FROM 1-19. Senegal and Pete's Birthday

Sep 07, 2005 - 0430hrs UTC

0430hrs 07 Sep 2005 UTC 19’32”N 025’38”W Ref 337

From Pete:

Hello out there,

   It’s about 2,am the the engine has stopped and were now sailing goose-winged with about 8-10 kts from the north.

To the right across the pond you can hear the steel band playing outside the “Admiral’s Inn”, you can smell the rum as its poured over the ice in a long tall glass, the ice cracks as the warm rum hits it…..AAAAAHH….the tropics again. During the day the air is hazy, heavy, humid and hot but tonight we have a beautiful warm breeze helping the Berri slide along at a steady 3.5 – 4 knots. Not much has happened since we left Falmouth no disasters very little wind the engine rattling away sucking up the limited diesel supply so early in the trip. About 160 miles south and slightly to the left are the Cape Verde Islands further left on the African coast lies Senegal. We passed the Canary Islands a while back but were not close enough to see anything, before that though we sailed close to Medeira.

Now that island looks interesting. We had a good view of the NW W and S sides passing the island during the late afternoon and night. The NW and W sides of the island have sheer cliffs dropping vertically to the water with deep valleys and faults breaking the line of this flat surface. Set on the very top of these cliffs were small villages connected by a road and joining the main road which was sited close to a sharp toothed ridge running east west along the island’s major axis. The S side of the island was not steep to, it was a more gentle slope with houses running down to the water’s edge. On the chart Medeira looked about 30 by 15 miles and egg shaped. Looking back at it later in the night the orange lights of the villages strung together by the house lights along the roads gave the impression of a gold necklace adorning the island.

    The Fastnet race how good was that result. I can only say it’s a great feeling to wake up after that, lie back and think ” How sweet it is “. We only missed out on the fairytale finish the top spot on the podium by 26 mins. not bad after nearly five and half days of racing. Berri’s 11th. out of 264 I think who finished in IRC division was a huge result, especially when you consider that over 90% of the boats we beat were fully crewed. Thanks for living the dream Alex.

    A while ago I had asked my youngest daughter Tessa if she could send me some cds for the trip home, when they arrived I noted that included amongst them was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. On the morning of the race I had a listen to it.

The opening track starts with a lilting acoustic guitar solo that I could barely hear so I upped the volume, a voice came in……”Hey you…… out there in the cold getting lonely getting old ..can you feel me…” the first stanza finished with ..”Don’t give in without a fight..”. Then the full volume hit me blasting the brain with soaring electric guitar riffs and mega bass drums. This was operatic stuff, this would lead us into battle,  this was Berri’s anthem.

I finished listening to the cd, had faint idea what it was all about and took from it what I needed, I was pumped up, feeling 20 years younger and hot to trot. This feeling continued throughout the race especially on the kite ride home, it seemed we were always in this one right from the start.  Now to other business. In a couple of days time on the ninth of September I turn 60. Everybody is invited to the party, space and access on the Berri is limited but I think we can overcome this by joining “Pete’s party network”. Select some area get a few friends ( or if you are like some of us who have no friends just yourself will do fine ) open a bottle of some suitable liquid refreshment and join the party, you just have to imagine the rest of us are in the next room, oh and try to keep the noise down I don’t want any raucous behavior disturbing the neighbors. That’s about it for now, I’ll get back to you after the party.

                                                                     Cheers  Pete.


From Alex:

Sao Antao is about 140 miles ahead. Its westernmost point is at 02521W so we are already west of it. Once it is abeam, we can, geographically at least, gybe for home. Would be nice to drop in for a demijohn or two of vinho tinto on The Birthday – but perhaps a project for the future. The course for the Cape of Good Hope will be 166M, distance about 4150 miles, about 35 days at 5 knots. That’s geographically. Meteorologically, while we could sail that course, it will be better to head (perhaps a pooptillionth east of) south to the equator and see what the SE trades will allow us to do. My waypoint at 23S 023W is the notional target, at the back of the high and a few degrees east.

From Sao Antao, it is about 1025 miles to the equator, so about 9 days away if we can keep moving. We crossed going north on May 3rd at 029 41 39W. The Fastnet is at 51 22N and Cape Horn is at 56S so we sailed 6442 miles up the Atlantic. We will sail down to about 40S, or about 5482 back down again. Then we really turn for home.

A bit more on the satphone, in case anyone wants to call the old geezer on Friday – be aware that it goes into messagebank after only about 3 rings. Usually we can grab it in that time but not always. If you get messagebank, don’t leave a message – it costs us too much to collect them – just try again in a couple of minutes and someone will be waiting near the phone unless it is in its thunder box. If you get messagebank twice, it probably is, so give up.

I have a small present to get him over the hump, and a few balloons to liven up the messdecks and a card from H & K and a rude one from me. And we have some of Dr Boag’s special throat elixir for breakfast, perhaps a lunchtime consultation in Gaelic, and the aphrodisiac Dr Cooper for afternoon tea, to go with Isabella and Graham’s alcoholic cake. Then there’s Dave’s bottle of Bundy in case we need fortification into the evening. Promises to be a Big Day Out. We might play Pink Floyd on the cd player,if it still works.

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