2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


Logs ( 65 )

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Farewell Speedy

David Speed – my wonderful, brilliant, frustrating, always there, unconditional friend – Speedy died a few days ago of a heart attack. He was a man of astonishing depth and complexity and I don't have the words to express my sadness. Leave the Speed Six with Marvin in the car park at Milliways and we'll see you there, David.

The Funeral will take place on Wednesday March 4th at 3.15 at
The Chiltern Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham Bucks HP7 0ND

Family flowers only with donations to the R.N.L.I. (Royal
National Lifeboat Institution) via the undertakers:
Arnold Funeral Services
38 Oak End Way,
Gerrards Cross,
Bucks SL9 8BR
Tel: 01753 891892

The Family would like you to join them for a drink afterwards at The White
Chalfont St Giles to celebrate his life.
The White Hart Inn
Three Households
Chalfont St. Giles
Tel: 01494 872441

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

A funeral, an anniversary and other stuff

David’s funeral was the funniest and closest to the man of any that I have ever been to. Hilarious stories, tears, tributes to his wit and sparkling intellect, his shaky courage in the front line against terrorism, his scorn for the pompous and his erratic humanity. I loved him dearly and I wish he’d lived to write the book. Vale, Speedy.

Tomorrow, April 10th Oz time, is an anniversary of some minor significance.


“Hey, see that boat down there? Yeah, that one with the sail, not the power boat. Well, they’re on their way to Alaska.”


And the second picture is the basis of the plan to get Berrimilla home later this year. I am trying to get an application together for a permit to sail the Russian Northern Sea Route from Falmouth to the Bering Strait. I think the chances are about even, but the fallback will be down the Atlantic to South Georgia. I understand we need a permit to go there too. More, probably sporadically, as we get closer.

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The clear call of the curve of high canvas…

Thanks Cyril!

And a tangled mass of bureaucratic hoops to follow…

I'm off to England on Thursday 30th to start on The List of things to do before we can launch Berri. Then we have to run the new engine and start on The List mark 2. Today is a day of, first, visiting the Notary Public to certify Russian translations of my application for a Northern Sea Route permit, then to the Department of Foreign Affairs to have that certification certified. If all that works, then tomorrow to the Russian Consulate to have the first two certifications certified. If I'm lucky, I will get it all back by lunchtime on Thursday just in time to leap into a taxi to the airport. Then more signatures in London and the whole lot (4 copies of 4 documents in English and Russian, all certified) to the courier to Moscow. Then a 2 month wait, if we are lucky. Pete will be over in June and – if the Russians play ball – Pat Hahn too.

What is the collective noun for a lot of Doctors – Dr Gordon, Dr Cooper, the one from Dublin, even Dr Grumpy? This time there will be one from the Western Isles too – a certain Dr Talisker, with thanks to Pete Goss. A Bar, perhaps? A Saloon? A Barrel? A Vat?

For the time being, if anyone wants to contact us, try my Facebook page and send me a message. There will be a new contact adress on the website soon.

All the best, all y'all

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Of shoes and ships and Apostilles, of ribbons green and seals…

Monday morning at the Notary – when someone says to you 'We've been here for 40 years and we know what we are doing' but very clearly doesn't, there is the making of early disaster .Sergei, my friendly translator, who knew exactly what was required, was polite, precise and ultimately abused by the front office staff and we left – not without dudgeon – never even getting to speak to the Notary. An astonishing experience.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), on the other hand, our next stop, were competent, efficient, friendly and helpful despite there being only one official dealing with a big queue and complex issues – and several languages. The necessary Apostille was applied and ready by special request at 0830 on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday morning getting the documents stamped by the Russians became another interesting lesson in perseverance, patience, politeness and persistence. A huge misunderstanding nearly clobbered the whole venture without even the tiniest box ticked – the difference between 'certification' (impossible without paying $40 per page for translating 60 odd pages of what is already translated…) and 'legalisation' – a simple matter of running down the street to the bank to get not insignificant cash to pay the fee and then waiting while the DFAT Apostille was 'legalised' with appropriate stamps and green ribbons. And a delighted and happy smile – which made my day – from the official who first misunderstood but listened and it became possible.

I watched a couple of other Australians – young and arrogantly assertive – pass through the same room and leave, abusive, in anger and frustration because they had not done their homework and expected the officials to do it for them.

The photos show the application – supporting letter in Russian and English, the full English texts and the Russian translations with 5 copies of each – one for me and the rest for Moscow – and some of the seals, the DFAT Apostille and Russian legalising stamps. About 2 month's work and lots of thanks to RORC and everyone else who helped, especially Sergei, who translated with meticulous attention to the precise meaning of the technical bits and Ian here in Okehampton who did the copying this morning with enormous care.

That seems to be the first box ticked. Now to get it all to Moscow and wait. And wait some more. A courageous bet might be even money from here.

Meanwhile, there is Berrimilla's internal ecosystem to be harvested and removed and the rest of the list to be sorted before we can launch.

I'll keep y'all posted.


2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Alone and palely loitering…

Falmouth dawn breaking and I'm having a Keats attack…comparisons are invidious and I'm no knight-at-arms, tho perhaps a wretched wight. Just that the palely loitering image fits the mood. Final tweak to the papers today and they will be off into the wilderness with DHL. And I shall loiter while the sedge withers and no birds sing and the might of the Russian bureaucracy (Tourism, Defence, FSB and Northern Sea Route Administration in Murmansk) decides whether all that work was worth the effort. Don't think I've ever felt quite so small and puny. The paperwork is just the first tiny step.

Berri's insides are an interesting collection of spores, moulds, green hairy things, fibreglass dust and piles of heaven knows what. I think about two weeks work inside and another week, perhaps in parallel on the decks then we can launch and see whether the engine will start – the sexy new blue one with green bits from the old and faithful original. Nice to know that other bits of the original were salvaged and are probably by now in use on a Falmouth workboat. Then there's the electrics.

Given the world financial crisis, I'm is serious conservation mode too – no car, but I have a tiny folding bike that gets me from elfin grot to green and hairy ecosystem rather faster than just walking but.. but… as someone normally used to riding real bikes, this one's a bit on the derisory side. 16" wheels, 6 gears, flimsy chainwheel that flexes and drops the chain in 6th – but effective if properly humoured. Needs a name – Nijinsky perhaps, in the present context and with appropriate irony.Fine dining with Tesco half price end-of-the-day specials to keep wolves away and small doses of the Doctor's potion from his surgery in the Chain Locker are the order of the day.

