref 526

DB: dmg 110, gps 142, Start line -50 days.

Desperately slow progress – the fact that we only managed 110 miles yesterday, with everything including current apparently going with us has caused me to put on my Realist’s hat (sounds like something Charles the First might have worn, wide, raking, floppy and feathered – perhaps Cromwell’s helmet might be more appropriate though) and look a bit more carefully at the Equation. I think that the minimum distance we will have to sail to reachSydneyis about 5500 miles along essentially rhumb line courses. We have 50 days to do it. In the last three weeks or so, we have averaged less than 90 miles a day. Although this could change, wearing my silly hat it seems to me rather unlikely that we will be able to get toSydneyin time for the start. We have lost the momentum and we will find it hard to catch up. We shall keep trying, but it gets more difficult with each slow day. By the time we get toCapeLeeuwin, in about a month, the numbers will be on the wall and we will know whether we have any sort of a chance. A dramatic arrival on Boxing Day would be fun but a touch stressful in the making!

If it becomes clearly impossible, we’re at a bit of a loss as to what to do, but I think that we will head for SE Cape andHobart, perhaps to meet the S2H fleet down there for New Year’s Eve and a certain Birthday. This would add the 5thCapeand close the 2 handed circumnavigation where it began, at the Iron Pot, which has a nice compensatory symmetry. Whatever, it will be a very sad decision to have to make. Should it happen, then I think that a possible rendezvous in Recherche Bay with the BOGgers, perhaps the Pippins if not S2H’ing, Wildfire and the Tascraft mob and anyone else who cares to come down would add a touch of historical significance to the venture and give us something to look forward to. We could then all sail north to the Pot and celebrate together.RechercheBaywas where all the early explorers stopped for water and wood and a rest – there’s a long list of them and some of their stonework remains are still visible ashore.

From Rob Baker – thanks Rob and I’m sure you won’t mind my quoting you:

That low that caught you at the Barn Door came from virtually nowhere…from a 997mb low behind you and deepened quickly to 975mb when it was on top of you, and then continued to deepen to a remarkable 933mb as it moved to the south east.

A nasty….and unusual…. assignment from the Examiner.

I’ll say! And then she sent us another one! WHWDTDT?

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 07, 2005 – 0200hrs UTC

0200hrs 07 Nov 2005 UTC 39’48”S 043’44”E Ref 527

With apologies to Rabbie’s ghost, the best laid plans of mice and men and me gang aft agley. I had expected that, should this venture decide to go pear shaped, it would happen going down the Atlantic and that once at the latitude ofCape   Townon schedule, it should have been in the bag. Not so it seems! Back to the equation – the shortest way home from here is direct to Gabo. The great circler for that would take us south of Kerguelen and just clip NW Tasmania. We wont be going south of Kerguelen in this little boat but we’ll try and get down till we can see the whites of the eyes of the penguins on the rocks. The thermals are coming out, the teeth are being cranked once again into grit mode, we’re about to change mainsails and turn south. Hang on for the ride – it could save us a couple of days. I’m trying to arrange to have some diesel and Boags shipped out to us as we passTasmania, assuming the plan is still afoot so that we can bypassAlbanyandEdenand go straight forSydney. It isn’t over yet. Roger, may need special arrangement to clear customs if cut very fine. 49 days to go.

Malcom, cd u please estimate CPA for Dufresne and we’ll try and call them half a day ahead.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 07, 2005 - 0545hrs UTC

 0545hrs 07 Nov 2005 UTC 39’48”S 043’59”E Ref 528

Steve – comms via africa v spotty again. May have to revert to daytime satcom while we have the solar panel on line. Satcom doesn’t save incoming messages and they seem to take about 4 hours from you to us so we may need to work out a routine. Easier as we get closer.

We have just spent an hour or so doing the biggest sail change ever – from the tri and the 4 with a tired old main on the boom to the newer main and the 2 – new battens, re-run the reefing lines, the lot but we’re now pointing at Kerguelen and looking those penguins in the eye.

Great stuff-  except that the Examiner is still poncing around in her hot pinks. We’ve only got about 10 knots of breeze. Our time will come!

And in the big sort out up front to dredge out the new main – guess what! – we found a dozen bottles of tonic. WOOOOOHOOOOO!

So we had a couple of measures of the Doctor for breakfast and the game is on. Watch this space!

Under my silly hat again, yes. it’s possible to make the start line but dodgy. Practically, it’s not sensible to try to go much further that about 45 south and that’s hugely risky for a day or so saved. We’ll play it as it comes – go with Destiny and the Vortex. We’ll need as much sunlight as we can get and we will need to be wise in our use of diesel and sail combinations in the inevitable stinky bits if we are to keep moving, as we must.

