1-7. Near the Horn


Logs ( 16 )

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 01, 2005 - 1400hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1400hrs 01 Mar 2005 UTC 54’22”S 100’40”W Map Ref 90

From Malcom C.
Hi Guys, I’ve seen no mention of the bike powered generator during the power shortages. Was the bike ditched at some stage?
When you round the Horn will you be out in the Drake passage or will you be closer inshore over the shelf or is the route you take (inshore or offshore) going to be swell and weather dependant?
Kinda be nice to have a squiz at Tierra del Fuego as you go by. The only description I can remember is from a Biggles book when, for some forgettable reason, Biggles briefly ended up there. Can’t remember the title though.
With a bit more juice available you could have had “”yachtie cam”” to get up your website hit rate among the voyeurs (mind you they would have to be pretty weird voyeurs) or virtual voyagers. Then again, people might think that Berrimilla was on a set in a film studio somewhere. Maybe that’s it; You’ve been hanging out at Fox Studios for the past two months.
It is challenging coming up with a memorable email that will get a mention in the book you write about your voyage. Perhaps you should run a competition while en route.

Some questions answered: Malcom, if we ever get to the Horn, we’ll be as close in as possible and will probably go between Staten Is and TdF afterwards. The rats at Fox are tastier than those in the southern ocean! Yes to your first question, long story, and regret the decision but can’t elucidate here.

From Colin:

Good to hear your intentions! See you at Constitution Dock later in the
year! Jenny Starling has about 20 (uncontacted) Brolgas lined up, she is
threatening to keelhaul misusers of the acronym BOG, but my daughter
suggests a newsletter called The Bog Paper. Keep plugging away. I thought
you were two-handing this trip, but it seems you have a full medical crew
on board judging by the various consultations made!

Colin – full marks to your daughter – I like The Bog Paper – just catches the mood perfectly. And it could go out in broadsheet (elephant’s dunny paper or kitchen roll) or tabloid format too…

From Tim V., to Stephen, webmaster
I am a friend of Pete from Paddo.
My business partner does a bit of work for the Falkland Islands government and has placed a number of Australians in jobs (mainly agricultural) on the Islands. He has put me in touch with a couple he placed a few years ago who appear to have ‘gone native’ and have settled there after their contract expired. They are going to buy a bit of booze for me to supplement the Dr on the next leg from Stanley
The purpose of this email is to ask when the lads think they will arrive in Stanley?
I must say I have been a bit reluctant to send them an email – flatten the battery or sink the satellite etc, however Jeanne tells me you edit messages and forward them on, so if you wouldn’t mind sending them a very brief “”Good luck from us all at 31 Comber Street and the dog””.

Tim – thanks for your background work on our behalf – again, if we ever get there, we plan to be in theFalklandsfor about a week. We have some minor work to do, a lot of shopping for fresh goodies and laundry etc. and we will be looking for about 10 20 litre jerrycans for extra diesel.

From Simon B – Digiboat to Stephen, webmaster:

I’m looking forward to exploring his site a bit later…

Meanwhile, to ease the email strain, perhaps you could pass on to him, firstly, of course, my best wishes; but also my concern that his Nav program (SOB, which I supply) may be approaching a “”use-by”” date.

If you could include the following text to him at your first opportunity, please…
If SOB reports the following message: “”This program is out of date please contact digiboat””
Then: 1) Temporarily wind back your PC clock a few months 2) start SOB 3) click to make the chart active, then press CTRL-ALT-6 at the same time 4) copy the “”Unlock Number”” for level 666 5) enter the number-part only for level 666, in the “”About SOB”” form, for unlimited access 6) ensure that SOB is unlocked to AccessLevel 666 then exit SOB 7) restore the correct date with the PC clock 8) apply these steps with any computers running SOB.
SOB should now function free of any time-outs. Bon Voyage.

Simon, thanks for use-by date info – hope I can find all that. Do you want the track info – can burn cd and send fromStanleyif so.

From Mike H.
Looks like things are tough going at the moment. John Clark has been in touch with me to make sure there is a case of Guinness ready for you in Stanley. No problem. Coopers could be hard to find though – any other preference? Let me know if I can help in any way.

Mike – Guinness would be fine thanks – plus anything else you think might offer appropriate medical properties.

From Mairi
Hello chaps! Hope all is well. Am at college at the moment, and have
just handed in history coursework. Am off now to eat lots of chocolate,
and play snooker!

Hi Mairi – you wouldn’t believe it but I’ve evolved into a life form that can resist chocolate unless someone gives me some. Not sure about snooker – used to be smoke-filled room stuff when exams loomed.

We are once again hand steering in almost no wind. We haven’t had a good 100+ mile day for ages now and the Horn seems to be getting further away. I reckon this is beginning to feel like the 36K mark – half way mentally and most of the work still to do.

Today inAustralia, tomorrow out here, March 2, is my mother’s 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Ethel, and many of em. Would all youse all please join me in wishing her all the best and drinking her health – we get to do it twice here. She’s got two of the three kids with her in Malta and Pete and I will try and speak to her on the satphone if the bloody thing works properly. Still only lets me call Australia, which is only marginally better than nothing.

Simon – have forestalled the Hand of Time and pre-elevated myself to Heaven. Thanks. Seems to work ok. Will do the other laptop when I resurrect it – different code presumably?.

John C – thanks for contacting Mike inStanley- he’s been in touch and offered assistance and Medical Supplies.

Mike H – further to my last – some info about facilities in Stanley would be useful – ?laundry, stainless welder/rigger, sailmaker, diesel, hardware supplies (plastic tubing, jerry cans/containers etc) supermarket? Is there somewhere to park the boat alongside for a few days? Bed and breakfast type accommodation? A Pub?? Thanks.

Hilary – have just had a bit of cake #2 for breakfast. Naice! Cold sunshine, water @ 7.5 deg. still v. little wind. If you can manage it, could you please ring Telstra Mobile Satellite and ask them if there’s any reason why our phone wont talk to anywhere except OZ.

Is – will try to ring us fromMaltatomorrow GMT.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 0250hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0250hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’43”S 099’44”W Map Ref 91

Cold, early morning – just come in from cockpit. Doing this with ski gloves – fuzzxy. SAnd too hard so back to cold fingers. Today has/is been/being a day of celebration in local, Australian, GMT and Malta timezones. My mum’s birthday in 4 timezones and yesterday St Davids day (also in 4 if we need an excuse) and we will soon cross 100 W and soonish get under 1000 to go. Sunshine, wind in breaths, hand steering with the hand not holding the mug, and still a long way to go. First mail call in and, Steve says, another to go. Life’s a bowl of cherries.

Now the other end of the day, spent mostly hand steering at less than 3 kts. Lots of toasts in various timezones and we crossed 100w. Not much achieved in distance though, only about 80 miles for the 24 hours. One of the consequences of our early dive south is that now we are down here, we are below a series of very small lows that seem to be forming like eddies just along our track and moving north east, so giving us NE/SE winds and bugger all at that. Some chance of a steady westerly flow at 35+ some time tomorrow if we are lucky. We will start with a reasonably flat sea surface over the swells, which are still quite big and it will build as the wind starts to pile up the waves. Anyway, some wind – any wind – would be really nice. We have closed the boat down – no point in headbanging all night for possibly only a couple of miles in the bag and we’re going to sleep. Rolling a bit, in a series of phases but not constant and not violent. I will turn on the satphone at 0930 gmt for birthday greetings.

Pete is on deck identifying some stars. Has Canopus (too high for sight) Rigil Kent and Sirius so far. Yesterday, as the sun set behind us, the moon rose directly ahead – huge and yellow and seemingly distorted to almost egg shape until enough of it was up to see that it is about a half moon. Should see it again soon.