One of my mates is getting his legs organised to run the Edinburgh marathon in a couple of weeks – so perhaps there will be company to run with for a few days. Severely tempted to go run it with him but I think I have learned my lesson on that one – we'll see. He promised me it's almost flat…

Photos this evening. I will try to post some video too if I can work out how to do it.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Just a post..

Tha papers have gone – more on this later – and we launch probably next Thursday. Rather a lot to do in the meantime! Here's a peek at the ecosystem.


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Progress report

We launch next Thursday. Pics show Gordon and John hard at work while the old fart shirks with the camera. Also featuring the mighty Nijinsky.

Inside is still just as messy as ever – I have just started lifting some of the heaps to see how bad it really is and it's mostly superficial. What is interesting is that 6 months or so of sitting on her keel has flexed Berri's hull slightly – some drawers don't slide properly and there are little stress marks where some of the woodwork has been glassed on to the hull. And that's on a boat with half an inch of laid glass and resin in the hull – doesn't bear thinking about what happens to some of the other boats around the place.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


Not quite STS 125 but it has its own significance. Only snag so far seems to be a boken throttle cable – improvised for the trip down to the visitors' jetty with string.

Thanks ti Is'n'G for the photos. I'll try to post some video later.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Banging around on the visitors’ pontoons in Falmouth…

I've been horsewhipped for being recalcitrant, so here's a bit of a blast from the recent past. More very soon.

Pete Goss http://www.petegoss.com/blog.php?m=82766 very generously gave Berri a spot on his blog. I went down to Williamstown to hear his talk and at the end he gave me back the ensign – by then probably the only ensign in this version of the universe that has circumnavigated the world via the North West Passage and the Cape of Good Hope and certainly the only one in two such magnificent boats. Pete was raising money for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, so we signed the ensign and auctioned it. Numbers are perhaps not important, but Carmen won it for a sgnificant bid and here are the photos.

Thanks Carmen and thanks Pete.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Butterflies don’t cut it and other trivia

Nothing yet from Moscow and the horrors are getting to me – I'm sure people reading this will recognise that rather corrosive feeling of not quite dread but much more than mere butterflies that scours the innards while one waits for a storm or anything that has the makings of gaping way out beyond the comfort zone. Definitely good for the character.

Meantime, Berri is emerging slowly from the winter grime. Still a couple of weeks more stripping the decks before I can feel comfortable with a paint brush. And I have to spend at least a couple of days wrestling with powerpoint cobbling together a new presentation – see the attached poster and, for the Falmouth wise, note the venue. Huge, massive thanks to Paul (www.falmouthphotos.com – have a look!) for doing the poster and staying up most of last night converting all my video clips to work in the new tweaked version of ppoint.

And Patrick gave me back the sails yesterday so at last I can go somewhere – wasn't game to go far with untried engine and no other way of getting home. Early start tomorrow because the big boat inside Berri is leaving at 0500 for the Scillies and then round Britain.

The other picture is Martlet, one of the original Morgan Giles RN College Dartmouth yachts. She has an aluminium mast but otherwise much the same.  I sailed my first Fastnet in 1961 in her sister Leopard – also still around, I think on the Hamble.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Wrong poster

Sorry – don't know how that one got in instead of the finished one. It has typos and wrong venue. Proper one says 1930 June 11th in the Shipwrights Bar at the Chain Locker.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

My Blunnies died...

Just before Pete and I set off from Hobart for Cape Horn in 2005, I bought a pair of Blundstone sandals – Blundstones have been making shoes and boots in Hobart since 1870 and were a legend unto themselves – my sandals lived up to the legend but finally karked a few days ago – on the 4th anniversary of their first arrival in Falmouth. Seemed an auspicious day to say goodbye. And, sadly, Blundstones are no more in Hobart – they’ve gone to China.

Here’s a link to one of Paul’s Falmouth webcams   http://www.falmouthphotos.com/towercam2.htm  This one is on top of the Maritime Museum Tower and you can see the Chain Locker, the white building  middle distance on the left, and close to it the visitors’ pontoons, more or less directly behind the end of the furthest jetty in the foreground with the two big blue superyachts on it. Berri is on the inside of the pontoons behind the orange pilot boat (when it is alongside). Right now the pilot boat is out and we are directly in line with the mast of the left hand superyacht.

The Great Berri Refurbish proceeds. Still working on the deck and don’t want to lose my place on the pontoon as it’s nicely sheltered so haven’t yet been sailing. Some mildly positive but indirect news from Moscow. Things move very slowly.

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More talk sessions?

If anyone is following this and can't make the Shipwrights talk on Thursday 11th, I will be doing at least one more  session at Flushing SC at 1930 on Monday 15th and possibly a second same time Wednesday 17th. If you want to to come to either of these, please contact me on 0781 600 4379


2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Glitch correction

Here’s the proper poster.

second, Falmouth webcam link with the ‘l’ on the end should work better. http://www.falmouthphotos.com/towercam2.html

2 jetties in the foreground, cold wet and windy. The visitors’ pontoons are in the middle distance behind the end of the furthest of the two jetties. Berri just about visible in the middle behind and to the right of the dark bulk of the pilot boat on the pontoons. Chain Locker white building directly to the left of the pontoons. No punters outside today!


2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

The taste and the smell…

Smell – to me the most evocative of the senses, able to lift me from the mundane here and now to the ghostly thrill of experience long past and – at the time – unrecognisably  formative. Parked alongside Berri on the pontoons for a couple of days has been a big (big!) three masted lugger from St. Malo with a crew of 8 or so pipe smoking French speaking men and women – the women without pipes but doing yer ordinary Gauloise or whatever passes as such in 2009. They ate on deck – wine,  onions, snags and other much more sophisticated fare but the smell! I was instantly beamed back in time to 1961 and the St Malo race from Plymouth in Leopard – we'd sailed across the Minquiers at high tide into St Malo and there I was yesterday, an old geezer in Falmouth in 2009 teleported into the nearly 50 years younger kid just soaking in delight in my first French port. And  my olfactory bits replayed Ambre Solaire – it was really hot and still and we went down to the beach under the fortress walls and all the truly gorgeous French girls were greasing themselves with the stuff – a primitive version of SP150 – and the air was honeyed with the perfume and about as viscous. A  naive and inexperienced repressed just out of school 19 year old in heaven.

