Logs ( 200 )

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 12, 2004

Seems our daft venture has begun. Today we loaded about two tons of gear and food into Pete’s van, and piled some more on the roof, and he launched himself and van on the Spirit of Tasmania to take it all down to Hobart to await our arrival at the end of the race. He’s bringing the van back on Wednesday. Hilary and I went up to North Head to wave them goodbye – sadly, the digital camera is in the van so we only have stone age photos, which I will scan if we get it developed before we leave. There will be digital pics from Hobart.

Before loading the van:

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 19, 2004

We’ve had a huge week doing all the stuff we have been putting off for ever. In the last couple of days we have taken off the winch bases and re-sealed them and fixed some leaks – all in the delightful warmth of a Sydney summer.

And fitted a new tiller and reinforced a perspex hatch and tested the shower curtain that we have designed to protect the electronics. Pete has made new storm boards for the companionway and – really important – a new footrest for the helmsperson, incorporating a Guinness/coffee mug holder for those unfortunates marooned in the cockpit.

And we have been experimenting with our Chinese pressure cooker, using it as a dry oven to make fruit cake and bread and damper. Works really well, and we will calibrate the metho usage on the way to Hobart if it’s not too pear-shaped outside, so we know how much of the stuff to load to get us to Port Stanley. We will put the food lists on the web as soon as we have finished buying it all.

Still to do – calibrate the instruments we replaced last week and generally tidy up the boat and start loading the race gear. We’ve done the mandatory radio check on the race frequencies, but we may still have to endure a spot safety check. Should be no problem and anyway, it’s always good value.

Then we have to start – 1310 on Boxing Day – and count ten lighthouses and turn right for the Derwent.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 25, 2004

Happy Christmas y’all

Seems we are committed. I think Berrimilla is as prepared as we can make her but we won’t know till we get there. The forecast is for a wet and cold and bumpy ride and we will need to keep the boat in conservative mode but not as bad, perhaps, as earlier years. Probably not in time for the New Year’s Eve party in Constitution dock, but we will do our best.

The Fastnet organisers have accepted a provisional entry for the two handed division for 2005, so we can’t wimp out now. If we actually make it to the start line, it will be 44 years since I was last there.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 26, 2004 │Departure

Off and running – email from Berri: Not a bad start considering the number of boats on the line. Nice to have the striders fast group passing by to see us off – thanks y’all. Going down the coast under assym kite at about 8 knots off Botany bay – the cold front should arrive around breakfast time @ 30+ knots so the aim is to pick up the current and get as far south as seems reasonable before easing back into the coast towards Montague Island before the change. Celebratory guiness off bondi and fingers firmly crossed.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 27, 2004 – 0900hrs │471nm to go, 104th, 6.5knts

51 miles ahead of last years position.

We’re off Montague Is., all well and so far, Berri seems to be holding together too. Reasonably dry and snug so our work last week may have been worth while.

Those of us who are experienced in the efficacy of such things had a nice bacon sandwich with tabasco and a small taste of guinness to fortify us for the southerly. Others made do with a stugie or two for similar reasons. We went through the front about an hour ago and changed rapidly from kite to #1 to #4 and two reefs and we’re heading more or less for green cape which is promising. The change was quite soft, as forecast, but it’s looking rather murky ahead.

Thanks heaps for all your messages and g00d wishes and special thanks to everyone who helped us to get organised and get going. Will try to keep updates more or less daily.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 27 2004 – 1900hrs │442nm to go, 85th, 5.9knts

35 miles ahead of last years position.

For Steph – not just any beer, ma’am – only works with guinness and then only if you can keep it down.

Been a big day – down to storm jib & trisail – quite colourful but wet and cold. Now 30 miles N of Green Cape and Bass St. Boat ok, crew ok. Forecast lousy wth 2 more days of at least strong winds. 45 -50 kts today in driving rain sea surface all white and frothy with big seas up to six metres. Black lines of cloud with sunlight reflecting off the tops – magnificent and deserving of a small drop from the Dublin Doctor in appreciation

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 28 2004 – 0800hrs │397nm to go, 57th, 5.4knts

60 miles ahead of last year.

What a night. Straight out of one of Turner’s paintings – brilliant moon haloed by solid black clouds with translucent edges and a massively fragmented path on the water below. Water not black but steely grey in the reflections and sheets of spray flying all around the boat and over us. 45 – 50 knot gusts and we had to slow the boat right down to about 4 knots to keep her from banging into each wave. Just passing Gabo now with thick misty cloud all around with rain squalls and sunshine. Sparkling but cold.

Had to run the sked for Four Seasons this morning cos Berri’s new radio was working the whole fleet while FS couldnt get most of them. Busy hour or so, and really difficult writing positions, relaying and holding on while also working the mike – Berri going up and down and sideways and rolling on 3-5 metre waves. Breakfast will be Pippin fruitcake – Thanks Anne – with no doubt a draught from Dublin.

Love youse all – it’s going to be aslow trip, I think.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 28 2004 1830hrs │ 394nm to go, 54th, 1.5knts

27 miles ahead of last year.

Hard to make progress in these conditions so we’re hove to – better to be going sideways slowly in the wrong direction than fast. We’ll have a look at the weather tomorrow. All asleep ‘cept me, doing the 1705 sked and Ross on lookout. Chocolate fix imminent.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 29 2004 – 0600hrs │405nm to go, 58th, 2.7knts

35 miles behind last year.

Following an update email to Berri advising of Skandia losing keel and capsizing the reply was:

… we knew it is adrift and all safe but not why. Getting the boat dried out, doing some sleeping, finally getting stugies into our sickie now that violent motion has stopped and maybe get him back on deck.

Winds due to abate this morn but may not help much. Still getting 9 meter breaking waves and 60 kts in rain squalls but very comfy.

Choc fix administered. About to go on watch.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 29, 2004 – 0900hrs │ 399nm to go, 57th, 5.0knts

40 miles behind last year.

Sickie no more. He’s on the pill, eating and steering for the first time in 2 days. Nothing like stopping the washing machine and getting some sleep.

We’re finally pointing more or less at Tas Is@6KT. Much better feeling. And it seems there are boats emerging from bolt holes up the coast and on our tail. Thanks for news. Interesting on watch last night – Turner all over again but more vivid, if thats possible, with the breaking waves having a faint bluish translucence. Never seen that in moonlight before. Whiteout in the rain squalls with the sea surface blowing up into the rain. Big waves too.

Trying to drink tea as i write. mistake.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 30, 2004 – 0800hrs │ 307nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 5:30pm) 56th, 4.0knts

121 miles behind last year.

This ride is becoming a plum for the headbangers and s&m freaks among us. For the rest of us, its getting tedious. Looks like another shitfight with the weather as we get further south and we may just get in before Easter if all goes well. The Dublin Doctor will be in short supply. Will call Stephen’s mobile on the satphone if this USB link thingy finally defeats me. Simon at digiboat may have some ideas. Egg mash being concocted as I write – eggs, bacon, cheese, tabasco and who knows what from the smelly wet sock bag. Life goes on.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 30, 2004 – 1100hrs │ 300nm to go (ETA 03/01/05 0300hr) 56th, 4.0knts

129 miles behind last year.

Ello. Expecting to have our half way guinness in 3 hours with 489 miles on the clock. Half distance is 314. SPBF. Not much help from the weather gods for the next few days either.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 30 2004 – 1800hrs │ 276nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 1730hr) 56th, 4.0knts.

The sun’s out, the boat smells but is drying out, we’re getting some sleep – even me – and we’re going to finish. We are trying to stay in a dropping breeze tonight and be in position to pick up forecast NE/NW tomoz. Race rules prevent me from being specific in real time. It will be interesting to see whether Windmills and Rollercoaster have the same strategy when they report on the 1705 sked. Half way guinness was most welcome and we hope we don’t have to sail so far for the second half. Thanks to everyone for messages.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 2004, 31 – 0600hrs │ 207nm to go (ETA 01/01/05 1830hr) 55th, 4.9knts.

One of those evenings the poets like to mess with. Mt strzelecki on flinders is. was just visible under red and gold wispy mares tails and the boat is dry and we seem to have kept the breeze so far. Stars like you lot in the cities never see any more and the moon due in a couple of hours. Rollercoaster had the same idea as us so the next sked will be interesting. We think we can see Magic astern. If we can keep the breeze and collect the change tomoz we should be well down the tas coast by the time the next southerly arrives. Not looking like a good one to be in for too long.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 31, 2004 – 1400hrs │ 181nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 1930hr) 57th, 5.0knts.

Thanks for the emails. Frustrating morning so far. We overtook Rollercoaster during the night and were hooning along with the kite up at sunrise but found the usual hole out off cape barren and watched the bubbles not passing by for several hours. Huge pink and brown jellyblobbers about a metre across and the occasional dolphin. Roll on the Cape Raoul seals. Now under way again v slowly more or less in the right direction. Rollercoaster sneaking past inshore – bugger – we’ll get em in the southerly tomorrow. Saltersboats motored past in cruising mode silhouetted against the rising sun – bastards. We have just done a stocktake and we have just enough of the dublin doctor’s medicinal potion to get us round tasman is. if we’re lucky. Gripe water in short supply after this morning’s stuffing around but there’s enough goats milk in a suitably innocuous bottle to keep Pete in serious coffee till the new year. Funny stories in abundance but not for family websites.

Happy new year to all seven or so of our listeners in case you are all partying when next we crank this thing up.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Dec 31, 2004 – 1800hrs │161nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 0230hr) 7knts

Thanks to everyone for your messages and good wishes. Happy new year y’all too and we’ll be thinking of you.

The race for us now is to get to Tasman Island and round the corner before the southerly change due ‘tomorrow morning’. It’s just possible but we need some help so we’ve dedicated a small libation to Poseidon and his or her mate Neptune to ask them to make the arrangements. We will find out tomorrow whether it worked. We have Katherine’s purple kite up and – at last – we’re moving. If the wind holds, we ought to be at T.I. at about the same time as the fan starts to rotate. May make the difference between finishing tomorrow or Sunday.

Cross the fingers.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Jan 02, 2005 – 0645hrs │ Sydney to Hobart 05 finished

58th out of a starting field of 116, at an avg of 3.9knts. Elapsed time 6 days 17 hrs 35 mins 21 secs.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Jan 01, 2005 – 1500hrs │ 47nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 0600hr) 58th, 4.3knts.

We’ve got a beer on with Magic, about half a mile away, so it’s everyone on the rail to T. I. and the finish. We think we’ll let him go round first so he can find the holes for us.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Jan 01, 2005 – 1800hrs│ 37nm to go (ETA 02/01/05 0400hr) 58th, 4.9knts.

Thanks everyone for messages. We’ll try and reply later – just a bit on at the mo. Tasman Island at bloody last – we’re just rounding. Been a long time coming. James driving, somewhat wet and draggly but seems to be enjoying himself. The usual nasty bullets at 40+ knots and a bit to bouncy for emailing but the mail must get through. Ross cooking up mashed spuds with onion, dried peas, bacon and eggs to fill some empty spaces. We have reserved the last three cans from the medicine chest of of the barber-surgeon to ensure that the agues are kept at bay till the slab of Dr Boags arrives in Con Dock in about 7 hours if all goes well.

We love youse all

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Jan 03, 2005 – 1500hrs

Berrimilla is in Constitution Dock, but moving to Bellerive Yacht Club tomorrow for final setup. No departure date yet decided.

1-1. Sydney-Hobart Race 2004

Jan 04, 2005 – 0700hrs │Bellerive Yacht Club.

Hard to summarise a race like that. Certainly one of the more difficult and interesting that I have done, with a bit of everything somewhere. Seldom do we ever get down to three reefs in the main in Berri but this time we were there three times, with the full storm gear up for around 24 hours and the #5 on its own for short periods. And I’ve never hove to in a race before, although we stopped to dry out in 1999 – but this time it was the obvious thing to do. The boat was handling the conditions really well and Eden was not an option except possibly as a last resort if James deteriorated, so once we found we could not make headway to the south west there seemed to be no point in going sideways fast when we could do it slowly and in comfort. And get some stugies [ed:sea sick pills] into James. And get some sleep.

Comparatively, most like 1977. I think, with a series of nasties and some parking and no let up. The 1998 storm was much more intense but very short and 1999 was a headbang in both senses from half way to the finish. Including our heave to, we beat our 1999 time by about 18 hours, if I remember correctly, but that one also included a stop in Skeleton bay.

Some interesting points in the tracker plot (haven’t seen it but they must be there).

Full stop north of Eden where we got the full force of the southerly and put up the storm gear, quite close inshore near a farmhouse. And the heave to around 70 miles SE of Eden – I think we drifted about 17 miles but I was way past logging it at the time. And the car park off Cape Barren Island where we waited for the north easterly that took all day to arrive. Storm Bay was something else again – really nasty and scary lee shore inside Cape Raoul with huge waves and then more gale round the Cape and calm and variables as well, just to keep everyone guessing.

We are now working on all the jobs on the list to get Berri into voyage mode. She seems to have suffered no damage despite some big crashes off waves and a lot of pounding. We have stripped hor out and James did a big clean and polish with soap and bleach inside and today we will fit the internal insulation and probably move from Con dock to Bellerive.

For the first time since all this nonsense started, we have all the gear together and it is now spread around the Sutherland’s yard in various heaps ready to be loaded. It will be a challenge stowing t all.

The aim is to leave on Saturday 8th barring major problems in the meantime.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 7, 2005 - 0700hrs │Bellerive Yacht Club

Greetings from a still wintry Hobart. A couple of the jobs we have had to do have taken a lot longer than we expected and we have now decided not to leave until Monday. We will clear Customs at 10.00 and plod down the Derwent later that day.

Huge heap of sails, spares, food, clothing – and the bicycle, now attached to its stand and generator – all to be squeezed and coaxed into Berrimilla’s very uncavernous interior. A bit like getting an entire shipping container into a Tarago. We hope to get most of it in today. The windvane is back on – thanks for the Christmas present, Kevin – and we will test it tomorrow. We have also insulated the inside with closed cell foam to help prevent condensation when it gets cold further south.

We will head for a waypoint south of New Zealand at 47.50S 167.50E near the Snares Islands and then see what the weather brings. The southern ocean shelves from about 6000m to about 100 down there and it is generally one of the nastier bits of the passage according to the stories. The plan after that is to stay close to or north of 45S for most of the way across the South Pacific and then head south at about 100.00W to round the Horn at 56.04S 67.15W and up to the Falklands.

We’ll keep you posted. Thanks for all your messages in the last few days. Sorry we can’t reply to everyone individually.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 9, 2005 – 0700hrs │Bellerive Yacht Club

We squeezed the shipping container into the tarago yesterday and there isn’t much airspace. Berrimilla’s waterline is down to the red boot-topping so she’s heavier that we have ever sailed her by at least a ton. Will be interesting to see how she handles big seas on the quarter. The forecast is for WNW 25 -30kts for a week or so after a front goes through on Tuesday so it should be downhill.

We have a final rig check today and, subject to that, we clear customs at 10.00 tomorrow and we can go, so it looks as if it may be on. I will try and provide an update as we go down the Derwent.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005 │ Pete's Diary

Monday 10th of January 05

We cleared customs at about 10 a.m then packed more fresh stores.  Every nook and cranny is now full  and both Alex and I have to find somewhere to put our clothes etc. Jeanne and Alex Sutherland had been a tremendous help in getting fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, salmon and meat.  They also cooked and froze many curries and pasta sauces, which should see us through the first week.  They cooked then dried some other meals, to supplement our dried foods.  It should be interesting to try the result of this experiment.

At midday, we went to Bellerive Yacht Club, where many friends had gathered to see us off, had a few Guinnesses then back to the boat and  we were off. Our friends had  streamers to throw over the boat as we left, very colourful, a lot of fun, the young kids loved it.

Headed down the Derwent with the wind behind us, later we got a beam breeze of about 10 to 15 kn.  so we put up the main and the cut down cruising number one.  This gave us a good run to the Iron Pot.  We then had to come up wind about 20° and the wind had also increased to 25 to 30 kn . Dropped the headsail and put two reefs in the main and the number four up.  We are now heading for Cape Raoul doing about 6 to 6 1/2 knots and towing  the propeller generator, this is giving about four amps output.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005 - 0600hrs │Bellerive Yacht Club – but only just….

Thanks y’all.

I’ve just printed the four day forecast – don’t really know why, cos we’re going anyway. Odd feeling – months of planning and fiddly fixes and paperwork and lists and helpful advice and last minute disasters will end in a few hours and we will find out if we have got it right. And then nothing to do except look after Berrimilla, count the albatrosses and write to you lot.

So thanks to everyone who has helped to get us this far – there are lots of you out there, but especially Hilary and Jeanne and John and Alex and Steve whose tolerance and equanimity and planning and fixing genius and general understanding have made it possible.

And thanks for all your messages. Nice to know that there are so many people who can’t wait to wave us goodbye and want to make sure we’ve really gone. To coin the old cliche once again, we love youse all and we’ll consult the dublin doctor on your behalf when we pass Tasman Island.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005 – 1400hrs │The Derwent River.

Sailing down the Derwent at 6kts with cut down headie and full main and Stainless Kevvo driving. Lovely send off with streamers and photos and a drop of the doctor to fortify the assembled company. Boat pretty heavy and not much room to move inside but we will get used to it. Forecast looks favourable for a quick trip across the Tasman, although a bit blowy. We’ll be in touch.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005 - 1600hrs │The Iron Pot

A phone call from Alex – just rounding the Iron Pot, first sail change, 30knts of breeze, but settling in well. Off and running.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005- 1800hrs |43’11”S 147’37”E

I’ll send a position once a day if I can. So far so good. We’re towing the generator at 6kts in 25kts and getting superfluous wiggly amps so i will also keep the pc running.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 10, 2005 – 2030hrs |43’23”S 148’02”E

Out past T I and the doctor has been consulted on all your behalfs or is that behalves. Wind around 30 gusting 40 and v lumpy sea. All seems to be working so far. The cliffs along the port arthur shore in the evening light and cape pillar a silhouette to the north. Seabirds and jelly blobbers all around and there was a fishing boat on the southern horizon for a time.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 11, 2005 – 0830hrs |43’47”S 149’50”E

Dank and dismold down here. Grey and lumpy sea. low cloud and as per forecast – thanks Roger, if you’re watching, 20 -30 from the north. I think i saw a gust of 53 during the night but me eyes aint that good. Berri seems to be handling it well but it’s pretty uncomfortable inside and no let up for at least another day. Because everything is so tightly stacked in the boat, we cant get at most of the stuff till we get a bit of an ease. Just a little hump to test the fortitude.

Last night, cloudless, moonless and gerzillions and gigazillions of stars – not dark at all and almost a horizon. Pete is just getting into the gear to go on watch – we’re going about 3 hours on, 3 off for the time being, but Stainless Kevvo is doing his job so well and Berri is so well balanced that there’s nowt to do except enjoy the scenery, bleak as it is. Minor problem with chafe on the steering lines but sortable. This morning’s coffee was almost as good as a catapult launch.

See yez

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 11, 2005 – 1900hrs |44’13”S 151’12”E

Not getting any easier but Berri handling it well. Now a big beam sea with breakers and we get caught occasionally. pretty violent motion so everything is a strain to do. like getting into wwg wot i’m about to do. We were visited by a couple of big long line fishing boats at lunchtime, just as we finished our first day’s run – about 164 miles and we’re still averaging 7ts or so. In really big albatross country now -short stubby bodies with about 4 metre wingspan and brownish on top with yellow beaks.

Just plugging on…

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 11, 2005 – 2200hrs

Hi all y’all – ive just been chastised for my grammar but english evolves doesn’t it?

thanks for today’s crop of wit and wisdom. particularly liked the one about deodorant…

We’ve been reducing sail all day and now down to #5 and no main in about 50 kts and bigger waves than when we hove to off eden a couple of weeks ago. Slowed right down for the night but no stars this time. Poo bum. listening to radio oz on the HF cos too wet to read or fiddle with discman.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 12, 2005 – 0700hrs | 44’55”S 152’51”E. 289nm 6.6knts

Bleah. What was it Malcolm Fraser said when he lost his trousers – something about life not being easy? Out here it’s a breeze man – constant 60 – 75 knots with little lulls to 40 according to the instruments and it certainly sounds and feels like it. I’m in my party gear, but unzipped and unfastened wherever possible cos it gets so hot and steamy with the door closed as it mostly is. still carrying the #5 although rather have the storm jib -too late, alas. this was not supposed to happen. Berri handling it reasonably well with NW wind on port qtr hdg about 115 and occasionally getting dumpers across the deck. heeling about 20deg. Halyards flogging and jib likewise when the gusts hit. Nowt to do about it except sit here wedged into the edge of the nav table and write to all y’all. OK Kim? Shit – that was a biggie. Think I’ll make a nice cup of tea and a cucumber sando. basic problem with that as a strategy is having to remove most of the party gear to accomplish the resultant pee. A horny dilemma. oh for a pusser’s immersion suit with an appropriate tube all tied up with a bit of string. See yer kiddos.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 12, 2005 – 1044hrs | 44’54”S 153’18”E.

log back in operation just passed 300m = 1%. wallowing along in big but abating seas at 3kt after the change at 0900. none too soon – this particular geriatric was getting a bit cheesed with poseidon et al. sort them out for us please, all y’all out there. Will try and bore you with more trivia later but may have to be careful with tx time. in case you’re wondering why this little elegy is mostly me, pete is keeping a paper journal which i hope will be less trashy than this one. i had intended to do both but at the moment it’s all i can manage to keep this one going. Have to go and put some more sail up. yo.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 12, 2005 - 1800hrs | 45’11”S 154’06”E. 343nm 5.2knts

sunshine and tschnicolour. just a position report. pottering along at 5 knots with the orange storm jib and #5 goosewinged. safe and easy and should be ok for the forecast winds but slower than we could go. Steve, could you please tell brian shilland that the cut down #1 he made for us works really well as a running sail. we had it up this arv with the 5 on the twin poles and were getting up to 10kts in conditions where any sort of kite would be impossible. took it off when spreader height waves started to break over the stern. fun though. what sort of trivia would all y’all like us to report? else i’ll just keep drivelling on. pete says hi and thanks for all his messages. he’s beginning to look a bit scruffy.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 13, 2005 - 0617hrs| 45’25”S 155’08”E.

Having launched myself into a new day with yet another sail change and some coffee, here goes with some reality. its been a slow old night – sorry Roger – we’ve spent the first few days discovering what happens out here and – for me at least – it needs a bit of a rethink. slow night becos we got the EGC forecast yest. evening offering 30-40 and (now upgraded to 50) but still some distance away, and didn’t want to be caught out in the dark with twin poles set and 40 – 60+kts and 10 metre waves up our collective chuff like the previous night so we took them off and set the storm jib. easy in the harbour, but about 20 minutes of hard yakka on a pitching and rolling foredeck for two people and very tiring.

lesson one – we won’t be able to cope with sail changes every few hours to keep the boat at close to max speed. problem is to work out the best compromise. thinking of various combos to give more variation with less effort.

lesson 2 – the wind patterns at least at this latitude have been less consistent than i expected. may change as we go south. We don’t seem to need to eat – have done almost no cooking and cant find a lot of the gear anyway, but that will improve as we get time to poke around in the stacks.

lesson 3 – no really a lesson but more an axiom – wet sails stuffed into bags take up a lot more room than when they are neatly flaked by willing or even recalcitrant foredeck unionists so the front end of the boat is stuffed tightly with fat sails, the barber-surgeon’s two chests, spuds, oranges plywood, the sushi board (an in joke for those who have sailed in the boat) and all the misc junk we couldn’t find space for down the back. will improve, but not easy to manage for the moment.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 13, 2005 – 1105hrs

1105hrs 13 Jan 2005. 45’25”S 155’42”E.

competition from 4525 15542 Seaboots are interesting, gregarious and exotic entities that are in the personal protection business with a busy sideline in organic products.   These products are designed to attract similar entities and knock the living daylights out of anything else that moves.   Anyone who visited the titan arum [ed: big plant that flowers once a decade and smells like rotting flesh] in sydney during its brief spell will get the idea.   My pair hold animated conversations with each other, my socks and even pete when he’s in a specially generous mood.   they have been floated on the stock exchange and are currently trading at an all time high of three cents and a dash of asa foetida.   they really really love to be appreciated for being what they are, so i thought you might enjoy a competition to create the best description of the inside of my left boot when it’s at its most talkative.   an ode, perhaps, or a limerick, even a haiku for the erudite.   could lend itself to those with an elegiac bent.  or just an adjective.   anyone game enough to try?   if we eventually get back to sydney with sense of humour intact, there will be massively wonderful prizes.  editor or judges decision final and irrevocable and to be announced at the bash this year in march (we hope)and in this space.   Remember that this is a family website and, while my boot will certainly appreciate he more scatological entries, they won’t be published…

ps seems its about to blow like stink again in the next 24 hours so may be a bit busy

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 13, 2005 – 1643hrs |45’41”S 156’19”E. 443nm 5.8knts

Today’s trivia – we’re just past half way to the Snares waypoint south of stewart island in NZ. And I’ve heard the joke about increasing the total IQ on both sides. Lovely sailing all day after a shaky start with what looked like a front overtaking us. Forecast for way to the south west is for 50+ from the west so some apprehension but with a bit of luck the worst of that will pass to the south of us. We had an anti-scorbutic g&t (the slice of lemon…)and the iodine and quinine for other agues. The Mary Rose’s barber surgeon woulod have administered it in unmentionable places by large syringe but we managed it rather more pleasantly.