From Chris, Helen & Lindsay in Canberra, Australia

Fascinated by your log. It makes fantastic reading. Very powerful indeed; very direct, straight from the heart and the gut; and then these fabulous passages of analytical and technical information, such as the description of the dissection / diagnosis of the solar panel. Leaves one feeling awe-struck and humble, wanting to be there and share in it and see what you’re seeing, but also conscious I would never survive what you are going through, and actually glad I’m not there at all. But so amazed and proud to know you for doing it… Here’s something to think about… I’m trying to write something about wisdom; it’s become a bit of a trendy buzz-word in the management world, and most people who write about it don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. Which is one reason why I’m re-reading Confucius and for the first time Plato, the Book of Proverbs and lots of other stuff. One thing that seems to be common is the idea that ‘wisdom’ differs from ‘knowledge’ by virtue of being something one can only attain through long experience and reflection… Getting ‘wisdom’ is a process characterised by  perseverence as well as by insight. So you two probably know a thing or two about it – perhaps things you don’t even know that you know. What is wisdom? Is it the Examiner? Is it outwitting the Examiner? Is it doing what the Examiner wants? Is it doing something totally unexpected, but so well that the Examiner gives you the credit for it anyway? And is it a ‘doing’ sort of thing or more of a ‘being’ sort of thing? Who has it? How do you know that they have it? Something for the stormy nights.

Chris – I’d love to see the final version – to me, the difference between knowledge and wisdom is profound – the tricky part for me has always been to sort out the element of the definition of wisdom that includes getting it right – have you been wise if you fail to achieve? And,if so, how and why? If you think, for instance, that wisdom is the judicious application of knowledge based on experience, then there is the problem of the subjective element introduced by ‘judicious’. Lots of fun. Does an MBA give you wisdom?? Nah! Technique, maybe, knowledge, maybe, but wisdom? If you learn from it that there is a lot that you don’t know, then the application of that knowledge might require all the wisdom you can muster. Didn’t Bertrand Russell do this rather better somewhere? Goat, come hither and ruminate upon this codswallop.

It’s very soft out there – I think this means that the wind will back from the south around to the north for the front of the next low and eventually to the west and round we go again. I hope it is reasonably benign.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 07, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 07 Nov 2005 UTC 39’52”S 044’15”E Ref 529

Now 3952 04415 07/0900 s/line -49, day 80

DB: DMG 100, GPS 104, Gt.C. DTG Gabo is 4634, rhumb line about 4850 so only a day in it. Might be the day we need.

Still soft but moving – not quite the Ride of the Valkyries across the watery waste to the great grey Island, more the Sugar Plum Fairy. And our own pet hot pink Valkyrie will no doubt have an assignment or two in the kitbag for us. Bliss!

Our average GPS distance covered in the 80 days has been over 130 – pity it has been all over the ocean rather than DMG, but we can definitely cover the distance. Average distance since Henry has been about 100 but a different measurement and not directly comparable. I measured the distance between start and finish coordinates – again, not DMG but an approximation.

From Ann G.

Reading the log everyday (at least once) and I happened to be reading the preparations sections of the webpage and found the following: “” Aquair uses a towed impeller giving approx 4.5 amps @ 6 knots, or a wind conversion giving approx 6 amps @ 40 knots wind.   We have also built a direct drive from a folding bicycle – output not yet tested but likely to be comparable.   Both crew members fit enough to pedal for at least two hours…””  Has the folding bicycle idea not worked to generate power?

 Please be patient and don’t go off the deep end.  Sometimes when the end is in sight (no matter what the project) I get impatient for it (whatever it is) to be finished.  Easy for me to day from the comfort of my studio on this bright warm Saturday in November in Washington DC.  Temp is about 25C, no wind :^), and bright sunshine. 

 We just had a lengthy visit from a pair of blue jays – big squawking things but beautiful to observe.

 I’m sorry it looks tight for reaching the startline of S2H05.  Here’s hoping it ain’t so, and miraculously you’ll be able to get there in time.

 Ann – we abandoned the bike with much sadness – it had become a friend, but it took up too much room. Wouldn’t have helped now anyway because intended to connect to serviceable generator.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 07, 2005 – 1130hrs UTC

1130hrs 07 Nov 2005 UTC 39’59”S 044’27”E Ref 530

Now 3959 04427 07/1130 – barometer holding but some serious looking cloud piling up behind. Present wind SW about 15 kts, low therefore to the south somewhere. Interesting.

Shackleton mentions lots of birds – mollymauks, cape pigeons, petrels various, sooty and wandering albatrosses – I think out brownish ones mat be sooty albys – they are medium sized with yellowish beaks proportionately longer that some of the others. No dolphins since mid atlantic, no whales, no phosphorescence – just a brilliant moon, Venus and a little squid. And a tiny flying fish on deck this morning – seriously lost, poor thing.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 07, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC

2330hrs 07 Nov 2005 UTC 40’14”S 045’53”E Ref 531

Hooning – sailing out beyond the comfort zone – romping with attitude, grey knuckles and clenched freckle – Sailing in close company with the good ship Titan Uranus – any advance?

