FROM 1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 20, 2005 - 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 20 Sep 2005 UTC 00’34”S 026’23”W Ref 379

We had our normal Breakfast Short Consultation today, bulk billed, of course, with the medico from Dublin and then we decided that the crossing should be appropriately celebrated with a southern hemisphere based medicinal potion so – half and half Dr Bundy and ASDA orange squash was the go. Noice. Very Noice – thanks Dave and RANSA. This could become habit forming. After all, from 1400 UTC today, it is Katherine’s birthday in Oz – even before that at the Antipodes Islands and in NZ – and we will have to follow tradition and celebrate in all the time zones. Happy birthday K. Looking forward to talking to you this evening.

Big welcome to all the new Gusts – thanks for signing on – it makes our day every time Stephen sends us an update. A bit intimidating too. Today’s co-incidence – I’ve been thinking about doing a note on Berrimilla’s sails, and who should pop up in the Gust Book but the guy who made them. A roar of applause, please, all y’all for Mr Brian Shilland – a true master of his trade. More on this guy later.

Must write some more for 5/6 K at Belmore South. [see below…]

Diana and the PBers and anyone else who is interested – post Man Overboard modifications as follows:

  1. We will rig a second, lazy preventer on the other side of the boom so that it becomes a simple matter to pull it on immediately without having to re-run it from the other side after a tack or gybe. Will also be useful for locking boom in place when we are not using the mainsail.
  2. The MOB recovery tackle with its sling (not the same as the Seattle sling) has been retrieved from the lazarette and is now set up across the coachroof just fwd of the mainsheet track. It is designed to be snap-shackled onto a strop fitted to the boom (and now in place) or on to the main topping lift or a halyard forward of the shrouds, or to anything strong enough to hold it like the pushpit in a real emergency. It is a 4 part tackle with a jam cleat on the lower block, giving an upward pull, and there is a lazy block at the top which will enable a downward pull, for instance if the whole gizmo is hoisted on a halyard. The tail is set up to be run to a reefing winch on the boom if necessary. If we ever need it, the tackle simply unclips from its stowage and can be clipped wherever needed. Also doubles as a spare mainsheet. I hope we never need to test it for real, but I’m sure it will work.

Diana, are there Sydney PBers?

To Belmore

Macky: Do you use electricity? If you do where do you get it from?

That needs a big answer. Yes, we do use electricity. In fact, Berrimilla needs a constant supply of about 1.4 Amps during the day to run all the electrical and electronic systems and a bit more at night when we also need to have navigation and instrument lights on and more still when we are using the autopilot or the radio or the watermaker. We have three big storage batteries – one that is kept fully charged just for starting the engine (although it can be used as backup for the other systems if needed) and the other two, called the ‘house’ batteries, store all the electricity that we need for all the other things.

There are three ways that we can charge these three batteries.

  1.  First, the engine has an alternator, so every time we run it, the batteries get charged. We can select which batteries we want to charge as well.
  2.  Second, we have a big solar panel, which will provide about 4.5 amps in direct sunlight but is no good at night
  3.  And third, we have a generator that hangs over the back of the boat and is driven by a turbine that we tow through the water on the end of a 40 metre line. The turbine (sometimes also called the impeller – can you work out why?) is turned by the water flowing past it and it turns the generator at the other end of the line, but it only works when we are moving at better than about 2 knots. The generator provides up to 6 amps when the boat is going fast and the turbine is whizzing round, but less when we are going slowly. We can convert the generator so that it is driven by the wind by putting a big fan on it and hanging it in the rigging instead of over the stern.

Using a combination of all three of these, we can quite easily keep the batteries fully charged. Any extra electricity that we generate can be used directly to power the systems instead of using the batteries, so helping to keep them charged. We have various ways of checking for when the batteries need to be charged, but mostly, it happens automatically because the turbine and the solar panel are working.

And then we also carry lots of both rechargeable and throw away – expendable – smaller batteries for our torches, headlamps, CD players and the rest. If you are still hanging in there and interested, I can tell you about all the systems that we use to run the boat – for instance, how we send these emails. But I will wait to hear from you about that.

Silly question – do you know what a ‘knot’ is when used to measure speed, as I used it in this answer? It is quite easy to find out, (try a dictionary as a start) but I can explain it if you would like me to.

Yehia – sorry to leave you till last – Pete is going to answer your question and Nasaskia’s but, as usual when I am up writing emails, he is asleep because that is how we have to live (which may be part of your answer!) so when he wakes up, I will remind him.

From Pete:
Hi there kids,…..Pete here with answers to a couple of your questions.

  • First Nasaskia’s question “How many injuries did you get when you went overboard“.
    I didn’t hit anything when I was catapulted overboard, it was quick and clean one second I was standing on top of the boat’s cabin the next I was in the water. A quick swim to grab a rope that was trailing overboard then Alex was pulling the rope and me back to the boat. When Alex was was helping me get back on board my arm slipped from his grip because the back of the boat was bouncing up and down with the waves and I fell back in the water. My shin scraped past a heavy piece of metal (part of the self steering gear on the back of the boat). This caused a bad bruise down my leg and cut three bits of skin from my shin, each about the size of a five cent piece. These injuries are healing well and should be better in about a week. We now have to make sure that all the ropes that stop the sail from doing what it did to me are properly connected all the time.
  •  Now, Yehia’s question ” Is it hard to sail in a small boat“.
    Let me answer your question this way….it is hard to sail long distances on a small boat.
    Small boats cannot sail as fast as big boats so if you have to go a long way it takes a lot longer and this is where the problems such as storage space come in. Sailing from England to Australia we think will take about four months so we need to carry enough food for this time but what if something goes wrong, what if the mast breaks and we can’t use our big sails anymore, it will then take a lot longer so we need to carry more food. What if the saltwater gets into the food storage areas and spoils some of the food. For these sorts of reasons we are carrying enough food for six months. The problem with a small boat is where do you put it all.
    As well as food we need space for all our clothes, all the spare parts we need for the engine and other machinery. We need to carry lots of medical supplies in case an accident happens or one of us gets sick. We also have to carry lots of things to make the boat work. We have about 13 sails on board and all the ropes and things you need to keep the boat sailing well. So you can imagine how much room we have left to live in……not much.
    The other thing with a small boat is that out in the middle of the ocean you get very big waves and very strong winds. The big waves throw a small boat around a lot and at times make things such as cooking something to eat, impossible. That is why we have lots of grab rails and handles to hang on to, because at any time you can be thrown across the boat by a wave and you need to be able to grab something quickly to stop you being hurt. In front of the stove we have a harness where you can strap yourself in and not be thrown while cooking dinner.
    For most of the time though the weather is fine and there are no big waves or strong winds to worry about, that is when we can be out on deck enjoying the sun and the fresh air and the wonderful sailing and in these conditions it doesn’t matter how big your boat is it all feels the same…….absolute bliss.

If I don’t talk to you again before your break have a great holiday……..cheers

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