Both of us have swelling hands, particularly around the nails. Pete has a small split in the cuticle of one thumb which we are treating with Betadine and fresh air and trying to keep dry and uninfected. I’ve seen these before and they have to be taken seriously. I’m being a bit religious about lanolin and latex gloves and my hands, while rough, dry and sore, seem to be under control so far. Otherwise, apparently in good health apart from headbanging all day. We almost certainly smell, but it’s not noticeable most of the time – mainly as the foot slides into boot amongst the ferals and a gust of the warm foetids wreathes past the nostrils. Same with the pits when putting on the party gear and, of course, sliding into the sleeping bag. I think that’s probably enough of that, kiddies.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 1100hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1100hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’43”S 099’35”W Map Ref 92

Sadly, it seems my satellite phone only talks to Australia. Fat lot of use that is. Telstra, are you listening?

So – by cyberspace and stone age HF radio, a very special Happy 90th Birthday to my Mother Ethel in Malta, with lots of love from her rather smelly son and his equally smelly mate down here in the southern ocean. We’ll come and see you in a few months time when we get to England.

Otherwise, not much to report. Still very soft and we’re running the engine to charge the battery. Drifted north west during the night. Six straight hours sleep was a bit of OK though.

From Kristen M.
ok, will attempt short message.

Went to a wedding in CA yesterday for an old friend who’s been trying
to find the right woman for years and years. He’s been on more first
dates than any 10 of my other friends. Half way through the ceremony
the Rabbi was forced to truncate her long-windedness because he
fainted. He came to and they did finish… She does seem right for
him, but the irony was quite good.

I’ve been wondering if the bick got off in Dunedin, since I haven’t
heard word of it amidst the whining of languishing generators and
legs. Also, is there fishing gear on berri?

You haven’t expressed an opinion about what you’d like to hear so I’ll
comment briefly on how the pattern of the Republicans doing their best
to bankrupt the US govt seems to be continuing. Like the cold war,
only directed internally. The latest round is the attempt to
privatize social security which won’t do anything for the funding
shortfalls but will focus a much larger percentage of the population
on the success of the stock market (to the detriment of little things
like the environment I fear). I’ve decided to do my bit of
consumerism and purchase a stereo. My first.

Time for the 1:00pm walking meeting.
take care,

Kris – correct re the bick – abandoned, sadly, at last stop. Would have worked and legs and battery really need it at the mo but too bulky. Loved the wedding story.

From George S.
Alex & Peter, when you eventually reach the UK, if you have the time try and
check-out the Contessa 32 still being built in Lymington, at the rate of two
a year. I’ve just read a mag article and you could easily substitute the
word Brolga for Contessa, even their profiles! The only difference appears a
bridge deck and 1ft less!
And Peter, Jeanie has agreed to doing the short-haul on Saturday!

George – We know about Contessas. Bloody things rate better than us too.

From Malcom
Hi Guys,

Tierra del Fuego and Biggles

Biggles went to the Southern most tip of South America in “”Biggles at World’s
End””, 1959. Pete, your anticipation was right, Ginger helped Biggles fly the
Gadfly seaplane as did Bertie and Algy. They were looking for gold hidden on
and unknown Island in Tierra del Fuego by the German navy during WW2. Erich
von Stalhein told them about the gold (nostalgia nostalgia).

After numerous adventures, the theft of the gold by a Russian whaling ship,
and later recovery by the Royal Navy, of course, Biggles returns to England
which rightfully owns the gold. Sorry guys the gold is no longer there.

If it had been Ronny Biggs, instead of Biggles, the gold might have come to

Malcom, thanks for Spiky doggerel and bigglesmania. Seaplane huh?

From Michael G.
Photo display on reception desk of Giblin enterprises “Dear Alex and Peter,
It’s lovely rating a mention in your most fascinating log. I look forward every second day when I do my emails to getting the latest gen.
You asked what photo will be displayed. I chose the very obvious one from the web-site with Alex posing on the front of the boat with the number 37 on the starboard side of the hull and with the green Rolex logo next to it.
Under the picture, on the reception desk (as of tomorrow morning) are the words: Alex Whitworth on board Berrimilla, presently sailing around the world with Peter Crozier. Want details? www.berrimilla.com
I hope you approve.
Keep going strong for the horn. Very soon you will have 900 plus miles to go and counting down.
With every good wish.

Michael G – that’s Steve (webmaster) in the white hat on the foredeck but there’s no need to frighten the troops with the fine print! Nice to know we’re on display and interesting to see whether the hit rate goes up.

Allan – not that sort of headbanger, unlike some of your ex mates.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02 2005 - 1640hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1640hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’49”S 099’05”W Map Ref 93

There have been two huge albatrosses flying round us in formation for a couple of hours. One quite a bit bigger than the other. Both brilliant white underneath in the low early morning sunlight, flecked grey on top, creamy beaks. They don’t usually come close but these two have been within metres of our stern. Breathtaking.

Still no wind worth mentioning. Called the Patagonian yachties Sked on 8164mhz this morning just to let them know we’re out here. Sadly, they cant send us a breeze but they wished us well.

Just lLike a cold winter’s day off Sydney Heads, apart from the swell. Trying to work out the swell pattern now that it is calm enough to actually see one. There is a very big SW swell, with a wavelength of about 4 – 500 metres, and a series of smaller swells, more or less from the same direction over the top. They don’t have a regular pattern, or if they do, I cant see it. Sometimes we sit on the top of one of the really big ones and can look across to the next one half a k away across a big deep valley and we get a feel for the power and energy of it all. No appreciable current yet.

Have just opened a coldie from Dr Cooper to celebrate The Birthday in the Malta timezone. Happy birthday Ethel, from us all down here. I think we should have covered all possibilities now and we hope you feel properly toasted.

From Doug M.

Despite initial expectations for the sun to be active it has been extremely quiet – however the further south you go the more chance you will have of seeing auroral lights independent of official warnings – severe magnetic spikes are about at the moment – these very sharp short magnetic spikes are not considered “”magnetic storms”” and are generally not reported – they may have visual appearances though – such events are unpredictable of course. I am checking daily the sun activity and will let you know if big auroras expected. There is no point in you missing things if they occur. I am following your roller coaster ride with great interest.
I have been told there is a major visual comet/meteor flypast in the next day (4th March) but I don’t have details – comet/meteor “”Rosetta””. I will find a source for details if I can and supply such to the webmaster if I find Z times. There is an international prize going for the best or most significant photo of this event I have been told. I will try and pin the time down. regrds

Doug – thanks for the aurora watch – would absolutely fit to bust love to see one, so really appreciate it.

From Jim and Jenny
We have been in contact with Colin Bell, Chris Palmer and James Judd and have been giving some encouragement to the creation of a BOG. Colin Bells daughter is a little scatalogical about the possibilities of such a group!! The following few paras are part of a note that has gone back and forward between us.

As an academic exercise I have been mulling over the issue of setting up (a) BOG and have collected the beginnings of a list of Brolgas that we know of (personal knowledge, Coastal Cruising Club, NSW Yachting Assn. Yearbooks (remember them?) and Syd-Hob programs). I have an initial list of about 20 yachts (minus those double entries that are the same boat but different name) and I have some ideas on a (very) loose organisation. Some interesting yachtsmen have owned Brolgas in the early years. (Your list adds some new names)

The boats that I have sussed out are:

Alter Ego, Berrimilla, Brolga, Brumby, Canomie, Celidh, Diamond Cutter, Django, Fidelio, Firebird, Gypsy, Leven, Lucy (ex Wideawake); Narama, Osprey A (probably an earlier Osprey), Poitrel, Sgian Dubh (ex Boomerang VIII), Take Time, Tempus Fugit, Turua, Virgo.

If it is of use I can flesh out a little more on each of them from the sources that I have used so far. (This is consistent with your comment in your recent log so I will go ahead and do it anyway. Some other details such as doghouse, steering mechanism etc can also be included. Peter or Chris mentioned that one of the next steps might be to draft a pro-forma checklist of data to be filled in.)

I also intend in the next few days to poke around the fleshpots of Pittwater and collect a few more names from boats that I know are moored up here – we used to twilight race against a couple of very good Brolgas out of RMYC on Monday nights.

As noted above this list is very provisional and will need to be double and triple checked. The original sources leave much to be desired – for example Leven is noted in one Syd-Hob program as a Currawong 33 and Joubert’s own boat for much of the 70’s and 80’s was a Brolga 34!! I have included Leven but excluded Billabong.