[ed: in response to some questions about vague and/or cryptic references elsewhere in the logs…]

Mobile Maritime Station Identification #, Closest Point of Approach Archer’s Tool – Strongbow cider – JW Smoothies come in a green can with a widget so have lovely creamy head. First tasted in theFalklands, Dr CooperCooper’s Sparkling Ale – brewed in the bottle, so a bit of sludge comes with it – best beer on the planet – beats a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster hands down. Also Pete’s home brew, brewed from a Coopers kit. 5Capesok, dodger – small hood extending aft from coachroof over front of cockpit – v. small in Berri, just big enough to duck under and dodge the flying spray from greenie – wave breaking over boat, with some solid water. Check Peter J. citation with Thorry Gunnarson who knows him well and could even run it past him. Grib – ok, and available via sailmail, so extremely useful –  gives detailed wind and  baro. pressure over selected area by email. Arrives as active diagrammatic representation with wind arrows and isobars – v. clever, to us non nerds.

Went out to put in the second reef as we hooned towards the penguins at sunset – sky like looking into a furnace with deep, bottomless golden red glow and grey black clouds silhouetted in front – and an albatross too, at full 90 degree bank, razor wings

vertical with tips just curving upward with the g force. Magnificent. We can’t hold the great circle course at the mo – carving a line along the rhumb. Not worth worrying about – we’re doing 6+. Berri thundering along, 2 reefs and 2, 30 – 35 kts from SW,

huge stern wave rolling up behind – some sparkles of phosphorescence and long smoky snaky trail in the water. Crashing a bit in the gusts with heavy water over the top and into the cockpit. Solid overcast, no moonglow, no stars. Barometer rising minimally so still on the front of a high, it seems.

 From John McC

You are in the thick of it down there and regularly comment on Berri as a strong seaworthy boat. In your opinion, is the S&S 34 as well found a boat.

John – I can’t compare Berri with an S&S 34 – never sailed in one – can tell you that the 34 is faster in light winds but we dork them in the heavy stuff. Brolgas have more interior space because engine aft under cockpit, not in saloon.

Malcom – tks for ship data. And squid. I expect the next ploy will be taking them for scientific research…

From Graham S

Cheer up my lads, its to glory you steer
To add something to your wonderful year
You were not pressed, so as to enslave
We that are so free, us sons of the waves.

By my Merlin 11 and checked by my Endeavour Nav system, between 0700 hrs on 5th and 0900 hrs on the 6th you had 138.2 nm, by GPS positions, which is 5.3 Kts for 26hrs.

Sydney via S.E.Cape is 5407 nm, just 57nm more than via Bass Straight which has just the same weather as Agulas Plateau and its near vicinity which you have just experienced, and that plateau south of  NZ.

5407 nm at 5.3 kts puts you in Sydney on the 19th Dec.

Now I think you could do better than 5.3kts, especially via S.E.Cape. Bass Straight could end being a lot longer.

Graham – thanks for numbers and advice – problem with measuring between coordinates of day’s run is that the result is almost never the same as DMG. I think thatBass Straitis risky, as you suggest, but the better half of the compromise if we are cutting it

very fine. If we can catch up a bit, we’ll do theCape, no worries, mate. We’ll need a good southerly up the Taswegian coast to bring us home – and a boatful of diesel for the east coast current.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 08, 2005 - 0500hrs UTC

0500hrs 08 Nov 2005 UTC 39’53”S 046’25”E Ref 532

Well, life does have its ups and downs. There we were, all ready to charge off to frighten some French penguins to the very unfrightening tempo of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy when along comes the Examiner and slams the door. The wind has backed to the SE and the baro is rising so we must be at the top corner of a high to the west somewhere, but we ain’t got no VMG for Gabo – the best we can do for the GC track is VMG = 0, but often minus, so it is marginally positive for the rhumb line. Depressing – or it is when the Examiner is not looking. No point in tacking – the best we’d do would be about the same on the other tack. We have a very low, thin furious looking overcast with lumpier bits embedded in it and occasional bursts of the palest sunlight which drives up the panel amps into positive for a few seconds. Still blowing about 30kts

Health matters – we’re both losing the skin from our fingers – my first and second fingertips are now down through the first six or so layers and down to the bright pink living skin. Keeping the industrial lanoline up to them and will start wearing gloves on deck. Makes intricate things very difficult – just have to fumble slowly or, as one of my favourite Lecturers once wrote, employ the science of muddling through. (That was Leon Peres at Melbourne Uni, talking about bureaucratic capacity for dealing with uncertainty. Has this any element of wisdom?)