Slowly sorting out the tip inside the boat and we think we have a sail change routine that is a bit less wearing. we’ll see.

Even did some washing.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 14, 2005 – 0934hrs | 46’19”S 158’40”E.

Various things – im going to try and do 2 tx per day may be hard to match your time zone. [Ed:Sydney time] can then waffle on in spare time and send all at once. seems youre doing much the same.[ed: I collect the various emails during the day and edit them into a text file to transmit each evening, and the do the same first thing each morning for the international followers. Transmissions are usually at about 0800 and 2100 each day] have checked and am well inside tx limit for the mo. [ed:we are limited by both time and cost as to how much text can transmitted to and from Berri. So far so good, so keep on emailing] if we get out of range, will try 1 satphone call per day with position and summary to you [ed: that means me I suspect!].

have been asked by several to describe the wildlife. assume that means outside the boat and not the ferals in my boots and elsewhere. i dead cockroach in bilge so far – seems it’s too hard even for them. Otherwise all seabirds – far more than i had expected – always several around, poss attracted by the whizzer we are towing to drive the aux alternator. first four:

– brown all over, yellowish beak, looks just like a crow side on but when it banks the gliders wings are obvious but not as extensive relatively as the albatrosses. about half to one metre span, mostly glides sedately. mutton bird?

– smaller, bright white underside greyish flecks on top except for trailing edge of squareish short tail over and under which are black, and upper leading edge of wing also black. black feet i think, creamy short beak, about 50cm span, shorter wider wings (lower aspect ratio) and it flaps them. wonderfully aerobatic in the hollows of the waves. occasionally parks on the water like the albatrosses.

– similar to above, a bit bigger, with black underside to wings, not as agile, wings a bit longer. havent had opportunity to observe more.

– theres a tiny black and white bird with short rounded wings that almost flaps with its wingtips in the water – havent seen one for a bit but will try better description if i do

– and for Tom, there was a sleek green spotted double decker bus with pinkish wings perched on the lower spreader last night in the hazy starlight. slightly larger mate hovering over masthead light trying to chat it up. no purple ephelaunts yet but watching closely for you. i want a piece of the winnings…

still working on the gadget, Siobhan – pete says hi. he’s taken off his dinner suit and is giving all signs of being totally somewhere else.

for the sailors – foredeck routine in these heavy running conditions – storm jib is permanently hanked on at bottom of main forestay and mostly tied into pulpit. #4 on a short strop hanked on above it and can also be tied to other side rail. #5 hanked on outer forestay, and can be tied in as well. saves continuous packing and unpacking, v flexible and works for twin poling or pole & main or two sail work. works as long as foredeck is not burying and easy to download parked sails if forecast looking pearshaped because already mostly flaked and can be bagged while still hanked on. Current combo is poled #4 with 3 reefed main – may change to twin pole with #5 and dump main as wind gets up and pete wakes. [ed: the higher the number the smaller the sail, with storm jib being the smallest]

we are talking to Derek @ penta comstat [ed: volunteer long range radio centre for sailing information and advice on weather] on long range skeds and to Taupo Maritime [ed: ditto] every morning.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 14, 2005 - 1600hrs | 46’28”S 159’32”E. 585nm 5.8knts

More wildlife – birds again, although i did see a bit of barnacle covered kelp. The little bird is back: grey/brown on top, fairly even closely flecked, white under but with dark edges to wings. about 30cm span, darts along the surface flopping from side to side very fast, wingtips in and out of the water. too hard to see more detail but really lovely to watch. and another much bigger one, probably an albatross – yellow beak, brown/grey wings top and under, short stubby body, feet tucked into rear feathers so invisible, short spear of brown from base of wing across base of tail on top. hard to judge span but perhaps 2.5 metres. lower aspect ratio than earlier Yellow nosed.

I have no idea who is reading this stuff, so is there anything anyone would like me to write about? It’s going to be a very long journey. Things that seem vastly important to us like the next cup of soup are clearly trivial and boring to anyone else although some sailors have filled whole books with bland detail of daily life and even sold a lot.

Quick summary so far: Stainless Kevvo, our Fleming windvane self steering gear, is working splendidly and steered us through the storm a couple of nights ago without hassle. We both saw 80 knot gusts that night. the desalinator is temperamental but produces drinkable water and will continue to do so. Slowly getting into the stacks of stuff inside the boat and rearranging things. Averaging 5.9 knots and have covered 600 miles in a bit over 4 days. Temperature ok, water 11 degrees. With a bit of luck, we’ll be at the Snares on Monday. After that, there’s an iceberg at 48s 117w which is more or less on our way. reasonable start, can do better. We’re ok, boat’s ok, so far so good. end of trivia.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 14, 2005 – 1600hrs │Strange Sunrise Phenomena

1600hrs 14 Jan 2005. 46’28”S 159’32”E. 585nm 5.8knts

A ‘why is it so’ question: back in my sensible days when we used to sail back to sydney after an S2H, we used to spend the first night in Port Arthur. I first noticed this effect the first time we left PA, very early in the morning to catch the predicted southerly – I was steering, clutching a bacon sando and a mug of the doctor and as we turned left at the south end of the estuary I saw that the sun, magnificently pink and orange, was rising behind Tasman Island with radiating fiery streaks from gaps in a line of cloud low on the horizon. One of the more memorable moments and we managed to repeat the experience on later visits. So – the boat is at about latitude 44S – draw the lines and you should see that the sun appears to be rising on a bearing of about 120 – not 090 as one might expect or, given that the sun at this time of year is more or less above the tropic of capricorn at 23S, even 060ish. What is going on? As I write, at about 47S, and tracking almost exactly east (magnetic), the sun is rising way out off our starboard bow, an even more apparently bizarre example. Not that I ever needed an explanation because just watching it is enough.

We’re still hooning along, slightly below max for cruise mode, with the cut down #1 poled out and 3 reefs [ed: the main sail has rows of holes across it parallel to the boom which allow it to be shortened in height. That shortening is called “reefing”. Hence “3 reefs” means the main is 3 lowered (or shortened) by 3 rows of reefing holes]. a bit faster without the reefs, but very hard to get them back in again if we need to because we would have to get the pole off first to bring the boat up into wind to feather the main and get the sail off the shrouds and spreaders. Impossible to drag it down otherwise against the friction. Major hassle for a couple of decrepit geriatrics. About two days to Stewart Island if the wind holds.

I’ve been thinking about how to fill this space and perhaps future updates will offer you I hope non-trivial things like ‘windvane steering’, ‘balance and getting on the step’, ‘more wildlife’, ‘cooking bread at sea’, ‘on-board ritual’ ‘a day in the life of’, ‘getting into full party gear’ and similar guff. Any other suggestions welcome and i’ll do my best.

First wildlife ID – the little darting bird is probably a Stormy Petrel. And, for Georgina, I’ve been asked by an eminent research person to present my seaboots for microbiological examination and classification of flora at the end of this saga, so no go as a late wedding present – sorry.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 14, 2005 – 2000hrs | 46’37”S 160’00”E. 606nm 5.8knts

ta. Today we are into small milestones. 600 miles is a minipooptillionth of the journey but it is about 2% and so a measurable fraction and worth a consultation with the Doctor. The first big one will be the Snares. Berrimilla slipping along well – just the gentle whisper of bubbles passing the hull and of course, all the little sounds that make up her unique vocabulary. that might be a subject for future updates. as for bubbles whispering by, perhaps a stethoscope against a mug of the Doctor might be a reasonable analogy – must try it.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 16, 2005 - 0014hrs | (Sydney Time) 47’03”S 163’36”E. 758nm 5.8knts

[ed: this log is operating on Sydney time which is 11 hrs ahead of UTC (GMT)]

Another slightly hazy starlit night with little wind, but there is a gale warning for NZ area Puysegur which we are sailing into. Very impressed with NZ satcom weather service – simple forecasts, easy to interpret and perhaps even accurate.

Have been listening on CD to 1000 years in a Day – ABC production b’cast 31/12/99 while we were sheltering in Skeleton Bay. readings from C11 japanese court lady’s Pillow book – one of her lists was ‘things near but distant’ and included ‘the course of a boat’. Interesting. And i thought of all y’all out there reading this and how distant are you really, and, for me, the size of what we are trying to do and the concepts of nearness and distance and what would Magellan or Drake or Cook or Baudin have been able to achieve with the technology that i have here to play with – GPS, weather forecasts by satellite, email by HF, even a boat that goes to windward – and how tenuous is that link anyway – one USB cable to a multiport box with seriously unstable software that I have to fight every time i turn off the laptop…and no backup…so for the time being, as long as our aux alternator keeps churning out wiggly amps, it stays on. You’ll love the track data, Simon.

Thanks for the sunrise explanation, Don – can we post it for everyone else? [ed: appended to the end of this post] Don’t think much of your experimental verification for ratshit compass – what if the kiwis have decided they don’t particularly like the car park they’re in and have started their engine (powered, no doubt by natural gas from all those sheep) and moved themselves and their island further north?

Have reached stalemate with bootferals. They dont seem to mind bleach – probably consult it like we do the doctor – they are however very iffy about sunshine but think they have me cornered cos there ain’t going to be any more of that for weeks…

Now using UTC (GMT for us ancients) and having trouble juggling three time zones in my head.

[ed: The Sunrise Phenomenon from Don Price, CSIRO]:

Dear Professor Sumner Whitworth,

I hope you haven’t been inundated by explanations to your question about the apparent direction of the sun at sunrise in your neck of the woods.

I can offer two possibilities, which, in keeping with 2005 being the International Year of Physics, you can test experimentally.

1. Your compass is ratshit, and if you continue on your present course you will run ashore somewhere up the west coast of New Zealand.

2. It is due to the unfathomable complexities of 3-dimensional solid geometry. Since you are clearly a man of letters (and very elegant ones

lately) rather than numbers, I will give a simple example rather than try to explain what can best be explained with a pencil and paper or a ball. If you were to sail a little further south, to ~67.5 deg. S in mid-summer, then, as you know, the sun would just touch the horizon at ~ midnight, i.e. sunset and sunrise would occur at the same time. At what bearing would the sun appear at this time? I think the answer is due south – the S pole would be directly between you and the sun. With little imagination, you can guess that as you travel north from this latitude, sunrise will gradually move eastwards.

The tests you should conduct are: 1 – maintain your present course and see if you hit NZ, or 2 – take a hard right turn and head for the antarctic circle and see if the sunrise moves round to 180 deg.

Of course it will be a little more complicated than this. There will undoubtedly be refraction effects in the damp atmosphere, so an exact calculation will be difficult, but try one of the simple tests first.

I await the results of your experiments with interest. Keep up the good work – we’re following your progress with interest.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 15, 2005 – 1438hrs | 46’48”S 162’37”E.

great to hear from conor. propagation ratshit and rx extremely slow [ed: radio connections for these log updates] have exceeded limit so short u/d only – sunshine, running towards nz, making drinkink water as i write. all ok. a. may try later if improves.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 15, 2005 – 1610hrs | 46’50”S 162’49”E. 723nm 5.8knts

In case propagn improves – today was a good day – we reefed out everything from the quarterberths and repacked it so we can find a bit more stuff. and berri is dry again after the storm. lolloping along in fading breeze but due to blow a bit more closer in to nz. so many different seabirds, often hard to pick subtle differences but saw a black version of the little darting bird with shorter wings. bootferals in retreat- threatened them with bleach or even worse, sunlight and they are considering their positions. no doubt a treaty will be negotiated. Hi Phil and RooCroo, hi Kris- keep em coming, pliz.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 16, 2005 – 1751hrs (SYD) | 47’32”S 165’46”E.

Hi to everyone out there – Pete here. its grey with rain and fog not much wind but at least were heading in the right direction @ about 5kt. not much to do on deck – it’s my watch so i thought some writing would help time pass. Yesterday was a glorious day sun shining clear blue skies, good, not too cold breeze.

we rearranged the boat below to give more room and while doing tis a few treasures were discovered eg my new personal cd player with belt attachment. It was sundown my watch had just started & i thought a G&T with fresh lemon would finish the day off nicely so went below. Whitworth had the ‘do not disturb’ sign out (lying in bunk with olga’s red beanie on rolled well down no eyes visible). Not being one to drink alone except when I am alone, ‘bugger’ i thought. looking for distraction, i remembered the cd player.

i slipped a disc (bee gees the early decades v 4)that looked interesting into the sandwich and attached my two mini subwoofers to my ears covered by my red and then blue beanies and exited the boat looking for a bit of geriatric disco dancing on the afterdeck. The first half of the disc was great with the early trafalgar album and others but later the ‘saturday night fever’ stuff when the boys decided rubber bands to the parts would be the answer to their new distinctive castrato style the beat moved the feet. After some time i’d had enough – ‘i need more floor space’ i shouted and dragged the phones from my ears…silence, the lap of wave against hull, the squeak of rope through block the only noise. bliss.

@^****! awgh! **&#! awgh!

Startled, i knew exactly what this distinctive noise was. I had heard it so many times in my youth – the mating call of the splay footed moorhen. I looked everywhere but nothing sighted. what would a flightless bird be doing here i thought. i reembered reading in an old text that british whalers had taken these birds to south georgia as ‘comforters’ (what the hell is a comforter) over 200 years could they have cross bred and attained flight or perhaps it was a couple on their s. pacific honeymoon cruise. perplexed, and it being the end of my watch, i went below to find a dishevelled and wide eyed alex muttering about bloody USB gadgets. Cheers Pete

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 16, 2005 – 1830hrs (SYD) | 47’32”S 165’51”E

A little burst on milestones and where we hope to go. The Admiralty publication Ocean Passages for the World NP 136 5th ed @ pp 219-221 shows the southern route waypoints for the south pacific. We have 82 miles to go to the Snares, the first of these and our first big milestone because it ticks off the Tasman sea and NZ. Then we head for waypoint A at 4830S 16500W, way out in the open ocean and past the dateline @ 180 (a smallish milestone on the way). The weather patterns will dictate whether we follow the S route exactly – the trick is to stay at the top of low pressure systems and the bottom of highs to keep getting westerly winds. And there’s an iceberg reported at 47s 117w so likely to be more on the route.

So we’ll muddle along.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 16, 2005 - 1546hrs Sydney Time

1546hrs 16 Jan 2005. (Sydney Time)

We are in fog and heavy rain with distant thunder.  Sux knots. Nav lights on and someone poking a head up every few minutes to check for fishos and errant sheep in wetsuits. 140 miles to Stewart I.   P has just made breakfast – for the foodies, last night’s pasta salad stir fried with egg, bacon and tabasco and a draught from the home brew cellar to help it settle.   Cordon Berri 5 star.

Todays bird came slicing out of the gloom low over the water rocking through the waves – at first just a white disc with eye dots and beak and a half circle pencil line for its wings.   Massive dihedral, body about one tenth of the arc.  Wings absolutely motionless, tips just off the surface and an image full of purpose.   Then it banked away and its underside was white but with black lines along both edges of the wings.   Brownish black on top with white stripe from base of wings across the tail so front half of tail white.  Couldnt judge beak. span about  2.5 metres.   Also black Petrels (?) ta H & K, with diamond shaped tails rather than the usual squareish with slightly rounded trailing edges.

later. Now 117 miles to S I.   Dank and clammy but no fog, no rain.  Right above the NZ continental shelf where the depth goes from around 6000 metres in places to about 100 at SI.  About to cross the Solander Trough – some interesting people have been here before us. Pete snoring happily and I’ve just spent a couple of hours on deck planning how on earth I’m going to be able to keep these updates interesting for the next six weeks or so till the Horn. That’s about 84 episodes of soap – The Bill or Blue Hills. How do people do it?

Some Hi’s: to Olivia – great to hear from you and keep em coming, Kev Pavlich g’day, likewise Ron C. Conor, where the hell have you been and how did you find us? Hi Helen.   John, Alex and Jane – we’re on to the last curry and the smoked trout was from heaven with pepper, lemon, tomato and a guinness.  Bill R – i assume your email address means you’re still gainfully employed – who’s mad?. Hilary, thanks re xantic, Hi Katherine, hang in there.   Malcolm and Sarau good luck and we’ll have a beer at the Horn….

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 17, 2005 - 0455hrs SYD

about 30 nm SW of Stewart a black black night except for phosphorescence – more on this later perhaps – in cold driving rain creeping past nz and probably wont sight any part of it – did they move it after all?

Just had a big wind change that left us pointing directly at S. I. so had to gybe back to miss everything, cold and wet and on this tack we need the cone of silence down to protect the nav table and the electrics. a nuisance but essential. C.o.S is heavy plastic curtain that rolls down between nav station and companionway to prevent rain, spray and dumpers from destroying all these goodies. We must be absolutely meticulous about this else pearshapedness in buckets ensues. Having just come hooning into this relatively narrow passage between islands and rocks, i’m even more in awe of the early navigators in ships that were clumsy and difficult to tack and doing it all on dead reckoning. must have closed everything down at night and waited until daylight whenever they were this close or unsure of where they were. Te depth sounder says 599 feet which means that e are crossing the 200 mtr contour, as the gps confirms.

Landfall – sighted the Snares 15m to stbd @ 1730UTC 16/1. Looks as if your preliminary check of our compass has worked, Don. About 8 hours under a week, from memory. Suffering from the warm creamy glow induced by a celebratory Consultation. Still 35 miles to the official waypoint which is beyond the line from S. Si. to the Snares.

Hi Teena, thanks Brian – interesting.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 17, 2005 - 1032hrs SYD

Jan 17, 2005 – 1032hrs SYD │47’57”S 167’31”E

We’ve now changed target to waypoint Alpha, 1104 nm to the east. Should take about 8 days in our current fairly conservative mode. Latest report puts us already south of the northernmost sighting of ice, but it’s a long way ahead. Todays wildlife: near the Snares, two tiny penguin-like birds – square back ends apparently with a foot at each rear corner, little narrow wings flapping away but only just airborne. also a bigger bird grey/black on top with two white patches on each wing. Curved leading edges without the obvious elbow of most of our locals. span about 1 mtr.

Now well past S.I without seeing it, although south end of long white cloud clearly visible. Rain has stopped at last – not conducive to merry frolics and we can start drying out again. Another reorganisation for a bit more space and accessibility. Found the charger for my cd player so can occupy long watches again. Maggie, the cd player was what i bought with Kyc DJ’s goodbye present. Please thank them all and tell them how much it is appreciated. Eleanor of Aquitaine’s story in 1000 yeas in a day as background as i write.

A watch change: think warm sleeping bag, deep deep sleep. Voice gradually comes in over the top -Alex! Aleeex! – open eyes to see own red beanie next to eyeballs and ghastly leering face covered in white stubble topped by several concatenated beanies and dayglo yellow hood. Nightmare? Just pete in drag. Slide – no, decontort out of bag and bivvy bag. Diversion for a mo – those who know the boat know about the navigator’s quarterberth, but some of you might not. A PhD in contortional physiology is the minimum criterion for entry, with the first movement a sort of barrel roll of the lower body with the upper part hanging from the grabrail above the nav table. Then various versions of wriggle also hanging on with at least one hand while pulling up or pushing back rug, bag or whatever as one gets organised. The cheeks of the bum become almost prehensile with practice. add vertical movement of around 3 metres plus severe roll and pitch and you get something of an idea. I’ve had 10 years of practice but it’s still difficult. having decontorted, it’s cold and damp and you desperately dont want to get your feet in contact with the wet floor so its some sort of wedge arrangement while find socks then boots. boots usually have wet weather pants still around them so can slip feet in and pull up pants in one sinuous, lithe lissom action. Not. Then there’s the rest of the party gear (perhaps for a later update). A three hour watch usually consists of 20 minutes getting into the gear, a few minutes at the nav table assessing the situation and then a cup of something hot and up to a old wet cockpit. This generally makes up for everything else: the magnificent indifference of the sea is humbling and inspiring. Perhaps in a future update, if not too dull,i’ll waffle on about the cockpit routine as well. Enough for this tx.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 17, 2005 – 1705hrs SYD

1705hrs 17 Jan 2005.(SYD) 47’47”S 168’48”E. 978nm 5.6knts (Map ref 25)

forgot latest position. wind taking us north foe the mo but will change tomoz.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 18, 2005 – 0629hrs (SYD Time) | 47’31”S 170’36”E.

G’gay after a long cold night with vicious line squalls and rain coming through @ 50+ knots. Sun’s out, movements have severally occurred and liquids imbibed and all ok, Stainless Kevvo faaaantastic. Nest u/d [ed: next update] may be on windvane steering if nowt else to report. we’re about to go back to what we hope will be a more or less permanent twin pole set up with #5 and storm jib after I’ve done our skeds with Derek at Penta and Taupo Maritime @2100utc. All times from here will be in UTC – brain too mushy to do the sums so youse all can if youse wants. ILYA. [ed: the Sitrep times will remain Sydney time – for now. The update comes from Berri with a time stamp that I use, and I suspect Alex hasn’t thought to chang the laptop’s date / time to UTC just yet. If he changes it then I will switch to UTC]

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 18, 2005 - 1335hrs SYD Time

1335hrs 18 Jan 2005 (SYD Time) 47’20”S 171’31”E.

WE saw a seal this morning – just a glimpse, no time for ID in one of the many squalls. Albatrosses back – hanging over the stern looking at us – mostly medium sized, about 3m span. Special moment in squall – think greyout, vis about 100m, big big breaking swells with wind waves on top, spray and spume flying horizontally in cold driving rain. Sea surface appears smokey. Little bird – black wings, white patches on top, just hovering directly into wind, wings quivering with the blast of moving air and water, eyes probably squeezed tight shut and its little feet running as fast as they could go on the surface to help keep it airborne or give it some orientation. The pointy bits on the tails of some birds are the ends of their feet poking out from the tailfeathers.

We’re working things out as we go. Got some things right in the planning, others not so good. pulled in the impeller we are towing to drive the aux alternator to check it for chafe (big job in itself cos the line has gerzillions of twists in it…)to find the line in a big twisted knot at the end and the beginnings of chafe on both the line and the steel impeller. It’s the fine pitch impeller, for speeds of 7 kt or less and we are mostly going too fast for it, but when we slow in the troughs, it winds up on itself. Added regular check to routine

And one for Kevin Fleming – Kev, the holes for attaching the ends of the steering lines to the crossbar next to turning blocks are chafing the lines. have already gone thro one line and nearly second. Need to be rounded better on insides or better still,different arrangement (? shackle) Otherwise, the thing is working brilliantly. Must just go and adjust it – we’re playing with twin poles in 30-50kt and big waves and its set too far down and rounding up in troughs of the bigger waves so flogging windward sail.
959 to Alpha, 3952 to Horn. Full on since the snares gusts of 60 in the squalls now have storm jib only, poled out and kevvo handling it ok. going a bit north still, waiting to see whether westerlies come back tomorrow.
Are you out there somewhere Clouds? Grib working but hard to get big picture.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 18, 2005 – 1726hrs (SYD Time) |47’10”S 171’53”E.