Measured length of Brolgas ranges from 9.9 metres to a little over 10.1 or 2 – must have had something to do with rating certificates!!

Sounds like Sgian Dubh could be the missing boat with the gaelic name.

We know Doug Brooker through the Coastal Cruising Club and he built SS 34’s for a while and has some real stories about he, Baker and the Brolga factory – sort of yachting gentleman’s industrial espionage.

The Horn is rushing up to you – just think it will be behind you by the beginning of the week after next!!

Best of sailing and take some photos of the cape.

Jim and Jenny – the Bog seems to be a worthwhile idea. I think the person who contacted us earlier might have been the owner of Django, though why I should have remembered it as gaelic I dunno. Berrimilla was Leven and Jessie was Turua and Firebird was Diamond Cutter.

From Ann G.
I am amazed at your courage and stamina in undertaking this trip from
AUS around the Horn to England. Your descriptions of success in
keeping your fingers dry and now warm, making coffee (or I should say
watering the galley), and cooking are beyond any reference point I
have! I thought I was on the cutting edge last month when I bought
my first bluetooth GPS with trip logger (DeLorme). Not so.

ALex, I used your old shaving brush in Isabella’s class last month at
Denman to add wax resists to a silk scarf I was making. I came out
quite spectacular. I know you can’t receive images to see your
contribution but it will have to wait until you are landlocked for a
while (does that ever happen?)

Frequently you mention the noises and squeaks Berri makes. Is this a
new class of boat for you to drive, are you taking this boat beyond
her intended use (if that is such a concept in boating??). I
wondered, especially when you described anxieties about some of the
noises and pushing her too fast, so changing the sails, etc. Would
you and Pete envision doing this again in Berri (with the noted
modifications) or would you try and experiment with another class of

My idea of sailing is drifting along on a hot summer day in the middle
of the Chesapeake Bay! I have sent berri’s web address to several
people here that I work with who (up until reading your blog
considered themselves sailors!!) have called me and said “”who are
those guys!”” Well, I’ve gone on a bit because the both of you sounded
a bit dispondent waiting for the last 1400 miles or so, and I know
ISabella and brother David are flying to Malta for your mother’s
90th., so I think you must need a critical mass of emails – I’m
filling in the slack. Again, keeping fingers and toes crossed for
your safe return.

Ann G. – wouldn’t swap Berrimilla for anything else. I’m a bit of a dinosaur perhaps but I’m not out to push the edges of the envelope. Some people build boats to win just one race and don’t care if they fall to pieces at the end so they flog them often beyond breaking point – not my bag even if I could afford it. Berri is a magnificently seaworthy boat that will take us anywhere, if a bit slowly sometimes, and she’ll be around still in another 25 years if looked after, unlike a lot of very expensive modern production line boats that pander to the dreamers and tend to fall apart rather too easily. And as for noises in the night, all boats make noises, just like cars, and every noise tells you something if you can interpret it. Some are quite specific to a particular boat (like the way Berri’s wooden engine box creaks as the hull flexes) and others, like flapping halyards or leech flutter, can happen on any boat. You have to know when you are pushing the boat and what its limits are and the noises help you to assess this. Same as riding a bicycle, you can’t pretend to be proficient until you have fallen off a few times and you have discovered the indicators of where catastrophe will occur. All of us have taken boats past their limits at times, intentionally or not, and the more you are aware of your own and your boat’s limits, the more you trepidate as you approach them and the more likely you are to back off before it gets dangerous. One of life’s little ironies – I am a sailing instructor and I would like to use Berrimilla to take students out to sea. The authorities in Australia quite rightly require that yachts used for offshore instruction are sound and seaworthy and they rely on the builder’s certificate that a particular boat meets Australian Standard 10xx or whatever. However, Berri was built in 1977, before there were recognised or required standards for sailing yachts, so, despite the fact that we can happily write to you from 1000 miles west of Cape Horn, without such a certificate I am not allowed to venture outside Sydney Heads with students on board. Sadly,I have to agree in principle.

Woc, good luck to Cam. The things I remember about Henley apart from the riff-raff in blazers – cold milk out of one of those swirly coolers in the changing marquee and how far away and small Henley church looks from the start line – I was at the other end of the boat so could (just)see it.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2315hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 097’59”W Map Ref 94

Gerry, any comments? As this matters a lot, I’ll post a public correction if this bit of sticking my neck out is wrong, so watch this space…

We’re putting theory into practice. For three years or so, I have been delivering the Safety and Sea Survival course for Yachting Australia. Most of it I can talk about from experience so can get by amongst the more experienced yachties on my street creds, but one of the topics is about avoiding tropical revolving storms (TRS) – cyclones in the vernacular. As a wise old sailor who never goes north of Lord Howe Island (except to play with Mike Job on Moreton Bay and that doesn’t count), I’ve never been near one in a boat and I’ve always wondered whether the standard technique for avoidance is a) easy to apply in practice and b) actually works. So here we are deep in the southern ocean, not a real cyclone in sight but a tight little depression of unknown nastiness behind and catching us somewhere and to be avoided or at least mitigated. No real difference in the actual problem, although possibly a big ferocity is factor missing down here. So, if you are out in front of the TRS, the wind will be somewhere from the north to the south east depending on exactly where you are relative to the path of the TRS and the technique for avoiding TRS in the southern hemisphere goes like this:

1. Establish where you are relative to the path of the TRS by applying Buys Ballot’s law (all the ‘L’s) L ook into wind. The L ow will be about 90 degrees on your L eft (actually just a bit more but inconsequential) 2. Monitor the wind direction over time. If it is backing, (its direction changing anticlockwise, or from say north east to north) you are in the dangerous NE quadrant. If it is veering, you are in the less dangerous but still very iffy SE quadrant (remember my diatribe about lows and plugholes a week or so ago?). This is a hard concept to visualise in the classroom but is pretty obvious out here, as I’ve discovered. If the wind is neither backing nor veering, you are right in the path of the TRS. The barometer will be falling also, and this may indicate just how far away the nasty bit is.

3. If backing, steer to put the wind fine on the port bow and sail to keep it there. If veering, put the wind on your port quarter and keep it there. If neither, put it on your port beam, ditto. Each of these will take you on a broad semi-circle away from the centre of the TRS, the first to the north and west, the other two the south and west.


There we were in a strong northerly wind earlier today knowing from the grib file that there’s a tight little low to the south west. Buys Ballot says that the low is directly south west of us and the wind was very slowly backing, confirming that we were just north of the path of the low. Easy so far. Solution – put the wind fine on the port bow. This we have done and we were heading north east with Kevvo steering to the apparent wind, so keeping it in the same relative position. We have watched the first lines of cloud pass overhead and we can see the cloud building up bigtime behind and to the south west of us. As the system has approached us, our heading has gradually changed towards the north as the wind has backed further and Kevvo maintains a constant apparent wind angle and we would now expect it to go further towards the west as we move to the north and above the centre of the low.

So it seems to work. As it’s not a TRS, we’ll probably keep going vaguely north east till we can test the wind strength and direction closer to the centre and then we will decide what to do – probably a westerly wind around 35 knots so twin pole set to the east, but which sails to set will depend on the wind strength and the wave height and characteristics. Big wind, building waves, possibly breaking – small sails and v-v. Hope it is reasonably soft and lasts for a few days.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 – 1216hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1216hrs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’32”S 095’46”W Map Ref 95

I’ve just done something so astonishingly stupid that you’d better hear about it before I have time to pretend it didn’t happen. A few minutes after nightfall, 25 – 30 kts, boat crashing along at about 7 off the wind, sill reasonably dry in the cockpit. Middle of a niggling watch with lots of trivial things needing sorting so several trips to very cold cockpit or upper deck, all quick sorties, no party gear and back inside again, so I was a bit grumpy and aggressive. Realised we had not streamed the generator turbine after stowing the solar panel – genny is back in operation although a  bit down in output and we need all we can get – so grabbed waterproof mitts and back into windy, cold and by now slightly damp cockpit as spray arriving intermittently. Turbine line lashed neatly coiled, no kinks ready to go – easy – done it often before. Those of you who can guess what’s coming can stop reading here. Braced myself in the pushpit, untied the lashing, turbine over the side and whoosh – the water grabs it, spins it up and off it goes astern on the end of the rapidly twisting line running out through my hand. All ok so far. Then the line catches on the edge of the board I’m standing on and it is coiled over and instantly I’ve got a handful of writhing malevolent monster and no escape. Huge writhing coils of knotted line, boat still doing 7, spray now all around, Pete asleep below. At times like this, apart from a mintie, a scream or two of rage, fear and frustration seem to help and duly occurred. No way to stop it twisting, almost impossible to hold. Managed to tie it off to the puspit where the trailing part continued to twist up to the point where the torque actually stopped the turbine.

