1-29. Running Along 45°S


Logs ( 30 )

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 13, 2005 - 0345hrs UTC

0345hrs 13 Nov 2005 UTC 42’57”S 057’43”E Ref 546

We’ve been trying to claw our way south to 45 but it’s not so easy – in a 40 kt westerly with a big breaking beam sea, about 140M is about all that we can manage, especially with just a storm jib. Times they are a’changin’ I hope. The wind has died a bit – 30 ish, and the baro is rising and at first light we went out into the cold and put up the main with 3 reefs and we’re back in the tramline making about 165 for a GC track of 171 – at about 7 kts. WOOOHOOO. If only…. If we get down the next 120 miles to 45, we’ll turn east and run along the latitude.

You won’t want to know about this but… (That’s not a bad theme for a few updates – might think about it) I was making my daily cup of soup using our stock of Majestic dried soup that they packaged specially for us and I rummaged around for the dried minced garlic that I often use to keep the Vampires at bay. Boat rolling, pitching, gyrating, strapped to the galley, I poured a pinch of garlic from the ziplock bag into my mug – except the boat rolled and it ended up as about a tablespoon. Too good to waste, so I made the soup anyway and have now processed it to the fractionating tower stage, so the gases are escaping through the vent. Hooooooley dooooley it’s fruity around here! Pity we can’t use the stuff to cook with! Titan Uranus or pucker the freckle for social reasons is nicer than the usual.

Izz, what’s wrong with Quordlepleen, Xantrex and Zarquon? Angela – Isabella has told me about your contribution to the communications system – Thank you!!

From Martin S.

Have just read your latest log entry – poor Pete, having a cold clammy HWB to contend with! Not a happy camper at all in that bus shelter, I am sure.

Remember Juri? The poor lad is still out there, trying to get to Cape Town. He had a bad fall a while back, and has apparently slipped a disc in his back, which is very painful, and not allowing him to be too mobile. I received the update below from Jack just now :

 Inmarsat reports the position of Juri S52YS/MM at 16:01 UTC today as 33-43-42 S and 07-2-39 E, course 095T(2Kt). The winds appear to be Southerly 10 Kt. Jack, AA3GZ.

 We are keeping all fingers and toes crossed re Berri staying in the westerlys and hammering down the parallels with noice amounts (no more hurricanes!) of the windy stuff, and steady seas from behind.

Good luck, and go for it! A Donf!

Martin – thanks for update on Juri – poor lad – we’re deep in sympathy – hard to believe he’s going so slowly unless you’ve actually been there and then it is understandable. Pse send him our best wishes if you can. Once he arrives, all will be trivial in retrospect. Looking forward to meeting the new Wizard – I have made arrangements to have all his magic and spells restored but he will have to kiss a few ferals instead of a frog.

Thick, beetling overcast, water T 12.5, can’t really tell that it’s 60cm higher out there than usual. Punching along, occasionally overpowered in the gusts with the rainsqualls but not stressed. Can almost reach out and grab the other end of the string to start tying the knot in Storm Bay.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 13, 2005 – 0830hrs UTC

0830hrs 13 Nov 2005 UTC 43’16”S 058’25”E Ref 547

All y’all – the equation in stark reality. As I’m sure that any of you who can count will have realised already, it looks like this: Distance to go toSE Capealong the GC track is 3667 miles – or 30 days at 120 miles/day. This is the absolute minimum time that it is reasonable to expect to be able to do it in. Add another day for meanderings off the GC track, so 31 days. That takes us to Dec 14th. The absolute latest we can leaveStormBaywith a boat full of diesel and Dr Coopers and make the start is Dec 18th, so we have a margin of 4 days or 480 miles. Every day over 120 miles goes on, every day under comes off.

Another way to look at it is that we have 35 days to passTasmanIslandgoing north which looks more like 105 miles/day.

It’s going to be a close run thing. We need a lot of luck, all 4 P’s in full measure and some help from our friends in Taswegia. On which, Josh threatened to bring the mighty Quetzalcoatl down to wave to us – that would be nice, Josh, if you can get out of the office. We’re looking at Dec 14- 15, I reckon.

