Malcolm was picked up as a stray on the RYCT marina after the 2001 Sydney/Hobart – Berri had entered the Sailing South regatta for the first (and last) time and, it seeming like a good idea to have some local knowledge aboard, was invited along for a sail. He demonstrated some of the more important sailing skills (didn’t fall overboard, could eat bacon and tabasco sandwiches and stood his round at the bar afterwards) so was invited to do the Gosford / Lord Howe race the following October.
That was a life-changing experience for Malcolm; he got a feel for what it is like to be away from the ‘safety’ of the normal world, to be part of a team where each is dependent on the other, not just for the performance of the boat but, if it came down to it, for their very survival. In fact, it didn’t come even close to a matter of survival on that trip (it was an absolute pleasure cruise) but it gave him a chance to see how a long race operated, about the responsibility that a skipper bears and that, with Alex as a role model, might just be tempted to try something like that himself one day.
What followed for Malcolm was more sailing on Berri (three Sydney / Hobarts and another Lord Howe) and the thrill of being able to assist with the maintenance of the web site and, at times, forwarding of messages between Berri and her numerous supporters on the first Circumnav. That culminated in him (as proud skipper) taking his own boat down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to meet Alex, Pete and Berri as they returned to the Derwent to close the loop at the end of that amazing trip. He also has a little self-satisfied grin to himself whenever Berri and the International Space Station are mentioned – he thinks ‘yep, I got that rolling’.
Malcolm has tried (and likes to think that he has succeeded) in bringing his understanding of the Berrimilla ethos (that while planning, consideration and teamwork may not always beat bravado, they help you sleep better at night) to his own boat and crew and will always be grateful to his Berrimilla crewmates for the experiences they have shared with him.
Malcolm Robinson links