Situation so far – a by now angry, scared old geezer down the back with 30 metres of quivering 12mm spectra tied off to pushpit threatening at any time to go completely out of control, loop of twisted, knotted line between pushpit knot and generator hanging over the stern and thrashing in the water, boat still crashing along at 7+ knots. Proper solution – yell for Pete, do what I should have done before starting the whole manoeuvre and throw the main and jib sheets and stop the boat and sort it out. So what did I actually do? Around about here, shame takes over and I’m reluctant to admit that I did none of those things – I took my mitts off and immediately got one twisted in the line and lost overboard, another scream of rage and I started to undo the knot attaching the line to the generator shaft, intending to stream  the looped part of the line and let the knots untwist themselves. Knot taped up with duct tape to stop bitter end flailing and so it gets worse – I eventually get it untaped and untwisted, undo it from the pushpit, stream the whole disaster and discover that there’s another knot in it out along the line somewhere and the entire line is flailing…anyway, Pete, by this time awake and alarmed arrives and does what I should have done and stops the boat, grumps at me for being a stupid twit and goes back to bed and leaves me to sort out the mess and get the boat going again.

Do I need to list all the mistakes? Starting with no party gear…?  Took about 20 very cold minutes to sort and serious apology to Pete who by then was due to take over the watch. Mea culpa – listen and learn, kiddies or history will repeat itself.  Shut your face Fenwick, I know – even S&S people aren’t that silly, just forgetful. Here endeth my confession.

And to cap off a happy evening, there’s a brand new leak over my bunk – probably actually a recurrence of an old one around the window now covered by the foam insulation. But by the time I’ve finished this note and pulled in a VMC wxfax we’ll be down under 1000 to go to the Horn. Just a bit more thanSydneyto NZ.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 – 1835hrs UTC │ For lease: Hydroponic garden allotment

1835rs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’36”S 094’59”W Map Ref 96

For lease: Hydroponic garden allotment, excellent greenhouse climate for diversification into bacteriology etc; two bed mobile dwelling att. w. all fac., fantastic water views, adj, wildlife park; currently cropping cress, alfalfa, fenugreek and mung beans. Latest irrigation, douche and pumping equip., well stocked cellar; absolutely no work required, pleasant odour of cooking socks.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 - 2348hrs UTC

2348hrs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’34”S 094’10”W Map Ref 97

Our applied TRS avoidance strategy seems to have worked. We moved up and to the north of the low and we think we are now in the westerly flow behind it. Poled out storm jib and #4, chosen for flexibility – we don’t know what the wind and waves will do to us over the next couple of days and we are getting 6 knots with the option of changing easily up or down. Cape Horn is now on screen on the gps and the laptop and the countdown has begun. Already well south of the Straits of Magellan. We’re now at -922 (or 37k and hurting, for the runners). Adequate stocks of all essential supplies – just hope we can get a real lift from the remains of this system. Drum roll, fade in Men at Work or Baez singing We Shall Overcome – not yet time for Kathleen Ferrier and Blow the Wind Southerly but maybe Copeland’s Fanfare or a Hoffnung symphony for Vacuum Cleaner, Bathtub and orchestra. Sock cooking clearly calls for themes from Python or the Goons.

Same pair of albatrosses still with us – absorbing to watch and delightful to have them for company. They sometimes fly out in front and settle on the water together just out to one side, quite round and tubby on the water. like Tenniel’s pictures of the Dodo and sort of contemplate us and eachother, or they soar and glide and do slow dives and floating passes at water level, huge wings curved down to stroke the surface, massive shoulders bunched behind their heads, tapering to a thin flat tail only a few inches behind the trailing edges of their wings. The bigger one looks as if it would easily span the boat’s beam with a big wingtip beyond each side. They are white underneath with flecked grey tops radiating out from the wing roots. Not sure but their beaks may be darker on top. Have tried to film them but almost impossible – camera not waterproof and self focus can’t cope with amount of movement over indistinct background. Also almost impossible to keep them in the viewfinder in the present version of the corkscrew – same problem as Pete has keeping the sun in the sextant telescope except that these guys are moving deceptively fast as well.

We have been told that there are some big racing catamarans behind us somewhere going very fast in something called the Oryx cup. I hope someone has told them we are out here too. We have channel 16 on all the time, just in case, and masthead lights at night. Dayglo orange storm jib up too which adds a touch of visibility.

To those of you who have very kindly sent URL internet addresses in answer to questions, thank you but we can’t access the internet from the boat except in the most limited way. This is a very primitive set up here, relying on an interminably slow High Frequency radio link to a computer in Chile, which sends messages either way but can only cope with plain text so no pictures, web pages (unless plain text and within size limit) attachments, data or HTML. It strips all that sexy stuff from each message and we get what’s left, at a speed that anyone under 30 wouldn’t believe. It is Steve in Sydney and Malcolm in Hobart who make the whole thing look slick.

From Doug M.
The Rosetta flypast (manmade satellite it appears altitude 1900 km) is noted on the following website – photos of the flypast can get a major prize to view a satellite launch etc. Good prize. See http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16246 If the flypast time could be sorted out and Alex Pete could get a photo from Berrimilla they would be a sure thing for a prize. Seeing they have got nothing else to do.

From Mick C.
Hi when will you get to Falmouth? We may be able to get down to see you again since the last time in Windsor Crescent

Doug, given present conditions, I doubt we’ll see Rosetta fly past and we certainly don’t have the gizmology or an adequate camera to photograph it. Nice idea though, and thanks. Hope to hear from you about next expected aurora.

Mick C, we’ll be in Falmouth in June/July give or take if all goes well.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 4, 2005 - 1815hrs UTC

1815hrs 04 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 091’12”W Map Ref 98

Short one this time – we think there may be a problem with sailmail. At this morning’s reading of the tea leaves, it seems we may be in this very sexy westerly for a day or two. We have touched wood, figuratively sacrifced ritual beasties from the feral menagerie and will shortly offer a (smallish) libation to placate S/he Who Must Be Placated and let’s keep hoping. We are sitting on the 990hp isobar, which is running east-west and we expect the pressure to rise as we fall out of the back of the low and the isobars start to go north south and increase, so we are watching the barometer.

Meanwhile, bread is happening and socks are once again cooking gently.

Small Apology to Telstra. Having spoken to them, I now know that the reason my satphone won’t talk to anyone outside Oz is because the Kyocera handset is obsolete and no longer supported by Iridium. It worked fine in Australia and I assumed it would be OK elsewhere as well and I wanted to save some money. Bad assumption. A link to Oz is in any case better than no link.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 - 0105hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0105hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’49”S 090’11”W Map Ref 99

I don’t know whether you will ever read this as it seems there may be a problem with the sailmail system. Not sure yet. We haven’t received anything for nearly 2 days including grib weather, so can’t reply to anything you might have sent us.

We are still in the westerly wind at about 25 kts on the 992 isobar and averaging about 6 knots. Good feeling to be getting the miles in the bag again and we are about to celebrate knocking over -800. The GPS is reading 792 to the Horn and the Falklands have appeared on the laptop SOB navigation screen – admittedly at a scale of 6000000:1 but there they are. Excitement tinged with the runner’s 38k feeling that there’s still a hell of a lot of work to be done and the legs and brain have to be kept on the job.

First minor failure with the bread – it’s a bit cold in the cabin and it didn’t rise all that well so is a bit solid but will be great toasted for breakfast. We tried the second rise in Pete’s warm sleeping bag and it worked but never really recovered from the first one.