Malcolm or John, as long as we’re still in the game, if you could rustle up a diver to come down with any welcoming party, to do a quick and dirty barnacle scrape and earth plate polish, we’d be grateful. The old soapdish is looking pretty grubby.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 13, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 13 Nov 2005 UTC 43’17”S 058’27”E Ref 548

DB: DMG 130, GPS 147, DTG 3664, margin starts now at 480. Day 85, 44 to go. Still in the game! We’re back amongst the warehouses – big, rolling in from the SW off the low to the south, presumably. Not too steep so far. Storm Jib and 3 reefs and we’ve decided that we have to take the punt and start pushing beyond the comfort zone. So tat’s what we’re doing. It’s ok most of the time but every now and again we get a gust with a rainsquall that induces a bit of pucker. We’re averaging better than 6 knots and trying to keep that margin open. Can’t send this for another 2 hours at least so will update later. Now 4330 5852 13/1200 DTG 3642 and the GPS has just clicked over 10,000 miles since Falmouth. It’s been off for a bit so we’ve done at least that. Scarce G&T to celebrate in an hour or so.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 13, 2005 – 1430hrs UTC

1430hrs 13 Nov 2005 UTC 43’39”S 059’11”E Ref 549

fortune may favour the brave but not necessarily the foolish. We’ve just taken the main off – no trisail yet but maybe later. Back from the sublime @ 7’s and 8’s to 5’s and 6’s.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 – 0145hrs UTC

0145hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’12”S 060’13”E Ref 550

clunking along -big seas – we will make the big decision @ 45 s. malcom, wd be nice to talk to dufresne but don’t have frequency for them and they are unlikely to be listening on hf anyway.

condensation likely to be huge problem – everything wringing wet, cascades down every wall – hope it doesn’t kill the radio.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 - 0315hrs UTC

0315hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’15”S 060’24”E Ref 551

lumpy, wet, windy + ‘orrible but making good speed n the right direction. wx info great, steve, thanks – so far guesstimation on the button.

From Malcom R.

John and I have been conferring about your pit stop in Tassie and have a couple of suggestions for you to consider. First one is that instead of Recherche, you come into Adventure Bay on Bruny Is. Much closer to Hobart (for us), no further out of your way than Recherche, shop and other resources on site, and a jetty that you might be able to come in to for loading.

Second option (prompted by your need for a scrub) was to come to RYCT, clear customs and quarantine, scrub your collective bums and head off with all formalities taken care of, ready for the S/H start. John has offered car and accom if you want to stay a night (or two).

Obviously the final decision will depend on how things are looking closer to your arrival. Bottom line is – we’ll be there – wherever and whenever ‘there’ is!

also malcom. doing it by headbang for the mo – torn between wanting ease + comfort and good speed. going for speed.

From Martin S.

By way of contrast to my previous note, have a look at the Volvo website after 1 day at sea of intense racing, and be prepared to be amazed / horrified / whatever – 40 knots of wind, in Biscay, at the end of day 1, and this is happening already?

I hate to think what these boats will be like in the southern ocean……. by comparison, 40 odd knots is an afternoon stroll in the park for the Berrimillas – and look at what they have encountered in the past – 80+ knots and a few knockdowns with the mast head in the water….. lets hope they dont have any catastrophic Volvo race losses.

The Lowdown is at  http://www.volvooceanrace.org/index.aspx

Quite amazing. Think of over-sized 60′ dinghies with keels designed to swing, surfing at up to 30 knots at times, and wiping out occasionally……

Fair winds, and happy Volvo (and Berri!) surfing,

martin, tks for info, do hope donna ok – she sent us a note before leaving. don’t know her boat but down here no place for bathtub toys.  hi katherine + stephen, good to hear from you: tks for wisdom stuff, chris. work to do + this v difficult so will try to send. have just cracked 100 for 24 hrs and still 6 hrs to go. wooohooo


1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 - 0420hrs UTC

0420hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’18”S 060’33”E Ref 552

unable send – wind has eased mini pooptillionth and traces of sunlight. sea all glistening towering power with rushing crests blue-white like icing but with lurking menace. have just spent half hour completely dismantling my bunk to get at supply of vegie tins under it. down to last 2 bags – about 30 tins. bunk soaking wet – mattress almost in running water – bag relatively dry, protected from dripping condensation by searug on top. not using bivvy bag – bunk in new format with spectra cocoon too uncomfortable without having to contend with slimline bivvy so risking all on searug.