And it’s cold – this wind has been trawling up the Antarctic icicles and the water seems to be very cold indeed, altho when I last switched on the instruments, it was about 13 Deg. The condensation is pretty bad but manageable. Gets really bad at night.

For the first time, I can look at this venture as a finite exercise – Act 5, Scene 2 has a maximum of 48 days to go. Whether there is an Act 6 is anyone’s guess but we’re working on it. In one way it helps, but in these conditions, 48 days – 7 weeks – seems to be a very long time. I think we’re closing on the dreaded 36K mark when it’s all pain to the finish. We are driving the boat as hard as we dare – kept the 2 on for far too long last night, but made a few miles, only to have to get up at dawn in the cold and horizontal wet and swap it for the 4. Must be a bit like the  decisions facing the Tea Clipper Captains, with similar deadlines but much, much more to lose if they pushed too hard. I try sometimes to imagine Cutty Sark – a huge sailing ship – going full tilt down here – the noise and the flying water and the crew up on the yards and the sheer power of the rig trying to pull itself out of the hull. Those men must have been nerveless or died early of stress.

From Malcom C.

Thanks to Malcolm R I know what a CPA is.  CPA Dufresne is between 0800 and 1200 UTC on 8 November.  Assuming you have begun heading a bit south I estimate you will be at about 40.30S 46.30E at 0800 UTC on 8 November and by then Dufresne should be at 40S 53E at 0800 UTC on 8 November.  CPA will be in the following four hours.  Haven’t done the math but I guess 200+NM separation would you say 

FYI, Ile Crozet is at about 47S 52E and Kerguelen 48S 69E.  I get 3 hourly positions of Dufresne so can pick up course changes and likely destinations quite easily.

Supply ship Aurora Australis is currently at Davis Base, Antarctica at 77E. I imagine it will then go to Mawson Base at 63E and I guess to Heard Island after that, which would then be back in an area of interest.

Malcom, we’ll try calling Dufresne at 0900, but I doubt whether they will be listening on HF – they will have their GMDSS operating and will need a DSC call to wake them up. I could send one to their mmsi number, but it means rigging another aerial and then I’m not sure what their working frequency would be. I’ll try on 2182 on the basis that that is what Ile Amsterdam monitors. Later – tried both Dufresne and Amsterdam – no rnser.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 08, 2005 – 2130hrs UTC

2130hrs 08 Nov 2005 UTC 40’05”S 047’19”E Ref 535

Another black, bleak night out here in the boonies. Can you sense the despair? It drips off the fibreglass with the condensation and slides little knives in around the kidneys and waggles them around a lot as poor Berri crashes off yet another wave and comes to a shuddering stop, shakes herself, Kevvo gathers his tweakers again and off we go to the next one. I think I have made a subtle but essentially showstopping mistake in planning all this, probably  about a year ago at least. I failed to notice that the weather systems – the highs and lows – move from WNW to ESE instead of broadly west to east. This movement means that we can’t establish ourselves on a favourable latitude to drive us westwards – instead, we cop what I’m sure all y’all can see quite clearly on your screens but we can’t – the worst quadrants of both systems. To get a continuous win, I think, but have no way of knowing, that we would need to be at about 45 S and beyond, where conditions would be too severe for Berri – even more so than they are up here. That is what I think has happened anyway. Perhaps Malcolm or Steve could comment with the benefit of a nice animated weather site. The Examiner certainly has the initiative at the moment and she’s starting to exert some serious pressure.

We are back on the GC route but doing it exceptionally hard – we’re now so far north and east of where we started to head down it that it has moved north of Kerguelen. The wind is still broadly SE, but less steady and we are corkscrewing and crashing heavily every few minutes in one of the nastiest bits of sea we’ve experienced. Sitting here typing is not easy and only possible because I can wedge and brace across three dimensions. I hate doing this to the boat – she doesn’t deserve this sort of treatment.

I’ll try and send this now – it will only get tempered if I leave it to fiddle with later and I think you should get it from the hip, as it were. A dark and lonely moment on an awful night. I don’t think Pete feels so despondent – he’s better at optimism that I am. My strength, if I have one, is in using pessimism as a goad to get the proper prior planning right. I think we are rapidly depleting the tiny margin I tried to build in. One for you, Chris – is it wise to admit so publicly to a sort of blind desperation and in any case, does that add another meaning to wisdom? On with the motley, enter stage left and here we go again.

