FROM 1-23. Next landfall Tasmania

Oct 07, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 07 Oct 2005 UTC 31’16”S 017’34”W Ref 420

DB: 135, 7843 gps 138 48/62. A hard day’s work, mostly hand steered, with a difficult sail change during the night. We’re back in 30+ kts from the north and look like keeping it for another day. Hardly dare hope at this stage, but it’s just possible we may have snuck across far enough to make use of the front of the high when it arrives around Sunday. It’s a bit wild and woolly but we are pointing at the barn door at Cape Town for the time being.

For those who can read between the lines, it will be apparent that we are pushing the boat and ourselves as fast and as far as the limit of our collective stamina will allow. If we miss that start line on Boxing Day, it won’t be because we have shirked on the job. Last night’s sail change was from the #1 to the #4 plus two reefs in the main. Really hard work, in driving ran. But we were lucky – the real wind hit us mid-change so we got the numbers right – we were fumbling around for the #2 when the first gust hit us. Would have been most frustrating to have just got it up and peeled off the party gear… 

From Jerry H., in UK:

Having just seen your remarkable article in Yachting World, there can only be ONE Al Whitworth who would do such an amazing voyage ! Well done the both of you and somewhat disappointed not to have known you were in Blighty and to have missed you on your recent ( August Fastnet) visit. Good luck with the rest of your trip and hope to have some sort of correspondence when you get back.

I sailed my J130 via a few regattas in the Med to the West Indies in 1996 with Kevin Crumplin in his 43 foot Oyster (home-built by him) but en-route to Antigua from St Lucia was dismasted and the mast came back through the hull five minutes later and we were all four of us in the two liferafts ! Fortunately picked up a couple of hours later. The boat is still down in 750 fathoms in the Dominican Channel. Now, rather sadly, I am sitting in the middle of Oxfordshire with no boat, retired, somewhat pissed of with life and envious of your latest adventure !

Good on yer! Remember the 1961 Fastnet with Horace Law sitting on the after deck peeling potatoes while the sky raced up behind us all black and menacing and the spinnaker still flying.What a first storm that was, I thought the night would never end, but that was just the beginning.

Jerry H! Well scupper me dingbats! I was wondering who might emerge after those articles. Is there anyone else out there who sailed in the 1961 Fastnet apart from PeterB? I was on Leopard with John Stocker, Bill Anderson and sadly, my degenerate memory has lost the others. We pulled out after the storm, (I too thought that night would never end) from the wrong side of the Scillies, and left the boat at Helford so that John, who was the Commander at Dartmouth, could get back to work. That unfinished race was one of the reasons for this little jolly. Jerry. I’ll write to you separately but good to hear from you. We haven’t seen the YW article, although we did get a sneak preview of the one in Yachting Monthly and the unedited originals of both are, as far as I know, on the website [ed: sorry, no they are not.  We only have PDF versions and those are 10mb in size, so just not feasible to put them up!] .

Chris P.:

Still following your exploits daily – after checking the ‘Age’ on line and before (well before) ‘The Mercury’. My favourite part of the log undoubtedly has to be Pete’s paean to Brolgas (14th March).  It was a passage truly spoken from the heart – and with good reason.

Had ‘Poitrel’ on the slip all last week getting far too much marine life off her.  There were a few good lunches of oysters and mussels hanging off her hull, assuming your digestive system could handle the heavy metals leached from the anti-foul.  Am now trying to remedy a frustrating engine/transmission problem that has so far defied diagnosis.  Bit of a problem taking it out to test when there is a strong possibility of the donk dying in the middle of hundred or so moored boats.  But I’m sure we’ll get there. Am also making a change to mainsheet arrangement.  I have a large spray hood, and the mainsheet is forward of it.  Any adjustment involves clambering around the outside of the hood.  Not good.  So I am getting the sheet led forward to the gooseneck and back along the cabin top to a hole in the hood so I can adjust it from the cockpit.  Also hope to be able to achieve the same with the traveler.

You have mentioned Hobart a few times in recent logs.  Are you planning to stop here at all, or just pass by on the way to Sydney?  Hope it may be the former.  If you need any errands run here for your arrival, let me know.

Chris P. thanks for favourite bit – one for the Mad Boggers! And good luck with the mods to Poitrel. The plan for us is time dependent. We want to finish a proper five Cape circumnavigation if possible, which means rounding SE Cape and going up to the Iron Pot to finish the job. If we then have time, we will clear customs and stay for a couple or so days. However, if we are short of time, we’ll go via Bass Strait and complete the circ. at Gabo and sail direct to Sydney to make the start. But all that is still two months away. Seems an age from out here, believe me!

If anyone would like a photo of Berri and the Old Farts in the Solent after the start of the Fastnet, by the world renowned photographers Beken & Sons of Cowes, Jeanne will have the sample sheet in due course and we might put it on the website so that anyone who wants one can order direct. We haven’t seen it, but the photos will show us with the assy up and quite a few boats behind us in the later starts. If you are in the UK, Beken will have it filed under Berrimilla, sail no 371. I don’t know whether they use a website for proofs and orders [ed: website link above, however I couldn’t find any Berri shots online].

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