From Annie T.

Could you please send me either Malcolm Robinsons email address, or phone number, so that I can contact him re. any help needed by him in assisting the intrepid Berrimilla Boys, down here in Hobart.  We have yacht with HF radio and access to TasCoast Radio (better equipment ) if useful.  

annie t – tks for tas cst radio info – are times in eastern standard or daylight saving time? please contact malcolm robinson re any help needed etc – i think he is coordinating meeting and turn around arrangements. cd you pse check whether derek @ pentac still doing long range skeds @ 0600 + 2100 utc on ch 8, 12 + 16. if so, shld get him soon. ta.

v hard not to sit here just watching the boatlengths clicking off on the gps. very much last few k of marathon – pain, metre by metre by metre. can sense the finish line but not yet smell it or hear the noise. 3553 to go on gc track, about 150 more when we run along 45s.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’29”S 061’09”E Ref 553

now day 86, 43 to the start, 29 to se cape. dmg 136, gps 145, new margin 496.

baro falling, wind rising again – will probably gybe towards east after writing this. twin poling downwind too tricky in these very steep sided seas – will have to wear the compromise, as usual. still, it wouldn’t be a proper exam if the examiner didn’t ask proper questions, would it?

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 – 1200hrs UTC

1200hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’32”S 061’29”E Ref 554

still no send – spoke to steve on satphone – nice to hear friendly voice out there. back in huge breakers again, 50 ish kts from wsw, bare poled running with wind on stbd qtr. variation about 50 deg. tracking roughly east t @up to 7.5kts. scary stuff all over again.  such a fragile little eggshell we live in – they don’t make bus shelters like they used to. glass of red in an hour – clench till then.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 14, 2005 – 1546hrs UTC

1546hrs 14 Nov 2005 UTC 44’31”S 061’52”E Ref 555

just spent a sweaty and fruitless half hour in the uproar setting the old storm jib on the inner forestay to give kevvo something to work with. huge breakers, 50 ish, too much so took it all off again and did bare pole gybe to get us  a bit north out of here. once again, we’re deep in a massive compromise and hating it.

condensation dripping down my neck – yuk. only 29 days of this to go – will we ever see taswegia?? might just sail past in the murk, we’re enjoying ourselves so much – do a moitessier.

prob only one tyx per day from here round about 1500 – 1700 utc – if this goes.  not via sailmailafrica- last chance satcom.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 15, 2005 – 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 15 Nov 2005 UTC 44’52”S 063’33”E Ref 556

4452 6333 15/0915 dmg 100, gps 118, margin 496 – 20 = 476. day 88, 42 to start.

some stats – in the last 12 hours, we’ve done 6 sail changes, wind range from 15 – 55 knots, the baro has fallen 8mb in 24 hrs now at 1004 – the lowest i can remember. wind packing in from the north -35 and rising. waves building fast. apart from the baro drop, not unusual. now in the front of a low? looks like the fan is revolving anyway. and waiting – and waiting – nowt else to do – too tense to read, nothing on the sw radio during the day, cant connect to sailmail, will satcom this if it can reach the satellite. a week today, rorc awards – go caro. we listen for derek’s  long range sked but still don’t know whether we have the time right. we’re in desperation mode – drinking tonic with lemon in it and pretending it’s gin.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 16, 2005 – 0150hrs UTC

0150hrs 16 Nov 2005 UTC 45’08”S 065’10”E Ref 557

4508 6510 16/0150 t 10.7, it was nasty but not as bad as baro drop predicted. back on the rails on east, rhumb line track. have just consulted re phenomenon of daylight at midnight utc – perhaps a day or so early but we needed to celebrate something. must be getting south – a pair of bigger, beautifully matched albatrosses were with us yesterday – dark grey on top of wings with white patches close to shoulders. lovely to watch them in loose formation – sometimes close in to stern, looking at us.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 16, 2005 – 0630hrs UTC