At about here, casual decisions in the supermarket months ago when buying the supplies come home and smite one. I remember a tired evening in Woollies with Hilary and two trollies crammed with stuff – can’t remember, but I think it was our third trip and the credit card was looking desperately motheaten and I looked at the biscuit shelves and tossed in four packets of McVities digestives – the real thing, almost entirely butter, but very expensive and topped up the trolley with a load of lesser imitations. The imitations are long gone in past early morning dunking frenzies and we’re down to 2 McVities biscuits per day each – we might just make it to Stanley before we run out. We’re doing it really hard down here – Saos and ryvita just dont dunk properly and Mcvities are sublime. This the only rationing we have needed so far. The food has worked out extremely well – thanks Hilary for all that planning and listing and supervision – it’s been great. Only a couple of things that I might do differently – fewer mars bars and more snakes, for instance, and all trivial. The other mistake, probably the same evening, was in not getting a couple more 3 litre boxes of plonk, although given the fate of our last one, it was perhaps a good decision.

With a whole skyline uncluttered by skyscrapers or smog I’m much more conscious of cloud formations and they are spectacular here and beautifully sharp and coloured. Pete is out taking a photo as I write.

Almost to start guessing the time we first sight the tops of the Andes. I think they are called the Patagonian Cordillera this far south. If it’s clear and daylight, we should see them from about 40 miles out and sometime in the next 7 days if we can keep moving. That will be a moment to treasure.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 - 1430hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1430hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’48”S 088’52”W Map Rf 100

There’s something wrong with our sailmail connection. We seem to be able to connect to chile but there is no traffic and no grib files. I spoke to Steve on the satphone and he confirmed that there is mail in the queue for us. We haven’t had a warning about station time so assume it is not a time problem. And the satcomC is not getting sufficient signal to send messages either. Seems we are now within the East Atlantic zone for satcomC. Awful to contemplate being almost completely out of touch. This link has been our lifeline – mine particularly, because it gives me something to do. Don’t panic! Marvin will arrive.

I have just been on the Patagonian yachties’ sked – really good value and very friendly and co-operative and on the ball, as they have to be – and learned that our sailmail problem is not uncommon and, for that reason most of the sailors who are down here permanently now use satellite phones and data links instead of sailmail and HF radio. Anyway, comforting to know that the breakdown is ashore and not out here. I’ll just keep churning these out and saving them in case we get back on line again.

I have a small lament which I will try to put into words. It’s personal and a bit self serving but worth having a go. Exploration and technical advance in any field enlightens us and undermines myth and superstition but it also helps to turn the uncommon or outstanding into the commonplace. The edges are pushed outwards and in the process the work of getting there is devalued. This idea has been thrust at me in the last month or so, but has been dormant inside my head for at least as long as I’ve been sailing to Hobart. It’s not new – and there have been a number of others who have said it better than I can – but, to take the S2H example, where the emphasis used to be on the achievement of getting out there, basically surviving and getting safely into Constitution Dock, now it’s focussed only on the spectacle. Those of us who, by choice or general penury, do it in unspectacular little boats and often have a pretty hard time are just not noticed – almost despised in fact. As the newspaper article said, we’re just a couple of old plodders. It’s a bit the same out here, where once simple survival was uncommon, we are now , it seems in the middle of a grand prix race track with wonderful technological masterpieces swishing past us at 35 knots at about a thousand dollars for every mile covered. Clearly, this is a huge achievement and to be applauded but it’s difficult not to feel that we are rather in the way and I find it really hard to appreciate any more the intrinsic value of what we ourselves are doing. It makes me very sad – the dream has been dashed and there ain’t no more inner glow. Why do we do it? It seems rather silly really. End of self-indulgent lament – I shall now go and weep into a coldie from the good Doctor and cheer myself up.

First, though, a little grump from Marvin – Chile is still off line and it’s raining.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 – 2050hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2050hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 087’50”W Map Ref 101

Having safely traversed the slough of despond with help from Marvin and the Doctor,a happy surprise. Seems we’re back on line. The Chilean station lost its phone connection to the internet for 3 days. Just to tally any missed messages, I sent 6 in the down time – I think – 03/1216;1835;2348, 04/1815; 05/0105; 1430. Have saved them all. I also tried to send at least one of these via satcom but was advised by the system that delivery had failed – not always accurate, so you may have got it.

We have received from you Davids “Gizmos” and the mailcall of 05/0915 with the long mail from Ann G.

Latest grib says we are due for 50+ from the sw in about 3 days, which is a bit of a blot on any anticipatory feelings. Thinking of you toiling the track up there. Ambivalent!

Later 06/0005 -687 we’ve now got 40kt from the sw and big building beam sea. #5, no main, about 6kt vmg. Really only getting about 100 miles a day in this stuff – could go faster but bloody scary and uncomfortable to do so – Malcolm’s clenched cheeks would be in order. On the back of the same low we were avoiding a few days ago, and there’s another right behind it. Very cold on the hands when doing stuff on deck. Lanolin still the go. Dinner time – tvp with cans of “breakfast mix” or some such. See yez.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 06, 2005 - 0715hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0715hrs 06 Mar 2005 UTC 54’41”S 086’24”W Map Ref 102

Nightfall and we’ve just changed down from the #5 to the storm jib in 50+. Big beam sea with wind waves blowing off the tops so a lot of white water and starting to get noisy – going from a mere howl to a bit of a scream on a rising pitch in the gusts. Interesting. Still some biggish ones breaking over the starboard side but much more comfortable. Just hope the self steering keeps on going – nasty out there if we have to hand steer. Pity i couldn’t film the change – spreader lights on surging white water, breaking waves all around looming in the glow, bow wave surfing back when we come off the top, violent motion and the dayglo storm jib now up and running. Cold – very cold, from the south. Ice only 600 or so miles away – hope there aren’t any lumpy bits around here. And still we creep closer. Averaging a sail change every watch change at the mo – quite tiring. I have this watch – midnight to 0300 UTC and it takes for ever – the night ones always do. We do three hours each so you can work out who’s supposed to be awake. Now have crashing rainstorm and 60+ gusts outside. Very confused sea. Bleah!

From Simon K.
keep your head up stay safe

From Kim K.
Well what a silly-billy Alex! Got a bit technical for me yet again but I think I go the gist of your spot of bother. Hope you have a spare glove.

Haven’t spoken for a while but read you a couple of times a day.

Sorry to hear Pete is letting hiself go and not wearing a cravat for dinner.

Thoroughly enjoyed your description of effects beetroot on urine colour, Beats Alec Rose’s “”nother cup of tea””. Highly technical this beetroot matter. Genetically linked, only occurs to that degree with about 1 in 10 people. Similar to smelly asparagus urine.

Pity about the chapped, cracked hands. When in Port Stanley try to buy a Snowfire stick. UK made so they may have them there . Like a gluestick, smells like something you’d put on a sheep. I imagine NZ’ders use them as deodorants… remember them??

From David
I have in my possesion one Aquair 100 generator. will deliver it into the warm,caring,hands of R.A.F. on monday. david

Hi Simon – good to hear from you. You’d love this!

Kim, thanks for snowfire – probably a rather more expensive version of the industrial lanolin pot I bought from the chandlers, but I’ll investigate.

David, got yours and thanks for delivery. Line up for a beer in Falmouth.

We’re crashing around so much I’m having to retypy just about every other word. Time to go.

4 hours later – what a bloody awful night. Things banging around a bit on deck ? boom and solar panel perhaps? – hard to lash anything securely against this sort of violence but I think it will be ok till daylight. Wind seems to be abating slightly or at least the lulls seem to last longer. Still 60+ in the gusts. VMG only about 4 kts but heaps better than it might be. We’re moving in the right direction, somewhat painfully. Chile wxfax says there’s another one behind this one and there’s not much we can do from here to avoid it.