Ambre Solaire still use the same perfume and it inevitably wafts me back to those days of delightful sand in the toes expectation.

The photos just for fun. Sorry none of the lugger – would have been intrusive.  Berri just visible on the right of the Chain Locker.

And – glooom – the gearbox we put in with so much sweat and contortion in Dutch Harbour has died.  Girding the loins to go through it all again.

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The mighty Tit

The photo is David Carne and the mighty Tom Tit – 105 years old and rigged like the boat in the background but only 16ft long. Rig almost as tall as Berri's. Lovely boat – we were racing and Dave very generously let me steer while he did all the hard work and tactics and told me what to do. And we were first across the line by a respectable margin but probably did not save our handicap on the others. Dave is a legendary sailor – was out in Sydney in Blizzard for the 1979 Sydney – Hobart (and, I'm happy to say, was a small boats race that year and we beat them in Miko…) and he sailed with Ted Heath on various Morning Clouds after that. Was a steep learning curve yesterday though for this old fart.

The replacement gearbox should arrive from Sydney – once again, huge thanks to Witchard Marine and John W. – and the penance begins. I have also been given an original Hurth gearbox, perhaps 30 years old, but supposedly in working order and probably containing all the original plates and springs – the parts that seem to fail regularly in the newer versions. Very tempted to fit it and see whether it goes…We intend to make some changes to the exhaust system too while the engine is out of the way.

Pete arrives Wednesday and I'm doing the second mega presentation (both voyages) at Flushing SC that evening.

No news yet from Russia.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

A little bit of everything

The photos – Berri's evolving new persona – grey blue and white decks with some of the old multi layered gunge still visible on the side decks, yet to be stripped and wire brushed off. Woodwork all sanded and oiled. New gearbox installed after a couple of days of pain and contortion. The old one has gone to Southampton to be rebuilt and we'll carry it as a spare. And Pete brought a shiny new Oz red ensign to replace the one that sailed to Melbourne with Pete Goss in Spirit of Mystery so Berri is now appropriately – if not exactly properly – dressed with ensign and courtesy Red Duster given to us in the Falklands by John M-B so it too has just completed a circumnavigation via the NW Passage.

Sea trials at 0530 this morning on a sparkling calm Falmouth morning – cast off the mooring lines shaped to the bollards after about 6 weeks of attachment and shunted her around inside the marina pontoons so we would not lose our ace spot. She goes backwards and forwards and her extra 6 horses certainly seem to make a difference. And back alongside. Sarah T has driven down from London for a couple of days and is in charge of painting the white bits of deck. Two coats by tonight except the cockpit which we'll do tomorrow just before we all depart for Hatherleigh and then the Katadyn man in Weston Super Mare.

Nothing yet from the Russians. We have decided that if we have not heard by the end of this month, we will pull the plug on the NE Passage and look at other options for getting home. The latest that I think we could safely leave for Murmansk is July 20th and that is cutting things very fine indeed. If we get permit with acceptable conditions by June 30 it gives us 3 weeks to get organised and we still do not have visas – no point until the permit arrives – and I don't want to set off unless we are sure that all the boxes are ticked.

So watch this space…

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Sarah’s Photos

Some more makeover pics – thanks Sarah and also for huge paint job.

A bit more research about Russian ice and the bureaucracy is not encouraging. A difficult decision, even if we do get a permit.

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Falmouth Workboat Intergalactics

Boats entered from the outer reaches of the Universe – star clusters way beyond the visible – Squornshellus Zeta, the Frogstar, Kakrafoon – boats from everywhere, due to arrive in warp drive freighters riding the background radiation. Sadly, they all ran into the Vogon fleet and they had to listen to 3 days of poetry as penance and missed the start.

So there were 15. Photos of some of them, parked for lunch between races on Friday. I was in Victory, the yellow one in the middle, Pete in Moon, away practising. Some racing images perhaps later.

Now Saturday eve and I think Victory has a very good chance – we have to do something very silly (like, perhaps, starting the last race tomorrow…) to lose it.

Freaky windy calm windy day on Sunday and the mighty Victory emerged as intergalactic champion – perhaps thanks to Prostetnic Jeltz, but nevertheless, the champ. Last couple of pics with the loot on the ferry going home. David Carne (swigging from the can) very kindly gave me the glass trophy as the novice in the crew so Berri has a proper G & T glass…

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Another Fastnet.

Here's Berri looking sexier than she has for years and years.

Workboat intergalactic photos here. Pete was on Moon – grey hull, sail no 58, purplish topsail with half moon and star. The boat was launched the night before the start and they came 5th – a remarkable performance. Victory is yellow with blue and yellow chevrons on the topsail and sail no 7
A burst on topsail terminology to follow.

As for the North East Passage – sadly, not this year. The Russians have been more or less positive – the FSB have sent us a message saying that Dikson and Pevek are closed to visitors but if we are prepared to go non stop from Murmansk to Providenie (east of the Bering Strait and not a problem if it's ice free) and  alter our application to reflect this change, they will consider it favourably and get back to us as soon as they can. But we must carry a Pilot (and, I think, pay the pilotage charges) which would mean that we have no  room for Pat Hahn and we really need to be on the way now to be sure of being at 105E (Cape Chelyuskin) by the end of August. The minimum time in which I can see us getting the papers translated and together and, permit in hand, approaching the Russian Embassy to get visas and all the other necessary papers is about three weeks if everything goes smoothly and we actually get a permit at the end of the process. So it's really a month too late to do it this year with a reasonable expectation of a safe passage around Cape Chelyuskin. Sad though, but now at least I know more about how the process works. Huge thanks to Vladimir in St Petersburg for being our guide through the maze and for relaying messages.

So, fallback option #1: Berri is transformed and we think we will sail to south west Ireland – Baltimore perhaps –  for a beer next week to give her a bit of a thrash to make sure everything works and then back to Falmouth to take everything off the boat except sails and work our way up to the Solent for the Fastnet start on August 9th. And back here again after that and perhaps South Georgia and Capetown. Plus ca change…

Another possible option might be to leave Berri here until next year, apply once again for NE passage permit but earlier and leave in June if we get one. To hard a decision at the mo.but probably too expensive for both of us.