0630hrs 16 Nov 2005 UTC 45’04”S 065’39”E Ref 558

4504 6539 16/0630. becalmed, bemused, benign, marooned upon the balham line – or something like that -i’m sure peter sellers fans will correct me. what a pain. but i do think we have the nice knot of current sent to us by csiro in hobart – thanks guys and come and find us and claim a beer or two.


db: dmg 87, gps 112, margin 476-33=443 day 88, 41 to start. margin beginning to slip away – becalmed still, no sign of wind. gales preferable. pse tell caro we’ll be listening, wx permitting.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 16, 2005 – 1750hrs UTC

 1750hrs 16 Nov 2005 UTC 44’53”S 066’20”E Ref 560

unable collect sailmail msg. still almost no wind. spbf.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 16, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

 2315hrs 16 Nov 2005 UTC 44’51”S 066’40”E Ref 561

4451 6640 16/2315 not happy. still no worthwhile wind – we’ve spent the last 12 hours or so hand steering, tweaking, generally doing our best to keep up the illusion that the old bus shelter is still on the move. easy with merlin – just feed in a few random numbers, tell him to pretend we are about a day further along the track, press the def button and your uncle bob appears with a set of coordinates to send to steve who updates the track and feeds this waffle to the website.

in fact, hand steering in the cold and damp and very uncomfortably lumpy sea in the depths of a very black dripping night underlines just how shatteringly, totally dependent we are on kevvo.

From Marcus H., UK

Just to let you know  that I am still with you every step/metre of the way. The berrimilla sandwiches are going well with comments like “”a bit unusual but really good””. Having read that  you had Beef Stroganoff with mushy peas recently(chef Stroganoff would turn in his grave) it gave me an idea, what about a cook book of your more unusual dishes perhaps even some mistakes that you thought were delicious, for the boating community.

I wish you luck with the plan and the wind, I feel you are going to make it to the start line. Maybe a little more garlic without restraint might help.

if kevvo karks, what you will have out here, marcus, is old fart soup. bigtime. there’s the old oz joke about cooking a galah (oz grey parrot, gerzillions of them in flocks everywhere). boil galah with fetid socks, three month thermals and a housebrick for two days. throw away galah and other remnants and eat the housebrick with tabasco. ever tried eating a bus shelter? onya kevvo. he’s in charge, just, as i write, else couldn’t talk to yez-all. not his fault that he has difficulty in minimal wind and heavy sea – when the boat gets hurled sideways by big swell, sideways movement creates wind over kevo’s vane, ergo kievvo makes adjustment, but usually the wrong way – real wind from the other side.

dmg since 0900 – 14 hours – has been 23 miles. desperation setting in again.

20 minutes later – windshift to sw – hard to interpret – perhaps front of high moving across – so where did the low go?  anyway, dropped this message, went up into the cold damp bleak predawn – lovely silvery sky behind clouds to the east, some stars including the cross – silhouettes of wheeling birds – was wearing last pair of warm dry gloves – tacked boat, handling wet sheets – now have cold wet gloves. poo.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 17, 2005 – 0430hrs UTC

 0430hrs 17 Nov 2005 UTC 44’53”S 067’19”E Ref 562

4453 6719 17/0430 sw wind at last and we are making about 6.5 vmg along the gc track. we will be well short of miles for the day, but, inexorably, boatlength by boatlength we are putting this ocean behind us. we are 236 miles nnw of kerguelen, where the ait t was 1 degree a few days ago. feels like that here now and we are both feeling the cold. i have started to wear my finisterre fleece for the first time since down by cape horn – it has made a good pillow up till now. nice gear – a bit bulky to wear under party gear but great out on its own and looks after me well.

