Logs ( 9 )


Is anyone still out there?

Something completely different – or where the Woozle might be going…

A couple of years or so ago, a Berrimilla Blog fan from Podunk, (the Colorado one) suggested that the Race to Alaska (r2ak.com) might be a cool way to grow older and greyer. Seemed like a good idea. Megan Hahn was building a wooden sailing boat in her Dad’s workshop in Nome. which also seemed like the right sort of boat for the job. It’s name became Bob, almost by accident. but, for a bunch of reasons mostly to do with serious winter cold in Nome, Bob didn’t quite get finished in time to do this year’s race and he’s now awaiting further TLC in a very cold shed at Cape Nome. Somewhere, there are photos of all this and I’ll try to post them.

Meantime, Megan came out to Australia for a year on a work visa.

The R2AK idea bobbled along out in the dimmer reaches of the back burner until I was again prodded by the Podunker that there’s another race starting on June 14th next year. In the fullness of serendipity, I looked at the boats for sale in North West USA that day and found an ad for what seemed to be exactly what we needed and at a crazily affordable price. We bought it from the photo below and Megan’s sister collected it and it’s now in her back yard in Portland, Oregon about 300k from the r2ak start line in Port Townsend.

At about the same time, I applied for entry to the 2018 r2ak and we were accepted. Here’s the link https://r2ak.com/2018-teams-full-race/team-b4b2/ A bit over the top but hey – we’re in!

There are some stories amongst that lot but maybe later. The boat has become B4B2 for the duration and there is a plan to modify her by adding a sliding seat, sculling oars and some extra rigging. We’re going up to work on all that in a few days. More as it happens. There’s a facebook page here for the 2018 race https://www.facebook.com/racetoalaska/
Scroll down a bit and we’re there somewhere.

These are the specs for B4B2. http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=4858 Click on the Buccaneer link at the bottom for a deck plan.

I’ll try to keep this going as we get things organised and during the race – some of Berri’s old Iridium gear might be useful in the remoter bits of the Inside Passage. We’ll see. If we make it as far as Ketchikan, the idea is to keep going north west around the top of the Gulf of Alaska, through the Aleutians and into Homer where Megan lives. If we make it that far, B4B2 has a new home. Meantime, we’re patching our towels…


An update – r2ak on a shoestring

Neither of us has seen B4B2 yet and all may change once we get to meet her. Berrimilla 2 she ain’t but I think she’s perfect for this gig. We’ll know whether she is if we actually get to Ketchikan. I’ll keep updating progress here. Meantime, The Examiner is downloading all her data on the inside passage and greasing her leathers in anticipation. A bit of detail. Megan and I will be in Portland next week to start getting B4B2 ready to operate a full time Consultancy next year. Minimalism, but we do have to get her to Ketchikan and then onwards to Homer. In summary, a stubby bowsprit and an outer forestay plus a pair of running backstays to allow a more flexible headsail arrangement. 3 reefing points in the mainsail and full battens. Solar panels, batteries, nav lights, Iridium Go, hiking straps, VHF plus life jackets, dry suits, PLB’s and the other gubbins that the race requires. A rather special wind indicator – maybe more on that later. We think perhaps a small cage to tow and cool suitable Medicinal Compounds in the cold waters of the Inside Passage to support a proper Consultative Surgery. And we’ll set her up to be rowed in the soft bits. It’s interesting up there. If you’re all bored, google Seymour Narrows…here’s a taste Photos to follow…


And so it begins.

Departure time This is the heap we hope Qantas will carry to SFO today. Then Alaska Air to Portland. It’s the first shipment of gear we’ll need in June for the race. Dry suits, sails, boom tent, wet weather gear, all the little gizmos like VHF, PLBs and satphone, plus arctic sleeping bags and survival gear. Even some warm clothes, but they are squeezed in last – we’re going to raid the Portland thrift shops when we get there. B2’s old faithful Panasonic Toughbook laptop will be along for the ride too but we may have a problem cobbling together a power supply for that and there are a couple of GPS handhelds just in case. Hard copy charts and tide tables when we get closer to the start party. In keeping with Berrimilla tradition, we’ll be keeping a low profile. We will try to keep these updates bland, factual and bereft of BS. No faffing about how pretty we look in our daggy wet weather gear, just boring stuff about what works and what doesn’t. If we make it to Ketchikan and onwards to Homer, then maybe we can faff just a bit. But probably not.


When you need to know where your your towel is...