I’ll feel better in daylight.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 09, 2005 – 0415hrs UTC

0415hrs 09 Nov 2005 UTC 40’31”S 047’48”E Ref 536

From the slough of despond we are arizzed. Crunching down a new GC track – prompted by the Original Mad BOGger, one G. Smith, who frequently Takes an ale with his Time, onya mate! I’ve looked at the options with the rosy specs a’pinced upon the nez and found – surprise surprise – that it is almost exactly the same distance from here to Sydney via Gabo as it is via SECape. Counter intuitive unless you have a nice gnomonic projection chart to draw straight lines (as great circles) on. It’s 4146 to SEC and 4482 to Gabo. SEC to Gabo is about 350. QED.

Thankfully, I’ve forgotten most of my carefully hypocritical management speak but this elegant bird now has a Mission Statement. In my words, it is:

‘Start, via SE Cape

In management speak it goes something like:

This mobile maritime organisation will employ every endeavour to provide the best possible opportunity to its customers, website readers and crew alike to maximise their human potential through personal somatic and developmental progression in the process of achieving its primary goal of arriving in time and on budget to start the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race whilst at the same time earnestly and creatively seeking to meet its secondary goal of adding historical perspective (and some more gin!) by rounding SE Cape in the pursuit of the achievement of the primary goal.’

Phew! How’s that? I could easily make it into real gobbledegook so that even all y’all, gentle intelligent persons that y’are would not understand it but I’ll resist the temptation – too many hideous memories!


So there it is. If only we could put all the miles we sail into the bag, we’d do it easily. Right now, we are spearing straight for the southernmost penguin squirting its little fan on a rock south of Kerguelen. Every metre is in the bag and it feels good – but it only takes a mini windshift the wrong way or up the register and the nasty foggy mists above the old Pilgrim’s slough start to permeate and choke the lungs. Realistically, we’ll get shoved every which way but it can still be done. Just.


Steve and Mal, could you please have a look at the general wx situation around Kerguelen and report – we’ll go as close as we dare and it helps to have an idea beforehand. Ta. We’re about 8 days away if we can keep going – unlikely, but we’ll try.


Iz – don’t recall ‘The Pelagics’ – context? Pelagia is the Doctor’s daughter in de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and her goat keeps eating the manuscript of the Doctor’s not very successful attempts to write the history of the Island. Hence my references to ruminant digestive censorship. Which are the deeper – pelagic or demersal fish? Can’t remember school geography.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 09, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 09 Nov 2005 UTC 40’48”S 048’16”E Ref 537

day 81, 48 to go

DB: DMG to Gabo 100, GPS 113. Better but not enough. Bleak, cold, overcast.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 09, 2005 - 2300hrs UTC

2300hrs 09 Nov 2005 UTC 41’48”S 049’27”E Ref 539

about 4600 miles tosydney- and 48 days to do it in. we are 4000 miles from completing the circumnavigation, which will happen just south of tasman island, all going well. sooooo good to have a mission statement. we are self actualising like crazy. returning to my mind picture mid atlantic, of all the ships that evert passed that way – the same picture would be interesting here – we’re  right in the groove they all followed across this bit of ocean and bleak and cold and damp and dismold it is. there would be a lot fewer very early caravels, mostly the cook era explorer and the following convict and settler ships heading foraustraliaand nz, including henry’s java, lots of migrant ships, commercial shipping, tea clippers, and the big transition from sail to steam. the german navy used kerguelen in ww1 and the french now have scientific bases there and on ileamsterdamto the north.

we’re still more or less on track – at the moment, between the gc and the rhumb line so all positive. wind uncertain, about 15 from the s. we are hoping it will back around to the sw or even w.

From Brian and Jen

 Still enthralled and captivated with your journey,  as much as our imagination allows we are with you. Your writings are magnificent and alive with the occasion, you certainly paint an honest and true likeness of your surroundings and thoughts.I have been pondering ways of helping with the finances and was pondering the fact that you gave me five stanchions that were damaged and replaced following your knockdown in the Southern Ocean. The eantrapunurial in me thinks that they could be of value to anyone who has followed you throughout your journey, maybe a sponsor. They could be auctioned off at your yacht club or someone else may have some ideas on how to use them raise money.The staunchions could be polished and engraved with thee details, what do you think? If its a goer I will freight them over to Aus for you.

brian and jen thanks for offer – probably better to use them yourselves or chop them up and turn them into jewellery or fishing weights. i don’t think we’re famous enough  to flog them. does anyone want a genuine piece of berrimilla bent stainless steel staunchion nicely polished as a necklace bobble or a brooch?

spowie and bev – have just launched second jar of mango pickle – thanks – helps add spice to our days.

From Scott P.