Today has been a day of deteriorating fortune. We spent an hour getting set up this morning with twin poles and all fine for a bit – wind then too strong for #5 so dropped it. lost a steering line and repaired it. wind increasing and storm jib halyard came off just as we lost another steering line. Poo. fixed steering line but we gave up on sails and we’re bare poling on about 075 at 5 kts. damp and unpleasant, so we’ve had a Consultation – two in fact – and will try and take advantage of the reduced motion to take turns to catch up on the sleep we missed during the day. Just snacking for food Colin’s cake, a bit of cheese, muesli bars.

Faint signs that the gale is abating – supposed to do so around midday. Sun low on horizon astern with brilliant reflections from the backs of the breaking waves ahead – and,if you’re looking – ice blue through them as they come up astern. Seabirds everywhere and albatrosses parking on the water occasionally close to us – really graceful low speed approach, feet out in front and just settle. To get airborne, they just unfold those huge wings and they’re off – no doubt they know the exact moment when all the forces are working for them.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 18, 2005 – 2022hrs SYD Time │ Knockdown

knockdown – huge wave – both ok, no damage to boat.  Fair bit of bruising.  hdg dunedin precaution. no fuss please.   if ok, we’ll keep going.


[ed: an update to the “knockdown” report]

Wednesday, 19 January 2005 5:03 PM

Severe knockdown, huge hollow wave that caught us both on deck.   Berri must have rolled through about 140 deg and pitched bow down about 60.   Mast in the water and only visible damage is mangled windex.  Most other boats would have kept rolling.  but we flipped immediately upright.   i was sitting by the shrouds tied to the boat and pete shouted and i looked up into the wave – translucent bright blue and just starting to break – more or less through the lower spreaders. I grabbed the shrouds with both arms and was overboard in white water and lines and other bits of string hanging on to the shrouds still tethered, and came down with a bang on a stanchion as the boat came upright.

Pete was in the partially inverted cockpit hanging on under the tiller – we’d just set the storm jib again after three days of nasties 40 -60 in squalls, steady 40 in between, with waves building all the time.   we must have caught the last of the really big ones.   Boat a it of a mess inside but all cleaned up now and we’re only going toDunedincos it’s the sensible thing to do given my rather sore ribcage.   if it’s only  a big bruise, as i now suspect, we’ll spend a couple of days modifying a few things and restocking to let it heal then we’ll set off again.   Knockdowns are relatively common  and this one would probably not have given us any trouble except for that stanchion.   cant win em all.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 19, 2005 – 1700hrs SYD Time

Boat was a bit of a mess inside but all cleaned up now and we’re only going to Dunedin cos it’s the sensible thing to do given my rather sore ribcage.   It’s only a bruise, so we’ll spend a couple of days modifying a few things and restocking and then we’ll set off again.   Knockdowns are relatively common. Can’t win em all.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 20, 2005 – 1520hrs (SYD)

[ed: just spoke with Alex via mobile as he sits in Berri in Dunedin, NZ. He has had his rib checked out and all is well – a little sore, but ok. They are doing some repair work on the impeller and a few other odds and sods. Allowing for weather, they plan to resume their odyssey in the next 4 or 5 days. Alex has some pictures he will attempt to email from the yacht club, and he has promised as update soon]

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 23, 2005 - 1700hrs SYD │Dunedin, NZ │Knockdown Damage Report

1700hrs 23 Jan 2005. (SYD) Dunedin, NZ

Greetings from Dunedin – late, with apologies. Lost an hour’s email yesterday when the slot machine gizmo on this pc crashed and reset my screen so I’m having another go, but in instalments.

We’ve been assessing damage – rather more than first impressions but still relatively superficial and some of it quite surprising, and then arranging fixes, delivery of spares and just churning the inside of the boat to make it more manageable. I think one of our first mistakes was to assume that we could get a year’s worth of stuff into the space available. Yes, it fits, but it’s completely unmanageable, with all the problems that brings.

Damage, starting at the top

– masthead wind transducer, stout aluminium tube with anemometer and vane on the end bent through about 30 degrees, and not as the boat was rolling down into the water but as it was coming up, Surprising at first, but not if you think about it.

Also masthead windicator bent at 90 deg. Much flimsier, and bent the same way. Photos to follow and I will send the bits back for Gerry’s sea survival course.

pulpit bent about 30 cm to port by the force of the wave on the sail tied to it and along the rail -First port stanchion bent horizontal the same way

– second stanchion bent in almost to the shrouds by my ribs – I think – as I came back in – photos to follow.

– this one’s gobsmacking – liferaft cover distorted so that the top half flexed into the bottom half – hard to describe, but astonishing

– hole in mainsail caused by water pressure forcing in between lashings on the boom – lashings not close enough together to prevent pockets forming = lifering in bag on pushpit almost washed away – held in place by extra lashing I had put on – better to have removed it below.

– absolute disaster below. Icebox lids had lifted off and ended up in forepeak, this trajectory is how i assessed the extent of the roll as i sat on the floor nursing my ribs and pete steered for about 10 hours. Home brew plastic bottles from outer box – maybe 20 – all around base of mast. Not so much out of inner box. Salami, margerine etc. Bags of onions burst, egg boxes smashed, food cans everywhere. On the plus side, we had actually stowed for potential inversion and most of the stuff didn’t move. Yay!

We did, however, forget to screw down the bunk boards, hence cans, bunkboards etc all over the place from the stb side. Silly mistake and could have been much more serious.

– computer hanging from charging cord, usb cable off…panic…Panasonic Toughbook laptop worth every cent it cost, still running.

On the other side of this little list, things that really worked and saved our bacon big time

– full height, sealed stormboards. cockpit full to coaming, only a few buckets below. Good one pete.

– Fuel tank with 80 ltrs properly chocked, doesn’t seem to have moved

cone of silence – heavy plastic curtain protecting nav table – saved radios, laptop, charts

– jacklines and tethers – used and worn and probably saved us both. Hard to judge – pete reckoned he had a smile on his face cos it seemed so slow and pleasant.

– everything secured on deck – silly in retrospect to leave sails lashed on foredeck and won’t do it again, but otherwise, all stayed with us.

– stowage, as above

– a point of vanishing stability of 145+ degrees is really nice to have. I suspect many other boats would have rolled completely.

As it was, we did much better than everyone else we heard from who were out there. Some didn’t even have their stormboards in, with predictable results.

 

End of first instalment – the gizmo wants to time me out.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 23, 2005 – 1800hrs (SYD)

[ed: an update to the “knockdown” report]

Wednesday, 19 January 2005 5:03 PM

Severe knockdown, huge hollow wave that caught us both on deck. Berri must have rolled through about 140 deg and pitched bow down about 60. Mast in the water and only visible damage is mangled windex. Most other boats would have kept rolling. but we flipped immediately upright. i was sitting by the shrouds tied to the boat and pete shouted and i looked up into the wave – translucent bright blue and just starting to break – more or less through the lower spreaders. I grabbed the shrouds with both arms and was overboard in white water and lines and other bits of string hanging on to the shrouds still tethered, and came down with a bang on a stanchion as the boat came upright.

Pete was in the partially inverted cockpit hanging on under the tiller – we’d just set the storm jib again after three days of nasties 40 -60 in squalls, steady 40 in between, with waves building all the time. we must have caught the last of the really big ones. Boat a it of a mess inside but all cleaned up now and we’re only going to Dunedin cos it’s the sensible thing to do given my rather sore ribcage. if it’s only a big bruise, as i now suspect, we’ll spend a couple of days modifying a few things and restocking to let it heal then we’ll set off again. Knockdowns are relatively common and this one would probably not have given us any trouble except for that stanchion. cant win em all.

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 24, 2005 – 1700hrs | Dunedin, NZ.

Home of the House of Pain…

We are still on track for high tide departure on Wed 26 (approx 0300UTC) Fixes so far = new ST60 wind and boat speed speed transducers ( supplied by Quay [?Key?] Marine Boat chandlers, Auckland +64 9 415 8303

– new tiller autopilot: old one was almost karked and seemed sensible to buy – the things do run off wind angle so potentially v useful in big waves

– New windicator

– masthead all round light fitting drained of water (came in thro the drainhole…) and working again

– complete new set of stanchions thanks to BobWatt, genius S/S welder and fixer (if you need him, ask at Otago YC)

– refurbished gooseneck fitting

– some major fixes inside – new sink taps and pumps which died…BIG cleanup

– complete repack – still going on

– hold downs for anything moveable – nav table lid, icebox tops, sextant…

– bunkboards screwed down (tomorrow’s job)

– food packed in weekly ready use bags rather than by category, so can extract a week bag from its hole and stow it in ready use bin – this was on the cards in Hobart but fell of the table cos I was too busy/ silly to organise

– mainsail hole mended

– spare turbine for ampair towed generator

– minor re=adjustments to Stainless Kevvo to help eliminate chafe

Boring lists.

The people of Dunedin have been friendly, amazingly helpful, interested, competent and all round nice to know. Officials from Customs and Min. of Agriculture and Forests have been professional, co-operative, helpful and have gone out of their way to assist whenever possible. Thanks everyone.

Contacts:

Kevin Martin. Manager of the Otago YC – +64 3 477 1255 – has been available, friendly and helpful and made it all possible

Bert Youngman and Sandra Francis who run Ramsay Lodge Backpackers where we are staying – both sailors and Bert drives us to and from the boat every day and does heaps more too. www.ramsaylodge.co.nz

Bob Watt – see above – s/s welder

www.atoz-nz.com everything else you need to know except that Speight’s Distinction Ale has real merit – if only they sold it in cans, we’d have to consider making some space for it somewhere.

Enough of this nonsense – Thanks for your messages – got to go and eat

1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

1742hrs 25 Jan 2005. Dunedin, NZ.

Huge week but we seem to be more or less ready to leave. Shopping to do tomorrow and a few finishing tasks – trivial things like shortening lifelines because the pulpit was distorted and too hard to bend back so port lines now too long…

If all goes well, we will leave on the tide tomorrow afternoon at about 1600 local time [ed: 1300hrs SYD time, 0300UTC – I think…]. The weather looks a bit better than it did from Hobart, so perhaps we’ll get a soft start.

Will call again from the Og [ed: short for oggin = ocean, ie “when we are back at sea”! – with thanks to Hilary] and confirm we actually left.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 12, 2005 - 0054hrs UTC │45’35”S 143’15”W 3129nm

0054hrs 12 Feb 2005 UTC 45’35”S 143’15”W Map Ref 59 3129nm

Now past half way in all distance categories – Sydney and Hobart. Still about 1600 miles and a lot of water and time before we get to the Pacific high off the Chilean coast and can dive south to the Horn. I’m pulling in Playa Ancha Met Centre at Valparaiso Chile weather faxes now. We are still a few hundred miles off the edge of them but it’s interesting to follow the trends down at the Horn. Altos and Bassos instead of highs and lows – exciting.

Special request – would all of you that are using our sailmail address (….@sailmail.com) to email us direct please stop doing so immediately and use the website email facility instead. Really important. Every individual message requires a separate handshake between Berri’s HF radio and the sailmail computer at each end of the message. These handshakes often take several minutes and are completely wasted as far as our 10 minute station allocation goes. We are always critically close to our limit and I live for the next warning that says no more. We are currently limited to one communication per day each way with Steve plus our grib weather calls. Also, there is the real possibility of spam if our address is in your email address book and you get a virus so please delete it – if you don’t know how to do this, please find out – Steve might be able to advise, via an email to berri… Spam would close us down more or less instantly. Things should improve as we close the Chilean coast and if anyone is interested, I can leave the satphone turned on for an hour a day as well.

Batch 3 of the bread – this time with onion flakes – gets easier each time except for the corkscrew effect – and wearing latex gloves for the kneading bit makes it easier still. Takes about 2 hours for the loaves to cook on not quite dead low heat. Next time won’t open the lids for the full 2 hours: the one I opened a couple of times took about 15 minutes longer.

We have just changed the membrane in the watermaker – results so far seem promising, with no apparent trace of salt. Us’ll see. The system sometimes gets air in the line when the boat does a big roll and won’t always self prime – don’t know why, and very frustrating. So, some hints for plumbing the watermaker: make sure that the through-the-hull intake valve is far enough below the waterline so that it doesn’t get air in the line when the boat rolls (that’s much lower than you might think – I thought we were ok..)and, if you have a sensitive disposition and low tolerance to things effluential, might be a good idea to set it up so that said intake is not directly aft of the outlet plumbing for the head (loo). One generally needs something to do while the watermaker goes about its business and a contemplative going about one’s own seems to spring to mind every time. However, this may not be an option for aforesaid sensitive souls. I shall not explore this any further but there are some dreadful puns lurking around the edges.

And I think I should endorse Pete’s fashion statement of a couple of days ago. The daggy draggy monkey suit look is definitely the go. Skin tight thermals in contact with the pointy bits of the cheeks (basically, the pressure points under the hip joints when you sit down) together with even the smallest hint of salt water are an instant recipe for torture so acute that only liberal applications of The Doctor, sufficient to cause anaesthesia and administered prone will suffice. And as soon as one comes round, it’s all on again. I always wear what we used to call a woolly bull when we were survey flying at 25k feet with outside air @ about -60 – its a sleeveless neck to ankle loose overall, slightly padded with long pile fleece on the inside next to the skin. I think in the more genteel world of grenouillage, they are called salopettes. They get a bit niffy inside after a couple of weeks but never any hint of gunwale bum. I have an aged, grossly daggy set that has been to Hobart and Lord Howe and back umpteen times and still works fine, and some sexy new ones that have only been there once or twice. Got em on now.

Life’s little mystery, continued – the turbine has a stainless shaft but the hub and blades are rather rough cast aluminium fixed to the end of the shaft. It looks as if the paint job has been skimped and has bubbles in various places,including presumably, along the leading edges of the blades, and these have been popped by the water pressure. Really hard to see that it could be caused by anything else.

Wildlife – they are all super graceful, but one that stands out is a medium sized bird with very white beak, brown tops to wings with lighter brown outer ends – about 30% of wing area – there were three of them yesterday doing aerobatics around eachother and us. Painted birds, painted ships, painted ocean…and for a bit of obscure word association, I’m reading Stella Rimington’s book – for the second time. I need the cryptic crossword – Araucaria, where are you?

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 12, 2005 - 0734hrs UTC │From inside the plastic tube: Listening to Berri

0734hrs 12 Feb 2005 UTC 45’48”S 142’20”W Map Ref 60 3169nm

This entry was read by Alex Whitworth on a BBC 4 program called Something Understood and broadcast on July 17th, 2005. Listen to the full program (about 30 minutes) (Alex: mn 21:45 to mn 25:00)

Here I am inside this plastic tube – about Tarago sized, to pursue the old metaphor – with irregular shaped hazards and knobbly bits all around the inside walls and a sort of central aisle that is just high enough to stand upright. It’s the only part of the interior that is. I can put myself anywhere in this space and reach out and find at least two handles, grabrails, or strongpoints to hang on to each of which can support my entire weight. This is a good thing because there is no other frame of reference and it’s dark with a very dim glow from the LEDs in the instrument panel .

And very noisy, but not all the time, although there is a sustained roar from outside the frame somewhere. Sometimes the front-of-orchestra noise is a gentle swish, at other times it is a crashing blast that shakes the tube and dies off with the sound of rushing water. This seems to be – and is – only a few centimetres from my face and I can sometimes feel the walls of the tube flexing with the impact. The tube is clearly moving but I have no way of predicting the movement or of knowing how or in which dimension it will move. The movement is often violent and were it not for those handles I would be airborne or smashed into a knobbly bit every few seconds. Sitting at the computer, I have both knees braced against the underside of the nav table and my shoulder against one or other side of the space. This has the useful effect of transmitting various kinds of vibration through my bones and I can feel and assess how the boat is going.

Every boat has a unique language – syntax and grammar similar but vocabulary subtly different. And then sometimes it is still for a few moments and other noises become apparent – squeaks from the steering lines, a whirring whine as the generator line unwinds its built up torque and the bearings take the strain, Pete snoring gently, diesel sloshing around in the tank under the floor, the engine box creaking as the hull flexes around it, the desalinator motor’s irregular purr.

Sometimes the whole tiny world is shaken heavily as a wave throws Kevvo off his line for a few seconds and one or both the headsails in turn feather and flog, transmitted and amplified by the long lever that is the mast. The sustained roar is the wind in the rig, mostly at the top and amplified as the boat rolls and pitches. The wind lower down is turbulent and nonlaminar because of the interference from the waves and it is this wind that is driving the twin headsails which are small, high footed, narrow and pointy and reach only about two thirds up the forestay, so keeping the centre of pressure down where it is manageable. Hard downwind running in 35-40 knots and big seas at night is sometimes a thrill but always a bit tense and I can never relax or stop listening to Berrimilla talking to me while I am on watch and often when I’m supposed to be asleep.

 

Can any genius out there tell me how I can get the Guardian Weekly cryptic crossword out here? Will a data satphone handle jpeg files? Can we send a diplomatic mission to Chile and ask them to put it on their weather fax? An airdrop from a 747? I’m in deprivation mode.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 13, 2005 - 0339hrs UTC

0339hrs 13 Feb 2005 UTC 45’36”S 140’07”W Map Ref 61 3263nm

This looks like being a trivia update. We’re sticking to the strategy and following the tops of the lows across the ocean at somewhere between 45 & 50S whichn keeps us in manageable wind strength and waves most of the time but we lose a bit of distance as we sawtooth up and down the latitudes. It’s relatively easy to do with the amount of weather data we are able to pull in from the various sources (SatcomC: free text downloads of text weather forecasts and warnings; VMC Charleville, NZ Metservice and Chilean weather faxes and Grib via sailmail) all of which complement eachother. We can also listen to Taupo Maritime Radio NZ scheduled weather broadcasts in desperation – they require a tape recorder and very fast pencil work and then some assiduous plotting but they are there as a backup. Just received a nice fax from the Armada de Chile Servicio Meteorologico showing a reasonably clear satellite image of the quarter of the southern hemisphere that includes the Chilean coast and most of the south pacific. And us. Just receiving their Carta Prognosticada – the isobaric forecast for 1200 UTC. Looks as if it is hand drawn – much nicer that the computer generated ones.

We are averaging about 120 miles/day overall – rather slow, but on that basis, all going more or less the same, wood touched and all other relevant superstitious practices observed, looks possible that we could be at the Horn around March 4. As in a marathon, from here is the hardest bit mentally. Half way in distance only; half way in the mind/body/stamina stakes in a marathon comes at about 36k (out of 42.2, for the deskbound) and the 15 or so k in between are where one just has to keep the mind firmly in neutral, or try and do what the coaches call constructive visualisation – imagine the finish line, the medal, all that jazz, stay positive and just headbang away at every metre, every k till it’s in the bag. And at 36 k, the second half starts. Downhill all the way, Don? I reckon 36k for us will come in about two weeks time. Meantime, think hot shower, cold beer, flat water, sunshine, women, Cape Horn at dawn, an apple. Tommy Melville’s ghost must be out here somewhere too – dreamed about the old bastard last night. That albatross with a ginger beard and a bandanna, perhaps? We’ll have an ale with him at the Horn.

We have the storm trisail up for the first time since we modified it in Hobart by adding a long strop from the head to about a metre below the masthead complete with slides, so that the length of exposed halyard and therefore its capacity to flog is minimised. Seems to work, but important not to get the strop twisted as it goes into the track. The sail is just up to balance the boat a bit and add a bit of low down power. Three reefs is just a bit too much. And the tri doesn’t need a preventer to stop it banging around in the troughs like the main. The #4 is up too and we’re getting 6.5 in the right direction without too much discomfort or stress on the boat. Thanks for the suggestion, James – the storm jib is so small that I dont think it would help much – Berri is just rolling off the sides of irregularly spaced big waves and cross seas so gravity rather than wind induced and even a full main doesn’t do much to dampen even if we could carry it.

Lunch was fresh bread and a tin of oysters in olive oil – this little bit of triv only because it lets me tell you that the left over oil in the tin was poured down the loo and pumped through to lubricate the pump cylinder and the piston. Works a treat, as does sardine tin oil, tuna, or just s spoonful of cooking oil.

From Malcom C.

hi A, Al & SS together, think corrosion, even with marine stainless.  If turbine rotation speed high think mild cavitation to collapse paint bubbles especially with entrained air. MC

Duct tape on turbine? Do you have self vulcanising rubber tape?  Oceanographers saviour.  Get some at Stanley.

Malcom, thanks for the suggestions re turbine – we’d considered corrosion and electrolysis, an idea supported by the discovery today that 4 bolts securing the backplate of the casing of the alternator are live. They ought not be. Perhaps there’s a current flowing down the towline, although the shaft doesn’t seem to be zappy. And vulcanising tape to fortify the towline is a great idea, as long as we can get it to work on a wet line. We’ve got lots. Led me to consider electrical shrinkwrap as an alternative. Got lots of that too. Watch this space – turbine extraction scheduled for tomorrow.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 14, 2005 - 0243hrsUTC

0243hrs 14 Feb 2005 UTC 45’49”S 138’10”W Map Ref 62 3422nm

We are sitting under the ridge that has been chasing us for the last couple of days.   Not much wind, from the south, full main and #1, rolling and slatting a bit but some forward progress.   Wind should come round to the west later.   There’s a huge swell rolling in from the south, as big as I’ve ever seen, presumably from the low that went through yesterday.  The grib was forecasting 40-50 at 50S.

So we got stuck into the backlog of little jobs – Pete fixed one of the clamps on the stormboard with epoxy and screws and reinforced all the others using our 12v portable battery drill modified to run from a cigarette lighter socket or directly off the boat’s battery terminals.  Which leads to another little gem that has worked superbly: our 12v auxiliary portable battery pack designed for jump-starting cars and pumping tyres and rubber duckies. It has 2 cig. lighter sockets, two heavy duty terminal clamps and a little air compressor built in – and we can run the drill from it without dropping the main battery charge, and then recharge it when we have a bit of speed to drive our generator.   And if all else fails, it should have enough to start the engine or run the laptop and the HF for a day or so.   Needs to be kept where it is least likely to get wet and well waterproofed. Every boat should have one.   Ours came from Whitworths but they are widely available. 

And I did a bit of analysis of the desalinator problem we have been having, including reading the instructions.  It has only produced water intermittently and I have always assumed that this was because it was getting air in the intake line when the boat rolled the intake valve out of the water.   I checked all the lines using the big dolphin torch to monitor bubbles and water flow through them (there are three lines – sea water intake, concentrated brine output and drinking water output plus a bit of extra plumbing to allow the use of biocide and cleaning agents when doing maintenance) and I found that we had a lot of air bubbles moving along the intake line so more likely a significant air leak rather than or at least as well as periodic ingestion through the intake valve.   Much headbanging later, when every joint had been checked and clamped and the Doctor consulted, we switched it on again and the bubbles in the intake line seem to have been eliminated and the thing produced 6 litres without complaint. And the new membrane produces water that tastes much better than our tank water. Big whoopeee and a further consultation to celebrate.   And we pulled in the turbine – duct tape seems to have worked and the towline was not chafed – nor was there any damage to the turbine, whether caused by cavitation (thanks Don) or electrolysis or corrosion.   Will give it another few days before trying self vulcanising rubber tape if necessary. 

Am about to go out and insulate the four ‘live’ bolts on the generator.   Which having been attempted, isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.   Normal insulating tape won’t adhere and geometry prevents wrapping.   Blobs of sikaflex perhaps?

Wildlife report – there are what look like baby bluebottles or portugese men o’ war all over the ocean.   Small transparent bubble sails with almost no colour in the underside.   We found a full sized fully coloured one washed up on deck a few days ago.   I had always thought that they are warm water dwellers.

Milestones – we finished Hilary’s S2H cake today and we’re about to unwrap the Doyles’ home product version – watch this space.   And tomorrow some time we should pass the half way point between NZ and the Horn.   All sailmail now going throughChile- propagation improving daily as we get closer.

Jeanne, please pass on best wishes to Bob and Eugenie.   Just cant leave some people on their own…

Gerry, did you tell the Pelagic mob that we’re on our way?  I think Catherine Hew is following us anyway, and we’ll give them a call in a week or so.  And please send co-ordinates for the anchorage down near the Horn, in case we feel like stopping or need to duck in for shelter. We are reading the 1200UTC 8164 sked quite clearly now too.