Thanks to everyone who has sent us messages via the gust book. Nice to know you're out there.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Arse, class or just a black art – the snotter’s lament

Right, topsail up! It's going to be tight – you've gotta get it right first time! Cruncher overhauled? Ok. Downfucker off? Ok. Alex, on the timmenoggy, Keep 'er snug. Mel on the sheet – keep 'er snug. Sam on the halyard, Leila tailing? – Right – go! Get er up! Bloody get 'er up Go! Go! Ok – cruncher on get 'er in! Go on – sweat it – get 'er in!. Take a turn on the timmenoggy and sweat the bugger. Right, make fast Sheet in hard. Get the downfucker on!  Right – bear away and we're sailing! Barber hauler on! Trim!

OK – get this bit of rotting vegetation to the finishing line as fast as it will go! Bloody concentrate you buggers! Eyes in the boat….

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

One for Speedy

A final tribute to David's genius. Onya mate – it was a whole lot of fun.

And then this website will – probably – go into Golgafrinchan suspense on it's journey along its wormhole back to Earth. Still there to be read but metabolism in very low gear. The passwords are up with Speedy in his celestial Speed Six and we are still trying to crack them but it's probably better to start again with a new blogspot.

So – watch this space. In the meantime, if you want to contact us, try the gustbook for the time being or berrimilla@gmail.com

Current plan is to take Berri out into the Celtic sea perhaps on Saturday and over to SW Ireland to test the quality of the beer as well as giving the old barge a bit of a workout to remind her that there's work to do..

Then back to Falmouth to empty her out and off to the Fastnet start.

We'll keep you posted on how to be kept posted…

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plus ca change – encore

Berri's alternator just died – actually, I think it's been karked for some time – so we're still in Falmouth, at least until Tuesday.Nice invitation to go to Crosshaven (Cork, for the geographically challenged) next week and give a Berri voyages talk for the lifeboat crew and any other interested punters, so we do at least have a sense of purpose for a short term test flight apart from renewing our acquaintance with the medical man from Dublin, on his home turf, so to speak.

Think I'll go to Magrathea for the weekend….must be better than Falmouth on a wet Saturday.

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A gale in the Celtic sea

Sounds romantic doesn't it? Robert Louis Stephenson or Joseph Conrad. Let me tell you, it ain't!
This should have been sent from Berri somewhere in the Celtic Sea but I realised that I did not have the direct addresses for the blog with me. Senility marches on…
So it is coming to you from the Crosshaven Lifeboat station. We arrived yesterday morning at about 0600 after a bit of a headbang from half way – 30+ knots, slap diggety bang on the nose and a nasty short steep sea that even berri could not bash into any better than about 60 degrees off the wind. Having a furler instead of a real sail up the front doesn't help either – as soon as it is rolled in a few turns it loses its shape completely and becomes a potato sack so it won't point and you know the rest.
Back under the stars at night – I was having a crisis of confidence based on weeks of inertia and thinking about Russia and the options for getting back to Oz – the dreads of lethargy corroding the innards. But back in harness and under the stars and it all washes away. One needs that buzz of incipient fear all the time just to stay alert and avoid the dreaded complacency, but it doesn't have to be an obsession. And the clouds – classic low pressure system and I think we were quite close to the centre – coming into the Irish coast, there were ceramic knifeblades, hard edged frisbees, dolphins and whales (really, for the imaginitive! Just like a Rorschacht – Douglas Adams would have approved), knotted twisted umbilicals, herrinbone patterned snakes and the usual high altitude mares tails in glowing gold and white under and through the woolly haze that seemed to be incandescent through it all. Wonderful!
But a great workout for Berri. We gave the engine and gearbox lots of work to do and, except from some unusual noises from, we think, the gearbox, it worked really well. I think that the extra horses in the engine will allow me to add a degree or so of pitch to the prop too, so on the Falmouth to-do list. The mast stayed up, the new radar reflector stayed attached to the mast, the radios and Sailmail worked, some glitches with the power to the GPS and – real doozy this one – I'd forgotten that the wonderful LED masthead lights we have interfere with the VHF radio. The light fitting is inches away from the VHF stub antenna – anyone got any suggestions? Our work around is to use the emergency nav lights if we need to use the VHF at night and to keep a hand held wasterproof VHF in the cockpit. Kevvo worked as expected – poor old geriatric didn't like the Celtic slop though and we used the electric autopilot as well. And alongside, we met the Irish Navy's training yacht with a crew of young professional navy people and some young trainees. The skipper gave us their spare (and for them, too small) Irish ensign for our courtesy flag, so Berri is once again properly dressed and in a new outfit.
But it took us an extra day to get here. I'm told the Lifeboat was going to meet us at the harbour entrance but without the VHF masthead antenna, we could not hear Valencia so they could not ask us for our position. Pity – would have been huge fun to be escorted into town! As it is, we are alongside the Lifeboat Station being looked after right royally. I think the crews were tickled to hear about the general Berri madness.
I have to sing for my supper at the Royal Cork YC and the Lifeboat people next Thursday – another stoush with powerpoint and microsoft to get it all to work – and we intend to leave the following day.
Pete has gone to Dublin to catch up with family and friends and I'm doing the necessary sort after a messy trip and meeting some lovely people. Photos to follow if i can download the camera.
There will be a new blog address soon unless we can get access to the old passwords for the Down Under Mars site. If it all works, you should be able to email us indirectly and have your email forwarded but there will not be a website as in the earlier voyages.
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An Irish Heron visitts an Australian Brolga

Taken half an hour ago. Berri in full Irish kit.

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Seems the heron did not load…

And Ian, Con and Ritchie in the Crosshaven lifeboat. Good to have them around.

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Last try

This is a dial up line and kind of recalcitrant. gmail works but with about the same metabolic rate as a hibernating polar bear.

