FROM 1-24. Closing on the Barn Door

Oct 15, 2005 – 0915hrs UTC

0915hrs 15 Oct 2005 UTC 38’53”S 000’48”W Ref 442

DB: 120, 6663 gps 127, 56/54 and isn’t that a nice ratio?

Pete has been messing with the entrails and other grot amongst the boot ferals and has asked me to post his ETA at SE Cape so: Da-Daah! intro with fanfare on Aida trumpets – he reckons 1700 on December 5th. I do so hope he’s right! That’s about 139 miles per day. Certainly possible down here. Are there any challengers out there – we have 1700, Dec 5 and Dec 11 (say midday) on the table.

Trisail discourse part 2: Having got the thing up – all nice and colourful – and the hatch closed and the boat snug and warm and the wind noise muted and the water still  rushing past the hull – you can sleep. And – having slept, the wind noise still muted and the water still rushing past, but the conditions having improved significantly, the temptation is to leave it up a bit longer (while you contemplate the feel of wet party gear and wet socks against nice warm dry skin), rather than having to reverse the dockyard job to get it off and reset the main. No problem if you are cruising – a couple of knots off the top for half a day doesn’t amount to much. If you are racing, you’ve lost it right there. We went well in the Fastnet because we sailed the boat metre by metre all the way around and it paid off, especially at the end when it would have been really easy to have stayed down with the #1 instead of setting the assy across the bay from Mevagissey.

For the nautically challenged, my apologies – a trisail is a tiny storm sail that is set on the mast instead of the mainsail (the big one at the back). It has two sheets or controlling lines and it is not set on the boom so it has a loose foot and can be tweaked all over the place if needed. Berrimilla’s is dayglo orange and white – mostly today they are all dayglo in orange or pink. As an ex aviator who has spent quite a lot of time in helicopters looking for people and wreckage in the water, I can confirm that those two colours are the easiest to see against a frothy grey background. The sail is about as big as half a king size bed sheet cut diagonally. The full mainsail, by comparison, is about 12 metres by 3.5, with a curved trailing edge. When the wind increases, it can be reefed or made smaller, three times, each time reducing the bit that is left by about a quarter and the bit that is left after the third reef is about twice as big as the trisail. I hope that’s not too technical.

As I write, we are 34 miles west of the Greenwich meridian so we should cross in about 6 hours. We crossed the equator at 2617 W, or nearly 1600 miles west – that’s a long diversion to stay in favourable winds but essential. The great circle from Greenwich to Cape Agulhas just about follows the meridian, so it’s a long way around. And another meaningless statistic – at 3911S in about 17 miles, we will be south of Wilson’s Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Oz, so at least in theory, we will be as far south as we need to go to get back to Sydney

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