Let me know if you are looking for a supplies top-up rendezvous when passing Tasmania – can’t promise anything but I have a few friends down that way with reasonable size (23-24 ft) speedboats that may be able to either help out or at least ask around the traps.

scott p. – thanks for offer of mates with speedboats – we’re probably ok but will keep in mind.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 10, 2005 – 0300hrs UTC

0300hrs 10 Nov 2005 UTC 41’57”S 049’45”E Ref 540

Nothing to report, just location…

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 10, 2005 – 1544hrs UTC

1544hrs 10 Nov 2005 UTC 41’56”S 051’17”E Ref 541

Steve – Tks 4 weather, big low sounds just what we need as long as it stays down south. Sailmail v spotty can only get connected local evenings approx 1600 – 0300 on lo fx – cant transmit over 10 megs – usb just dies every time. Have polished earth till shines -no help.

Malcom – T= 9.5 Brrrrr. Tks for advice – yep – we think it’s wind versus current effect.

I remember when we were about 3500 miles from Cape Horn. It seemed to be for ever and it was. But we got there, as we will get to SE Cape. To follow the GC all the way would take us down to 54 S – I doubt we’ll be that daring but it would save us a few hours. The flea is now trekking along the effalaunt’s belly heading for its little bedroom in a skinfold under the front end.

Gerry, if you’re there, cd U pse confirm that Derek still does long range skeds @ 0600 and 2100 UTC – trying to hear him – no go – have also lost VMW

For us, there are two remaining corners that have enormous significance – SE Cape is the first and turning left into Sydney Harbour 600 miles further north is the second, potentially by far the most important. There may be other corners – leaving harbour after the start, Tasman Island, Iron Pot, Port Arthur on the way home, but it’s the first two that count. And they do count – a year of planning, a year of sailing, all hanging off those two corners. If we’re late for the second one, we’ll be the guys who almost made it. In good company, perhaps, with some other heroic failures, but still the end of the fairy story. The whole achievement – Cape Horn, the Fastnet, the 5 Capes – will disappear when the first journalist asks ‘How do you feel about missing the start?’ so it ain’t going to happen if this little black duck can do anything about it.

The Examiner has started a different line of questions. It’s bloody cold here – I have a beanie down over my ears, a thick neck warmer, a fleece jacket over fleecy overalls over 2 layers of thermals with sock liners and waterproof sox and glove liners. The wind is fitful and fickle – we’re tracking just north of east -lousy for the GC – but getting us across. Just had dinner – beef strog with mushy peas – gut liner extraordinaire – and sent Pete (P13) to bed while I washed up. Tossed a spoonful of mushies out the back and the petrels were on to it instantly – about ten of them just fell into the water around where it landed – they fly around waiting for a head to appear and they all swoop in towards the stern. Poor things must be cold and hungry – they must use a few calories just hanging around.

Nothing much to report – we’ll keep truckin’

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 11, 2005 – 0300hrs UTC

0300hrs 11 Nov 2005 UTC 41’56”S 052’09”E Ref 542

We’re becalmed. Have been for about three hours, no sign of change. Bugger. The run rate required is climbing through the roof. Will do some chores like mending the sails, but the Examiner seems to be in charge.

[ed: sat phone call @ 0700: wind just picked up, satcom not sending, sailmail still v.spotty,  wrist watch died…]

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 11, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 11 Nov 2005 UTC 42’07”S 052’21”E Ref 543

DB: dmg 63 GPS 104 day 83, 46 to go, 3924 to SEC.

Not a good day – becalmed for 6 hours – back on the road now with good wind. Run rate required getting higher every day. I think this is the first time since Tristan that we have been twin poled in a good westerly making ground in the right direction and doesn’t it feel good! I was expecting the IO to have about 65% of this, more like the S. Pacific. We’re supposed to be able to dial up the wind down here, just by choosing the latitude to run. It ain’t necessarily so!


We have just completed a complicated sail change. We had the #2 poled out to port on the inner forestay on a genoa halyard with a lazy sheet and the cutdown poled out on the outer forestay on a kite halyard and we changed to the #4 on the inner, but to starboard (effectively gybing the boat)and the #5 on the outer to port. Tricky – All done leaving the poles set up – drop the 2, tie off the working sheet through parrot beak to pulpit, rerun lazy sheet to the starboard side and tie off on foredeck. Roll and bag the 2, drop down the hatch and hank the 4 on to the inner forestay, attach lazy sheet. Take port genoa halyard back to mast and bring fwd the port kite halyard and clip onto pulpit. Drop cutdown, tie off sheet through parrot beak to pulpit, roll and bag and drop down the hatch. Attach cutdown sheet to #4, bring fwd the stbd genoa halyard, attach to 4, haul back pole and hoist. Boat now sailing again. Hank #5 on to outer forestay, attach sheet, attach kite halyard previously brought fwd and hoist. Part of each hoist requires significant adjustment of sheets from the cockpit, plus rearranging pole positions using downhaul and topping lift against sheet. Took about 20 minutes, halved the sail area, took a knot off the speed – at least – and stopped the surges and rolls.

Satcom C definitely not transmitting messages. No obvious reason – assume the account has been paid and the equipment seems to be functioning properly.