Special moment no. 42: all noise and bash and violence and water crashing across the deck and I got up from nice warm bunk into damp cabin and lashed myself to the galley rather wishing that I was somewhere else and started the teamaking fiasco. During one specially vicious roll, my face ended up very close to the fogged up window and I saw through the fog a dim glow. Wiped off some condensation and there in quiet splendour was a bright quarter moon bouncing around in the outer darkness. Anyone familiar with Leunig cartoons will get the idea – good feeling. But the tea still jumped out of the mug and I’m sitting in slightly damp shirt tails. Bother.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 06, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2315hrs 06 Mar 2005 UTC 54’21”S 084’34”W Map Ref 103

Pete: Greetings from the frozen south

Alex has been without the computer for 3 days, during which time the wind has been light so a certain member of the team unable to vent his spleen on the keyboard has been pacing, scratching,k eating too many mars bars, minties etc.

The only answer to this early morning problem is a shared draught of Dr Coopers remedial elixir. I unscrewed the cap of one and sensed this lovely smell of malt, hops and barley. It was really strong – I don’t know whether when opening some atomised beer hit my nose or that my nose is sensitive to the different smell. This led me to a few thoughts on the olfactory system which you, gentle reader, may be able to answer.

It’s now about 40 days since we last showered, we both obviously smell pretty bad yety my nose tells me it’s not so bad. Does cold inhibit the sense of smell? I dont know how cold it is inside the boat but it must be seriously cold.

the wind is now back with us, the breeze is southerly, 40-50kts straight off the antarctic, now not that far away.The last sail change took us down to storm jib only. Piston hank, standing rigging, pulpit, mast,boom, winches feel like ice to bare fingers.

As I sit here, I breathe in through my nose and try to smell the air. Nothing. the only sensation is that the cold air has now frozen the tip of my nose. As you spend extended periods of time with a particular smell, does the olfactory system desensitise that smell to make life a bit more comfortable? Kim and others, vI need answers. 40 days in the tropics awaits us and I suspect showering arrangements will become a priority. Cheers and best wishes to all Pete.


A little bit trepidatory out here. Looks as if we will get a bit of a lull as a ridge goes through over the next day or so and then it’s on. The previous grib indicated 45 kt from the NW (in our experience, that means 70+ for a lot of the time) for several days. Not a pleasant prospect, given the likely size of the seas. The latest file says 35kt from the west – again for several days. This is a big improvement but still very nasty. Things change so fast we are not counting any chickens yet. In any case, we’re not going to get it easy for a bit. The hardest part is sitting here without any real control over what we can do except cope with what arrives, and waiting for it to arrive. Still getting 50+. Now very big seas, occasionally breaking over the boat. Can’t point towards the Horn any more – tracking about 040m, Horn bears 082m. But now less than a Hobart to go. The consultation is occurring as I write.

Small change later – we’ve got the main up again with 3 reefs and we’re back on track. Seas abating slowly and ok for a day or so.

From Ann G.
Cape Horn Adventure

Thought you may find earlier adventures around the Horn of interest to
read. I have to say it was a little unnerving reading this earlier
account from 1948. If this email is too long, I apologize. The
Amicale Internationale des Capitaines au Long-Cours Cap Horniers – St.
Malo (AICH), is a unique maritime organization. Captain Martin Lee
tells their tale, and his own……..

Cape Horn lies in Latitude 55º 58′ 28” South, Longitude 67º 17′ 20”
West of Greenwich and marks the point where the Atlantic and Pacific
meet. The Dutch navigator Schouten is said to have named it in 1616,
either after his home town of Hoorn or after one of his ships. The
Cape consists of steep black rocks rising to a height of 1390 feet,
the cliffs looming up and stretching away to the north. It is now
marked by a lighthouse and a monument to all Cape Horn sailors, placed
there by the Chilean Section of the AICH in 1992.

These bald facts belie the inescapable truth that Cape Horn is
synonymous with bad weather and tremendous seas of great and sometimes
overpowering length. The east-going Atlantic Drift and the Cape Horn
current, overcast skies and a constant series of depressions – not to
mention the icebergs in summer time – make life under sail in these
waters both uncomfortable and dangerous.

My own rounding was in 1948 on board the four-masted, 330 – foot
barque PASSAT, now preserved in much altered state at Travemunde in
Germany but then owned by Gustaf Erickson of Mariehamn, in the Finnish
Aland Islands. I was at the latter end of my apprenticeship, having
joined PASSAT in the Baltic in 1946, loading timber for South Africa.
We were now on our way to Falmouth for orders from Port Victoria in
South Australia, with a full cargo of 4.900 tons of wheat. Erickson,
as well-recorded elsewhere, * was the last man to operate a commercial
fleet of sailing ships until just after World War II and I take up the
story from my records of the time:

“”So we sailed from Port Victoria, May 17th 1948, wearily beating out
of the Spencer Gulf, trying to clear the land that tried to grasp us
if we came too close at the end of a reach. Tacking ship every four
hours: a laborious business with a small crew and PASSAT’s heavy
spars, needing all hands on deck and a great deal of violent
persuasion from the mates. On May 19th we saw the last of Australia.
Kangaroo Island slipped by on the port beam, we were free at last and
now we could get down to the business of sailing.

Course was set for the Roaring Forties, where the westerly gales rage
round the world, building up that long, heavy, Southern Ocean swell
which has to be watched with such care by the sailor running before
the wind. Three days later we spoke the British M.V. PORT CHALMERS
homeward bound to London. She would be home before we reached Cape
Horn and outward-bound again before we arrived in Falmouth but life on
her would be dull and uninteresting. I almost felt sorry for them as
we sailed by in the cool evening air. The flickering morse lights
talking across the sea were that last contact we would have with other
people for over three months””. (By a strange stroke of fate, my first
ship as a newly qualified officer was that same PORT CHALMERS and life
on board was far from uninteresting). “”As the nights drew in PASSAT
rolled and plunged south-eastwards, the weather became colder and more
harsh, oilskins and seaboots were the order of the day. Twenty days
out the weather worsened. It was overcast with occasional snow
squalls. A bitter gale coming up from the ice howled and boomed in the
rigging but the ship was going well, rolling and crashing her way
through the seas, sending the spray flying over the catheads and
shipping volumes of water over both rails into the well decks, which
were untenable most of the time. We had been looking forward to this
Cape Horn weather but life was very uncomfortable. We were wet and
cold working on deck and turned-in still wet but not quite so cold.
The fore and after decks were continually awash, the main braces had
been led up onto the midship deck for safety and lifelines were rigged
along the bulwarks.

The wind was not kind to us that year; it was not until we were within
a few days of the Horn that it came away from the west and we reeled
off the miles more steadily. PASSAT made no record runs; she had not
been drydocked for over a year and was very sluggish, steering
heavily, often taking two men at the wheel and needing never-ending
vigilance when running before the wind.

On July 3rd we passed Cape Horn, leaving it 88 mile to the nor’d,
seeing nothing of the land and wondering if the “”dreaded Cape”” would
ever watch a tall ship pass that way again. It was doubtful, the
modern world has no time for the windjammer. As if passing the Horn
was the herald of better things, or perhaps just being kind to the
last of the square-riggers, the weather became warm and favourable
winds were the rule and not the exception. For the first time in fifty
days we set the royals and other fine-weather sails, felt rather
pleased with ourselves and sat back to enjoy the good weather. This
complacency was soon shattered. We were in the region of the dreaded
pampero, which set in on July 20th about 600 miles east of the river
Plate. The pampero brings disaster to the unwary with its sudden
arrival and the violent rain squalls and sudden shifts of wind which
have been the cause of the loss of many fine sailing ships in the

So much for the personal record of what it was like, running our
easting down, round the Horn on a routine commercial voyage. There
was, however, a lighter side to the Cape Horn story. In 19th –century
Liverpool there was a famous sailors’ boarding house called Paddy
West’s. The “”packet rats”” (landsmen and criminals on the run) who used
this establishment were at some stage led into the tap room where they
paraded round a bull’s horn mounted on the table. There was also a
compass which they had to place in a nearby wooden box. They could
then tell any hard-case mate who engaged them that they had “”rounded
the Horn three times and could box the compass””! West also provided a
packet rat’s “”kit”” for the voyage-traditionally a top hat and a
lantern to see him through the winter passage – with a collection of
discharges, faked or stolen from a dead man, to say that he was a real
“”AB””. In return his advance pay note settled Paddy West’s bill! These
paper sailors were a danger to themselves and to their ships, though
cold Cape Horns weather is said to have had one advantage – it got rid
of their bed bugs! I won’t comment on that but I do know that it had
little effect on the armies of resident cockroaches.