Doug and Stephen, I’ve just realised that the sailmail propagation application updates itself with sunspot and solar flux data every time we connect to the sailmail computer.   Clever.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 14, 2005 – 0627hrs UTC

0627hrs 14 Feb 2005 UTC 45’58”S 137’48”W Map Ref 63 3440nm

Berri is quiet tonight – unlike a couple of nights ago.   We’re twin poling in about 15 knots dead downwind and the water is just rustling past the hull.   A bit of gentle roll, all the usual background noise of squeaks and sloshes and creaks, but muted and tranquil.  Pleasant feeling.   Just waiting until I can log into sailmail to pick up the day’s mailcall – about two  hours to go.   Something to look forward to.   You may have noticed that we seem to have reached the transition point from which we are now looking ahead as much as behind – Chile and Cape Horn are now much closer than Australia and we’re very much facing forwards and it probably comes through in these emails.   Seems that until now we haven’t really been able to believe that it’s got some chance of actually happening.

A frivolous reflection: the South Pacific is a big ocean, at a guess about an eighth of the world’s surface and it’s almost landless and uninhabited.   Since about 1800, it has carried a large proportion of the world’s shipping, mostly along a couple of major routes – say an average of 5000 crossings per year.   Before that, the Pacific Islanders sailed around its northern fringe and as far asEaster Islandand Magellan, Drake, Cook and the French, Dutch, Spanish and Portugese explorers were out here as well.   And there were the whalers, who sailed all over it in their thousands from the early 1800s and some of them are still here.   Even so, it is so big that there must be some small parts of it that have never been crossed by a ship and perhaps Berrimilla will be the very first vessel to sail across a particular little bit of the ocean.   We’ll never know which bit, but it’s inspiring all the same.

Enough.   Stop all this soppy talk and do something useful.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 15, 2005 - 0125hrs UTC

0125hrs 15 Feb 2005 UTC 46’12”S 135’14”W Map Ref 64 3548nm

More idle speculation: how good a mixer is the world’s climate system?   Here we plod, in one of the most remote spots on the planet, with a bit of water around us.  What, for instance, is the broad  statistical probability that there’s a water molecule in the 6 litres squeezed out of the desalinator yesterday, that I have met before in the last 60+ years, whether in a glass of beer, the ’61 Fastnet, a swimming pool, the gobby stuff the camel spat at me in 1962, a mosquito bite, Bondi, Bass Strait, any old where? And if you think there may be one, come out here and show me which one.   If it’s the gobby one, I want it out.

You would have got the crossword -too big?. We (Kris, Mal, and I) are working out the most compressed version to get it to you. Do you have PK-zip on your PC? Otherwise we are concocting a java script that will build the crossword from a small text file we would send. Would you print it or work on the screen? Do you need answers? We liken it to the Apollo 13 dilemma – we have to work with what you have, using limited bandwidth, and no chance of additional resources! Good fun.

On a similar note, does Pete have a sailmail account? Perhaps a way to beat the system? A thought.

From Hilary

Cupid’s little wings    “Dear Alex and Peter,

You have a great excuse for not getting a Valentine’s Day card today, with the

dozen red roses. Cupid’s little wings can’t fly that far and Hermes (or whoever

that Interflora guy is) says it’s not not in his contract to scour the ocean

looking for hairy men. But we didn’t want you to feel completely ignored, so

here are good wishes from us, – ( we ate the chocolates too),

 And to Kris, Steve and Malcolm, the three geniuses co-operating across the world who actually managed to get me a Guardian Weekly cryptic via sailmail, cool and froody, guys – thanks.  I’m still stunned. Steve, no, he doesn’t have an account but that might work.  I’ve had to hand copy the crossword because my printer has gone on strike.   And Croo, water is generally transubstantiated into a clue butnant I ain’t got yet.   Jeanne and Hilary, thanks for the lovely Valentine roses.   Really uplifting gesture and we do appreciate them.   You should have received some virtual watercress from our herbaceous loo garden and we ate your chocolates too.

From James J.

Hi Alex and Pete, now you are testing a Brolga in possibly the remotest and coldest part of the world for the first time, I thought the Brolga owners reading your progress may be interested in what works for you aboard and what would change given you are living aboard at sea for an extended time under difficult conditions. My questions are do you think under deck insulation such as polystyrene would help? I’ve heard of having a car heater put into the cooling water line to provide a cabin heater or drying cabinet whilst the motor is running. (cheap at a wreckers) Good idea? Any glaringly obvious druthers or is Berrimilla perfect ? : )

 For James and the BOG, as you would realise, a lot of this stuff is specific to a particular boat – Berri, for instance, doesn’t have the full teak fitout and is more open than most other Brolgas.   Anyway, before we leftHobartwe insulated the interior between the main bulkhead and the companionway including the two middle windows with 5mm closed cell foam stuck on with velcro (mistake, sika would have been better) and it works very well.  Would have been good to have covered the two big after windows as well but that would have made it altogether too pokey. No problems with condensation, warm and cosy.   And you can write the contents of adjacent lockers on it.   To get the full effect, it would need a curtain to close off the forepeak forward of the head (where we keep sails but some of you sleep) and perhaps also the quarterberths, ditto.   And insulate the head, particularly the bulkhead where you generally have to lean and which is always cold and clammy.  And toss the plastic one and make a wooden seat.  As for heating, it isn’t that cold down here.  Yet.  Making bread works up an almost unbearable fug if we can’t open any vents.   In Dunedin all the cruisers who go down to Stewart Island and beyond have little flued diesel burners as a matter of course and I think that’s what I’d go for too – simple, no extra plumbing and they all say they are very effective.  Keep it simple and elegant and it’s generally much easier to manage and above all, to fix if it breaks. Bob Watt, the gentle genius who did our stainless work makes the flues for them and uses one himself – I can give you contact details.   There is a lot of other stuff about what works and doesn’t back in the log, James, if you have time to trawl through it, else I’ll do you a list when we get back. 

 And if you plan to go anywhere remotely iffy, put in some really BIG cockpit drains.   Berri has 4, one in each corner, and they are still inadequate.   We have filled the cockpit to the coaming several times now and it’s somewhat nailbiting waiting for a couple of tonnes of water to trickle out of the back, especially if you happen to be down below and watching it trying to get past the stormboards into your bunk.  Don’t assume it will be ok with the single drain most Brolgas come with.  It won’t.  For the same reason, insulate and waterproof the engine controls, autopilot socket, ventilators and any other vital goodies in the cockpit.

Hope that helps.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 15, 2005 - 1317hrs UTC

1317hrs 15 Feb 2005 UTC 46’29”S 133’29”W Map Ref 65 3622nm

Reflections on a month at sea part 2:

The big event was the roll so lets talk about that. After about a week from Hobart we passed the bottom of NZ between Stewart Island and the Snares we then had bad winds and seas for the next 2 days. the wind wouldn’t settle going from 15 -50 kts with big following seas. we had done many sail changes finally settling on poled out #5 and storm jib on the 2 forestays. this worked well with rain squalls about every half hour gusting to 50 and sometimes 60kts. at night we ran under bare poles at 4.5 -5.5kts with the self steering handling this ok. next day with wind and seas increasing we ran under poled out storm jib doing 6-8 kts. during the day the jib halyard shackle let go and we sent it up the mast and the self steering lines broke twice due to chafe caused by slight misalignment and the huge tension put on them by the following seas. we settled down for the night under bare poles. when off watch, sleep was hard to get due to the violent motion. alex was sleeping on the floor to lessen the movement.

Next morning the skies had cleared the wind had settled to a steady 35-40kts the seas still big we decided to set the storm jib on the inner forestay and head east again Alex was at the mast having just set the jib i was in the cockpit adjusting the sheet the boat was self steering, both harnessed to the boat, all openings sealed I was watching the big seas coming through. I was watching this really big one come up to us, the boat lifted to it and it slid away from us. I casually looked behind there was a big void where the back of the wave should have been. immediately behind was another wave it had been slowed down by the one in front and was now sucking back and hollowed out. i yelled to alex to hold on he was sitting on the coachroof at the shrouds he later said that he looked up when i called and saw the wave just about to break above the first set of spreaders the sun was shining through it and it had that eerie ice blue colour.

Meanwhile in the cockpit i was glad i’d recently changed into my brown corduroy trousers. i knew we would be hit and i tried to disengage the self steering. i felt the boat start to roll so i crossed my legs around the base of the tiller and held on to the top. this was completely instinctive i have often thought that if a really big one came into the cockpit you would be thrown onto the winches. the roll was gentle the wave didn’t hit me i just rode the tiller through the inversion. while under water having expected havoc it was all quiet and gentle I thought well that wasn’t too bad I think i had a smile on my face then we were back upright in a bathtub full to the cockpit coaming. the whole event from sighting trouble to back upright was perhaps 30 seconds its very hard to tell. time becomes very elastic. alex had been thrown overboard in the initial tip, holding on to the shrouds. he remembers being violently tossed around in white water but not for long. he was dragged back to the boat still holding on and his chest hitting a stanchion and bending it badly. he managed to scramble back on board. I got up from the cockpit and saw alex standing by the shrouds he asked if i was ok and returned to the cockpit still full of water but down to the seats. it was then he told me he thought he may have broken some ribs. pert 3 to follow. Cheers Pete.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 16, 2005 - 0325hrsUTC

0325hrs 16 Feb 2005 UTC 46’19”S 131’43”W Map Ref 66 3696nm

I’ve been asked what the weather is like down here. We are in the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) where warm moist air out of the highs to the north mixes with much colder air coming from the lows down south – where the tropics meet the westerlies just above the roaring forties. This means cloud all the time, mist most of the time, light rain occasionally and everything always damp and dripping. Not really very pleasant and we haven’t seen the full sun for days although, as now, it is sometimes visible up there behind a layer of cloud and Pete is out trying to get a sight. Water temp about 12 deg, outside air temp at a guess about 17. Mild and pleasant today, but probably won’t last long. If we were to go further south, it would be colder, the wind would be generally much stronger, the seas would be much bigger and we might still not see the sun. There is another CZ circling the tropics where the cyclones occur and the Antarctic CZ at about 55 south. The ACZ is where cold polar water meets the warmer current from the north, and warm and cold airstreams mix to give much more pronounced effects than here. We may meet this one down near the Horn in a couple of weeks, along with some ice, perhaps.

The continuous damp semi-gloom is a bit depressing and we look forward to those glimpses of the sun. I’m sure the Devoncroo would understand. It’s important, too, to manage the physical effects that go with the conditions; for instance my fingers go white and soft and start to peel, particularly around the nails, every time they get wet because they never get a chance to dry out completely. I wear gloves on deck and change into polyprop glove liners below to try to keep the fingers warm and to wick the damp out of them and it helps, as does the occasional dose of industrial grade lanolin that we use to lubricate shackles and other equipment. And I always wear latex gloves to sponge out the bilge, which is generally a bit talkative. The alternative to all this is nasty cracks around the nails which become infected very easily. Same deal with feet- I always wear boots on deck with a set of thick sox inside, sometimes with the waterproof Sealskinz sox on top and keep a pair of woolly norwegian ski sox below to wear with my Blundstone sandals (which insulate the feet from clammy deck) and to sleep in. Very important to keep the sleeping kit scrupulously dry too. We have sleeping bags inside lightweight waterproof bivvy bags and a set of dry clothes to sleep in. The whole lot gets zipped into the bivvy bag when not in use. All relatively easy to do here because we aren’t being bashed so our deck gear stays reasonably dry and there is little chance of water getting inside. And the wet weather gear dries very quickly too when it does get wet.

Timezones are tricky. We are continuously moving east so never in a constant relationship with youse all out there. We are about 3.5 hours ahead of the dateline here, so about 6.5 hours ahead of east coast Australia and a day behind. We have our evening meal around lunchtime tomorrow in Sydney and very early morning in England. As for China, Taiwan, North and South America, too hard. Is it your today or yesterday…

From Gerry and Donna

Alex and Pete,

Skipper of “”Australis”” is Roger Wallis all round good guy x owner Spirit. Skipper of “”Pelargic Australis”” is Steven Wilkins x AMC and RYA Examiner ,instrumental in setting up RYA in Australia,both listen to sked and will give advice to you on request.Darryl Day skipper of Spirit is to be avoided,is a dangerous know all.Cath is now a bad debtor refusing to pay for services recently rendered.

Calita (meaning bay)Marsial is located at 55*49’S and 67*35’W has a large vessels bouy laid by Chilean Navy in middle of well protected( from  SW-NW winds) small bay, good holding ,in 10 meters, no kelp.Do you have a chart ,if not will send nav instructions from abeam Cape Horn,to Calita Marsial You should ask permission from Cape Horn Chilean Navy lighthouse to anchor at above location.I will be off line for a week,working Bass Straight.

Gerry, thanks for info – yes, do have a chart. Hi Nick and Penny – missed you a week or so ago, and I think Keith would have approved. Michael, think about the hassle of getting eyedrops in – great fun, and I’m getting to be quite good at picking the moment to let go with both hands and squeeze the bottle while I hold a light so that I can see it.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 17, 2005 - 0141hrs UTC

0141hrs 17 Feb 2005 UTC 45’35”S 128’63”W Map Ref 67 3816nm

I made a silly mistake requesting grib files yesterday and well and truly exceeded my daily connect time so this will be a shortie. Also had a minor laptop crash – dont know what happened but discovered after rebooting that Airmail, the sailmail application, seems to have lost all my saved messages from its ‘saved’ folders. Beware, youse all and save stuff to USB memory or cd or the hard drive – not to Airmail folders. So I have lost everything more than about a week old – I hope Steve has backups but he won’t have the early messages sent direct to and from individuals. Damn.

We did a sailchange at about 4am local time – I was off watch and had to climb out of nice warm bag – think hellfire and roses, this is hard, guys – then think again about what the people out here in square riggers and especially Cook’s crew at 71 south had to go through and decide that it’s really soft and cushy by comparison and get just on with it. Laurie Lawrence on pain, perhaps, for a different motivational image. Gordon Liddy even? Anyway, the usual dark and clammy night out there, did sailchange and sat in the cockpit to feel the elements a bit while Pete got out of his party gear below and – behold, a little patch of stars directly above and the gentle glow of what must have been the setting moon lighting the rim of soft cloud to the south. Like sitting in a grey fluffy bowl – piled misty grey darkness all around, black to the north and luminous ceiling. Then think 35 kts blowing across the top with noise and spray and you get close. Worth all the aggravation of getting into party gear and I sat up there till the cloud closed in again. Was then a great excuse to visit Dr Cooper.

Now in 40-50 knots again. Poo. But the sun is out, which may mean we have moved out of the CZ, which in turn may be bad news.

Mike F, where did you spring from and thanks heaps for the crossword – I’ve never started out with an empty grid before and it makes for a nice diversion. Have it mostly worked and most of the answers I think, but need the final breakhrough. Using some laminated graphpaper prepared for sextant sight reduction and non perm felt pen for trial and error grid construction. Will take photo if I get it finished. Kris – don’t know whether I’ve got all your emails – was looking for the last one when I discovered result of crash. Keep em coming tho – don’t think there’s any chance of getting the password from here. Doyles – great cake – thanks – just got to it in time and ate it rather quickly and drank your collective health with every slice. H, E, K & V, G’day – hope all’s well and lotsa.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 18, 2005 - 0200hrs UTC

0200hrs 18 Feb 2005 UTC 45’25”S 127’35”W Map Ref 68 3878nm

Small drama last night.   We have not been changing the plastic aerofoil on the self steering unit from large to small as often as perhaps we should (Kevin Fleming recommends whenever the apparent wind hits 20 kts) and we have had the big one on since we left Dunedin.  Slack and negligent, but it was working fine.   Anyway, there was a crash in the middle of my watch in the blackest part of the night and I jumped into my party gear – nimble as always and it only took about 15 minutes and it always reminds me of Mr Bean changing in his Mini as he drives to work – and took out the stormboard and uncoiled through the hole to investigate.   The boat had gybed and was heading for Sydney with everything crossed up and the jib backed.   Hand steered it back through the return gybe towards Chile and looked for the cause to find that the aerofoil was broken off along the line of the bracket that holds it.   Serves us right…So poor Pete had to climb out of a deep sleep and snuggly sack, into his party gear and bring up and fit one of the spares while I hand steered.  We are using a plywood spare with holes cut through it to reduce weight and duct tape across the holes.   Anyway, we now know that there’s a limit to what we can get away with.

It’s getting cold out there, especially in the middle of the night with a bit of spray and the wind from the south.   Looks as if the weather is about to get worse too – we’re now in the top of the lows rather than the bottom of the big high that has been with us since NZ.

Very tedious day so far.   wind all over the place @ 1 – 2 kt so generator wont turn and solar panel in cloudy light only does about 1.5 – 2 amps, half what we need, and we’re going nowhere.   My lunch has just been cheese on vita wheat with cress from the vegie garden topped off with Bev’s mango pickle from far off Rocky.  Yummy.   Haven’t been paying the boot ferals much attention recently and they’ve been thriving.   Some interesting new colonies, talkative as ever. Giving them an outing now in the dismal excuse for sunlight – most of them scream a lot and hide but there’s one set of mutants in one small area of insole that seem to be able to make chlorophyll – well, they are green and they grow towards the light – so maybe with some selective breeding we have a new vegie garden and a killer patent.

From Michael G.

Dear Alex and Peter,

The log makes a really great read. I check it every second day and always let the family know how you are faring.

Let me know if I can in any way facilitate any medical matters that hopefully won’t arise (bent ribs etc).  Interesting about the eye drops.

I would like to display the log updates and a photo of Berrimilla in my medical practice rooms, in a display on the front counter, but first would like to obtain permission from Alex and Peter.

I’m sure numerous of my customers would be very interested to know what you two are up to.

Keep up the hard work.

From Kim:

Pete may remember the book of “”useless”” Japanese inventions (Chindogu)   (I think) Sarah once had it.  A little invention consisted of two little plastic funnels attached to the eyeglass of a spectacle frame. Tilt your head back and you can never miss, even on a rocking boat!  There may be a pair hidden somewhere on Berrimilla.

From  John & Sherryl

From G’day Alex & Pete  We’ve been following with interest. Just as you look

foreward to your daily mail we look foreward to the trials & tribulations of

the boys on Berrimilla. We are living in a different world to you with 42

f%&ing degrees yesterday, clear skies and two feet on the ground! All is

normal with the sailing season tapering off, and the football season

starting. Pete, the young fella Matt has played a few scratch matches for

the Eagles. The last one he did ok but I think he will spend a bit of time

in our local WAFL competition at first, he’s with the big boys now. Keep up

the good work 

Michael G, thanks for offer of co-ordination and by all means display as long as we don’t have to clean up our act; original photos at home: if you need one, contact Hilary.  This must be the true measure of fame – in competition with National Geographic. Did you check the Adastra site?   Olivia, Hi – and yuk!  Kim – just what I need, another useless bit of gear please consign 4000 sterile once-onlies to Port Stanley.   Sherryl & JG, you’re a pair of bloody sadists.

Short of battery – gotta go.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 18, 2005 – 0353hrs UTC

0353hrs 18 Feb 2005 UTC 45’25”S 127’32”W Map Ref 69 3880nm

A day of chasing zephyrs – going nowhere, rolling around, getting little jobs done and now it’s evening and we’ve dropped the sails and we’re going to get some serious sleep. The silence, the almost indigo blue of the water, an albatross and a petrel swishing past, long menacing line of cloud that turned into puffy rain, still hasn’t reached us. When it does, it won’t arrive, it’ll just muffle us in feathery mist. The water is so clear and it seems to impart its own glow to anything in it – the towline looks silvery – I dropped a roll of tape as I was re-tying it and I could see it glowing for ever as it sank. Hard to believe – I must have only read the stories of the storms and never looked beyond.

I’m making bread, the cabin is warm, smells like a bakery, Pete is writing his journal and then we’ll make dinner and switch off until the noise starts again. We’re due for a front tomorrow and it will actually be nice to be moving again. Looks like my early estimate of March 4 at the Horn has gone overboard. Will send this when I pull in the mail call from Steve later.

Pete has part three to put in as well. Maybe later. Bread just out – hot slice with butter – yay!

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 19, 2005 - 0015hrs UTC

0015hrs 19 Feb 2005 UTC 45’49”S 126’30”W Map Ref 70 3930nm

And so it came to pass. Calm windless silence that pounds your ears, then fluffy darkness, muffled rain, slight roll, plus all the usual little noises in Berri’s vocab, mostly irritants like a Sikaflex tube rolling in its shelf and banging irregularly against the side – impossible to sleep through and essential to get up, identify and fix. But sleep we did, punctuated by the periodic satcom urgency alarm when a couple of hurricane warnings about TC Olaf up north arrived and no alternative but to get up and cancel the beep and read the messages. The beep must have been designed to be impossible to ignore – really malevolent noise. Never ever happens in co-ordination with the demands of the bladder either, just to get one on one’s toes a bit more often.

And I heard the moan of breeze in the rig just as the coachroof hatch showed its outline in the dim grey light at about 3am. Coffee, set the poles, sails up and we’re away again. Calm sea, bright sunlight, 5 kts direct for the Horn. And last night’s bread for breakfast. Beats queuing for a bus, but we did miss out on about 100 miles of easting.

Right now we are possibly the most isolated people on the planet, but it’s all relative. We have been looking at the logistics of getting some minor spares from the UK the Falklands and it reminds me of how easy it is to take the usual fripp of Oz daily life for granted. Freight delivery to Port Stanley is by sea – a couple of months – airmail is courtesy of the RAF and presumably subject to load limitations, courier service might be available at significant cost via Argentina. The islanders are a long way out of town too.

For, I think, only the second time since Hobart, we have the solar panel facing the sun and producing wiggly amps. When I bought the panel in Sydney, I thought about making a frame for it over the stern, but decided not to because after testing its output, I felt that it would not be possible to orient the panel effectively on a frame. We keep the panel stowed on the coachroof, permanently connected to its regulator but usually not contributing much. Today it is in the cockpit catching as many of the 42 photons per hour we get down here and delivering the transmogrified product to the battery. But the angle of orientation is absolutely critical – it needs to be perpendicular to the sun and even a small change can halve its output. The daily routine will have to include rotating it through 15 deg every hour whenever it is out of storage.

The expected front should arrive later today, with the wind backing round to the south and increasing to about 30kt. Not too serious and we should continue to make progress. The sea is just starting to rise and the rolling has increased. No main, so no slatting and banging and the twins and Kevvo are doing a mighty job. Lunch about to happen – basmati rice with the very last of the Dunedin carrots, onion, raw garlic and vegie garden mung beans stirred in.

Mung Beans – an enterprise not without its downside. Ok if they all sprout evenly, but this lot at least haven’t done so and I’ve chipped all the leading edge fillings off my front teeth on the little rocky ones that didn’t germinate. Essential to eat them very carefully. Filed off the sharper bits and its back to the hacksaw smile. Another job for Julita. The cress is thriving and I now have a rotating system where one half of the tray gets eaten as the other half sprouts and grows. Fenugreek still to be tried. The simple pleasures of extended isolation. And Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads on a BBC CD – done Alan on ‘A chip in the sugar’ and about to listen to Patricia Routledge as A Woman of Letters. When did I ever have time for such idle dissipation in the real world? In the aggravation a couple of days ago, I lost Mike’s crossword grid I’d been working on – it got wet and ran off the laminate – so that’s out there to be reworked too.

1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 19, 2005 - 2215hrs UTC

2215hrs 19 Feb 2005 UTC 45’30”S 123’44”W Map Ref 71


Alex

What a dreadful night, punctuated by a series of little tragedies all related to the loss of precious liquids. The front duly arrived, as usual at dinner time and, again as usual, the grib had the wind direction pretty much spot on but once again as usual, underestimated the strength by 100% so instead of 20 gusting 25, we get 40 going on 50. Two sail changes during the night as it increased, each requiring one of us to surface from warm bunk and dreams of Ingrid (was that her name, Kees?) and go through the Mr Bean routine and get wet and cold as well.

Tragedy no. one has been developing since NZ – we felt it time to broach our last 3ltr box of Sir James’ plonk for dinner only to find the box wet and mouldy with salt water and spilt plonk. The inner skin had chafed a biggish pinhole through itself and the wine tastes of the mould. We have coped with worse recently and just added a bit of imaginary mould to the chilli beans to balance things up.