From John McC

Thanks on the ST4000 advice, I will be fitting one for cruising. If I end up in southern ocean warehouses my nav is really screwed up.

No I am not Morning Gold, the S&S 34 association records a Charles McHardie owns her out of RANSA.  I have done some crewing at RANSA on Fridays in a variety of boats and have seen Morning Gold there.

I bought a Pittwater based 34, Morning Bird, launched in 1984. She has spent 15 of her 20 years of life racing around the cans in Wednesday arvo RMYC races. The previous owner, who had her built, got crook and didn’t use her for 5 years so I have just rebuilt the engine in my garage (goes back in on Tuesday) and am doing plumbing, rigging, instruments etc. I have been boatless for 2 years so am looking forward to getting her going.

Cruising is the intent, up and down the coast and to Lord Howe, maybe around Oz.  I will have her at Cat 2 standard so may put a crew together to go to Coffs in 2007. I have done a couple of Coffs and they are gentlemanly races for sailors like me.

I expect you have lots of volunteers but if you need a crewmember when you return please let me know.

Stay upright.

John McC – will have my spare 2nd hand factory recon with new motor etc.(July this year)ST4000 tiller actuator arm 4 sale on arrival @ half RRP. You’d still have to buy control head and fluxgate. Will have done perhaps 100 hours. Also recon Ampair generator with wind kit and 2 spare turbines.

Malcom – fax  good idea tks but unlikely to be much use talking to them. Different if could meet ship and get diesel etc.

From Ross & Liz

Its 32 degrees in Sydney today, sultry & it looks like thunderstorms. I was going to ask you about the party gear but I notice you changed into Steve’s. Has it held up well the Gill gear? You should get sponsorship for possibly the longest continuous use under harsh conditions.

Hi Ross – the Gill gear has been fantastic – we both use it – I’ve got their inside and mid layer gear too.

Finally sent 11/1630

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 12, 2005 - 0840hrs UTC

0840hrs 12 Nov 2005 UTC 42’46”S 055’20”E Ref 544

I’m writing this in the hope that the Satcom is back in business. (it isn’t – so transferring back to sailmail – I hope it’s just poor satellite coverage – don’t know) It’s one long juggle with ephemeral electronic links at the moment – 3 months at sea in these conditions make a right mess of anything sand everything that is in any way exposed to salt or condensation. I have just bypassed a through-deck fitting from the aerial tuning box for the HF to the backstay aerial – not because it is corroded but because I couldn’t get it back together when I took it apart to clean it. People who design these things – ‘weatherproof’ electrical sockets in particular, should be out here with us testing them.  A simple connector, with big coarse threading, easily undone wire connectors inside and the whole thing with minimum parts, not needing special tools would be wonderful. The ones we are using are a nightmare to maintain and they were the best that we could buy. Anything and everything on a boat should be maintainable by the crew under extreme conditions or directly replaceable with a spare. No exceptions. Sounds sensible when you think about it but there is so much stuff that isn’t.

We’ve just cracked 3800 to go to SE Cape. The numbers are starting to look better but we will need lots of this to make that start line. We’ve got about 40 kts from the WNW so top right corner of a low and Steve says there’s a soft high behind it so we are heading down to 45 S where we will test the water – as it were. There is a better chance of cracking a permanent westerly flow down there, although it could be quite violent. We have just the dayglo orange storm jib pulling us along – patches of brilliant sunshine, sparkling crests, iridescent amethyst and jade in the wavetops, lovely glistening wave backs with wind lines of spume and the occasional blue smoky swimming pool behind a bigger breaking crest as it rolls away from us. Ravenous petrels all around – they have come along way with us for very little gain. We are now down to subsistence Consultations only – we have some special Wendies for half way and SEC and a few ordinaries plus some screech and plonk and about a litre and a half of gin with plenty of tonic. A small stash of emergency rum is held in reserve. Roll on Taswegia!

Caro, great if you can call us after you’ve done your stuff at the RORC presentation – which same, savour for us! – could you pse ask Janet what time she thinks it will happen so that we can turn on the satphone and wait for your call. If the phone goes into answering service, keep trying till you get us. Be warned, it’s very expensive, but I’ll refund when we get back.

Now 12/0900

DB DMG 131, GPS 147, DTG 3794, day 84, 45 to go.

