FROM 1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jul 02, 2005 - 1115hrs UTC │Falmouth

1115hrs 02 Jul 2005 UTC Falmouth

[ed: From Alex’s sister, Isabella] Alex is currently up in London swanning around with the BBC. We had a fairly riotous night here last night which involved quantities of Pimms, Retsina and some totally disgraceful choc roulade. We despatched Pete off to Falmouth about half an hour ago with the damp washing we forgot to remove from the line last night because of the combined effects of Pimms, Retsina and choc roulade. And because Pete said it wouldn’t rain.

Alex will be back down there tomorrow.

He borrowed the attached photo from Mum in Malta on the promise that she gets it back. So I have scanned it as best I can. It has faded from being in a frame, but I’ve whoosed out some of the scaggy blobby bits deposited by Mediterranean vermin over the years.

It shows our hero on his first Fastnet race in 1961 and as you can see, the effects of a lifetime of alcohol have demanded their price. He said you might like it for the website and the Fastnet section… no doubt the Berri Team is huddled in convocational planning of this important new area of the site.
Hope all’s well over there in the Calm Before the Fastnet.

[ed: back to Alex] The to-do list continues to shrink. I collected the liferaft this morning and the delivery sails have been fixed. The laptop is now talking to the radio and the modem again – phew! – but I haven’t managed to raise Sailmail so there might still be a glurg somewhere. Given that the Belgian sailmail station is just up the road by comparison with some that we have been talking to, we ought to be able to get them. The laptop problem was, as I suspected, a dud USB cable. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

We are going to try to get the vhf radio upgraded to the new AIS system (cant remember what that stands for) [ed: see below for info on AIS] which means that all the ships we are able to see will appear on our new SOB navigation package and we should appear on their plotters. It’s all done automatically via the vhf radio and it is one of the reasons why the big ships we met were no longer listening on Chanel 16. Big safety plus if we can get it working.

Present plan is to leave for Lymington on Wednesday or Thursday – earlier if we can. The Beaulieu regatta is looking a bit tight but still possible.

We have arranged a rendezvous either here or in the Channel with a friend who is taking a RYA training boat out to Waterford to watch the start of the Tall Ships race.
Should be fun.

Still some minor fixes left but mostly under control. Will send more photos when I manage to get all the bits together in the same place.

Malcom, good idea, I know someone who used to sail with them.

[ed: Thanks to Simon Blundell at (]
AIS – Automatic Identification System. Correctly called UAIS for Universal AIS.
VTS – Vessel Tracking System.
For the sailors out there who have been understandably concerned about the phasing out of compulsory monitoring of VHF-16. The AIS technology answers our concerns.
Some links:
All boaters should be learning about this new technology. It is a bigger advancement than RADAR was and probably as significant as GPS (now we know where everyone ELSE is, as well as ourselves).

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