FROM 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.

Comments are closed.