However, tragedy no 2 – we needed plastic bottles to decant our new vintage mould into and we emptied two bottles of desalinated water into the main desal reservoir. Except that, as we discovered later one of them was a quarter full of carefully conserved tonic water, so – down on tonic and up on quinine and iodine in the desal. Goes well with tea.

So to tragedy no 3, from which I’m just recovering. Pete woke me at 1200 UTC, about 0400 local, still black and noisy and I made myself a cup of tea with attitude – big mug, 2 bags, 3 sugar lumps – as a sort of compensation for the night’s nasties. We usually keep an empty pot on the stove with a cloth over the inside base to put cups of tea etc into so that the stove gimbals help to keep them from spilling but we had some leftovers from the mouldy chilli beans so the pot was otherwise occupied and I put the cup in the sink while I disengaged myself from the strap that makes cooking of any sort possible and I’m sure you can guess what happened on the next big roll. I’d been so looking forward to dunking a few biscuits. But as I cast my eyes into the outer darkness, ready to weep copious tears of grief and rage, I saw a little pink glimmer of dawn light between the southern horizon and the clouds so perhaps not quite a silver lining but uplifting anyway.

Night for me is always that little bit more tense than daytime because, I suppose, it’s easier to judge what is likely to become a problem if you can actually look at the source of the concern – rather than relying on the quality and feel of the vibration or whatever to decide whether to be scared or not. Also something to do with knowing the boat so intimately and being very conscious of her weaknesses and discounting her strength. And everything always seems more violent, faster, noisier and nastier in the cold gyrating darkness, especially in the hour or so before dawn. I am always that bit more alert and it’s hard to sleep. This is a very fragile enterprise we’ve got going here and it needs constant vigilance. The forces acting on us are potentially overwhelming and we have to optimise and minimise all the time. There’s nothing sentient out there trying to destroy us, as some early sailors believed, but the force is just there, all the time and we have to accommodate it incrementally with all the gear and experience we’ve got with us. Often better to be in the cockpit than below, although the grammar and vocab are better enunciated and much less fuzzy inside our little drum.

Pulled in the VMC MSLP analysis for the south pacific last night on the weather fax – rather distorted because of the range but still quite readable and it looks as if the highs to the north are gradually dispersing and the lows are moving up. We’re in the top of one now and there’s another rather fierce one a couple of hundred miles behind it. Not a pleasant prospect – still 2200 miles to the Horn, or abut 17 days at our present rate. Brian and Jen, we have just clicked over 3000 miles from Dunedin. Maybe the 10k mark in a marathon. I’ve been standing in the wet and windy cockpit amongst the big quartering seas that come up and slide under us, turning the boat sideways and pitching it at the same time to produce the rather violent corkscrewing that makes life so difficult below and watching the boat lengths tick over as every one of them takes us closer to Chile.
Devoncroo – we drank an appropriate toast on the 17th. Please pass on if ok so to do.


Pete: Hello to all out there.

Is there anyone out there still using celestial navigation? 30 years ago I used it almost daily for about 7 months at sea. It was part of the boat routine, a couple of sun sights during the day, worked and plotted late afternoon with a shared libation to celebrate the days run. If closing land, then star sights would be used at morning and evening twilight to confirm things. At 45 – 50 south, twilight and stars are not a couple. You get the sun at times during the day but generally the horizon is misty so you basically guess the sight.

Yesterday was different we took the sails down the night before as there was no wind and slept. This was the first sleep longer than 2.5 hours in the last 3 weeks. I woke to a calm sea and a clear sky. it was time for a sight. This was the first time I could hold the sun in the telescope and not have it disappear in a second as the boat lurched from another wave. I took 2 good sights and averaged them, later about noon I got another, not as good as the seas by now were getting large and oh joy another late afternoon 3 sights in one day unbelievable. Last night I did the calculations and plotted the results. It looks like a classic textbook example. a small triangle of the position lines with the GPS position of the boat at the time of the first sight right in the centre of the triangle. I moved the later sights’lines of position back to the first sight allowing for course and distance travelled because I considered the first sight the most reliable.

When crossing the Pacific all those years ago there was a reef marked on the chart between Fiji and Noumea as our course was going to pass close by, we decided to find it. When we were a couple of days out we cranked up the navigation. 2 of us were taking sights at the same time and comparing results. We took both sun and star sights and were confident. As predicted one morning, the reef appeared it could only be seen from a few miles off and then only when the odd wave broke over it. we sailed over to it and noticed the rusting wreck of a small ship on the bottom inside the reef we decided not to go inside.

Anyway, this result was very pleasing and I’m hooked – cant wait for the next calm sunny day. Cheers Pete.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 20, 2005 - 0840hrs UTC

0840hrs 20 Feb 2005 UTC 45’09”S 122’43”W Map Ref 72 4095nm

Ladies and gents, it’s decision time. Our weather situation is beginning to look very messy. The high is now down here with us, there’s a nasty low behind and below us and another forming ahead which potentially is messiest of all because we will be perfectly placed up here to cop the strong south easterly flow into the bottom of it right on the nose. We have external advice to head south and get below it – rather earlier than intended and potentially risky with 2100 miles still to go. Anyway, we’re away on the big dive towards the Horn. Not fast at the mo – conditions mean that the best we can do is about 100T but it will get easier tomorrow. We need to get down to 50 S as fast as possible and then assess the situation. This will shorten the journey by a few miles but will put us in potentially much bigger seas for a lot longer. Cross your fingers out there and watch this space.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 21, 2005 - 0225hrs UTC │Generator has died

0225hrs 21 Feb 2005 UTC 45’57”S 121’35”W Map Ref 73 4162nm

The proposed [ed: broken generator] work-around – we will run the engine for half hr each day at about this time 0200-0300utc (good propgn)while diesel lasts & do update & mailcall then to v short satcom updates if diesel short. For George, unit works thro Ampair control box, not boat’s regulator – v unlikely control box is wet. First connected unit direct to box cutting out connector plug – no change – then took backplate off – some moisture and condensation – and also bare connection where shrinkwrap had failed. Re insulated dried out and resealed still no change. Casing not obviously live like before but may have felt small tingle. V tired by this stage so not altogether functional. About to have restorative G&T.

lost a bit here too hard to recreate – sorry …sneak between the exceptionally nasty windy bits, but I think we will cop some serious swell on the way so a lot may depend on the actual wind direction relative to the swell. This is a tiny boat compared to some of these rolling skyscrapers and we have to sail a fine line to make progress. And there is a possible ice report too, at 51.3s 118.6w which is south of our likely track. For the meteorologically challenged – a set that includes myself – I’ll have a go at explaining how I see the situation. Firstly, low pressure systems rotate clockwise in the s. hemisphere and suck air in. Imagine a 300 mile wide whirlpool of air going round clockwise, faster and faster closer to the vortex, then move the whole whirlpool from west to east at up to 30 knots and thats your low. In microcosm, it’s what happens at the plughole in your bath or sink but with air instead of water. Looking down on it, you can divide it into 4 segments or quadrants – top right or North East, bottom right, SE etc. In the NE quadrant, air is moving clockwise from the north west and inwards towards the centre. The wind speed in this quadrant is therefore the sum of the local wind speed (the whirly bit)plus the forward movement of the whole system, so this is the windiest sector. It is known as the dangerous quadrant of a tropical cyclone. In the SE quadrant, this effect is much less and the two are subtracted in the NW quadrant. Generally, the closer to the centre, the stronger the wind. High pressure systems work in reverse, but don’t really concern us for the time being.

We are sitting in the bottom of the high that’s been hanging around for three weeks in very light southerly winds. We have a deepish looking low forming to the north east of us, putting us potentially in its SW quadrant with strong south easterly winds – exactly what we don’t need as we head SE towards the Horn, therefore we need to get well south of the influence of this one before we get that far east and it catches us. We also have a low directly west of us, about two days away, putting us in either the NE or SE quadrants and NW or NE wind – not too bad – even helpful as long as we are far enough away from the heavy stuff in the centre, because we need to go SE and that allows us to do so relatively easily. So we’re riding down the front of that one and, at about 120 miles per day, we should get into the SE quadrant or even below it before we really feel it. The next one behind it is perhaps a week away, by which time we should be nearly 1000 miles closer to the Horn and in a different set of systems. So, fingers firmly crossed and the bullet is bit. Comfort and progress will depend on residual sea state as we move south south east. Not sure what to look forward to after 50 S.

Seabirds all around us again. more or less all the time. I hope these guys speak Spanish. One huge albatross – wingspan wider than the boat, serene, effortless majesty, distantly curious, the downdraft from its wings occasionally visible on the water.

From Catherine H.
Hi Guys,
What do you need for boat bits? We may be able to organize it from Buenos Aires, as have lots of contacts there after our refit.
Also will send coordinates of Caleta Martial near Cape Horn, however you are only allowed to stop there if you are clearing into Puerto Williams (Chile). The lighthouse keeper does watch, and I’ve noticed from my last circumnavigation that bureaucracy and zeal at defending it is inversely proportional to the country’s GNP!
Regards from Cath, skipper Spirit of Sydney

Cath, thanks for offer re spares – we may take you up – our aux generator has failed and we need a complete new unit. Steve Jackson will contact you today with further details. I don’t think we will stop at Caleta Martial – we are going to be later at the Horn than intended assuming we get through the next couple of weeks diving south ok and will push on to Stanley. Will come in on 8164 sked when we get a bit closer. Who do I call?

From Kristen M.
Greetings from Mosier, Oregon.

What news would *you* like to receive at mail call? You asked what we
land-lubbers wanted to know. Since you haven’t said, here is a
collection of some of what I’ve been contemplating lately.

This morning we had a couple of centimeters of snow on the ground.
Later the sun came out and it was beautiful and the snow melted very
quickly. El nino is causing all of the usual Oregon/Washington precip
to head for California, so it has been an odd winter here, and a very
wet one down there. Meanwhile I’m trying to get back into “”real life””
with mixed success. The dog and cat have been good company though. I
can see how on a bigger boat a ship cat could be quite popular, in
addition to filling a useful function of killing rodents.

You mention in your logs of late how remote and isolated you are.
True. Nevertheless, I am cognizant that in spite of your remoteness
you are very connected to all of us around the world who follow your
journey around the world. I believe that this ability to remain
connected is one of the good things that technology has done for
people. The ability to remain connected to Berri and her crew as you
connect the dots is a gift. Of course this omnipresent connectivity
is also dreadfully misused. I am disgusted by how my coworkers are
required to check their email even while on vacation. Apparently
Americans work more hours than people any other industrialized nation.

I however am doing my best to drag down this average. Lately I’ve
been quite successful. The truth is that I came home from Mexico
because I wanted to come home, not because work was calling
frantically. At the moment, I have the luxury of lots of unscheduled
time. I’ve been filling it with chores such as shopping for my first
stereo (but it will be a couple steps above a starter stereo) and
reading and watching movies. And converting cryptic crossword formats
(if you start wanting more I’ll invest the time in hacking the
JavaScript but since I’ve never written a line of JavaScript–just
Java–that will take some time…but it could be fun…)

Have you thought about what you’ll do after you finish sailing around
the world? As I’m sure you’ve figured out, life is a process oriented
sport. Immense as your current goal is, you will most likely attain
it and then get to move on to something else. Myself, I’m trying to
kick myself in the ass to attempt something hard. Being a bum isn’t
enough for me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that I’m a spoilt brat. Much
of the world is struggling to eat. Those of us who live in the
industrialized world are struggling to pay mortgages and raise
children. I’m dreaming up conspiracy theories (shrub wants to
privatize US social security–is the secret goal to get more Americans
caring about the stock market?) and procrastinating by playing
computer solitaire.

What I’m asking myself is what is it that enables one to get past the
fear of failure to try something really hard? Your prep sheets make
sailing Berri around the world look like an exercise in project
management, but I know there’s way more too it than that.

Kris – got your list of questions thanks – working on it. Yes to stubborn, if I remember correctly the order of meaning.

From Kim K.
It’s a good read Alex. Enjoyable. Glad to hear the seas are a little calmer for a moment anyway.

A few years ago I did an artificial insemination course (bovine) with a young woman form the Falklands (don’t ask, what else is there to bring a young girl to Armidale!)

Although a native I was surprised that she had a Londonish accent. Apparently (if I recall correctly) only one “”supermarket”” there. Local population about 2000 plus about 3000 troops. (I may be very wrong). (no flies also) I applied for a job there (which I failed to get) some years ago.

Take care with the Mung beans, it wound be ironic if you lost your teeth but warded off scurvy!

The side fence “”progresses””. It may be an idea if I measured twice and cut once. Bought a new handsaw today…magic. It came with a CD of Aussie workmen’s songs! What an incentive.

I expect you are drinking Dr Cooper’s warm? (like a Pom??) No refrigeration (to spare). Is this Pete’s magic home brew? (spell check suggested “”manic””!)

Must be at my quota, Take care.

Kim, the Dr Coopers is at room temperature – doubt if you’d find that warm beside your fence.

From Allan Fenwick
exciting sailing happenings here, from lake mac. to Smiths creek
off coal and candle. Gordo, myself, and picked up Sarah from Brooklen for an
s@s meeting. 6 34s rafted up, good company, Gordo found a chef off one of
the other yachts and together they cooked up a storm, together with red wine
the evening stretched into dawn, all are now keen to sail to lake mc. for
Easter, with a few more Sparkman @ Stevens 34s. Trying to get the numbers up
to 12 this time. Knowing Easter it will rain for 4 days. It seems you two
are having fun, eating and sleeping, I hope you are riding your bike, you
haven’t said anything about it. Keep fit and dry and stay safe.

Fenwick = glad there are still five people who will talk to you. I understand you’d drunk all your grog before you arrived and just bludged, so maybe even they wont talk to you again.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 21, 2005 – 1316hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1316hrs 21 Feb 2005 UTC 46’52”S 121’06”W Map Ref 74

It’s feely-gropey time – no generator so major conservation exercise – instruments & satcomC only, no gps, no lights except masthead at night (LED, so only draws 0.2 amp) and laptop only in small doses. And I suppose that’s what they are – I’ve grown used to having all youse all out there to talk to (at??) and deprivation is setting in. Feely-gropey also as we are working out what we can get away with, so careful monitoring of battery state, diesel supply and amperage for the next couple of days and I hope to be able to stay in touch. May have to curb verbosity. No breadmaking, no watermaker (needs power and boat heeling too much)and getting colder by the day as we move south.

Beam reaching under #4 only in gusty 35-40kt from the west, really need to change down to #5 so when pete wakes. Wind roaring in rig, halyards vibrating and the boat shaking. Hard to sleep, especially if you’re me and listening to it all analytically. Black and cold and was raining. Big beam sea, occasional dumpers – which have been finding their way thro mast boot to my bunk (I’ve moved out of the quarterberth to port bunk) so now hiding behind big orange prophylactic sheet deck to roof. Life’s little trials. We’ve started our dive at least 800 miles sooner than intended and don’t really know what to expect – somewhat scary. Wind should come round to S later today & NW tomorrow, probably same strength. Between low to S and remains of high to N. Grey and rather dismal dawn just arriving.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 22, 2005 - 0018hrs UTC

0018hrs 22 Feb 2005 UTC 47’08”S 120’05”W Map Ref 75 4266nm

Yesterday was not a good day, all things considered. We worked most of the day on the generator trying to eliminate possible causes of the failure. First, of course, the need to unpack the starboard q’berth to get at the control boxes and the rear of the connector socket. we opened the socket, disconnected the leads and rejoined them directly, inside the hull and streamed the turbine – no change – disappointment. So we brought it in again, took the generator below and opened the backplate where the internal connections to the rectifiers live. Some moisture evident plus one uninsulated soldered join close to where the plate would lie (seemed as if the shrinkwrap insulation had failed and there was bare wire). Dried it out, gave it a shot of Inox, did our best to reinsulate the join, put it all back together with lots of silicone sealant and tried again. No joy, big disappointment. And the casing is still live too, so it probably wasn’t a short in the rectifier box. Dunno. Knackered by the end of the day and had to repack q’berth all over. Planned a workaround using diesel and minimum power, as well as putting the manufacturers in touch with various people who might be able to help get a new one to us in Port Stanley.

Then had the best ever G & T followed by a couple of cans if irish stew and a can of veg just heated in the pot. Perfect, but v restless night.

Unclench those cheeks Mal – all will be ok – the conditions are at normal nasty Bass Strait level but with bigger waves, which we expect to get much bigger as we go south along with the wind. Uncomfortable – extremely – but more a huge test of stamina than strength for the mo. Would be nice to have a 24 hour period without at least 3 cold wet sail changes. Something to look forward to with controlled fervour. I’m surprised by the speed at which the systems go through – I was expecting more constancy. Naive, perhaps. We are tracking straight for the Horn but I expect that will change tomorrow and there is potentially 40+ from the N the next day as the low to the west gets to us.

Meantime, what am I going to do for the next 17 days? I need this laptop toy to keep my apology for a mind in gear (really too bouncy and stressful to get back to crossword) and I’m trying out various combos of laptop and instruments to see what they draw (everyone should have a Xantrex battery monitor!). I am now sure we can keep this nonsense on the churn if in somewhat limited form. The show will go on, so keep watching this space, all youse all.

Question for John Witchard – what is the most efficient way to run the engine with no load except the alternator? We’ve been charging the battery in about an hour at idle revs – can we do better at more revs? And how do we achieve minimum burn rate and what is it? Hope you are on line with us.

For George Durrant – the casing is definitely still live when turbine running. Output at 6 kts about half an amp. If you are able to send new unit, we don’t need the gimbal ring or the acetal shaft to towline connector. Thanks for your help so far.

For Devoncroo – it’ll take a few years for the gin to get from your plughole to here – better drink it and the whales will get the residue after processing, as usual. Will do appropriate MiD on 2/3 if all this still works by then – have a good party and pass on my love.

H, E, & K, G’day. Hope you’re all ok. Thinking of you. oxooxx

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 22, 2005 – 2100hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2100hrs 22 Feb 2005 UTC 48’10”S 118’16”W Map Ref 76 4362nm

The lonely sea and the sky…To misquote Douglas Adams, here we are, two ape descended primitive organic life forms (and some highly advanced boot ferals) protected by a fibreglass shell travelling across the vast expanses of intercontinental ocean. Not for us the infinite improbability drive in the Heart of Gold – we must go with Berrimilla’s dacron laminar flow engine and flex and bend with the forces that exist out here – using as much of them as we can and accommodating the rest. I’ve been reading stories of storm and shipwreck around the Horn all my life and I’ve re-read a lot of it in preparation for this journey. We have some horror stories in the boat with us too- light reading foe those idle moments – and the tendency is to trepidate a lot about what may be in store for us and to allow the thought of the wave out there that is just too big for our resilience and flexibility to cope with to smother the knowledge that such waves are rare and – mostly – survivable and that most of what we are likely to meet in the next couple of weeks is quite manageable and, indeed, exhilarating. Probably extremely uncomfortable at times but nothing we haven’t seen before.

And as we get towards the 36k half way mark of this metaphorical marathon to the Horn, it is clear that our resources will last the distance, although we will need to manage power and diesel very carefully. The solar panel is in the cockpit, face to the lighter part of the cloud cover as I write, and it is contributing about 2 amps. Whoopee. We have water, Medical Supplies in the icebox and food and, so far, no big threats to the boat or her gear. Berri seems to be handling it very well – a couple of minor bumps and noises that I could do without, but nothing scary. However, the block is as yet uncarved.

As for the weather, difficult to predict at this stage. Without the generator, I have decided not to try and get weather faxes as they take 10 – 15 minutes to come in over the HF radio and that’s a huge drain on the battery.  We will rely on grib weather through sailmail and the EGC messages on satcomC and any advice that we can get. Most of this depends on the laptop.  If I lose the use of it, we will have to try to get weather info over the radio from the locals atCape Hornor just go with whatever weather we experience. The distance – about 1899 miles and descending –  is now a mentally manageable chunk – threeHobarts, or even 1999Hobartand return during which we logged more than 1500 miles in some awful weather.

That all seems very Marvin and Eeyore. ‘A mind the size of a planet and you ask me to count your beer bottles? That’s just what would happen.’

Does anyone out there have experience using the Telstra satellite phone system? I can always get a call through toAustralia, but have failed every time I have tried to talk to theUK.  That’s about 50 failed attempts over the last week since the generator started to pack up and I have wanted to talk to the manufacturers. I just get the message ‘Call fail system busy’. It is an old Kyocera handset with an external aerial but that ought not make any difference for voice comms – it just doesn’t do data.  Very very frustrating and certainly not worth the access charge I pay to Telstra unless it improves.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 23, 2005 – 2315hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2315hrs 23 Feb 2005 UTC 49’57”S 115’07”W Map Ref 77 4525nm

We’re hooning along twin poled at 7-8 knots towards our own little Rubicon, which flows along 50s.  3 miles to go. As far as I can tell without faxes etc and just using grib coverage of rather limited area, the immediate next few days look OK.  Looks as if we have got below the low that was forming ahead of us and the one behind us is moving SE and we will be in the top and therefore favourable sector of it. I am going to risk some battery and try to pull in the Chilean wx fax later today as a backup.  We are now about 300 miles north of the Horn and 1700 miles west and entering the area where all the horror stories seem to originate. We are at the end of the favourable season for roundingCape Hornand we may get caught by an early change. Judging by the last VMC weather fax I was able to get, about 3 days ago, the lows are taking over from the south pacific high and the window is starting to close to the south east.

Wildlife report – in the absence of bread, we’re into the diet of worms.  Put peanut butter, honey, vegemite, whatever nice and thick between two Vita-Wheat biscuits and squeeze them together and see what you get. Very tasty, and to be eaten raw with wasabi.

Exercise – I’m used to running up to 100 k per week and down here, even with the extreme rolling and pitching, most of the work is done by the shoulders and hands and a sense of balance and it just doesn’t compute.  The heartbeat rarely gets above rest except when trepidating and very occasionally when working a recalcitrant halyard. Fat and flaccid, I am, if that isn’t some sort of a tautology.  Cloughy, if you’re listening, get fit boyo and you’ve got a chance, unless you think taking on a fat old man is beneath you. Choose your course and we’ll see whether that outstanding pint of the Doctor changes hands.Cowesto the Tennyson monument?

Compliment time: we would like to thank Stephen Jackson, who gives up a lot of his day to run this website for us as well as taking on all the extra hassle involved and my sister Isabella, Catherine Hew, George Durrant at Ampair and all the other people who have helped us over the last few days. Through your generosity, ingenuity and hard work, I think we now have a replacement generator organised.  Very much appreciated.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 24, 2005 – 1445hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1445hrs 24 Feb 2005 UTC 50’41”S 113’09”W Map Ref 78

I’ve been chastised for the arrogant assumption that we have actually made the transition from ape to primitive human life form. Fair call, Malcom. I’ll talk severely to my selfish genes and tell them to up their game. Then I’ll try to make a watch and ask Kim to be the arbitrator.

For the first time since we left Sydney on Boxing Day, I can smell the finishing line on this leg – at the risk of overworking the metaphor, there’s a clock ticking out ahead somewhere at 42.2k and someone with a bundle of medals over their arm and a bit of paper with a time on it (or, in these days of tech brilliance, a mat that reads the chip on my ankle.  Wonder how much work in carrying that over 42 k), a cold drink and a clothes bag and – bliss – a shower.   So this is really the hardest part of the whole journey mentally – the line is there in the conscious mind but still way out of sight and the real work is still to be done – just ground away minute by minute till 36k is past and the pain sets in and then the reality that the line is just over the next hill lifts the spirits but adds yearning to the pain. And you get to the line and the body seizes up and you cant walk, you get your finisher’s medal and the tiny weight of it nearly knocks you over and you say never, ever again. And then elation sets in and of course you do it all over again. Mad really.  But Berrimilla is firmly the wrong side of 30k for a time yet and all that elation stuff is a couple of weeks ahead beyond the grind. I hope. But I can smell it.

We crossed 50 south at midnight UTC and the Doctor was informed that another small milestone has been passed. We’re still pointing towards the Horn at about 7 knots, twin poled with the #5 to starboard and the orange storm jib set high on a ten foot strop to port on the outer forestay. Wind howling in the rig and the storm jib shaking slightly on its stay. Quite big swells, and we surf occasionally. They will get bigger. The strip of ocean between 56S and about 62S (Cape Horn to theAntarctic Peninsula) extends all around the world with no landmass to impede the passage and the build up of the swells and they can build to enormous height. Not in itself a problem for a small boat as long as they are not breaking or hollow. They start to break as the wind rises and blows for an extended period and as we move south and we get closer to the influence of this massive effect we must be careful to watch what is happening to the south and west and, if necessary, wait for the situation to improve. There is a permanent easterly current that flows around the world at those latitudes too, which may be helpful.