The r2ak organisers asked whether we have dry suits. We have. And socks, it seems. These suits are probably a bit OTT but they will serve the purpose. Megan is wearing Pete’s Berrimilla 2 TP&S dry suit the same as the Round the World shorthanded racers use. It’s designed to be worked in on deck in southern ocean storms in small boats and this one was last out of its bag somewhere between the Kerguelen Islands and Australia at about 50 south. Suck it and it’s salty. If things get beyond the pear shaped, the suit provides full buoyancy and survival warmth in cold water. Mine is still in its post Kerguelen bag and I hope it won’t need to come out but it’s nice to have. Virus-free. www.avg.com <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>


Blind date

Qantas seems to have got all the gubbins most of the way to Portland and Alaskan did the rest. We were introduced to B4B2 at midnight on Friday in wet and dismold Oregon autumn conditions – a proper blind date. We liked eachother and I’m sure we’ll click – she’s a nice little boat and will certainly go the distance if we look after her. Lots of stuff to do in the next 3 weeks while I’m here and more for Megan perhaps later. I’ll post some boring detail when it’s happening. Today we just cleaned her out and Megan’s making a new companionway hatch to keep the rain out. Virus-free. www.avg.com <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>


What's all this about B2/B3/B4B2...

It’s middle of the night dark and dismold here in Oregon, a bit like writing these in Berrimilla 2 except that the floor isn’t moving. And I’m warm and dry. I’m being chastised unmercifully by She Who Graces This Website With Her Magic and by The Examiner in an especially foul mood for not having written this post before all this r2ak silliness started, so here goes. This installment is for B2. I sold Berrimilla 2 last year. A very sad decision for me but a necessary one for Berri. The old barge was sitting forlorn on her mooring covered in seagull poo and not being sailed. I’d lost all motivation to sail around the Harbour and out to the Heads, even up and down the coast – very much ‘been there, why do it all again’. Old men need projects or they fade away. She’s now owned by a young couple sort of from Switzerland, but this isn’t the place to tell their story. They are quite capable of doing that themselves if they want to. I think, though, that they will take the old barge back across oceans in their own good time – maybe in a year or two. Meanwhile, they are clearing out the mould of 2 circumnavigations and all that inactivity. I wish them happiness, the caress of providence and all the wonderful times B2 gave me and the many friends who sailed with us. B3’s installment to follow in daylight tomorrow when I can find some photos. Virus-free. www.avg.com <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>



And you know most of this story. B4 for Berrimilla 4, B2 for Bob 2 Silly really but a sort of tangled continuation that joins the two boats. Bob is Megan’s almost finished 16 ft. sailing boat now waiting for her in a cold shed at Cape Nome. I was asked today by a very distinguished ex B2 sailor that as my boats seem to be getting smaller as I get more wrinkly, what did I think I’d cross in to whatever there may be on the other side, Images of burning Viking ships come to mind, but nothing so heroic. I’m going to hang around till the boats shrink to soapdish size and cross the Styx in a soapdish lid…Charon, Cerberus and The Examiner permitting…. Virus-free. www.avg.com <#m_7836309755713587823_DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>


Progress in Blobs

or in Stits and Farts, as the Rev. Spooner probably never said. Lots happening but it’s never instantaneous. For instance, we took the rainbow mainsail to the sailmakers yesterday to have a second set of reef points and full batten pockets fitted and ended up ordering a new one – the difference in price was relatively small and it seemed sensible The new one will be made in Sri Lanka and won’t be ready till January. The sailmaker is also making the standing rigging but that’s in sporadic mode too and a week or two away because he has to order the parts…we hope to raise the mast with the old stuff in the next few days. We erected a tent over the boat to keep the rain out – tied down to old car wheels and sandbags to stop it doing a Mary Poppins but the Portland dank and dismould is now at least at tent’s length and we can work under it on a dry boat. There’s a small but vital bulkhead inside that has rotted and Megan will crank up the angle grinder and cut it out and make a new one and glass it in. There’s some benefit in months of work in Hobart doing just that. Next big job is to roll the hull over to one side and extend the centreboard to check its structural integrity. The photo shows the purchase for raising the board – buried deep in the most inaccessible part of the hull. And so it goes…. . Virus-free. www.avg.com <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>


The buzz that grows with a project

Imagination is a wonderful driver. The Podunker sent us an idea, there was the right boat in a photo and here we are with a tent over a rather nice piece of shaped fibreglass in a muddy driveway in the rain with a lot of work to do and my head a little universe of whizzing catherine wheel ideas that whirl away and spark off each other and into the to-do list. A big messy inanimate object in serious undress but with the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska – in summer sunshine – out there as the reason for it all. We’ve ordered the sculls and fittings to row it and they should arrive at about the same time as Pat comes down from Nome to help put it all together. I think she’ll row just fine and she’d better because there could be a lot of rowing. I’m making some temporary rigging out of 4mm dyneema and adding reefing hardware and a topping lift and the mast will be usable…B4B2 is really just a big dinghy and everything is manageable. The photos – more centreboard and new backstay with autumn leaves <#m_3790988700484270538_DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>