Fingers and toes crossed for your safe return.

From Kristen M.
Alex my Friend,

You have independently hit upon a topic which I have been floating past uncomprehending stares for years. At what point does technology devalue exploration?

My experience and contemplations come from dry land, which, even in the wilderness appears to be much more hospitable than the surroundings of your washing machine. I first began questioning whether technology was infringing upon the wilderness experience when people began placing rescue calls from their cell phones. Next came omnipresent GPS devices, and now EPERBs (which are still less common in the US—to the point where I don’t know the correct spelling).
Which are intelligent safety measures and which are crutches? It all depends on one’s point of view.

I’m a somewhat wimpy traveler—I have limited my explorations to places that are either well populated or within a few days walk of civilization. In these circumstances, I view a cell phone and/or EPERB as somehow cheating. My theory is that I should be responsible for myself or I shouldn’t be in the woods. However, a legitimate counter proposal is that the more technology I can use to assist in my own rescue, the less I endanger others who will attempt to rescue me.
Should I someday need rescuing (touch wood) I will be very grateful to the people and organizations who assist me.

Part 2 of 3 — Kristen M

Another of my pet theories is that as a society we have organized ourselves to remove too much risk. Many members of our society who share ancestors with your boot ferals and other animal species require the stimulation that danger brings. It is my belief that the discrepancy between the risk we routinely incur and the stimulation we crave has led to the exponential rise in “”extreme”” sports. I think that we’re desperately trying to massage our adrenal glands. Those fast boats that go whizzing past you are another manifestation of the same need for stimulation. Worse yet, the owners use technology to fine tune the rules so that they can believe that they are doing something that hasn’t been done before by many people. My fond hope is that our society will eventually direct these urges in constructive ways—perhaps this need for stimulation is what will drive us to explore off the planet.

Meanwhile, I too feel an albatross emblazoned with “”What’s the Point?””
hanging around my neck. My friend Karl taught me that there are at least two ways to approaching any project. In addition to being goal oriented, there is the process oriented method of experiencing life.
I have come to believe that life is inherently a process oriented sport. Particularly for those of us who live in the first world, survival is rarely an issue. For those of you currently living in washing machines, survival is a bit more challenging, but you must admit that the new bit is your personal experiences—the process in which you are engaged.

Part 3 of 3 — Kristen M.
I admire you for having the gumption to undertake a journey that involves so much hard work and tedium. I’m trying to goad myself into undertaking something hard and I’m resisting greatly [what’s the point?]. Meanwhile, your dedicated journaling is allowing us electronic bystanders to partake of your adventure in a small way. As a girl in front of a keyboard with a nice glass of cognac at my side, I’m able to glimpse a wee bit of your experience. Usually it’s a cup of tea instead of the cognac so your reports of tea make me feel a tiny bit more connected to an experience which I very much doubt I will ever have. However, were I to be a boot feral along for the ride, the experience would still be purely personal, with some entertainment thrown in at interacting with the boot and its owner.

Ok, enough theory. IMHO the intrinsic value in what you are doing is what you are learning about yourself and the world, and what you are teaching the rest of us. I am a strong advocate of the idea that one gets out of an experience what one puts into it. I recently learned that the reason that Thai cooking and architecture are so complex is because one of the concepts of Thai spirituality is that the significance of an offering is relative to how much the donor had to give up to make the offering. Thus, a crust of bread may be more worthy than a banquet. Complicated cooking involves effort. Sailing around the world on/in Berri involves a great deal of effort. I believe that the rewards will be proportional to that effort, and that they will be intrinsically valuable.

I’m in danger of using up my share of bytes. I’ll proof this and send you more thoughts (and my dental dilemma for your $.02) another day…ok cognac is influencing my proofing abilities but I suspect you’d prefer mail with errors sooner rather than pristine mail later.

From Bruce & Sue B.
I take it you’re getting emails on-board.
Been following progress with interest – great website.
Up till a few days ago, I could also look at the weather you’re experiencing from NZ Met, however you are now out of their coverage!
Do you know of any others that give good mapped coverage in your area?
Not far to go now for the big one – Cape Horn.
Take care.
All our best wishes

From David H.
Missive from the nations capital
Gooday Pete,
I sent you a hullo a while ago, don’t know if you received it, but I
will just continue to send short missives along periodically. Life in
the washing machine sounds rather damp and cool at your latitudes near
the big Convergence Zone in the sea. But ‘the Horn’ is progressively
appearing on your ‘radar’ and that is good news and you are making good
progress. Your journey is a lifetime adventure and one that only us
‘landlubbers’ can wonder about what you are experiencing. I enjoy the
prose on the updates and while life in a small craft is cramped your
world is huge indeed.

I will be going to Tweed in late March to visit mum who still struggles
on in her home and hopefully to do some fishin’. Life in the
mono-climate (office) trundles along. We are going to WA in April for a
survey of the waterways around Albany. It should be a hoot.

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Canberra. Friday it was 33 deg, Saturday
it was 20 deg and today is a balmy 25 or so. I am drawing some plans for
the deck at the house. I think it has been at least 10 yrs drawing these
plans. I wonder how long it will take to build the deck.
Hullo to Alex

Cheers & keep laughing

Eleanor, I have the bar of Adversity Chocolate at the ready – I think we may need it!

Ann G thanks for AICH stuff – interesting and we’ll have to check it out.

Kris – if you want to do these things as personal adventures, you can’t avoid the fact that – out here anyway – there is an international legal requirement to go to the aid of someone in distress and therefore, if you get into trouble, others may have to put their lives at risk to save yours. So, a big responsibility a) not to get in to trouble and b)if you do, then you must minimise the risk to others.

In both instances, whatever works – just try to get it right and especially, don’t take rescue services for granted. Their people all have mortgages and kids too. The only way to avoid the responsibility you have to those others is the purists dream – don’t tell anyone you are going, don’t tell anyone you are in trouble and be prepared to die alone if you cant sort it out for yourself. There have been a few of these and there is a book by someone – a Frenchman, I think. Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon is what the letters stand for.

Beales – there’s a weather map on the website, probably the SPAC MSLP anal. from www.bom.gov.au. Try any Chilean met website too – we get a fax every day at about 2300UTC.

Heggie, thanks – yes, we’re getting you.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 07, 2005 - 1245hrs UTC

1245hrs 07 Mar 2005 UTC 54’16”S 082’24”W Map Ref 104

It’s a month for big birthdays. Hilary’s Dad Frank in Frome in Somerset will be 91 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Frank, from The Washing Machine At The Other End Of The World. We’ll drink your health down here and I hope lots of other people reading this will do the same. We’re looking forward to coming to see you when we eventually get over there. Love to you both.

It’s a very dark night, overcast, no moon, no stars, just the faintest residual glow in the sky. I’ve just spent half an hour in the cockpit tweaking us around to point as closely as possible to the Horn while we have the breeze and sea state to allow.

Eerie up there. Full stormboards in so completely isolated, Pete fast asleep below. Cold wind especially around your face where the party gear doesn’t quite keep it out. You sit in a little bubble of gentle light from the masthead and the instruments and no other frame of reference, so you feel the boat’s movement but can’t see it and you hear the waves breaking around you. The sensation is very like night flying. The light reflects off the white water going past and particularly off the breaking wave crests, the more so when they are above the cockpit before the boat rises up the wave. The crests reflect brilliant masthead white from up there as they seem to roll down towards you (actually, as the boat climbs up the wave towards them) and you hear the hiss as they approach. Thankfully only relatively small – about 5 metres at a guess, over the top of the long circumpolar swells – but with no visual reference it’s hard to judge.