It’s grey and damp with thick uniform cloud cover all around. One of the more surprising aspects of the weather here is the speed at which things change – from grey and menacing overcast to bright sunlight to fluffy white cumulus in minutes sometimes, and the wind changes direction and strength constantly so we have to be ready all the time to get into the gear and do a sail change. The daily grind of southern ocean life.

I’ve just seen what I’m sure was a seal. Pete had a conversation with one a day or so ago too. Hard to believe that they are this far out – are there surface fish for them to eat? why do they come out here? I suppose any sensible seal would probably wonder what the hell we’re doing out here too. Not sure how I would answer that! Would I do it again? Probably, although in modified form. But we have to finish it yet and that’s way out in the uncertainty field.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 24, 2005 - 2145hrs UTC

2145hrs 24 Feb 2005 UTC 50’52”S 112’31”W Map Ref 79

Pete: Reflections, part 3. We were inDunedin, the xrays showed no broken ribs but alex would need a week to recover. this proved to be a blessing as it gave us time to evaluate the storage problems we had on board. Have you ever packed for a holiday with all the things necessary for the journey then found there’s no room for the kids? This was the problem we faced inHobart – there wasn’t enough room for us to live comfortably. We decided to put it all on board and we would sort it out on the way.Dunedin gave us a chance to reassess our priorities in a calm environment.

It’s a huge job to provision a small boat for a voyage like this. Alex and Hilary had worked on it for months. The boat had to accommodate: food for 5 months; clothing for us both for temp from 0 – 35 degrees; wet weather gear plus spare sets; both delivery and racing sails; medical equipment and supplies; spare parts and maintenance for engine, generator, watermaker, stove, self steering gear, electrical equipment; instruction manuals for radios, gps, computers, electrical instruments; charts, pilot books, sextant, almanacs; spares for rigging, both wire and rope, for the toilet and other pumps; all our bedding; boat safety gear, harnesses, lifevests, flares,etc. The list seems endless and we still need enough room to live comfortably. Oh I nearly forgot, the liferaft, the inflatable dinghy, extra fuel and water tanks, and, of course, alcoholic beverages.

SinceDunedin, the boat works well. We have enough room to live, things that are needed frequently are easily available. Heavy objects, eg bolt cutters, spare turbine etc, are lashed to the mastbase. every storage space that has a lid, such as under berth lockers, ice boxes, the lid is either screwed or lashed shut.

Speaking of comfort, alex has used a narrow foam squab about 6ft x 1 ft to make a U shaped liner for the top of his bunk. this encases his head and shoulders and stops him rolling from side to side in beam seas. this refinement has an added bonus – when seated upright at the head of the bunk, the foam provides armrests and thus lounge chair type seating. Just the thing to sit in and enjoy the early coffee. My bunk is narrow and more coffin like in form but this confinement is great in a rolling sea.

Sail changes have been refined and now take less time and complicated routines like twin pole gybes (necessitating moving each sail to the opposite side) are hassle free. I do the foredeck work and alex works the sheets and halyards from the cockpit during the change and comes forward to help bag the changed sail, relead  and connect sheets. We now generally set a small rig for our night run and put the big sails up and make the miles during daylight. most sail changes are saved for daylight. actually it’s daylight for quite a long time down here. if caught at night with a change that can’t wait, then spreader lights and LED headlights make the change easy.

We seem to have better output from the generator for the moment so hopefully communications will be back to normal.

Keep your information coming in – we really appreciate it. Chyeers, Pete.


 Alex: An idle speculation update. I have just realised that when we crossed 120 W on Feb 22 UTC we had sailed across a quarter of the world’s longitude fromSydney, although not in distance. I think a belated Consultation will be in order. The next quarter comes at 30 W, somewhere in theAtlantic. Half way to the longitude of Falmouth is just ahead, at about 105 W, but mega distance to actually get to Falmouth – very much off the top of my head, about 8500 miles.

Small wildlife report. I tossed a couple of dodgy biscuits overboard this morning and immediately the nearest bird – white, black tops to wings, smallish and very agile – did an effortless Immelmann turn and swooped towards them, about 15 metres astern. What was surprising was the speed at which the other two birds close to us got into the act – neither could have seen the original toss or the biscuits but both of them were on the spot in seconds. Perhaps it was the aerobatics that were the signal, or they were calling to eachother, although I couldn’t hear anything over the other boat and wind noise.

And there are more bluebottles on the surface. About 4cm long, with flat colourless sails. The water temp is about 8.5 deg.

K, Alphonse has been looking very sniffy lately but I gave the pee bucket a good rinse over the side this morning and his teeth nearly fell out with surprise.

The swells are getting bigger – we are getting closer to the Antarctic circum-polar region. Weather pattern seems OK for the next week or so, according to the Chilean weather fax and we’re going as fast as we can towards the Horn to get max advantage. Fingers firmly crossed.

I’ve been asked what we are going to do after this. Pete can speak for himself – I’m on a promise to Hilary to do the next one with her, whatever that may be. In more general terms, I just want to be a better teacher. There should be some useful experience to work with and some of these logs might become part of the material. And Pete asked how will I be different if we actually finish this little journey. I think that anyone who comes out here and doesn’t osmose a huge dose of humility isn’t getting the message, so perhaps the hair shirt as an accessory to the wardrobe. Helps with teaching too.

Kim, thanks for the vegemite suggestion. Um – the colour? The possibility of distillation? Fermentation with mung beans and boot feral wort? And have you ever spoken to a chopper pilot about ground resonance? Nasty.

Kris, the project management bit gets you to the start line, provided you’ve got all the right stuff in the plan. A lot of it is second guessed on the basis of limited experience. Then the plan gets tested by reality and that’s the scary part. More idle spec – tragedy happens when something goes catastrophically wrong, but it also needs the element of knowledge of the gravity of the failure on the part of the participants and the onlookers. What it it when someone fails spectacularly but hasn’t the wit to see it and goes round boasting how clever s/he is? Anyway, you need the project or it’s an empty box. There must be a block for you not to carve.

Hi Peter C – thanks for the feedback. Glad it’s useful. Something else we really need – a gimballed seat, or a means of setting up a seat on either tack so that the person on watch can sit in reasonable comfort without having to brace. Possible, even in Berri’s minimal accommodation, with a it of ingenuity. We’re working on it.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 25, 2005 – 1345hrs UTC

1345hrs 25 Feb 2005 UTC 51’46”S 111’19”W Map Ref 80

It’s been a pink and yellow day. We opened a tin of beetroot for lunch and Pete cooked some rice and stirred in the beetroot, a can of white beans, the last sliver of Dunedin spanish onion, a tin of potato salad and some corn kernels. Bright almost iridescent pink mixture with yellow spots but really tasty – I needed the vinegar tang from the beetroot too. And then, of course, we were both filling the little bucket with delicately pastel pinky yellow pee. Good fun, once one overcomes the first mild shock.

Followed by one of the loveliest sunsets I have seen – glimmer of sun low in the west – first golden yellow with glowing yellow wash on the cloud layers above then slowly turned the whole western sky a luminous cherry pink that softly closed in towards the west. The clarity and lack of pollution in the air sharpen the colours and enhance all the fluffy bits so that each tendril of cloud gets its own brush of colour and shade. Then an almost full moon to the north east, a hazy yellow coin behind a layer of thin cloud, and developing a huge and complete halo.

Message from Sarau today – they were 86 miles west of the Horn, planning to round tomorrow, open their last bottle of bourbon, anchor in the Beagle Passage overnight and clear into Ushuaia the day after. Lucky buggers. Our turn will come and we have RANSA’s bottle of rum. 1580 miles to go as I write.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 – 0715hrs UTC

0715hrs 26 Feb 2005 UTC 52’39”S 110’18”W Map Ref 82

Today has been one of those perfect days in the sun, except that there has been almost no wind. Seems we’ve found the only hole in the southern ocean. We’re trying to work our way south back into the westerly flow. We are at the confluence of a couple of lows and a high here, according to the grib, and there ain’t no wind for a couple of days. Hard to believe. Parked amid house sized swells in the middle of the ocean with not a breath of wind. Bang, once again goes any sensible ETA for the Horn. And the troops get the stir crazies. Done all the odd jobs and you can only sponge out the bilge so many times. May have to have another go at bread tomorrow.

It’s been the end of the line for Pete’s first 30 bottle brew of Dr Coopers (after something like 50 days we’ve been truly abstemious) – we had the last one in the sun in the cockpit this morning and tomorrow we will celebrate the new vintage that’s been cooking away in the second icebox since Hobart apart from a minor airborne journey to the forepeak and back south of NZ. And this evening we finished the last of the G & T. And yesterday we finished the rather mouldy plonk too. Seems there’s some incentive to get moving – just wish we could. Cricket on the radio – we can sometimes get Radio Oz. Very hard to get involved – is there a new Labour leader?

9 hours later 26/0651Z – we’ve found a smidgin of breeze – main is filling, headsail up again, pointing at the Horn and we’ve knocked off another mile – 1502 to go. VMG 5kts. Hoooooley doooley! If I’ve got the grib file right, we should be able to hold this for a while but still very light and confused (me and the breeze..) – fingers crossed. Lovely cool cloudless night with the moon’s reflection yellow on the backs of the swells but hazy up high so only first magnitude stars visible – a bit like a city sky without the grot.

Tactics from here – if we can follow the plan – point towards the Horn until we get to about 55 S wherever that happens then run the latitude east past 80 W and then duck down to 55.47 S and around. But that is not likely to be achievable – it’s just The Plan, so you know what’s on.

Thanks for your notes, H & K. I’ll write soon.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 - 1455hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1455hrs 26 Feb 2005 UTC 52’54”S 109’05”W Map Ref 83

Still moving – still according to plan – VMG in the 6s & 7s. Oh joy! Long background warehouse-sized swell that keeps us rolling gently as we swish away the miles. There’s still a soft spot upstream on the grib picture and we have to keep getting ourselves southwards to get under it. Kevvo has been given his orders down the back and he’s behaving, as always. Kevin, the transom bracket really needs double locknuts in these conditions – the loctite ones work loose after a bit – we’ll fix when we get to Stanley. And some interesting chafe-like effects, probably boat specific but may have something to do with the way spectra casing is braided – only occurs on the starboard steering line and it isn’t really chafe – the casing on the outside of each bend around the turning blocks seems to lose its integrity and it goes fluffy. Odd. We’re now using 6mm spectra and it works much better than the softer 8mm line. Will keep some to show you if you’d like.

It looks as if the window to the Horn is still open -I managed to get a VMC wxfax this morning and the pattern of lows behind us seems fairly stable with just one front – you probably know more about it from the website than we do out here in it. As long as we can get 10 days or so of steady westerly flow we can wrap it up. Pete now has full beard – white and gingery and very cool – and I’m still the smoothie doing the ritual cleanse and scrape every week or so.

Hi Colin – we’ll be back and you’ll get two more Boggers.

El – we’re cruising the airy upper reaches of the bassos and trying to avoid the messy footprints left by the altos.

From Ann A.

Since first reading Isabella’s studio blog, I have been keeping up with all

of your adventures – thankfully from the comfort of my studio – read no wind

or water.  I think the both of you are brave beyond words.

Just wanted to say thanks to Alex for giving Isabella your old shaving

brush.  It became an integral tool in one of my grand creations at our last

class with Isabella at Denman – home of the WI – something we don’t have

here in the States.

I hope your troubs with the generator are over soon.  What I wondered, and I

don’t expect an answer but I am curious – about the brilliance of the night

sky and what it must be like to see forever into the galaxy.  I appreciate

your descriptions of the flora and fauna – both onboard and otherwise.

Fingers and toes crossed for your safe return.

Ann, can’t answer your question – for me, looking out into the universe is a complicated experience, lots of mystery, physics, whimsy (are we just a mini byte of the urge to go to the loo in the vast brain of some life form in a different universe – perhaps a doughnut? Humbling, that one! Don’t, Malcom!) and just plain beauty and wonder, especially out here. But it depends on what you see – Robert Pirsig used his motorbike as a metaphor – the romantics see it as a gleaming sculpture in chrome and leather, the classicists as an elegant and practical assembly of moving parts but both appreciate its beauty. I think I’m somewhere in between. Glad my shaving brush was useful – wonder what you did with it!

From John W.

Just being reading your site.

Try running the engine at between 1200 and 1500 RPM for most efficient charging. At idle the alternator is not working properly. At this rev range you should be using about 1/2 a litre of diesel an hour. Pity you dont have a spare alternator for the engine as you could use a walker log type propellor off the stern to drive it. I beleive somebody makes such a system – nice and simple .Will check on those fuel consumption figures for you. Keep safe around the horn

John W, thanks for engine data. I think a tacho and a fuel flow meter (is there such a thing?) might be a useful set of goodies for the next one.

From Peter C.

Saw your reply, sounds like all is going to plan at the moment & that’s all good, I’d say. Relieved to hear the power generation problem has now been resolved, if not solved.

!!Your Q: Gimballed seat – I presume you mean in the cockpit rather than below, so I’d imagine a swivel + weighted gimballed seat in the cockpit would do the job nicely. Might have to cut out a bit of cockpit seat to fit it in comfortably, but I imagine that’s an incidental.

I understand the problem to which that’s the solution – gets bloody boring staring fixedly at the water slopping past the leeward side if you’re alone on watch for a long time. At least a comfy seat would help the “”on watch”” swivel about & check the sky once in a while. And doesn’t the bum get sore? And legs. And fingernails. Even more amazing is what continuous sea water can do to the skin’s natural anti-bacterial protection.

Peter, the gimballed seat has to be inside – all the singlehanders have them – ain’t no place to sit inside this old workhorse with both lower bunks operational and it’s really hard on the bum and bracing muscles. The nav table seat is athwartships and difficult on either tack.

Simon at Digiboat (Steve, do you know whether he’s out there?)- I’m keeping the tracklogs and downloading to the gigastik every week or so plus as many weather faxes as memory will allow – is there anything else you would like? Would we be able to re-create the track for the website later? It has all sorts of interesting kinks in it, linked to wind and weather and turbine and general stuff-ups.

Elapsed time: we left Hobart on Jan 10, knockdown on the 18th (say 8 days sailing) Dunedin 19 – 26th plus a day to get more or less back on track (8 + 9 = 17 elapsed, 8 sailing) and we’re now in day 31 out of Dunedin so 48 elapsed, 39 sailing. Say another 12 to the Horn = +/- 60 elapsed, 51 sailing. DV & WP! Then about 3 days to the Falklands but daren’t think about that yet – there’s a line to cross first.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 - 2215hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2215hrs 26 Feb 2005 UTC 53’10”S 108’01”W Map Ref 84

I’m sure someone will jump on me if I’m wrong but at 60 degrees latitude, the distance between any two lines of longitude is exactly half the distance between them at the equator. We’re getting close to 60 S and we are at 108 11W and counting – the temptation is to sit here in front of the gps and watch the seconds (of longitude)tick away. A second down here is a bit less than one hundredth of a nautical mile or 19 yards (or nearly two boat lengths) give or take and they are going by about every five seconds in time = 228 yards/minute = 13680 yards/hour = 6.9 kts roughly. Which agrees with the boat’s speed log, which is not Fermet’s last theorem but presumably has some deeper and more meaningful subtext. OK, so I’m waiting for the bread to rise for the second time – there’s that word again – and no, I haven’t got anything better to do. All you Striders are out doing your pre Six Foot Track 30 k gallops at the Star – lucky buggers – and here I sit, like Marvin, doing piffling sums while my leg muscles atrophy, or, in Marvin’s case, his planet sized brain. Don’t think I’d swap just now but when the wind howls – maybe…And I think even that’s marginally better than the Pluviometer. Go well, all youse all next week and PB’s all around – you too, Steve.

I’ve just been listening on a working frequency to two men with easily recognisable European accents gargling on ad nauseam between their boats somewhere at the bottom end of south America about the most unutterably boring trivia while the rest of the world got angry (moi, messieurs), or just accepted it because it’s the normal thing. Well it bloody well isn’t, or shouldn’t be. A small request to all the yachties out there: whenever you are tempted to activate your microphones, please remember a couple of things – first, that radio is a public medium and anyone can listen in and start to despise you real soon and second (!), there are other people who might have really important things to communicate and might need to do so urgently. Please don’t hog the airwaves and don’t let anyone else on your boat do so either. End of diatribe for today.

Olga, lovely beanie and much treasured, but you do me too great a compliment. Even at the rate of learning that’s going on down here, my rapidly swelling head can’t keep up with the expansion rate of the beanie, which now reaches down to my shoulders (or, perhaps my head is actually shrinking). It makes a beaut egg cosy for my shiny head when I go to sleep. And please could I have a sexy bag like Pete’s but twice as big for Chrissy please? Please? Ever so ta.

We’ve just consulted the new vintage Dr Coopers and pronounced it good. Very good. And, Shokko, we did a little stocktake and we’re flush. Don’t have to do show offs on the foredeck to get to it either. Life’s good. Eat yer heart out.

Can smell the bread – olives and light rye – but it’s got another hour to go.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 27, 2005 – 0730hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0730hrs 27 Feb 2005 UTC 53’14”S 106’45”W Map Ref 85

It’s amazing how fast things change down here. This morning I was looking back over my shoulder and thinking whoopee – steady flow lines for a few days, no problems. Tonight, with a new grib file, there’s a tight little low forming right behind us and about two days away with some strong northerlies in between, which we are now experiencing. We’re heading a bit north of east, along 53 14 S to try to get as far across as possible in the hope that the low will be forced to the south by the high over the S American coast. If it isn’t we’re due for a bit of a bashing. The back of the low has 35+ knots from the south in it now and if it intensifies, anything goes, including ice. So some mild trepidation and I’ve sent for the new grib file.

Propagation is improving all the time as we close the coast – 1370nm to go, VMG 6 kts – so getting information is relatively easy. The generator has kicked in again too, although not perfect, so we have some power.

Just been in the cockpit for half an hour to feel the elements.  Bit of a shock to have to get into party gear again after having been out of it for a couple of days. We are close reaching in about 25 kts with #1 and full main, the lee gunwale about a foot above the water and surging along. Only possible because the sea is still relatively flat over a long swell. Boat nicely balanced, with Kevvo keeping the tiller centred with small adjustments, so he’s not working too hard. Exhilarating sailing. Grey misty night with the horizon dimly visible, really just as a soft change in shades of grey. Background glow from the moon, up behind it all to the north and some downlight from the masthead tricolour casting faint shadows in the cockpit. Instrument lights dimmed right down. LED caver’s light on my head over my beanie under party hood to keep the ears warm and lined sailing gloves for the hands. These only ok in the cockpit – need open fingers on the foredeck and they get very cold. And that’s at 53 S – must be really cold for the people like Ellen McArthur who sail down in the 60’s.

Things that really work: LED caver’s head lights. Great for inside and deckwork. Goes without saying that you should buy a waterproof one. Need to get used to strapping them on so they don’t move and to the switch on your particular version. Mine has a mechanical switch rather that a digital toggle switch as I found that the digital switches on early versions weren’t too reliable. (Kathmandhu exchanged the last one without question – onya and I’ll be back) Also, I don’t think you need to go for the complicated versions with three LEDs that can be used incrementally – I’ve never needed more that just the first one and too much light doesn’t really help. And remember not to shine them back at the person on the helm. Bad karma.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 – 0035hrs UTC

0035hrs 28 Feb 2005 UTC 53’32”S 105’04”W Map Ref 86

As I start to write this, we have 1325 miles to the Horn. Not a trivial distance and it seems we are going to have to work our butts off to put it in the bag. At this rate, still more than  two weeks. We have been hand steering for most of the day, chasing diaphanous excuses for breeze all over the ocean. We were actually parked with no wind for a couple of hours. The miles are just not going into the bag and it’s cold, misty and drizzling. Convergence zone conditions in spades. Hands white and wrinkly as soon as they get wet. The latest grib has two tight little lows right up our chuff with big winds around them and impossible with my limited experience to work out where they will go or how they will affect us. There may well be a big hammer in there somewhere, but right now we have about 10 kts from the SW and we have the electric autopilot steering from the masthead windvane because the swell and the lack of wind in the troughs make it impossible for Kewvvo to work with any consistent apparent wind. Tedious in the extreme – what did I say about grinding out the yards? We’re into it.

So we consulted the Dublin Doctor, and he said consult me again immediately so we did and that’s the front icebox emptied. Pete made a cake sized banana muffin – different and a nice change. My piece arrived by dogbowl in the cockpit where I was nursing the tiller extension, hunched under the dodger out of the rain and concentrating fiercely, as one does, on keeping the boat moving. I was wearing goretex mitts (great gear, but only for steering type work – dangerous for operating winches etc because they can get caught) with thin liners underneath and my hands were wet but just warm. But have you ever tried to lift a piece of banana muffin out of a dogbowl into your mouth with wet mitts? Ain’t easy, but still warm when I eventually worked it out. Now sitting at the nav table feeding this in with polyprop liners on my hands trying to warm them up and dry them out.

Wildlife – there’s a little, graceful, quick flappy (as opposed to gliding) bird that in the grey light outside seems to have a greenish blue tint to the tops of its wings. Cant be sure but it’s unusual and I’ve noticed it before. It’s only an impression because it moves so fast and rolls from side to side so that its wings are never still enough to observe for more than a second or so. Been watching the birds as we toss the biodegradable bits over the side – their ability to spot the toss and be right there is impressive. Even when apparently facing away from the boat, they are onto it.

Michael, thanks for Lamisil and metho info. I have lamisil but didn’t know about metho, of which we have a surplus. Despite my rather overworked boot feral joke, we have not had any nasty rots or infections. Touch wood…Which photo did you use? Interested in any feedback, if you get any.

Two hours later – 30kt from the south – just changed from #1 to #4 and two reefs. 1307 to go, VMG 6.5. Hard to interpret but coming from south may indicate SW quadrant of a low to NE showing on chilean wxfax. May be first thump of hammer or may just go round to W as low moves E. Really cold on deck now with S wind – esp for hands. Tried industrial lanolin on hands then latex gloves (v hard to get on!) under normal sailing gloves and it worked a treat – hands v. cold but basically dry and easily warmed. Good idea if there’s time to get it all together. Will do it again and report further. Tight stbd tack, lots of water over the front so my bunk vulnerable again and prophylaxis in praxis.

Please keep those messages coming in – short ones please! we still have a bit of a problem – they really give us something to look forward to each day and it helps pass the time replying. We’re both having real difficulty keeping track of local time here. No sun often for days and no idea where it is in sky and crossing longitude quite fast and using gmt for all this stuff. Disorienting and makes sleep patterns etc somewhat cockeyed so nice to have a focal point, even if it appears to move. Pete making last batch of Sutherland pasta sauce. Master chef extraordinaire.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 - 1300hrs UTC

1300hrs 28 Feb 2005 UTC 53’47”S 103’15”W Map Ref 87

28/0715 Making a cup of tea in the middle of the night on the starboard tack in a heavy beam sea in 30 knots in Berrimilla is an activity that should be encouraged with the single word Dontevereventhinkofitandifyoudoyouremad. But if you must persevere, as I have just done, prepare for disaster at every step. First, the stove is on the high side so you are leaning away from it but being thrown forwards and backwards in huge and uncontrollable lurches as the boat rolls and pitches and corkscrews. Strapping in to the galley using the tether hooked across it helps but really only damps down the lurches and prevents you arriving full toss over the nav table boundary on the other side of the boat. Then you have to get a cup of water from the desal reservoir sort of above your head to your left and into the kettle on the stove. You will spill half of it somewhere on the way so go back to last step. And so on down to the endpoint where you have a nice cup of tea sitting in the gimballed safety of the pot on the stove and the pot slides across the stove and tips half of it down into your crutch. Whereupon you burst into tears and go looking for the digestive biscuits.

