FROM 1-24. Closing on the Barn Door

Oct 18, 2005 – 1700hrs UTC

1700hrs 18 Oct 2005 UTC 40’29”S 007’07”E Ref 454

Interim report. We’ve had a good day’s sunshine, made water, collected a grib and Steve’s mailcall over sailmail and the generator is still putting in some charge. We don’t know how much because the Xantrex monitor died and we haven’t been able to resurrect it. Every day it goes on working is a day’s fuel saved. It looks as if there is some really nasty weather behind us, so there’s that flutter of trepidation clutching my inners. It’s moving very fast – perhaps at 40 kt, so will go through fast and the next one will arrive. The grib says 40 and that generally means a lot more.

From Mark A.

I am in WA.  I sailed back from Hobart with Alex many years ago?  1998? If you get this, I can assist with the required Freo stop; organising repairs, etc in advance.  Let me know their ETA.  I make it about 28 November?

Would a Bunbury or Port Geographe stop be better? There is a good marina now in Port Geographe, just east of Busselton and far less distance to travel north.  I take it they will be just fixing the generator and moving on asap?


From John G.

Just read that Berri is coming to Freo for spares\repairs\provisions. Can you let Alex know that I  would be available and glad to help in any way possible. We would have a car available, but I should be able to arrange a day or two off work. Hard to run around a strange town in a hurry! A dry bed and a warm shower,a roast dinner, a guinness or two??  I do understand they will probably be in a hurry. Anyway, glad to help. Sorry to hear of the generator problem – and the sailmail problem.

Mark A and John G, both in Perth, thanks for offers of help – we will stay in touch on that one but I like Mark’s suggestion that we go to Port Geographe instead of Freo. Mark, I don’t think I have pilotage details for PG and it’s not on the level of CMap that is currently loaded, so perhaps you could give me a set of coordinates please. I have Busselton and surrounding lights etc. If we do call in, we will have to clear customs, refuel, restock the medicine chest and move right on out – same day if possible. We will not repair the generator, (they need specialised facilities) but if anyone over there has a second hand Ampair 100 going for a song, we’d be very interested.

I had intended to continue my salutes to people who have helped us – starting a few weeks ago with Brian Shilland. Perhaps one a week till we get over there – this one is to Kevin Fleming, who I have never met but who has become a friend over sailmail, email, the phone and by snailmail.

So,to all the cruisers and short handed racers out there looking for self steering gear and Brian and Jen in Dunedin and those like them whose dream it is to follow us and to anyone who cares about customer service as it should be, please join us in a salute to Kevin Fleming. Kevin’s wind vane self steering unit, affectionately known as Kevvo, has performed superbly so far, through the worst storms and the nastiest seas that I ever hope to see. Not surprising when you consider that Kevin has been down in the southern ocean crash testing his own gear and he listens to his customers and actually modifies things that don’t work perfectly. Kevvo’s bearings got a bit worn on the way over and we had had some trivial problems aligning steering lines that are boat specific rather than built into the unit and I wrote and asked Kevin for a set of spares. Kevin not only agreed instantly to put one together, but also made modified versions of some of the fittings and sent it all to the UK free of charge – entirely at his own expense. Astonishing in 2005 on its own but he also included some Australian cash to cover the cost of a qualified engineer fitting the bearings properly. It was waiting for us when we got there, everything fitted properly and the mods are working away out there behind me as I write. Beat that if you can!

Onya Kevin. Great gear and an unbelievable service. You can find him at and his factory is near Adelaide. See if you can make it to the coming home party. Kevin – we owe you a Considerable Consultative thanks

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