Relationship question

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In the log of 2nd January, 2006, Alex was asked this question

If you care to please would you let me know how and why you chose each other for the trip. It’s a hell of a long way to go in an awfully small environment with two and I know that you didn’t see a great deal of each other but suppose one of you put a winch handle back into a pocket in a way that the other didn’t like ? How do you resolve that ? I know it is not important but it could become so.?

I was never looking for someone to ‘choose’ for the trip. The idea for the Cape Horn – Fastnet voyage had been in my mind for years as a sort of impossible dream based on unfinished business and the romantic notion of The Horn but it was just a silly idea that people laughed at. I think I remember first giving it words on Miko during the 1977 Sydney – Hobart and getting looked at as if I should have been committed to some place for the feeble minded. Probably should have been too.

Years later and more dreaming – Berrimilla arrived in 1993 and the boat and I did some sailing together but nothing serious – some twilights and a few Hobarts. Then one Friday evening in 1998, Pete arrived on board for a RANSA twilight race and Berrimilla wrapped herself around him and he kept coming back for more. We sailed fully crewed through the 1998 Sydney – Hobart storm and won our half of the race and it seemed that Berrimilla was ok for some rather more intensive sailing.

Then, in 1999, we copped a 50 knot southerly almost exactly at half way in that year’s Hobart and I managed to smash my face on the foredeck and make a bit of a mess. We plugged on, but by the time we had crossed Bass Strait and reached St Helen’s we were all stuffed and the boat was wet through and still bashing into the southerly so we decided to stop to dry out and rest. We anchored in Skeleton Bay on Dec 31st, cleaned up the boat, opened a bottle of rum and slept soundly through Y2K and into 2000. Next morning we set off again and finished the race.  Berrimilla’s race time of seven and a half days that year is up there amongst the slowest ever recorded. More here.

In a wet and dismal Hobart, I was unable to get my face fixed – all the sensible medical people had left town for the New Year, new millenium holidays – so Pete and I had a last supper with John and Alex Sutherland and got back on the boat and jumped out in to the belly of the southerly that was still blowing. We two-handed back to Sydney at Berri’s best speed, looking unsuccessfully on the way for another yacht that was drifting abandoned off Flinders Island somewhere.

Back in Sydney, about 3 weeks after first busting it, I had my face opened up and fixed by a surgical wizard using chicken wire and titanium screws and had a beer with Pete. I don’t remember whether this was when I first rather diffidently – jokingly even – ran the Cape Horn Fastnet idea past him but it must have been around then. And so it came to pass. We don’t seem to need to shout at each other about misplaced winch handles or gigantic stuff ups – certainly, out there we were stuck with each other and we had to sort disagreements or just bite the lip and tolerate the problem. A sort of unspoken professionalism.

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