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Fwd: Last try

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Alex Whitworth <alex1whit@gmail.com>
Date: Jul 20, 2009 6:40 AM
Subject: Last try
To: awberrimilla.hobart@blogger.com, smj612.berrimilla@blogger.com

This is a dial up line and kind of recalcitrant. gmail works but with about the same metabolic rate as a hibernating polar bear.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

The sloppy worker blames his tools…

The recalcitrant computer I was using seems to have posted multiple herons but was being excessively coy about it and I kept trying. It still says they are not posted. Dial-up connectivity was only yesterday but I'd forgotten just how cumbersome it could be.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Publlicity mugshots

Thanks to John Roche – Crosshaven photographer extraordinaire – for the photos. The younger and more handsome of the old geezers in the photo is Alan Barton, Lifeboat Operations Manager of the Crosshaven Lifeboat. He has enough fascinating stories to be doing a gig of his own.
The gimlet eyed observers amongst you will notice that certain rules developed for the Port of Cork have been relaxed in Berrimilla's honour at the discretion of the Harbourmaster. We are most grateful for the indulgence. Those familiar with earlier episodes in this and the original blog www.berrimilla.com will also notice that we have changed medical practitioners. Henceforth the good Doctor from Cork, Barber Surgeon Murphy,  will be responsible for the health of Berrimilla's crew, in consultation with Emeritus Professor Dr. Gordon. I have ordered sufficient quantities of their several potions to ensure that, Vogons and Krikkit robots permitting, we are medically protected all the way back to Australia. How we get there is yet to be decided.
2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


It has been suggested that a faraday cage over the nav lights at the masthead might fix the interference with the VHF. I've just been up the mast on the climber to wrap the nav light fitting completely in two layers of alfoil as a test run and it doesn't make any difference. Damn! And now I have to go up again to take it off but I'll take the silicone spray up with me and squirt the mainsail track on the way down.
I have also been told that LED's are on/off devices and the resulting frequency might be the problem. On to Google when I get down from the mast but if anyone has any suggestions, please toss them this way via the gust book. It must have been fixed somewhere sometime before today…
2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Faraday part 2

LED interference with VHF radios is apparently a common problem, not foreseen by the manufacturers. Some, such as OGM, have fixed it: see http://www.ogmtechnical.blogspot.com/
Berri's nav light is an Aquasignal S32 and I have written to Aquasignal to see whether they too have a fix. Watch this space.
2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

This is what I sent from the boat earlier today

…to the wrong address. To be fixed

Hooning again
This will be the first one from the boat if I've got the address right. We left Crosshaven at 1115 this morning after loading sufficient medication to get us most of the way back to Oz and now we're at 51 28N 007 45W in a 20 kt S Wester and hooning along at about 7 knots towards Land's End. Crosshaven pictures from Falmouth tomorrow.

So nice to have Berri alive again after she's been a rather sad and sorry inanimate object alongside the pontoon. The trip over was a really good workout, even though it was pretty unpleasant from about half way. Now we're in a steepish quartering sea and rolling a lot but it will soon be time for the daily Con – this time with an obscure medical practitioner we found in a run down surgery in the back blocks of Falmouth. And Crosshaven was lovely. Thanks everyone for looking after us so well.

We're at the Longships Lighthouse at Land's End – about 140 miles in 23 hours. Nice little hoon. Should be in Falmouth late afternoon, AGW. Thousands of little dolphins frothing around and leaping earlier – light brown with whiteish undersides – I'll look them up when I can find the book. Jet con trails all over the sky – different people, different lives…

And here we are alongside in Falmouth – a day of amazing cloud formations ahead of some wind tonight. We even managecd a rendezvous with Alan from Crosshaven at Lands End – he was delivering a big powerboat to Cork from Southampton – we'd said goodbye to him in Crosshaven less than 24 hours earlier.

Photos when I have a better link.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Gale warning Sea Areas Lundy, Sole, Fastnet

Gale force winds expected soon. Looking west from Sea Area Plymouth – the leading edge of the system – already blowing in Fastnet

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


1. Dressed for the evening Con in dirty weather – a Guy Cotten TPS dry suit – great gear for the pearshaped.
2. Burgee swap – Mike MacCarthy, Admiral of the Royal Cork YC.  We raised about 450 euros for the RNLI – thanks everyone.
3. Alan Barton rendezvous in Mounts Bay, just south of Tater Du. He still had 140 miles to go to Cork, into the gale warning

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Con trail effects

And Berri early on a soft Crosshaven morning beside the Lifeboat Station

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Seems we’ve been hacked.

Damn!. My fault. We cant do anything about it because the site passwords were Speedy's.

Watch this space for instructions for new blog site.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Heading East

Maybe this will be the first from the boat. We left Falmouth at 1700 on Wednesday and now (0930 Thursday) we are about 5 miles west of the light at Portland Bill, planning to go in close and pass north of the Shambles. Will give us a look at the geography for the Fastnet

Not enough battery power to work the HF so no send…

Now it's Saturday and we had a massive hoon to Hamble – 25 and a quarter hours jetty to jetty and we fluked the tides too. 25 knots into theNeedles Channel and 2 knots of tide under us. Lovely sailing.

Let's see whether this one goes…

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Just an update

The countdown begins – Berri is looking good, with a new pinky mascot from Sue and surrounded by swans and cygnets and huge greasy mullet. She's never been so light and it just could be a light wind race – see www.passageweather.com – last minute electrical glitches needed sorting today and seem to be under control .Engineer coming tomoz to listen to engine and gearbox and advise. Safety stuff being checked – and over to Cowes by RIB tomorrow courtesy of a generous friend for the 1979 memorial service and the RORC party http://www.rorc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view;=article&id;=267:1979-fastnet-race-30th-anniverary-memorial-service-a-cowes-cocktail-party&catid;=36:club-news

We will take Berri across to E. Cowes Marina late Thursday or early Friday all going well. Stickers yet to go on and briefing on Saturday.

Dinner tonight with friends at the Dodgy Eater aka La Dolce Vita. Noice.

I'll try to do pics tomorrow. Berri so light that I don't even have a camera – just the phone. And we are only taking a foot of dental floss to share and recycle – that should sort any hygeine problems.  And military rations of loo paper. Berri rocks!

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Reverse assembly – again

Church packed for the memorial service. Moving occasion – coulda' been us.

Followed by an interesting cultural experience. Definitely needed my blue towel and The Guide..I think we drafted a whole new chapter.

And now we're back with the gearbox off – I've been concerned for some time about the noises coming from the back of the engine and I asked the wonderful people at Golden Arrow Marine in Swampton whether they could spare the time to come and have a listen. As I rather suspected, serious problem and disassemblement required once again – not exactly sure how it occurred but the torsional impact damper plate on the flywheel was completely stuffed. And I don't mean just a bit stuffed – bits of the rubber shock absorbent material everywhere and the two metal plates about to self destruct. So a new one ordered and might arrive today. Or might not, but it means that we can't go over to Cowes until it is fitted. Golden Arrow terriffic.

And Paul Peggs, our good mate and significant rival in the 2 Handed division arrives today so there will be serious consultation. Paul lent us his boat, Audacious, for the last Fastnet while he sailed Voador to an overall 2 handed division win. Big co-incidence – Paul sold Audacious last year and Bruno who sailed the Hobart with us a couple of years ago, is half her crew for this Fastnet.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Please read this! There will be Exam Questions later.