malcolm, could you please add 4 ltrs of metho and a couple of slabs of dark chocolate to the list. i think we are going to be right on the button for both those. i have rationed us to 2 squares of tesco’s best choc each day and we are now conscious of the need to conserve metho. i have 1 of wendy’s chocs per day left – i think pete has been a bit less conservative – thanks wendy and you were right about the tissues – i kept them in a ziplock and theyve been my stand-bys all the way.

the watermaker has slowed down – at best, it pushes out 4.5 ltr/hr – now it’s down to less than 3 – probably needs flushing through but will get us to se c. we are running the engine daily for about an hour – not enough sun for the panel to keep uth sydney boonies with peeing dogs and dolloping pigeons and the occasional vogon for company? can’t see it meself. someone asked us which actor we’d like to play each of us if they ever made a film – that’s really a loaded question isn’t it? – but ‘they’ couldn’t ever make a film without making us both bronzy and cool and marketable in the demographic. real reality doesn’t grab the goolies in the backblocks and boardrooms of the viewing world – the dreadfully manipulated ‘reality’ of reality tv is all the go and old farts just don’t cut the mustard. i wonder which of us would get voted off first. i’m the oldest, so statistically the most likely.


see you at 0700 steve.. i’ve given up trying sailmail – will wait till closer to oz and try firefly.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 17, 2005 - 0750hrs UTC

0750hrs 17 Nov 2005 UTC 45’02”S 067’49”E Ref 563

we are in sunshine – perhaps for 10 minutes – the old farts are loving it and the ferals have gone into hiding. feels as if the air t is about 5, same as water which is 5.4 so probably not in current. vmg over 6, o doing k anyway – poled out #1 and full main – haven’t seen that for a while either. small break for the persistent, perhaps. lots of seaweed clumps – not long kelp like near falklands but shorter, with ‘bubble’ fronds. also a lot of short spiky pieces, about 25cm, floating vertically with just the tip of the spike above the surface. seeds perhaps? sunshine gone again.

hi l, j + h – kevvo sends his best wishes and says he’s glad all those albatrosses have gone off to kerguelen for a rest – his arms were getting quite tired from all that tweaking.

we’re making water with the solar panel carrying most of the load – now drawing 2.2 apms with watermaker, satcom and pc running – normally at least 7.

From Paul D.

While you are sitting in the Southern Ocean sitting out being becalmed, think about repairing the Ampair Gen. Does not appear hard to dismantle, looking at the parts drawing on the web site, just be careful of the permanent magnet rotor being out of the magnetic shunt for too long (1hr max). It appears the front bearing is the same as the rear. I will check with Quirks at Botany tomorrow about field repairs.

Spoke to some Amateur Radio buffs about HF propagation and they recon its bad for another 6 months, rated at “”0″”. Could still have a aerial or feeder problem. What does the SWR meter indicate?

We are still tossing up the cause of the USB port problem with the Laptop at the ABC. Suspect excessive power drain on the USB while driving the modem, or the RF energy is getting back into the Laptop logic circuits swamping the data.

Try rotating the laptop 90deg to aerial or some shielding around it.

We discuss your problems at the pub after ringing and you do have some armchair critics out there. Web hits are about 500 per day.

Check for new log entries morning noon and night. Can now follow the weather charts on the web site.

The large brownish birds could be immature albos or Great Southern Skewers. These are nasty birds that chase other birds and pull at their tail feathers to make them disgorge food. Nasty types built like a flying brick or large gull.

paul – tks for advice – ampair definitely too hard – appears the face plater screwed in, needs jig, heat etc, anyway, don’t have spare bearings. bearings front and rear are the same – we are in touch with ampair engineer. re laptop – above about 10 megs, the usb multi-serial port device closes down immediately i try to transmit. if i then get recovery in wrong order, blue srreen of death follows but i now know how to avoid this – trial and error works. i have checked the earth connection and have rolled about a foot of roofing lead tightly around the usb cable – no go. have asked for some clip-on ferrites when we get to tassie but think it may need more than that – perhaps earth plate polish under boat?

