FROM 1-23. Next landfall Tasmania

Oct 05, 2005 - 2100hrs │Two Old Farts and a Spaceman...

2100hrs 05 Oct 2005 UTC 29’34”S 020’40”W Ref 418

Two Old Farts and a Spaceman…

The Berrimilla shirt signed by Dr Leroy Chiao, the Commander of the NASA ISS 10 Mission, and Pete and me will be auctioned on Lord Howe Island after the Lord Howe Race at the end of this month. The proceeds will be treated as a tax deductible donation to Canteen, an Australian organisation that looks after teenagers who have cancer. Berrimilla crews and the Lord Howe Race organisers have traditionally supported CanTeen. Here is the story of the shirt, for those who might have just found the website:

This shirt commemorates an unusual meeting of people, ideas and technology. Peter Crozier and I set off around the world from Hobart via Cape Horn in January 2005 after finishing the 2004 Sydney – Hobart race in Berrimilla. The plan was to sail to England, do the Fastnet race and sail back to Sydney in time to start in the 2005 Sydney – Hobart. In an idle moment about half way across the Southern Ocean, I speculated that we were probably the most isolated humans on the planet and that the crew of the International Space Station were our nearest neighbours for a few minutes each day as they passed somewhere overhead at about 350 km.

Ably assisted by my ground control crew, emails were sent and one thing led to another – NASA contacted the Commander of the ISS 10 Mission, Dr Leroy Chiao, PhD, one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts, who had been flying in the ISS with his Russian colleague, Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharapov, since October 2004. Dr Chiao said he would like to speak to us and our first conversation was by telephone from Port Stanley in the Falklands. We agreed that it would be fun to try to spot each other as Berrimilla sailed on up the Atlantic, communicating via the ISS IP phone and our satellite phone. We had a number of conversations and tries at signalling the ISS with white parachute rocket flares and a big signalling lamp but, sadly, we were unable to crack exactly the right set of circumstances so Leroy never saw us. We saw the ISS twice, first north east of Montevideo and again further north. The ISS 10 crew landed in Kazakhstan on April 25 and we reached Falmouth on June 3rd.

During our conversations, we had agreed to try to meet. Leroy and his wife Karen were in Scotland in June talking to schoolkids and on June 18th, they flew down to Newquay and we collected them in our tiny and decrepit French car and had a splendid day checking out the local Cornish brewers in Falmouth. The most surprising twist and a real pleasure was that Leroy had also spoken to the author, John le Carre, from the ISS and the next day us two old geezers drove NASA’s favourite Astronaut and his wife to lunch at the le Carre’s house in the ancient banger. An extraordinary meeting.

The logo on the shirt was designed in England by my sister Isabella and mass produced in Australia by Team Fenwick. It shows the intersection of Berrimilla’s track up the Atlantic with an ISS orbit at the point where we first saw it off Montevideo as we sailed into a huge storm. The shirt is signed by Leroy Chiao, Peter Crozier and myself and it was signed at the le Carre’s house on June 19th 2005.

End of story.

Quote from Allan Fenwick:

On another note the Shirt is being framed as we speak with a short version of your note and I think a photo of the two old farts and a spaceman. With all your new fans in the UK. they may like to bid for the shirt…

If anyone out there would like to bid for the shirt, please send an email to Allan Fenwick – – and he will make sure it reaches the auction.

A splinter of new moon has just dropped from behind a cloud and is setting almost directly below Venus – two melded reflected trails on the water, both about the same brightness. Awesome…

Comments are closed.