To all three of our fans out there – when Speedy joined W.O.B. in heaven, he took the passwords to this blog and the website with him and we haven't been able to crack it so we have no control over my mistakes and other peoples' hacks. We need both, so there will be a new blog address without a website this time and a public email address  instead of the gustbook for Fenwick to send us abuse and the rest of you to send nicer messages. The old website and the gustbook will still work and messages on the gustbook will get to us, but perhaps less frequently than before. I will post blogs to both blog spots until we leave for Oz and after that, just to the new one.

The new blog is here:http://www.berrimilla2.blogspot.com/   and the email address to send us messages will be berrimilla2@gmail.com

Steve Withnall will look after the blog and the email addres from Sydney – THANKS Steve! We will post directly to the blog from the boat and Steve will monitor the email address and the old gustbook and edit any messages and send them to us via sailmail.com.

We can't make our sailmail address public because if we get spammed, the whole thing falls over.

Meantime, we're in Cowes! YAY! Massive relief – the wonderful mob at Golden Arrow found us a damper plate and Mark came over to Hamble in the pouring rain  at about 1800 yesterday after a long day in Poole fixing someone else's donk and worked until late getting Berri back together again. Thanks Mark, thanks Ken both from Golden Arrow for having the right stuff and doing the job.They are at Shamrock Quay in Southampton if any of you need fixes.

My phone charger has died so no photos until I can download from Pete's camera.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


Tonight is the last night of Cowes Week and it's all happening. There was a real Sea Vixen doing gentle aerobatics earlier and the Red Arrows have just finished. Fireworks to come.

Briefing tomoz and we're going to dinner afterwards with the Winsome mob who we met in Sydney at Christmas. Then it's into business suits and The Project. For those who don't know where to look, play around with the links here http://fastnet.rorc.org/ Looks like a big boat race this year with good winds for the first few days then going light after the big boat have finished.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Trapped by a phalanx or two

I have just poked my nose into the RORC office to make sure we have nothing else to do bfore the start and the media were there in phalanxes. I did three interviews one after the other – tricky trying to be original, but the interviewers were good and I hope it was ok

One interview will be available on the Fastnet website and another on the Rolex Regatta News site (I think) and the third was live to Cowes Radio. And I met Carlo Borlenghi, ace photographer and Giles, ace journo, on the way out – just like old times! Google Carlo – his website is awesome.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

A word from the publisher

At the briefing we were asked to emphasise to both of our fans that, should Berri disappear from the tracking site during the race, it is not the end of the world, nor is it likely to be the end of Berri. Please don't ring RORC or the Coastguard or President Obama – just hang in there and we will get to the finish eventually, carrying a dud tracker. I will try to keep the blogs going but it does get a bit intense and I might just flunk occasionally.

Looks like a softish race but with some wind most of the way around. I think it will be a beat from the start to the Fastnet and a soft reach back to Plymouth. If we can finish by Friday, we are doing well.

Our start is at 1220 british summer time or 1120 UTC. We go off second, after the IMOCA 60's and in front of all the others. There's an entry list on the fastnet website with handicaps etc.

Hope we can keep it moving…

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

A pastiche

Have had trouble with propagation and transmission

Now just south of Dartmouth heqadbanging again – awful lumpy SW swell. Soup from freshly squeezed english cbannel earlier,

Now daily con with Pete & dr Gordon. Noice. Here are earlier blogs not sent – first last night, second some days ag0.

Reasonable start amongst the usual mayhem and purple and gold kite down to big hole off Yarmouth. Out almost over the Shingles, con with Dr G at 1700 and then falling breeze not enough to carry us over the incoming tide. Anchored in 125 ft of water, about 3kts of tide. Pete on anchor watch and I'm going to try to get some sleep. We drifter back 250 metres before we decided to anchor.

Maybe this will be the first from the boat. We left Falmouth at 1700 on Wednesday and now (0930 Thursday) we are about 5 miles west of the light at Portland Bill, planning to go in close and pass north of the Shambles. Will give us a look at the geography for the Fastnet

Not enough battery power to work the HF so no send…

Now it's Saturday and we had a massive hoon to Hamble – 25 and a quarter hours jetty to jetty and we fluked the tides too. 25 knots into theNeedles Channel and 2 knots of tide under us. Lovely sailing.

Let's see whether this one goes…

Steve – getting yours – tks Hi Sue ZBD onto Dr G too. Flapjacks great tks

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

“with a spoonful of tabasco…”

Doesn't scan like the original but it's amazing what a guinness and bacon sando brekky with lashings of tabasco does for the morale. Plus having been lifted so we are pointing directly at the Lizard. May the Examiner be praised and the devil take the vogons.

Almost time to wake Pete. Kettle stations and fire up the frying pan for more bacon. Don't suppose he'll want a guiness but you never know.


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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

The Falls of Iguacu and other stuff

Offshore sailors may recognise The Iguacu Effect – the best place to steer the boat from on the wind is usually the leeward cockpit seat from where you can see the whole headsail and react to telltale talk almost by instinct. However, when it's raining or when there's lots of blowing spray – now, like…, the mainsail becomes a catchment area the size of Brazil and the end of the boom, just above your head, is the source of the Iguacu torrent. Usually down inside the WWG collar and there's nowt to do but squirm away. We have a couple of very sexy helmets with visors which may cure the symptoms but in the interest of weight saving, I left them behind in Hamble. Stooopid!

The ghosts of cuppas and McQ's North West Passage coffee: we have 2 huge conical mugs bought in Falmouth first time around but, being plastic, the remnant of the contents tends to stick to the inside and the next cuppa tastes of old soup, toothpaste, general grot and nasties. I've just scoured off the brownwash – wow, you should have seen the colour and consistency of the resulting mixture. Just add tabasco?

we're not likely to get anywhere close to the Fastnet trophy cookie jar this time I'm afraid – about 10 hours anchored or going backwards and sideways in the tide at Land's end avoiding the Runnel Stone and the separation zone have fixed that. And now the wind is dead ahead…back to Crosshaven, perhaps.

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Little dramas to pass the time

Why we love 2 handing there I was, middle of the Celtic Sea, middle of the night, all alone in the cockpit. Dismal night – low indeterminate cloudbase, mizzly rain, Iguacu to leeward, no noticeable vmg towards the Fastnet. Conditions a bit like the Bering Sea but without the ethereal and utterly exhilarating glimpses of snow covered volcanoes through the murk.