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 17, 2005 – 1015hrs UTC

1015hrs 17 Nov 2005 UTC 44’03”S 068’11”E Ref 564

db: dmg 94, gps 102, margin 443-26=417 – gradually slipping away but still in front and retrievable. day 89 and we have 31 days to get past tasman island and 40 to the start line. gc distance to se cape is 3250 so still just over 100 miles a day will do it but we also need time to stop, clear customs, (if possible down at adventure bay else waste a day going up to ryct) refuel etc. very very tight but we’ll get there barring any really nasty surprises from the examiner. for instance, looks as if there’s another soft high behind us so more light winds. we are, i hope, only temporarily out of any current (tks malcom) but making progress @ 6+ vmg directly east along 45 s. fingers, eyebrows toes and all else crossed, freckle puckered and all will be well. and we’re not a bit superstitious.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005 – 0430hrs UTC

0430hrs 18 Nov 2005 UTC 44’52”S 071’20”E Ref 565

[Ed: Message received 20/11/05 0335hrs! – and I don’t think we’ve received the “previous update” that Alex refers to]

i have been trying for hours to send the previous update via satcom – i had seven goes at it, each to strvre, mal and the website addresses. each time, for every address, the system told me that the address was ‘incorrect or unreachable’. the message goes via the land earth station in perth to my isp, telstra/xantic, and i assume that incorrect or unreachable’ means that telstra/xantic’s systems are down or too busy to cope or just too inefficient to reach the internet. i don’t know how their billing system works but i bet they just count the bytes transmitted from this mobile station and bill me for all of them. we shall see when i get back  – not happy, given the cost of the equipment and the data charges.

so i don’t know if it ever arrived or whether this one will either. very frustrating. there are lots of excuses for sailmail, mostly, i fear, to do with the systems in this boat, but not for t/x as far as i am concerned. – the messages are reaching the les or i wouldn’t get the response, so the boat gear is working.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005 – 0715hrs UTC

Satellite email problems have prevented any log updates from getting through. We know the boys are ok because one of their complaints has made it. More news as it comes to hand.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 18 Nov 2005 UTC 44’54”S 072’00”E Ref 566

4454 7200 18/0900

db: dmg 144 gps 176 margin 417+24=441 day 90 v(just consulted with the doctor – rare occasion these restricted days.)30 to tasman island, 39 to the start line. distance to go to sec 3111 by gc track.

we should pass within 50 miles of french research vessel marion dufresne in next few hours. trying to contact them vhf dsc.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005

[Ed: Email problems have caused several messages from Berri to not arrive here at mission control. This is one of them. After much swearing and retrying they were able to resend it successfully – finally received 21 Nov!]

Imagine, if you will, that you are inside this little plastic soapdish with the lid firmly closed. You can see out, but it’s mostly sky or white rushing water and no sense of perspective or continuity of movement. You are acutely aware that it is moving, fast and with some violence. You can sense that it is mostly roll, but there is some pitch and a lot of yaw. As the waves are catching up with the boat, it is in effect going up them backwards, pitching forward and rolling on the forward face, yawing and slewing at the top, sometimes under tons of breaking water, and pitching backwards and rolling as it slides down the back of the receding wave. Occasionally, you can see the effect of these breaking waves through the window – a wide swath of foamy water sometimes a hundred or more metres long – just like the lace wedding dress trains worn by royal brides – sloping steeply down the back from the head, sharply curving at water level and sweeping back, widening and getting more transparent the further it goes back. Lovely to look at, less so to be part of!

You are braced against the nav table, legs splayed out in front at about 45 degrees and away from you at the same angle. Both hands are behind you as you struggle to get the damp neoprene cuff of your party jacket over your wristwatch. The boat rolls away from you – you slightly bend your knees – it rolls further, accompanied by rushing crashing noises – you frantically try to extricate your hands from behind your back – the boat rolls further – now at about 75 degrees and you fall forward, desperately trying to bend into kneeling position as you go to soften the crunch. That’s the easy one. Now transfer yourself to the toilet, hands once again full, bowl charged, as it were, ankles locked together by lowered pants. Hoooley doooley – gives a whole new meaning to toilet training!