The big circumpolars are with us all the time now as a background presence that you only really see when it all coincides and you can see across two of their crests. Biig! Occasionally there’s a much bigger local wave which breaks over the boat or into the cockpit – I missed all of those while I was up there, but we copped a biggie just as I got the stormboard locked back in on the way down. Win some…! I think these ones come from the remains of an earlier wave pattern where there was the regular big SW circumpolar flow and superimposed on this there was a smaller tighter pattern almost at right angles from the NW so these waves were flowing along the crests and troughs of the circumpolars and making things very confused indeed. The left over big ones are caused by the confluence of two crests, one from each pattern, which amplify and make a much bigger pointy breaking wave that only lasts for a few moments but if you happen to be amongst it, you know it’s there.

Just tried to pull in the VMC wxfax and was able to find the signal but not good enough to provide a picture, so that’s another link with Oz gone. The Chilean version is very good but it only shows the pattern from 120 W across to the Falklands. A shame all youse all can’t listen with us to the Patagonian cruise net sked. Fascinating, the guy who runs it seems larger than life, full of energy and competent and there are all sorts of boats, many nationalities, logged in and it’s full of interesting stuff. Not sure but I think one of them is rowing across the Pacific.

If this last bit was a Hobart race, we’d be around about Batemans Bay -532 to the Horn.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 07, 2005 - 2135hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2135hrs 07 Mar 2005 UTC 54’21”S 080’59”W Map Ref 105

Less than 500 to go. About 37.5 k for the runners. Brain closing down, pain out to the ends of every eyelash, anticipation and still the fear that something will fail, anything that breaks the rhythm potentially devastating – every painted line on the road a little mountain to climb. Apparently, there’s a shoulder somewhere on one route very close to the top of Chomolongma that hides the summit until you are almost there…and some people never get past it.

We’re in the predicted soft bit and still don’t know what to expect – the models disagree, but there will be wind for a couple of days at least with a potential header from the SE as we get close. Now setting #4 and 2 reefs, recent wind waves abating, permanent swells more discernible. Lots of seabirds – cold, occasional glimpses of the sun, fluffy seven eighths cumulus at about 2000 ft, all very gentle. Probably time to go and shake a reef or two but will procrastinate for a few minutes as the gusts when they come are still quite strong. Later – changed to cutdown #1 and 2 reefs and still going strong.

From Jenny & Jim S.
Tickled pink with your progress and the way the boat is looking after you both. One query, however – where in the hell do you put all those electronic gizmos? Is there any room for charts?

One other query which relates to BOG and the info that is being cobbled together – was Leven previously Nea from Middle Harbour Yacht Club. According to the NSWYF Yearbooks, Nea was owned by G Comanos at least for 82-84, had the same sail number as Leven – 881 and was purported to be 9.9 metres long. Leven appears as a Parramatta River SC boat in 84-85 owned by B Cunneen and he owned it for a few years (as you know).

The YF records before about 1981 did not include class of yacht but G Comanos owned a Nea as far back as ’77-78. (Incidentally Comanos is variously ascribed as O Comanos, C Comanos or G Comanos in the yearbooks – may or may not be the same person but the circumstantial evidence suggests misprints.) There may have been more than one Nea over these years (like Berrimillas) but it is a clue worth following up.

There is obviously no urgency for a response to this question.

Cheers and continuing best of progress

Jim & Jenny – Gizmos by nature are small. Problem is keeping them warm and dry. Tuner and transmitter are on inside of cockpit wall above port qberth – not properly insulated in the time we had, so some potential condensation problems. Regulators etc same place, other side, but close to engine control lever, so potential condensation plus leak problems. Otherwise, driest parts of boat. The rest face me on the bulkhead over the nav table. This bulkhead has been duplicated (by me) about 200mm further aft over nav table to create space for wiring, backs of black boxes etc. Switch panel on fwd side of original bulkhead over port bunk. Berri is not teak fitted internally, so may be quite different from Virgo. Was launched as Nea in April 1977 for George Comanos, who apparently had various boating relatives which may account for anomalies. Builder’s cert issued by Formit, but in 1984, almost certainly for Brian Cunneen. Don’t know any other history, but a rumour that Nea started by Geoff Baker and completed after he died by Formit. Perhaps Doug Brooker would know. Laptop lives permanently on nav table, tied down (so,of course, no room for charts) . Also smaller than most and supposed to be waterproof – Panasonic CF 18 – see www.tough.com.au? in website ‘preparations’ doc. and I haven’t looked at a paper chart since we left although we have them all carefully rolled up in case of electrical failure. Software on Board nav package coupled with Cmap has got us this far. Details in same doc. – www.digiboat.com…Simon, who wrote the package, lives up your way.

And keeping it all together for us, wonderful Sailmail, using Pactor 11Pro modem linked to ICOM M802 HF and to laptop via USB. The USB link is the one potential single point of failure, as you might have read earlier.

From Kim K.
Answers to life’s big questions.
Things do not smell as much in the cold as they do not volatilise to the same degree. Except for the 2 kg of chipolatas from Coffs Harbour which have permeated our freezer. Must be strange to have rain without the delightful smell of the sporulating Actinomyces.
“”New Scientist”” recently had a short article about the great unwashed and apparently you reach a static, stable state much like my unwashed teacup at work (or an Indian’s curry pot).
Still, I think when you reach the tropics they will smell you coming from the Azores and the dermal flora will have a banquet!
“”Snowfire”” stick has no lanolin. It is parrafin based with such goodies as clove oil, benzoin, citronella, Thyme oil, Lemon thyme oil and cade oil to name a few… my pommy friend in Cornwall (who you may get to meet) was busy putting it on his crack!

From Ann G.

Olfactory factory
Dear Pete and Alex, to answer ur ? Olf. performance is influenced by
age, smell receptor staus (rodents and other small beasties have over
1000 odor recptors, humans 350) psychological state (familiar smells
give comfort in high stress environment), perception and ambient
temperature. We smell vaporized or gaseous compounds. So if body
effluent is not vaporized in some fashiom, you probably won’t mind. If
it is cold, and you are not waving your arms or shaking the nether
regions around, no chance to vaporize resident smells. Note to self:
when arrived at CH, skip initial bubbly party – you will be the only
ones there! CH noses will be operating properly. So, smell combines
hardware (receptors) and software (behavior, perception) plus sensors
(for temperature). Trust me, you’re so bloody stinky by now, you
should say a little prayer to himself that you are not in 40C weather.
Think about other environs where temp is high and close quarters -
?submariners, space shuttle. This is a small price to pay for any
explorer. Wishing you a safe landing in CH.

From Martin M.
Good to read your log while I’m feeling cooked up (even a little bit trapped) up
in a high-rise office in George Street, Sydney.

However, acknowledging that human nature can be fickle, if I was in a bucking
bronco boat long enough I’m sure I could end up with parallel feelings.

Still, right now I’d recklessly opt for your situation rather than George
Street. Provided hull and deck are very, very solid. And rumour has it that
your Brolga is as solid as they come.

My best wishes for ‘reasonable’ weather in that deepest soutern area – doesn’t
seem right to ask for 15kts and flat seas.

When sailing two-handed to New Zealand I experienced the 3 hours on/off watch
arrangement, and sometimes ….. let’s just say I wished I could sleep a bit

Will closely follow your progress, especially over the coming days, and my
sincere best wishes for a safe journey.

Kim and Ann – thanks for olfactory expertise – is it ok to post your answers on website? will have to instruct bootferals not to vaporise their bodily fluids and to stop farting. And there’s no question of sissy bubbles at Cape Horn, Ann. We’ve got a bottle of Australian rum, donated for the purpose by RANSA, our sailing club. Should be sufficient to assault even the most dormant of receptors. Looks like it may be wet and windy when we get down there, so may need it for fortification too.

Kris, thanks for the serial. Pete says you think too much – nah, says I, just the metaboles circulating and fizzing a bit. Mostly agree with you, may react later after ponder.

Hi Martin M. I think I’d rather be here than in your office too – most of the time. When did you 2 hand to NZ and in what?

WJR – was thinking of you and J and the last ks of one of those Melbournes when we almost went past your house and there you were by the roadside – have you persevered this far with us?