Time to get rid of the reef. Attach autopilot. Unroll self from cockpit seat, dodge the torrent, hook on to the jackline and start undoing the strop and the knitting. Rain down neck. Headsail backs – autopiloy beeps madly – race back to cockpit – what the hell is going on. Roll in headsail, finish the reef and try to work out what has happened. Wind down to nothing, Then a smidge – unroll heady and try to sail. Sails drenched and shapeless – no want to work. Small small movement through the water, steerage way – to the north. Even worse than before but – but – a tack would point us directly at the Fastnet. One armed paperhanger act with sheets, tweakers, recalcitrant autopilot everything dripping wet, velcro in cuffs undone by winching, water up sleeves – and Berri eventually, slowly, turns through the tack. More mayhem and trimming and – magic – we're pointing at the bottom left corner of Ireland instead of Birmingham.

Time to wake Pete…

You can probably see where it all happened on the tracker. And you may want to ask why, unlike the rest of the fleet, I expect, I did not know the change was coming and anticipate it. Good question, long story but basically relying on 3 day old weather info and then misinterpreting it…Geriatricity and technology and no excuse.

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Fastnet to Fastnet – via the world

Some time in the next couple of hours Berri will achieve a small and unique milestone – a Fastnet Rock to Fastnet Rock circumnavigation started four years ago within a day or two and including Falmouth, the Cape of Good Hope, Hobart, Sydney, the Pacific from south to north, the Aleutians and Dutch Harbour, the North West Passage, Greenland, the North Atlantic (bleah!) and Falmouth. We'll be a bit busy at the Rock, so I'm writing and sending this now. There will be a Special Consultation at some stage when the deed is done.

There is a forecast of force 6 -7 from the SW for this evening, so with a bit of luck, we'll fly back to the Lizard.

Appendages crossed please – we need a break!

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Of silly old farts and sealing wax, of a cabbage for a king

So – 48 years after first trying, I have finally seen the Fastnet Rock in daylight. For me, apart from Cape Horn and perhaps Tasman Island and the Iron Pot, the only race mark worth the effort of getting there every time. And get there we did, photos to follow – not another competitor in sight and so we must by now be way, way out the back of the race. A comprehensive cock up by anyone's standards. As Eeyore might say, "That's just what WOULD happen to a couple of silly old geriatrics with ideas above their station" but at least we can play the old farts card – "Yacht race? What yacht race? How interesting! Are we really in a yacht race? Gosh – now where did I leave my woolly socks…"

More mizzly murk in the Celtic Sea, but this time with phosphorescence- all the little dinoflagellates out to play – yay! And the moon posing for Turner. Sadly, the force 7 rocket blast to get us to the finish that Valencia Radio has been warning everyone about just ain't going to happen according to my latest GRIB. We'll get a little feel of it tonight, perhaps, but the good bit wont arrive until lateish tomorrow, far too late for us. Pity – might have redeemed the cock up just a bit!

And for this pair of SOG's, the Fastnet is also the turning mark for the way home to Oz, just like last time. This time we don't have the deadline pressure of trying to get back for the Sydney – Hobart start, so we may be a bit more leisurely about it. Cape Town, South Georgia, even Kerguelen perhaps? All interesting places we had to sail past last time.

Some messages – Sarah, Pete's Pot is doing its job with panache – and to the RCC – so is the one you so kindly sent me.
Sue – consumables depleting as per flight plan – thanks! ZBD tipsy bouncer. Steves various – continued thanks. And Fenwick, decrepit sailor with Kingly aspirations – you're a silly old fart too.

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


Flat kite, 12 knots of breeze on the beam, boat speed and VMG 7+ knots. Noice! AGW, Bishop Rock during the prizegiving tonight and finish time lunchtimeish tomoz.

Keep em crossed, all y'all.

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2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Fastnet wrap

Turned out a bit better than we thought – a respectable set of results and I think we only owe beer to Peggsy in Voador. Amazing ride back from the Rock – actually from Pantaenius – cracking 8's and 9's under first the flat kite and then the full blown Katherine's purple and gold kite. Bleak, Bering Sea weather with drizzle and very low vis and really difficult steering at night with no frame of reference – stars, lights etc – except the compass and the boat rolling all over the ocean in the swell. And for old farts who can't read the compass at night without glasses – just have to try to focus on a particular blob and hope its the right one. It often isn't because you also have to look around the blurry horizon every now and again and then have to re-identify your particular blob So things start to go pearshaped and it's recovery time…Tiring and a bit stressful.

The photos
Aerial shot of the Fastnet looking NW towards Clear Island at sunset, courtesy of Con Crowley, RNLI, Crosshaven – thanks Con
Looking back at the later starters in the Solent
Anchored – in interesting company – the Bristol Pilot Cutter Morwenna
A floating apartment block that visited us – not quite a Vogon yellow ship but I bet they have better poets
Leopard going for the finishabout 80 miles ahead just east of the Scillies – we had four days at least to go
Approaching the Rock from the NE under Berri's (and Katherine's) special kite
The Fastnet in Daylight – yay!
Out of focus rocks south of the Scillies near Bishop Rock light

We're in Plymouth till tomoz then back to Falmouth for last minute fixes and reloading…Much rushing around required.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Finger trouble

This is Leopard. And one looking towards the Needles in the Solent.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Sliding down the old picket fence

Pete noticed that we have achieved a remarkable coincidence of fencepost numbers by sailing in this Fastnet gig. In 2005 in Berri, we came 11th overall. This year we were 111th overall (What a backslide – should have retired when in front…) and 11th in the 2 handed division and 11th in class 3b. Is the examiner trying to tell us something?

We are still in Plymouth trying to get the nav light problem fixed. We think it is probably a defective circuit board in the LED light fitting at the masthead but it is an early version of the fitting and the later versions are not compatible so we have to wait until the local rigger can fit in a trip up the mast with the right tools to change the fitting. Should happen today. If so, back to Falmouth tomorrow. And some discussion with Aquasignal about their circuit boards.

Brian S – check your email – I'm getting non delivery messages…And thanks everyone for your messages – it's lovely to know that there are people out there still reading this guff.

An in-joke for the initiated but there's a new chapter for the HGTTG on the Survival of a subspecies of Pachycephalosaur in draft and ready for Proofreading and Due Process by the Consultant., the Surgeon, the Examiner and the Censor. A formidable team.