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005 - 1100hrs UTC

1100hrs 18 Nov 2005 UTC

just spoke mcastle – dufresne very close – have tried to satphoine them but not answering – got their number from ile amsterdam.

further to toilet training – if you are offended by bodily functions, read no further.

in order to reduce the potential difficulties associated with the toilet situation i wrote about in my last, it is possible to minimise the ‘charge’ in the bowl by using the extraction method. takes practice and delicacy but it is possible to position the freckle exactly above the bowl outlet and go gently about one’s business. as one feels an emergence, tiny adjustments may be necessary to get the correct line and then one should commence slowly pumping out the bowl. one will feel the gently tug of the pump transmitted vertically to the freckle and nethers and – lo and behold – the emerging object is gone before one even knows it was there. a disaster in the making averted by skill and practice.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 19, 2005 – 0030hrs UTC

0030hrs 19 Nov 2005 UTC 44’55”S 074’09”E Ref 567

and we’ve passed heard island – legally well clear of the marine park that surrounds it – so it could be said that we are more or less back in australian territorial waters. wooohooo. but not yet half way across the indian ocean with the work yet to be done. at 2300 utc on nov 22 we will get a phone call from caroline at the rorc awards dinner to tell us about it and we intend to have the most effective consultation we can muster to go with it – we’ll be past heard, well under 3000 to go, and we’ll have an award to look forward to. steve will collect it for us and bring it back. it’s all happening.

and we’re still very much in the game – we ought to make the required average run today and as long as things stay in the normal groove, we will be on the start line in 38 days. keeping busy doing all the little maintenance jobs – the next major will be dismantling one of the kite winches which has seized and trying to get it going again. needs a quiet day, preferably with some sun – it’s really cold down here. we would like all y’all to do whatever is necessary to placate poseidon so that he gives us a nice southerly once we get to tasman island. malcom, we’ll be in touch for the best route from there.

roger@ cyc – if all goes according to plan, we’ll have a couple of days to turn the boat around. would be enormously helpful if we could get a vehicle into the car park or the rushcutter park. no big fixes needed as far as we know, may need some safety gear, will have to take kevvo off the back and do a huge unload and hosing out of feral colonies and other undesirables. we will not have time for a lift to clean the bottom so could you please ask sven or another diver to stand by – not a big job, just a barnacle scrape around the rudder and under the keel and a polishing job on the radio earth. paperwork should be in order, irc cert has been renewed, insurance has been extended by fastnet marine – richard, if you are reading this, would you please send confirmation to berri@berrimilla.com and mal can forward to roger at cyc. we still have a legible no. 71 on the side from the last s2h and it would be nice to keep that if possible. also tattered remains of fastnet rolex stick!


1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 19, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 19 Nov 2005 UTC 45’08”S 075’27”E Ref 568

db: dmg 138, gps 153, margin 441+18=459, day 91, 38 to the start, 28 to ti. 2973 to sec.

another day of good running – not as wild as yesterday but we’re covering the ground and i think we have a smidgin of current too. water t = 8.7 and we’re heading slightly north to get back into the more favourable stream – thanks malcom. from here, we would have to be a bit unlucky not to make it, i think, we have about 4 days still in hand and every good day makes this a better buffer. it will still be tight, whatever happens. we must have missed the french r/v marion dufresne by only a few miles yesterday. i tried to call them on the satphone but they were switched off. didn’t see them on sob and no response to an individual dsc call on vhf, so we were’nt in vhf range, at least when i thought we should be.

fenwick, sorry to hear you missed the barbecue – couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. did anyone buy the shirt? and did you get my rather sheepish renewal of the s2h invitation? you won’t have to do a single sail change…

we’re just counting off the milestones to keep the mind from wandering. the next one should be half way across the indian ocean at 85e, perhaps at around the same time as the rorc awards night. then we are eagerly awaiting the first sound of derek barnard’s particularly gravel-like voice on a long range sked from pentacomstat. that will be a special day. i’m already getting wx faxes from vmw (the ox bureau of met. broadcast station at wiluna) but they only go as far west as 90 deg so no use for a bit yet bit weary.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 20, 2005 - 0550hrs UTC

0550hrs 20 Nov 2005 UTC 44’52”S 078’37”E Ref 569

I don’t know whether it’s worth writing these because I still dont know what is getting through on Satcom. Not easy writing into a black hole. We are almost in range of NSW sailmail and I’m hoping that we will get better connections there and can do without Satcom and the hassle and expense.