Yesterday’s little tragedy. It’s so cold and damp out here in the bus shelter that even the local dogs don’t venture out to sniff around and offer us a warm stream. We are making ourselves hot (warm, really) water bottles to shove down the sleeping bags to make the cold damp foot end just a little bit more inviting – at the moment, mine is even too inhospitable for the ferals and they tend to stay in the waterproof sox in the boots. Of course, if the bottle is shoved into a pair of sox, it warms them too… We had a dismal wet, very cold sail change yesterday evening and we got back inside pretty glum, except that Pete knew he had a warm spot for his feet as soon as he could get them there and he had little excited gloats as he shed the party gear, processed the pee bucket and went for it. He wriggled and wiggled the bum down into the bag, pushing feet ahead, so to speak, only to find that the plastic bottle had burst and there was a cold wet puddle and wet sox instead of the tiny cocoon of warmth he was expecting. Poor lad – his disappointment was desperately moving – so much so that if I’d known under which pile of rotting polystyrene, dead leaves, dog poo and discarded McDonalds wrappers the emergency rum lives in this outrageous tip they expect people to wait for buses in, I’d have slipped him one. Memo – find out, silly bugger.

Just surfed off a wave at 13 kts. Was going to put more sail up – might wait a while.

1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 12, 2005 - 1545hrs UTC

1545hrs 12 Nov 2005 UTC 42’52”S 056’15”E Ref 545

As i sit here midst my slowly collapsing systems, I’ve been pondering metaphor and simile. But first, news of what might – just might at this stage because Herself the Examiner still stalks the wide open spaces – might be a small success. My little bypass job this morning in the cold and the spume, half in and half out of the lazarette on my back across the back of the cockpit, taking out the through-deck fitting and direct connecting the ATU to the backstay aerial a) has worked – the little black duck is transmitting and b) may have improved the signal strength – I’ve just connected to Africa with no problems – you’ve got no idea what a relief that is, or would be if if hangs in there.

So on to an apology to all the users of Sailmail Africa from a little bird hanging on grimly right at the end of its twig with cracks appearing on the branch and the tree roots wobbling in the ground. We are short of battery power with no generator and short on signal strength because 80 odd days at sea does that to systems and we can’t transmit above 10 megs for,I suspect, similar reasons. Even our SatComC is shaky – I hope it’s only because this bit of ocean doesn’t get the satellite coverage we’ve been used to. Accordingly, I try to connect at the best propagation time and when I manage to establish a tiny fragile connection, it takes an eon to transmit and receive our messages. I sit here watching each byte shuffle across the screen and I grit my teeth and try not to stress and the knuckles go grey and Titan Uranus is the order of the day. So it takes an age and I know how frustrating that must be for other users waiting patiently to get their go – I apologise because I’ve been there too and I know. But to the two people who gazumped my connection by coming in over the top last night and the night before, I’m a little less apologetic. Please listen before you transmit. Yesterday I’d been trying for ages and just got connected, very low on battery and wham bam someone blasts me away with a stronger signal. Weeping and gnashing of teeth occurred.

Observations from The Supine Position:

1. when I lie in my bunk on the port side, warm and toasty with my hotty, I have my feet towards the bow and my head aft, under the switch panel. Above my middle bits, there is a  window in the side of the coachroof and because the coachroof slopes inwards, I have an attenuated view up through the window. This evening, I could see the clew of the storm jib, all dayglo and quivering in the roaring wind with its working sheet vibrating and the lazy blowing out in a loop. The sun was low on the other side of the boat and it shone briefly – blazing through a tiny gap in the rather angry overcast – and lit up the storm jib as if it was a neon sign at Kings Cross. There was a lot of water crashing across the boat – anything from a bucket to a small swimming pool – and this was cascading down over my window and catching the reflected sunlight off the storm jib, so for a few moments I had first, orange cordial, then blood then pink cherryade cascading down the window. Good fun, disconcerting at first though.

2. From the same position, looking upwards to the middle of the coachroof, I can see up through the hatch amidships. Pete was cooking and he lifted the lid off a steaming pan of Hearty Broth and the vapour flowed rapidly forwards through the boat just under the roof so I had the light shining down through it. Close to the fibreglass, it was turbulent, as you’d expect, but lower down  it seemed inert and I could see the boat gyrating around it – a completely weird feeling because it immediately reversed my frame of reference. Think about it!

The remainder of the journey to SE Cape is roughly two Australias. We are at 55E and Oz starts at about 100E and goes to 154+. Or 6 and a bit Hobart races. It’s getting to be imaginable. But still only 36 k with all the work to be done. Perhaps the 45 th over of the second innings in a one day match and the equation is running to its climax.

From Barry Duncan

If the weather allows you to see them, November has two major meteor showers, the Taurids and the Leonids.
The Taurids peaked November 5th, can been seen about midnight early November and have a peak rate of 12 meteors per hour, or about one every five minutes. Includes bright fireballs.
The Leonids are visible about Nov 17-20. View early morning as there is earlier interference by full moon

Barry – thanks for meteors – sadly, we’re unlikely to see them – no night sky for days and days, it seems.

Mark in Perth, seems we’re going to miss you guys – sorry, and thanks heaps for your offer of help and all the info. There will be a coming home Bash next year some time – come over with K.