PS – nav light exchanged for new version and problem fixed. Now for the discussion with Aquasignal.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Some hair gel for Drake?

Seagull poo, for the biologically challenged, consists almost entirely of Araldite and cornflakes. Just try getting it off your decks. Sir Francis will need more than a haircut.

Back in Falmouth getting ready for the off. It was four years ago today that we set off last time, but then we had a pretty fierce deadline. This time, we are aiming to leave by September 7th at the latest. That should give us heaps of time. Berri is being lifted out of the water for a few hours on Saturday morning to attach a missing venturi to a cockpit drain and to apply copious antifoul under her counter to deter the Falmouth barnacles.

Then I have to drive back to Hamble to collect the repaired wind generator and some other stuff we left there in the interests of going fast and visit a few friends on the way who have helped us. Then lots of tedious loading, shopping, last minute fixes, goodbyes and we're away. The plan is Cape Town, but that's still in very wet concrete.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Greetings from Mrs. Janet Samuel,

Greetings from Mrs. Janet Samuel,
I am Mrs. Janet Samuel from Ivory Coast. I am married to Mr. Samuel Kwuwa who worked with Ivory Coast embassy in Kuwait for nine years before he died in the year 2005.We were married for nineteen years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.
Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$9.5million dollars in a Bank here in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire. Presently, this money is still in bank.
Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a person or organization that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want this fund to be use for orphanages, widows, schools and propagating the message of love to all mankind.
I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money, I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul. My husband relatives are selfish, they refuse to distribute to charity organization some amount of money which my late husband gave to them for charity on the second day of his illness, and I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision.
I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that God will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband’s relatives around me always. I don’t want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank here in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire. I will also issue you an authority letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of this fund. I want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation.
Please always be prayerful all through your life. Contact me as soon as you receive this e mail, any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another person or organization for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein.
 I hope to receive your reply.
God bless you
Mrs. Janet Samuel.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Barnacle baffle

We lifted Berri in the slings for an hour this morning in the drizzle and bleah. 'Orrible! Stuck a venturi onto each of the cockpit drain outlets – the originals had all fallen off and they really do make a difference. And a clamp around the anode. And put some antifoul under the counter – whole new look, not noticeable when Berri launched again unless you look closely but obvious and a bit daunting – I hope – to the relatives of all the barnacles we took to Hobart from here last time. That's the top pic.

And it's all winding up. I'm off to Hamble tomoz to collect the (I hope) repaired wind generator and all the other stuff we left there to lighten Berri for the Fastnet and then we start sorting and loading all the gear in Jeremy's shed and Anne's lockup (150 cans of Murphys and a modicum of medicinal potion from a certain Cork distillery of Dry liquids).

And collect the Cape Town charts…

And buy lots of diesel and almost all of Tesco's and Asda…

And we'll go – perhaps 10 days or so to get it all done.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


Testing new blog address.

My favourite pub and a windy day near Hurst Castle.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Pot of gold?

Yesterday morning in Falmouth – looking East from Berri's cockpit and still raining and blowing about 25 kts. Lots of interesting detail – pick the 'man' overboard, complete with run for life medal, the square rigger, the old workboat, the Fosters logo and heaps more. Gerry, if you're out there, the Pilot boat, which is usually in the berth across the jetty, has a permanently rigged MOB system – a small crane with a winch and a scoop which looks like a very wide roll-up ladder with closely spaced rungs.  Hence the 'man'.

Berri now almost loaded – she's about 2 tons heavier than for the Fastnet judging by the new  waterline. We did a huge shopping trip this morning and that all needs to be packed into all the little odd shaped spaces and wedged in.  But the weather in Biscay is still iffy http://www.passageweather.com/ but is predicted to improve mightily next week so, unless things change we intend to leave on Sept 10, which happens to be the day after Pete's birthday and the 4th anniversary of a little swim in the Atlantic off the Cape Verdes.

We are looking seriously at the possibility of going home via South Georgia – a must-visit-once-in-a-lifetime place. Will depend on the weather patterns when we hit the southern hemisphere, but if we do get down that far, it also puts the Kerguelens more or less in range if the Examiner is sloppy.

Tomorrow I will be handing on all my NW/NE passage data, Admiralty Pilots etc to an old friend from way way back who is thinking of having a go. I'll get 'em back if we decide ever to try again with the Russians.

Sue, Z is cool – enjoy the cruise. Naramas – go well. STS 128 yay!

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet


This website might go into hibernation at any time – sadly, we don't have control over it any more. While it is still alive, the gustbook will still work and Steve in Sydney will forward messages.

However, if you want to follow Berrimilla home, please bookmark the new blogspot if  – it's here


There is no gustbook on the new blog,  but  you can send us messages via berrimilla2@gmail.com. These will be forwarded to us every couple of days or so by Steve using Sailmail. If it's really really urgent, we have the satphone and Steve has our number.

I'll keep posting to both sites while I can.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

How it used to be done

Couldn't resist this – don't know what it's called but a sort of coracle – wooden frame with leather or fabric skin, thole pins and rough oars and a shrimp net (made of nylon…) to feed the family.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Happy Birthday Pete and other stuff

Tomorrow is Pete's burf. Happys, boyo!

And we are go for departure on Thursday morning barring the absolutely pearshaped. We've got a new experimental (for Berri anyway) downwind furling headsail – put it up today and it just might work. Photos when Caroline downloads – Thanks Carol and huge that you came all that way with a hot water bottle and your favourite plastic Dr G's bottle for us.

Thanks for  your messages all y'all. TellyKelly, good to have you in the mosh pit with the rest of the mob. K, L and the DD – watch for our red sail and madly waving old farts in imaginary dreamboat.

From tomorrow we'll be back to the idiosyncrasies of HF radio and sailmail so these posts will arrive whenever…

We love youse all.

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Not today after all

Small hitch and we decided to postpone departure for a day. ETD now 0630 UTC  tomorrow, September 11th. Isabella and Graham are planning to be on Pendennis Point under Henry's castle so there will be some 'there they go' photos on these blogs shortly, just to prove it really happened. We will perhaps be able to fly the new red sail for the record. Sorry we couldn't get you to make it, Brian – just a bridge too far.

Pete says thanks for all the Gustbook birthday wishes

2-10. Falmouth-Crosshaven-Fastnet

Caroline's photos

These images were sent to me (Alex's sister, Isabella) by Caroline G
who went down to Falmouth this week and took the photos. They show the
new sail made for Berrimilla in Falmouth.