BUT – we are only 1800 miles from the nearest bit of Western Australia, we’re past Ile Amsterdam and have 2857 to SE Cape on the GC track and only about 60 more by rhumb. Both very weary – it’s cold and we’ve been working the boat as hard as we possibly can. Still have a bit of current it seems. At this speed, its about 21 days to SEC, but that’s a break that I’m sure the Examiner will do her best to deny us. Tiddly pom! We had a Consultation this morning after a big sail change – no more for a couple of days – we really are doing it hard! I’ve just made bread – Marcus, one for you – just make the dough from a 500gm Tesco pack, dont bother with all the psychological stuff about letting it rise and rest and patting it on the head – add some garlic or whatever else takes your fancy, heat the oil till it smokes, on a floured board, press a small ball of dough into a pancake as thin as possible and small saucer size and toss it on the oil till it bubbles on top, turn it over for a few moments, take it out and – if you’re me – eat it while you make the next ten or so. Just like naan and takes 20 minutes, minimum cleanup if you’re careful and keeps for a couple of days. (Apologies if this is a repeat – I have a feeling it is, but without power etc, I can’t review the previous stuff).

I’ve been watching the little grey birds that I think are petrels – lovely subtle markings on top of their wings but the real stunner is that they have a tinge of blue over their backs – only visible as they turn away – perhaps a trick of the light but consistent. Only birds, ferals, a couple of ratbag humans, parasitic barnacles and green slime out here – not a dolphin, not a whale, no mermaids, teddy bears or 3 toed sloths anywhere to be seen. Last ship was near Cape Town, before that, Cape Verdes. A big, lonely empty place to be, natural splendour to excess and vast, enigmatic, blank indifference to our little enterprise. And I’m going to miss it terribly when next I’m on a busy polluted street. Tiny patches of sunlight, moon quite low and mostly hidden but when it come through a gap – wow! Because the overcast is so solid and dark, the moon has a radiance and lustre that you don’t often experience – Turner would have loved it.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 20, 2005 – 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 20 Nov 2005 UTC 44’56”S 079’03”E Ref 570

db: dmg 134, gps 160, margin 459+14=473, day 92, 37 to start, 28 to tasman island. looking a pooptilionth better every day we can keep that margin healthy.

no word from xantic, emails still not getting through to anyone except,it seems, xantic so our basic backup life support system is decidedly iffy. i’ll try and send this and later, try to get through to sailmail nsw. will ask xantic to forward this to malcolm so you all get some news anyway. won’t waste my time and battery power writing any more.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 20, 2005 – 2230hrs UTC

2230hrs 20 Nov 2005 UTC 45’03”S 080’57”E Ref 571

But the ends have met – the knot isn’t tied yet by a long chalk but we’re talking to sailmail nsw and we are getting the Australian weather broadcasts from VMW Wiluna loud and clear. Perth Radio voice still out of range. SE Cape, here we come! Deliberately short till we get back to effective comms.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 21, 2005 – 1005hrs UTC

1005hrs 21 Nov 2005 UTC 45’09”S 082’36”E Ref 572

DB: DMG 138 GPS 155, margin 473+18=491 Wooohooo! In credit for a change. Day 93, 36 to startline, 27 to TI, 2701 to SE Cape.

I promised Arlette, our host in Port Stanley – she who crumbles cookies so well – G’day kiddo!! – as she gave me a haircut, that there would not be another one until after the Hobart Race. So far, so good, but I’m beginning to look a bit like one of those draggly dishmops – Kris, you’d disapprove!

Baby, it’s cooold outside.

1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 21, 2005 – 2030hrs UTC

2030hrs 21 Nov 2005 UTC 45’19”S 083’59”E Ref 573

just had big messy sail change followed by small rum – one of life’s little rerwards.