We took down the main a couple of hours ago – Berri was crashing through and across the seas and making 7 -8kts but overpressed and uncomfortable. Just the #4 is still giving us 5 -6 in the right direction and it’s possible to sleep without the stomach tightening before every crash. The latex glove idea works. I put them on when I get out of my bunk and my hands are still warm and dry and before touching dripping wet party gear with sailing gloves over the top or just on their own – hands get very cold but stay dry. Trivial, I know, given the toughness of the pioneers out here who did it all in primitive gear and had to climb to the top of the mast to do it as well (the mind boggles – as Nelson said, you have to be familiar with the sea to appreciate what Cook and his people did), but worth while as far as I’m concerned. I’m a decrepit old wooss. How do you spell that?

Lots more seabirds around. Closer to land perhaps.

There’s water dripping on to me from somewhere. In these temperatures and humidity, condensation is a huge problem. Our makeshift closed cell foam insulation is working really well but every surface not covered is dripping wet and it gets everywhere. I hope the radio and the various black boxes generate enough internal heat to keep themselves dry but who knows. We seem to have lost the depth sounder recently – clearly not a problem out here but potentially a big one later.

28/1215 and the mail’s in, grey and dripping daylight also just creeping into the boat. Rain. Still 30kts but manageable.

From Jop

jop is still watching   “Berrimilla the progress is great…the rambling is also great.. and

nothing comes to mind to improve what you are doing

Thanks Jop – that’s what I need to hear.

From Jim S.

We read you updates assiduously – thanks.

Re your comment about chart tables and the naigators ‘seat’.  On Virgo we found that arrangement untenable and re-organised it by:

 – turning the table around so that it is hinged along its outboard edge (not its forward edge) so it now opens towards the centreline; and

- using the table standing up along the centreline of the boat while being held in place by the galley strap.  This requires two new strong points on the port hand side to attach the strap.

Much more comfortable but until you get back to land this info is of absolutely no use to you.

My understanding of distance along 60 degrees lat is that you are absolutely right – cos 60 = 0.5.  Don’t let them talk you out of it.

We have touched base with Chris Palmer, Colin Bell and James Judd and have collected some basic info on brolgas so we may be getting a BOG of some description underway.  We know of one brolga on the west coast of Canada, one in Holland and one reputed to be in the USA.

We have also put one of our Coast Cruising Club fellow members in contact with the Tasmanian push since they are (or were) in Hobart.  A little bit of serendipity followed because that evening Colin and Karen Bell caught up with them in any case.

And Jim – have to be able to sit at the nav table to do this stuff otherwise I’d already have turned it around. The secret’s in big chunks of foam rubber and bracing ze knees between the bottle store below and the underside of the table. We know of the Canada Brolga and the one inHollandtoo although I dont know how to find the latter. Have a friend over there working on it.

From Flop

 hope that you didn’t miss calculate the beer rations, though i believe that it is unlikely. I was actually eating beetroot soup as you guys where chowing down the pink stuff, very nourishing. They say if you eat enough your pee goes red? Keep sailing, I’m green with envy.

Flop, your job for the week – after you’ve peed pink. Find the Dutch brolga, sailed over I think in the other direction by a young bloke a few years ago.

From Cam & Pam & Woc.

Pete, The comparison of warehouse swells and a little wind chop on Penrith rowing course hardly bares thinking about, but competition against stiff odds is goood for the soul. Cam is following Berri and is starting to understand the odds…like Kings beating Joeys at rugby. The odds favoured Kings on sat when we beat the  “”cattleticks”” at NSW ROWING Champs. Cam was comparing the length of the  ‘Eight boat’ to Berri ( about equal ) and reckons the odds are too stiff !! We hope the window to the Horn stays open for a safe passage to FKLDS, and the ‘warehouses’ are kind to you.

Woc -from Alex – isCamon the river or the olympic course? I’ve single sculled the river in inter varsity in the ’70s and warehouse swells were definitely the go then. In a wooden boat, with wooden sculls. They opened the floods at Warragamba as the last boat finished. Well doneCam.

Tom K, for the first time it’s cold enough to convert my Finisterre fleece from my pillow (where it’s brilliant, malleable into just the right shape to brace my head) into my insulation, where it is just fantastic. Got out of bed freezing this morning and decided the time had come. Now warm and toasty.

Is – got the tele address also Cap’n B’s phone – Ta.

Benjy, if you are reading this, send us an email via the website with your email address and we’ll buy you a virtual beer, which, sadly, we’ll have to drink for you. Insofar as it’s possible to make any sort of guess in these conditions, I’d say we’re about 14 days out. Look forward to meeting you, but you’d better stand upwind.

Must be getting closer – Chilean coast has just come onto the littls GPS screen at max scale. Good. 1240 to go.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 – 1615hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1615hrs 28 Feb 2005 UTC 53’50”S 102’50”W Map Ref 87

Here’s my Brolga list. Thorry G, if you’re still reading this nonsense, could you please invite the Professor to do a brain dump for us on these and any others when/if we get some more details? A big ask, I know, but he doesn’t use a computer. And James, perhaps a letter to Afloat to see if you can flush out a few more? Perhaps Currawongers and all the others too? A project for my dotage might be to collect the full histories of all the Joubert boats we can find. A bit of Australian history while it is still collectable.

Alphabetically, boat name; owner; previous names; Tall,Short or Modified Rig; Wheel or Tiller, Straight or Doghouse coachroof:

Berrimilla -Alex W & Hilary Yerbury; Nea, Leven; T/R, T;,S (Sydney)16 S2H (Hobarts), 7 Lord Howe Caelidh – Colin & Karen Bell (Hobart) Firebird – Greg Sutton; Diamond Cutter; M/R; W; D/h (Syd) 2+ S2H Jessie – Steve Hudson; ?; T/R, W; S (Syd) Lucy – James Judd (Syd) Narama – Anstees;…..(Vancouver)(I have contact details) Poitrel – Chris Palmer;…(Hobart) Take Time – Graeme Smith; T/R; W; S (Syd) several S2H Virgo – Starlings;…..(Syd) Zoe – Peter & Jeanne Crozier (Pete); Dorothy 2, Western Wanderer; S/R; T; D/h; (Syd) 2 S2H

And someone else wrote to us a month or so ago, who has owned a Brolga for 20 years but because of the laptop crash I’ve lost the note – sorry, please get back in touch – I think the boat had a Gaelic name too, like Shilalagh.

And the one in Holland – go, Flop, and seek. You might get a sail out of it.

If any of you are sufficiently interested, please add missing details for your boat,including builder if you know and send to me (unless Chris or Colin or Jim already have something going) and we can get something started. We’ll show those S&S 34 people like Fenwick what real boats are made of. And maybe join them for a party somewhere interesting (Lord Howe??) as long as Fenwick remembers to bring some grog.

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC

2330hrs 28 Feb 2005 UTC 53’59”S 101’51”W Map Ref 89

Pete: Hello to all out there not residing in washing machines.

Yesterday we were sitting between two lows without much wind. Outside, it was raining and bloody cold. Ales was hand steering to keep the boat moving, using the tiller extension to stay under the dodger and keep out of the rain. He was cold, wet but somehow strangely happy – I think in a past life he must have been one of those medieval flagellants. Unfortunately, the church for some unknown reason has banned flagellation but its benefit can still be sourced in the annual Hobart race, his monthly geriatric marathon and some would say parenthood.

I was off watch with two hours to go, i didn’t want to read as I was up to the last chapter of a Le Carre thriller and wanted to save that for a later watch. I busied myself restocking the ready access area with biscuits, coffee etc and, in storage I found a box of muffin mix. Thinking muffins would cheer the lad outside, I made up the mix and produced a mega-muffin (the muffin making cups are a bit hard to reach). Using alexs method of large pot with lid on open stove as oven, I set about baking – the packet said bake at 220 for 20 minutes – I consulted the on-board baker about the conversion rate and he said he’d probably give it an hour.

Bugger – that stuffs up the little kip i had in mind for a pre wet watch treat.

I sat there watching the mist rise from the top of the pot – aaaah, that’s nice as the fingers gravitated to the warm area. The fingers thawed, the toes still frozen and I think the other extremity had gone into hibernation. The feet, you fool – there’s heat here, get it to your toes. I fund a damp crusty pair of wool sox and set them on top of the pot and watched the steam rise as they absorbed the calories. I left them there for 5 minutes then changed them with the pair i was wearing – what bliss – every 5 minutes a warm pair of sox. all i needed was access to Gillies’ cognac, a large glass and life would be almost perfect.

The hour passed quickly as they sometimes do when you are comfortable. The pot produced a perfect texas mega-muffin and i passed some out to alex in a dogbowl. He then did a pre humanoid version of eating a superbly baked muffin from a dogbowl with a wet mitten. I assumed some of it reached his stomach as i was complimented on how good it was.

Now its late at night,the boat is going well, the weather seems stable. I got emails from Heggie and Woc today, both good friends from my youth and a message from Tim. Sitting in the dark with no distractions I think back to those early days. I wondered what happened to the “Swim in the Bull” club – I know when I left,things were in the capable hands of Mr Big. He had negotiated a long term lease of Marr pool Sundays 3-4 summer only. I fondly remember the club’s annual trophy relay race, 3am, first sunday in lent, venue the Blake Motel pool (mind the barbed wire on the way out lads). Mr Big, as a foundation life member and past president, you must have access to the club’s annual reports. what’s going on? Has the baton been passed? Does the tradition live on?

To all my friends from Shanneys, Cronulla surf club, UNSW, UNSWAFL, those I worked with at channel 2, NSWIT, various NSW high schools, those I’ve worked with in the building industry, friends from the time spent in England and Greece, john and Rosalie on Merlin, Jack and Joslyn on Victoria, to our friends at RANSa and CYC, our new friends from Otago yacht club, friends and neighbours at Paddington and Jamberoo and, of course, the family You’re all there late at night.

Cheers and still maintaining a quiet form of rage – Pete

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 01, 2005 - 1400hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1400hrs 01 Mar 2005 UTC 54’22”S 100’40”W Map Ref 90

From Malcom C.
Hi Guys, I’ve seen no mention of the bike powered generator during the power shortages. Was the bike ditched at some stage?
When you round the Horn will you be out in the Drake passage or will you be closer inshore over the shelf or is the route you take (inshore or offshore) going to be swell and weather dependant?
Kinda be nice to have a squiz at Tierra del Fuego as you go by. The only description I can remember is from a Biggles book when, for some forgettable reason, Biggles briefly ended up there. Can’t remember the title though.
With a bit more juice available you could have had “”yachtie cam”” to get up your website hit rate among the voyeurs (mind you they would have to be pretty weird voyeurs) or virtual voyagers. Then again, people might think that Berrimilla was on a set in a film studio somewhere. Maybe that’s it; You’ve been hanging out at Fox Studios for the past two months.
It is challenging coming up with a memorable email that will get a mention in the book you write about your voyage. Perhaps you should run a competition while en route.

Some questions answered: Malcom, if we ever get to the Horn, we’ll be as close in as possible and will probably go between Staten Is and TdF afterwards. The rats at Fox are tastier than those in the southern ocean! Yes to your first question, long story, and regret the decision but can’t elucidate here.

From Colin:

Good to hear your intentions! See you at Constitution Dock later in the
year! Jenny Starling has about 20 (uncontacted) Brolgas lined up, she is
threatening to keelhaul misusers of the acronym BOG, but my daughter
suggests a newsletter called The Bog Paper. Keep plugging away. I thought
you were two-handing this trip, but it seems you have a full medical crew
on board judging by the various consultations made!

Colin – full marks to your daughter – I like The Bog Paper – just catches the mood perfectly. And it could go out in broadsheet (elephant’s dunny paper or kitchen roll) or tabloid format too…

From Tim V., to Stephen, webmaster
I am a friend of Pete from Paddo.
My business partner does a bit of work for the Falkland Islands government and has placed a number of Australians in jobs (mainly agricultural) on the Islands. He has put me in touch with a couple he placed a few years ago who appear to have ‘gone native’ and have settled there after their contract expired. They are going to buy a bit of booze for me to supplement the Dr on the next leg from Stanley
The purpose of this email is to ask when the lads think they will arrive in Stanley?
I must say I have been a bit reluctant to send them an email – flatten the battery or sink the satellite etc, however Jeanne tells me you edit messages and forward them on, so if you wouldn’t mind sending them a very brief “”Good luck from us all at 31 Comber Street and the dog””.

Tim – thanks for your background work on our behalf – again, if we ever get there, we plan to be in theFalklandsfor about a week. We have some minor work to do, a lot of shopping for fresh goodies and laundry etc. and we will be looking for about 10 20 litre jerrycans for extra diesel.

From Simon B – Digiboat to Stephen, webmaster:

I’m looking forward to exploring his site a bit later…

Meanwhile, to ease the email strain, perhaps you could pass on to him, firstly, of course, my best wishes; but also my concern that his Nav program (SOB, which I supply) may be approaching a “”use-by”” date.

If you could include the following text to him at your first opportunity, please…
If SOB reports the following message: “”This program is out of date please contact digiboat””
Then: 1) Temporarily wind back your PC clock a few months 2) start SOB 3) click to make the chart active, then press CTRL-ALT-6 at the same time 4) copy the “”Unlock Number”” for level 666 5) enter the number-part only for level 666, in the “”About SOB”” form, for unlimited access 6) ensure that SOB is unlocked to AccessLevel 666 then exit SOB 7) restore the correct date with the PC clock 8) apply these steps with any computers running SOB.
SOB should now function free of any time-outs. Bon Voyage.

Simon, thanks for use-by date info – hope I can find all that. Do you want the track info – can burn cd and send fromStanleyif so.

From Mike H.
Looks like things are tough going at the moment. John Clark has been in touch with me to make sure there is a case of Guinness ready for you in Stanley. No problem. Coopers could be hard to find though – any other preference? Let me know if I can help in any way.

Mike – Guinness would be fine thanks – plus anything else you think might offer appropriate medical properties.

From Mairi
Hello chaps! Hope all is well. Am at college at the moment, and have
just handed in history coursework. Am off now to eat lots of chocolate,
and play snooker!

Hi Mairi – you wouldn’t believe it but I’ve evolved into a life form that can resist chocolate unless someone gives me some. Not sure about snooker – used to be smoke-filled room stuff when exams loomed.

We are once again hand steering in almost no wind. We haven’t had a good 100+ mile day for ages now and the Horn seems to be getting further away. I reckon this is beginning to feel like the 36K mark – half way mentally and most of the work still to do.

Today inAustralia, tomorrow out here, March 2, is my mother’s 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Ethel, and many of em. Would all youse all please join me in wishing her all the best and drinking her health – we get to do it twice here. She’s got two of the three kids with her in Malta and Pete and I will try and speak to her on the satphone if the bloody thing works properly. Still only lets me call Australia, which is only marginally better than nothing.

Simon – have forestalled the Hand of Time and pre-elevated myself to Heaven. Thanks. Seems to work ok. Will do the other laptop when I resurrect it – different code presumably?.

John C – thanks for contacting Mike inStanley- he’s been in touch and offered assistance and Medical Supplies.

Mike H – further to my last – some info about facilities in Stanley would be useful – ?laundry, stainless welder/rigger, sailmaker, diesel, hardware supplies (plastic tubing, jerry cans/containers etc) supermarket? Is there somewhere to park the boat alongside for a few days? Bed and breakfast type accommodation? A Pub?? Thanks.

Hilary – have just had a bit of cake #2 for breakfast. Naice! Cold sunshine, water @ 7.5 deg. still v. little wind. If you can manage it, could you please ring Telstra Mobile Satellite and ask them if there’s any reason why our phone wont talk to anywhere except OZ.

Is – will try to ring us fromMaltatomorrow GMT.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 0250hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0250hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’43”S 099’44”W Map Ref 91

Cold, early morning – just come in from cockpit. Doing this with ski gloves – fuzzxy. SAnd too hard so back to cold fingers. Today has/is been/being a day of celebration in local, Australian, GMT and Malta timezones. My mum’s birthday in 4 timezones and yesterday St Davids day (also in 4 if we need an excuse) and we will soon cross 100 W and soonish get under 1000 to go. Sunshine, wind in breaths, hand steering with the hand not holding the mug, and still a long way to go. First mail call in and, Steve says, another to go. Life’s a bowl of cherries.

Now the other end of the day, spent mostly hand steering at less than 3 kts. Lots of toasts in various timezones and we crossed 100w. Not much achieved in distance though, only about 80 miles for the 24 hours. One of the consequences of our early dive south is that now we are down here, we are below a series of very small lows that seem to be forming like eddies just along our track and moving north east, so giving us NE/SE winds and bugger all at that. Some chance of a steady westerly flow at 35+ some time tomorrow if we are lucky. We will start with a reasonably flat sea surface over the swells, which are still quite big and it will build as the wind starts to pile up the waves. Anyway, some wind – any wind – would be really nice. We have closed the boat down – no point in headbanging all night for possibly only a couple of miles in the bag and we’re going to sleep. Rolling a bit, in a series of phases but not constant and not violent. I will turn on the satphone at 0930 gmt for birthday greetings.

Pete is on deck identifying some stars. Has Canopus (too high for sight) Rigil Kent and Sirius so far. Yesterday, as the sun set behind us, the moon rose directly ahead – huge and yellow and seemingly distorted to almost egg shape until enough of it was up to see that it is about a half moon. Should see it again soon.

Both of us have swelling hands, particularly around the nails. Pete has a small split in the cuticle of one thumb which we are treating with Betadine and fresh air and trying to keep dry and uninfected. I’ve seen these before and they have to be taken seriously. I’m being a bit religious about lanolin and latex gloves and my hands, while rough, dry and sore, seem to be under control so far. Otherwise, apparently in good health apart from headbanging all day. We almost certainly smell, but it’s not noticeable most of the time – mainly as the foot slides into boot amongst the ferals and a gust of the warm foetids wreathes past the nostrils. Same with the pits when putting on the party gear and, of course, sliding into the sleeping bag. I think that’s probably enough of that, kiddies.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 1100hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1100hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’43”S 099’35”W Map Ref 92

Sadly, it seems my satellite phone only talks to Australia. Fat lot of use that is. Telstra, are you listening?

So – by cyberspace and stone age HF radio, a very special Happy 90th Birthday to my Mother Ethel in Malta, with lots of love from her rather smelly son and his equally smelly mate down here in the southern ocean. We’ll come and see you in a few months time when we get to England.

Otherwise, not much to report. Still very soft and we’re running the engine to charge the battery. Drifted north west during the night. Six straight hours sleep was a bit of OK though.

From Kristen M.
ok, will attempt short message.

Went to a wedding in CA yesterday for an old friend who’s been trying
to find the right woman for years and years. He’s been on more first
dates than any 10 of my other friends. Half way through the ceremony
the Rabbi was forced to truncate her long-windedness because he
fainted. He came to and they did finish… She does seem right for
him, but the irony was quite good.

I’ve been wondering if the bick got off in Dunedin, since I haven’t
heard word of it amidst the whining of languishing generators and
legs. Also, is there fishing gear on berri?

You haven’t expressed an opinion about what you’d like to hear so I’ll
comment briefly on how the pattern of the Republicans doing their best
to bankrupt the US govt seems to be continuing. Like the cold war,
only directed internally. The latest round is the attempt to
privatize social security which won’t do anything for the funding
shortfalls but will focus a much larger percentage of the population
on the success of the stock market (to the detriment of little things
like the environment I fear). I’ve decided to do my bit of
consumerism and purchase a stereo. My first.

Time for the 1:00pm walking meeting.
take care,

Kris – correct re the bick – abandoned, sadly, at last stop. Would have worked and legs and battery really need it at the mo but too bulky. Loved the wedding story.

From George S.
Alex & Peter, when you eventually reach the UK, if you have the time try and
check-out the Contessa 32 still being built in Lymington, at the rate of two
a year. I’ve just read a mag article and you could easily substitute the
word Brolga for Contessa, even their profiles! The only difference appears a
bridge deck and 1ft less!
And Peter, Jeanie has agreed to doing the short-haul on Saturday!

George – We know about Contessas. Bloody things rate better than us too.

From Malcom
Hi Guys,

Tierra del Fuego and Biggles

Biggles went to the Southern most tip of South America in “”Biggles at World’s
End””, 1959. Pete, your anticipation was right, Ginger helped Biggles fly the
Gadfly seaplane as did Bertie and Algy. They were looking for gold hidden on
and unknown Island in Tierra del Fuego by the German navy during WW2. Erich
von Stalhein told them about the gold (nostalgia nostalgia).

After numerous adventures, the theft of the gold by a Russian whaling ship,
and later recovery by the Royal Navy, of course, Biggles returns to England
which rightfully owns the gold. Sorry guys the gold is no longer there.

If it had been Ronny Biggs, instead of Biggles, the gold might have come to
Oz.

Malcom, thanks for Spiky doggerel and bigglesmania. Seaplane huh?

From Michael G.
Photo display on reception desk of Giblin enterprises “Dear Alex and Peter,
It’s lovely rating a mention in your most fascinating log. I look forward every second day when I do my emails to getting the latest gen.
You asked what photo will be displayed. I chose the very obvious one from the web-site with Alex posing on the front of the boat with the number 37 on the starboard side of the hull and with the green Rolex logo next to it.
Under the picture, on the reception desk (as of tomorrow morning) are the words: Alex Whitworth on board Berrimilla, presently sailing around the world with Peter Crozier. Want details? www.berrimilla.com
I hope you approve.
Keep going strong for the horn. Very soon you will have 900 plus miles to go and counting down.
With every good wish.

Michael G – that’s Steve (webmaster) in the white hat on the foredeck but there’s no need to frighten the troops with the fine print! Nice to know we’re on display and interesting to see whether the hit rate goes up.

Allan – not that sort of headbanger, unlike some of your ex mates.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02 2005 - 1640hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1640hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’49”S 099’05”W Map Ref 93

There have been two huge albatrosses flying round us in formation for a couple of hours. One quite a bit bigger than the other. Both brilliant white underneath in the low early morning sunlight, flecked grey on top, creamy beaks. They don’t usually come close but these two have been within metres of our stern. Breathtaking.

Still no wind worth mentioning. Called the Patagonian yachties Sked on 8164mhz this morning just to let them know we’re out here. Sadly, they cant send us a breeze but they wished us well.

Just lLike a cold winter’s day off Sydney Heads, apart from the swell. Trying to work out the swell pattern now that it is calm enough to actually see one. There is a very big SW swell, with a wavelength of about 4 – 500 metres, and a series of smaller swells, more or less from the same direction over the top. They don’t have a regular pattern, or if they do, I cant see it. Sometimes we sit on the top of one of the really big ones and can look across to the next one half a k away across a big deep valley and we get a feel for the power and energy of it all. No appreciable current yet.

Have just opened a coldie from Dr Cooper to celebrate The Birthday in the Malta timezone. Happy birthday Ethel, from us all down here. I think we should have covered all possibilities now and we hope you feel properly toasted.

From Doug M.

Despite initial expectations for the sun to be active it has been extremely quiet – however the further south you go the more chance you will have of seeing auroral lights independent of official warnings – severe magnetic spikes are about at the moment – these very sharp short magnetic spikes are not considered “”magnetic storms”” and are generally not reported – they may have visual appearances though – such events are unpredictable of course. I am checking daily the sun activity and will let you know if big auroras expected. There is no point in you missing things if they occur. I am following your roller coaster ride with great interest.
I have been told there is a major visual comet/meteor flypast in the next day (4th March) but I don’t have details – comet/meteor “”Rosetta””. I will find a source for details if I can and supply such to the webmaster if I find Z times. There is an international prize going for the best or most significant photo of this event I have been told. I will try and pin the time down. regrds

Doug – thanks for the aurora watch – would absolutely fit to bust love to see one, so really appreciate it.

From Jim and Jenny
We have been in contact with Colin Bell, Chris Palmer and James Judd and have been giving some encouragement to the creation of a BOG. Colin Bells daughter is a little scatalogical about the possibilities of such a group!! The following few paras are part of a note that has gone back and forward between us.

As an academic exercise I have been mulling over the issue of setting up (a) BOG and have collected the beginnings of a list of Brolgas that we know of (personal knowledge, Coastal Cruising Club, NSW Yachting Assn. Yearbooks (remember them?) and Syd-Hob programs). I have an initial list of about 20 yachts (minus those double entries that are the same boat but different name) and I have some ideas on a (very) loose organisation. Some interesting yachtsmen have owned Brolgas in the early years. (Your list adds some new names)

The boats that I have sussed out are:

Alter Ego, Berrimilla, Brolga, Brumby, Canomie, Celidh, Diamond Cutter, Django, Fidelio, Firebird, Gypsy, Leven, Lucy (ex Wideawake); Narama, Osprey A (probably an earlier Osprey), Poitrel, Sgian Dubh (ex Boomerang VIII), Take Time, Tempus Fugit, Turua, Virgo.

If it is of use I can flesh out a little more on each of them from the sources that I have used so far. (This is consistent with your comment in your recent log so I will go ahead and do it anyway. Some other details such as doghouse, steering mechanism etc can also be included. Peter or Chris mentioned that one of the next steps might be to draft a pro-forma checklist of data to be filled in.)

I also intend in the next few days to poke around the fleshpots of Pittwater and collect a few more names from boats that I know are moored up here – we used to twilight race against a couple of very good Brolgas out of RMYC on Monday nights.

As noted above this list is very provisional and will need to be double and triple checked. The original sources leave much to be desired – for example Leven is noted in one Syd-Hob program as a Currawong 33 and Joubert’s own boat for much of the 70’s and 80’s was a Brolga 34!! I have included Leven but excluded Billabong.

Measured length of Brolgas ranges from 9.9 metres to a little over 10.1 or 2 – must have had something to do with rating certificates!!

Sounds like Sgian Dubh could be the missing boat with the gaelic name.

We know Doug Brooker through the Coastal Cruising Club and he built SS 34’s for a while and has some real stories about he, Baker and the Brolga factory – sort of yachting gentleman’s industrial espionage.

The Horn is rushing up to you – just think it will be behind you by the beginning of the week after next!!

Best of sailing and take some photos of the cape.

Jim and Jenny – the Bog seems to be a worthwhile idea. I think the person who contacted us earlier might have been the owner of Django, though why I should have remembered it as gaelic I dunno. Berrimilla was Leven and Jessie was Turua and Firebird was Diamond Cutter.

From Ann G.
I am amazed at your courage and stamina in undertaking this trip from
AUS around the Horn to England. Your descriptions of success in
keeping your fingers dry and now warm, making coffee (or I should say
watering the galley), and cooking are beyond any reference point I
have! I thought I was on the cutting edge last month when I bought
my first bluetooth GPS with trip logger (DeLorme). Not so.

ALex, I used your old shaving brush in Isabella’s class last month at
Denman to add wax resists to a silk scarf I was making. I came out
quite spectacular. I know you can’t receive images to see your
contribution but it will have to wait until you are landlocked for a
while (does that ever happen?)

Frequently you mention the noises and squeaks Berri makes. Is this a
new class of boat for you to drive, are you taking this boat beyond
her intended use (if that is such a concept in boating??). I
wondered, especially when you described anxieties about some of the
noises and pushing her too fast, so changing the sails, etc. Would
you and Pete envision doing this again in Berri (with the noted
modifications) or would you try and experiment with another class of
boat.

My idea of sailing is drifting along on a hot summer day in the middle
of the Chesapeake Bay! I have sent berri’s web address to several
people here that I work with who (up until reading your blog
considered themselves sailors!!) have called me and said “”who are
those guys!”” Well, I’ve gone on a bit because the both of you sounded
a bit dispondent waiting for the last 1400 miles or so, and I know
ISabella and brother David are flying to Malta for your mother’s
90th., so I think you must need a critical mass of emails – I’m
filling in the slack. Again, keeping fingers and toes crossed for
your safe return.

Ann G. – wouldn’t swap Berrimilla for anything else. I’m a bit of a dinosaur perhaps but I’m not out to push the edges of the envelope. Some people build boats to win just one race and don’t care if they fall to pieces at the end so they flog them often beyond breaking point – not my bag even if I could afford it. Berri is a magnificently seaworthy boat that will take us anywhere, if a bit slowly sometimes, and she’ll be around still in another 25 years if looked after, unlike a lot of very expensive modern production line boats that pander to the dreamers and tend to fall apart rather too easily. And as for noises in the night, all boats make noises, just like cars, and every noise tells you something if you can interpret it. Some are quite specific to a particular boat (like the way Berri’s wooden engine box creaks as the hull flexes) and others, like flapping halyards or leech flutter, can happen on any boat. You have to know when you are pushing the boat and what its limits are and the noises help you to assess this. Same as riding a bicycle, you can’t pretend to be proficient until you have fallen off a few times and you have discovered the indicators of where catastrophe will occur. All of us have taken boats past their limits at times, intentionally or not, and the more you are aware of your own and your boat’s limits, the more you trepidate as you approach them and the more likely you are to back off before it gets dangerous. One of life’s little ironies – I am a sailing instructor and I would like to use Berrimilla to take students out to sea. The authorities in Australia quite rightly require that yachts used for offshore instruction are sound and seaworthy and they rely on the builder’s certificate that a particular boat meets Australian Standard 10xx or whatever. However, Berri was built in 1977, before there were recognised or required standards for sailing yachts, so, despite the fact that we can happily write to you from 1000 miles west of Cape Horn, without such a certificate I am not allowed to venture outside Sydney Heads with students on board. Sadly,I have to agree in principle.

Woc, good luck to Cam. The things I remember about Henley apart from the riff-raff in blazers – cold milk out of one of those swirly coolers in the changing marquee and how far away and small Henley church looks from the start line – I was at the other end of the boat so could (just)see it.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2315hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 097’59”W Map Ref 94

Gerry, any comments? As this matters a lot, I’ll post a public correction if this bit of sticking my neck out is wrong, so watch this space…

We’re putting theory into practice. For three years or so, I have been delivering the Safety and Sea Survival course for Yachting Australia. Most of it I can talk about from experience so can get by amongst the more experienced yachties on my street creds, but one of the topics is about avoiding tropical revolving storms (TRS) – cyclones in the vernacular. As a wise old sailor who never goes north of Lord Howe Island (except to play with Mike Job on Moreton Bay and that doesn’t count), I’ve never been near one in a boat and I’ve always wondered whether the standard technique for avoidance is a) easy to apply in practice and b) actually works. So here we are deep in the southern ocean, not a real cyclone in sight but a tight little depression of unknown nastiness behind and catching us somewhere and to be avoided or at least mitigated. No real difference in the actual problem, although possibly a big ferocity is factor missing down here. So, if you are out in front of the TRS, the wind will be somewhere from the north to the south east depending on exactly where you are relative to the path of the TRS and the technique for avoiding TRS in the southern hemisphere goes like this:

1. Establish where you are relative to the path of the TRS by applying Buys Ballot’s law (all the ‘L’s) L ook into wind. The L ow will be about 90 degrees on your L eft (actually just a bit more but inconsequential) 2. Monitor the wind direction over time. If it is backing, (its direction changing anticlockwise, or from say north east to north) you are in the dangerous NE quadrant. If it is veering, you are in the less dangerous but still very iffy SE quadrant (remember my diatribe about lows and plugholes a week or so ago?). This is a hard concept to visualise in the classroom but is pretty obvious out here, as I’ve discovered. If the wind is neither backing nor veering, you are right in the path of the TRS. The barometer will be falling also, and this may indicate just how far away the nasty bit is.

3. If backing, steer to put the wind fine on the port bow and sail to keep it there. If veering, put the wind on your port quarter and keep it there. If neither, put it on your port beam, ditto. Each of these will take you on a broad semi-circle away from the centre of the TRS, the first to the north and west, the other two the south and west.

So:

There we were in a strong northerly wind earlier today knowing from the grib file that there’s a tight little low to the south west. Buys Ballot says that the low is directly south west of us and the wind was very slowly backing, confirming that we were just north of the path of the low. Easy so far. Solution – put the wind fine on the port bow. This we have done and we were heading north east with Kevvo steering to the apparent wind, so keeping it in the same relative position. We have watched the first lines of cloud pass overhead and we can see the cloud building up bigtime behind and to the south west of us. As the system has approached us, our heading has gradually changed towards the north as the wind has backed further and Kevvo maintains a constant apparent wind angle and we would now expect it to go further towards the west as we move to the north and above the centre of the low.

So it seems to work. As it’s not a TRS, we’ll probably keep going vaguely north east till we can test the wind strength and direction closer to the centre and then we will decide what to do – probably a westerly wind around 35 knots so twin pole set to the east, but which sails to set will depend on the wind strength and the wave height and characteristics. Big wind, building waves, possibly breaking – small sails and v-v. Hope it is reasonably soft and lasts for a few days.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 – 1216hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1216hrs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’32”S 095’46”W Map Ref 95

I’ve just done something so astonishingly stupid that you’d better hear about it before I have time to pretend it didn’t happen. A few minutes after nightfall, 25 – 30 kts, boat crashing along at about 7 off the wind, sill reasonably dry in the cockpit. Middle of a niggling watch with lots of trivial things needing sorting so several trips to very cold cockpit or upper deck, all quick sorties, no party gear and back inside again, so I was a bit grumpy and aggressive. Realised we had not streamed the generator turbine after stowing the solar panel – genny is back in operation although a  bit down in output and we need all we can get – so grabbed waterproof mitts and back into windy, cold and by now slightly damp cockpit as spray arriving intermittently. Turbine line lashed neatly coiled, no kinks ready to go – easy – done it often before. Those of you who can guess what’s coming can stop reading here. Braced myself in the pushpit, untied the lashing, turbine over the side and whoosh – the water grabs it, spins it up and off it goes astern on the end of the rapidly twisting line running out through my hand. All ok so far. Then the line catches on the edge of the board I’m standing on and it is coiled over and instantly I’ve got a handful of writhing malevolent monster and no escape. Huge writhing coils of knotted line, boat still doing 7, spray now all around, Pete asleep below. At times like this, apart from a mintie, a scream or two of rage, fear and frustration seem to help and duly occurred. No way to stop it twisting, almost impossible to hold. Managed to tie it off to the puspit where the trailing part continued to twist up to the point where the torque actually stopped the turbine.

Situation so far – a by now angry, scared old geezer down the back with 30 metres of quivering 12mm spectra tied off to pushpit threatening at any time to go completely out of control, loop of twisted, knotted line between pushpit knot and generator hanging over the stern and thrashing in the water, boat still crashing along at 7+ knots. Proper solution – yell for Pete, do what I should have done before starting the whole manoeuvre and throw the main and jib sheets and stop the boat and sort it out. So what did I actually do? Around about here, shame takes over and I’m reluctant to admit that I did none of those things – I took my mitts off and immediately got one twisted in the line and lost overboard, another scream of rage and I started to undo the knot attaching the line to the generator shaft, intending to stream  the looped part of the line and let the knots untwist themselves. Knot taped up with duct tape to stop bitter end flailing and so it gets worse – I eventually get it untaped and untwisted, undo it from the pushpit, stream the whole disaster and discover that there’s another knot in it out along the line somewhere and the entire line is flailing…anyway, Pete, by this time awake and alarmed arrives and does what I should have done and stops the boat, grumps at me for being a stupid twit and goes back to bed and leaves me to sort out the mess and get the boat going again.

Do I need to list all the mistakes? Starting with no party gear…?  Took about 20 very cold minutes to sort and serious apology to Pete who by then was due to take over the watch. Mea culpa – listen and learn, kiddies or history will repeat itself.  Shut your face Fenwick, I know – even S&S people aren’t that silly, just forgetful. Here endeth my confession.

And to cap off a happy evening, there’s a brand new leak over my bunk – probably actually a recurrence of an old one around the window now covered by the foam insulation. But by the time I’ve finished this note and pulled in a VMC wxfax we’ll be down under 1000 to go to the Horn. Just a bit more thanSydneyto NZ.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 – 1835hrs UTC │ For lease: Hydroponic garden allotment

1835rs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’36”S 094’59”W Map Ref 96

For lease: Hydroponic garden allotment, excellent greenhouse climate for diversification into bacteriology etc; two bed mobile dwelling att. w. all fac., fantastic water views, adj, wildlife park; currently cropping cress, alfalfa, fenugreek and mung beans. Latest irrigation, douche and pumping equip., well stocked cellar; absolutely no work required, pleasant odour of cooking socks.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 03, 2005 - 2348hrs UTC

2348hrs 03 Mar 2005 UTC 54’34”S 094’10”W Map Ref 97

Our applied TRS avoidance strategy seems to have worked. We moved up and to the north of the low and we think we are now in the westerly flow behind it. Poled out storm jib and #4, chosen for flexibility – we don’t know what the wind and waves will do to us over the next couple of days and we are getting 6 knots with the option of changing easily up or down. Cape Horn is now on screen on the gps and the laptop and the countdown has begun. Already well south of the Straits of Magellan. We’re now at -922 (or 37k and hurting, for the runners). Adequate stocks of all essential supplies – just hope we can get a real lift from the remains of this system. Drum roll, fade in Men at Work or Baez singing We Shall Overcome – not yet time for Kathleen Ferrier and Blow the Wind Southerly but maybe Copeland’s Fanfare or a Hoffnung symphony for Vacuum Cleaner, Bathtub and orchestra. Sock cooking clearly calls for themes from Python or the Goons.

Same pair of albatrosses still with us – absorbing to watch and delightful to have them for company. They sometimes fly out in front and settle on the water together just out to one side, quite round and tubby on the water. like Tenniel’s pictures of the Dodo and sort of contemplate us and eachother, or they soar and glide and do slow dives and floating passes at water level, huge wings curved down to stroke the surface, massive shoulders bunched behind their heads, tapering to a thin flat tail only a few inches behind the trailing edges of their wings. The bigger one looks as if it would easily span the boat’s beam with a big wingtip beyond each side. They are white underneath with flecked grey tops radiating out from the wing roots. Not sure but their beaks may be darker on top. Have tried to film them but almost impossible – camera not waterproof and self focus can’t cope with amount of movement over indistinct background. Also almost impossible to keep them in the viewfinder in the present version of the corkscrew – same problem as Pete has keeping the sun in the sextant telescope except that these guys are moving deceptively fast as well.

We have been told that there are some big racing catamarans behind us somewhere going very fast in something called the Oryx cup. I hope someone has told them we are out here too. We have channel 16 on all the time, just in case, and masthead lights at night. Dayglo orange storm jib up too which adds a touch of visibility.

To those of you who have very kindly sent URL internet addresses in answer to questions, thank you but we can’t access the internet from the boat except in the most limited way. This is a very primitive set up here, relying on an interminably slow High Frequency radio link to a computer in Chile, which sends messages either way but can only cope with plain text so no pictures, web pages (unless plain text and within size limit) attachments, data or HTML. It strips all that sexy stuff from each message and we get what’s left, at a speed that anyone under 30 wouldn’t believe. It is Steve in Sydney and Malcolm in Hobart who make the whole thing look slick.

From Doug M.
The Rosetta flypast (manmade satellite it appears altitude 1900 km) is noted on the following website – photos of the flypast can get a major prize to view a satellite launch etc. Good prize. See http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16246 If the flypast time could be sorted out and Alex Pete could get a photo from Berrimilla they would be a sure thing for a prize. Seeing they have got nothing else to do.

From Mick C.
Hi when will you get to Falmouth? We may be able to get down to see you again since the last time in Windsor Crescent

Doug, given present conditions, I doubt we’ll see Rosetta fly past and we certainly don’t have the gizmology or an adequate camera to photograph it. Nice idea though, and thanks. Hope to hear from you about next expected aurora.

Mick C, we’ll be in Falmouth in June/July give or take if all goes well.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 4, 2005 - 1815hrs UTC

1815hrs 04 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 091’12”W Map Ref 98

Short one this time – we think there may be a problem with sailmail. At this morning’s reading of the tea leaves, it seems we may be in this very sexy westerly for a day or two. We have touched wood, figuratively sacrifced ritual beasties from the feral menagerie and will shortly offer a (smallish) libation to placate S/he Who Must Be Placated and let’s keep hoping. We are sitting on the 990hp isobar, which is running east-west and we expect the pressure to rise as we fall out of the back of the low and the isobars start to go north south and increase, so we are watching the barometer.

Meanwhile, bread is happening and socks are once again cooking gently.

Small Apology to Telstra. Having spoken to them, I now know that the reason my satphone won’t talk to anyone outside Oz is because the Kyocera handset is obsolete and no longer supported by Iridium. It worked fine in Australia and I assumed it would be OK elsewhere as well and I wanted to save some money. Bad assumption. A link to Oz is in any case better than no link.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 - 0105hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0105hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’49”S 090’11”W Map Ref 99

I don’t know whether you will ever read this as it seems there may be a problem with the sailmail system. Not sure yet. We haven’t received anything for nearly 2 days including grib weather, so can’t reply to anything you might have sent us.

We are still in the westerly wind at about 25 kts on the 992 isobar and averaging about 6 knots. Good feeling to be getting the miles in the bag again and we are about to celebrate knocking over -800. The GPS is reading 792 to the Horn and the Falklands have appeared on the laptop SOB navigation screen – admittedly at a scale of 6000000:1 but there they are. Excitement tinged with the runner’s 38k feeling that there’s still a hell of a lot of work to be done and the legs and brain have to be kept on the job.

First minor failure with the bread – it’s a bit cold in the cabin and it didn’t rise all that well so is a bit solid but will be great toasted for breakfast. We tried the second rise in Pete’s warm sleeping bag and it worked but never really recovered from the first one.

At about here, casual decisions in the supermarket months ago when buying the supplies come home and smite one. I remember a tired evening in Woollies with Hilary and two trollies crammed with stuff – can’t remember, but I think it was our third trip and the credit card was looking desperately motheaten and I looked at the biscuit shelves and tossed in four packets of McVities digestives – the real thing, almost entirely butter, but very expensive and topped up the trolley with a load of lesser imitations. The imitations are long gone in past early morning dunking frenzies and we’re down to 2 McVities biscuits per day each – we might just make it to Stanley before we run out. We’re doing it really hard down here – Saos and ryvita just dont dunk properly and Mcvities are sublime. This the only rationing we have needed so far. The food has worked out extremely well – thanks Hilary for all that planning and listing and supervision – it’s been great. Only a couple of things that I might do differently – fewer mars bars and more snakes, for instance, and all trivial. The other mistake, probably the same evening, was in not getting a couple more 3 litre boxes of plonk, although given the fate of our last one, it was perhaps a good decision.

With a whole skyline uncluttered by skyscrapers or smog I’m much more conscious of cloud formations and they are spectacular here and beautifully sharp and coloured. Pete is out taking a photo as I write.

Almost to start guessing the time we first sight the tops of the Andes. I think they are called the Patagonian Cordillera this far south. If it’s clear and daylight, we should see them from about 40 miles out and sometime in the next 7 days if we can keep moving. That will be a moment to treasure.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 - 1430hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1430hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’48”S 088’52”W Map Rf 100

There’s something wrong with our sailmail connection. We seem to be able to connect to chile but there is no traffic and no grib files. I spoke to Steve on the satphone and he confirmed that there is mail in the queue for us. We haven’t had a warning about station time so assume it is not a time problem. And the satcomC is not getting sufficient signal to send messages either. Seems we are now within the East Atlantic zone for satcomC. Awful to contemplate being almost completely out of touch. This link has been our lifeline – mine particularly, because it gives me something to do. Don’t panic! Marvin will arrive.

I have just been on the Patagonian yachties’ sked – really good value and very friendly and co-operative and on the ball, as they have to be – and learned that our sailmail problem is not uncommon and, for that reason most of the sailors who are down here permanently now use satellite phones and data links instead of sailmail and HF radio. Anyway, comforting to know that the breakdown is ashore and not out here. I’ll just keep churning these out and saving them in case we get back on line again.

I have a small lament which I will try to put into words. It’s personal and a bit self serving but worth having a go. Exploration and technical advance in any field enlightens us and undermines myth and superstition but it also helps to turn the uncommon or outstanding into the commonplace. The edges are pushed outwards and in the process the work of getting there is devalued. This idea has been thrust at me in the last month or so, but has been dormant inside my head for at least as long as I’ve been sailing to Hobart. It’s not new – and there have been a number of others who have said it better than I can – but, to take the S2H example, where the emphasis used to be on the achievement of getting out there, basically surviving and getting safely into Constitution Dock, now it’s focussed only on the spectacle. Those of us who, by choice or general penury, do it in unspectacular little boats and often have a pretty hard time are just not noticed – almost despised in fact. As the newspaper article said, we’re just a couple of old plodders. It’s a bit the same out here, where once simple survival was uncommon, we are now , it seems in the middle of a grand prix race track with wonderful technological masterpieces swishing past us at 35 knots at about a thousand dollars for every mile covered. Clearly, this is a huge achievement and to be applauded but it’s difficult not to feel that we are rather in the way and I find it really hard to appreciate any more the intrinsic value of what we ourselves are doing. It makes me very sad – the dream has been dashed and there ain’t no more inner glow. Why do we do it? It seems rather silly really. End of self-indulgent lament – I shall now go and weep into a coldie from the good Doctor and cheer myself up.

First, though, a little grump from Marvin – Chile is still off line and it’s raining.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 – 2050hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2050hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’45”S 087’50”W Map Ref 101

Having safely traversed the slough of despond with help from Marvin and the Doctor,a happy surprise. Seems we’re back on line. The Chilean station lost its phone connection to the internet for 3 days. Just to tally any missed messages, I sent 6 in the down time – I think – 03/1216;1835;2348, 04/1815; 05/0105; 1430. Have saved them all. I also tried to send at least one of these via satcom but was advised by the system that delivery had failed – not always accurate, so you may have got it.

We have received from you Davids “Gizmos” and the mailcall of 05/0915 with the long mail from Ann G.

Latest grib says we are due for 50+ from the sw in about 3 days, which is a bit of a blot on any anticipatory feelings. Thinking of you toiling the track up there. Ambivalent!

Later 06/0005 -687 we’ve now got 40kt from the sw and big building beam sea. #5, no main, about 6kt vmg. Really only getting about 100 miles a day in this stuff – could go faster but bloody scary and uncomfortable to do so – Malcolm’s clenched cheeks would be in order. On the back of the same low we were avoiding a few days ago, and there’s another right behind it. Very cold on the hands when doing stuff on deck. Lanolin still the go. Dinner time – tvp with cans of “breakfast mix” or some such. See yez.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 06, 2005 - 0715hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0715hrs 06 Mar 2005 UTC 54’41”S 086’24”W Map Ref 102

Nightfall and we’ve just changed down from the #5 to the storm jib in 50+. Big beam sea with wind waves blowing off the tops so a lot of white water and starting to get noisy – going from a mere howl to a bit of a scream on a rising pitch in the gusts. Interesting. Still some biggish ones breaking over the starboard side but much more comfortable. Just hope the self steering keeps on going – nasty out there if we have to hand steer. Pity i couldn’t film the change – spreader lights on surging white water, breaking waves all around looming in the glow, bow wave surfing back when we come off the top, violent motion and the dayglo storm jib now up and running. Cold – very cold, from the south. Ice only 600 or so miles away – hope there aren’t any lumpy bits around here. And still we creep closer. Averaging a sail change every watch change at the mo – quite tiring. I have this watch – midnight to 0300 UTC and it takes for ever – the night ones always do. We do three hours each so you can work out who’s supposed to be awake. Now have crashing rainstorm and 60+ gusts outside. Very confused sea. Bleah!

From Simon K.
alex
keep your head up stay safe

From Kim K.
Well what a silly-billy Alex! Got a bit technical for me yet again but I think I go the gist of your spot of bother. Hope you have a spare glove.

Haven’t spoken for a while but read you a couple of times a day.

Sorry to hear Pete is letting hiself go and not wearing a cravat for dinner.

Thoroughly enjoyed your description of effects beetroot on urine colour, Beats Alec Rose’s “”nother cup of tea””. Highly technical this beetroot matter. Genetically linked, only occurs to that degree with about 1 in 10 people. Similar to smelly asparagus urine.

Pity about the chapped, cracked hands. When in Port Stanley try to buy a Snowfire stick. UK made so they may have them there . Like a gluestick, smells like something you’d put on a sheep. I imagine NZ’ders use them as deodorants… remember them??

From David
I have in my possesion one Aquair 100 generator. will deliver it into the warm,caring,hands of R.A.F. on monday. david

Hi Simon – good to hear from you. You’d love this!

Kim, thanks for snowfire – probably a rather more expensive version of the industrial lanolin pot I bought from the chandlers, but I’ll investigate.

David, got yours and thanks for delivery. Line up for a beer in Falmouth.

We’re crashing around so much I’m having to retypy just about every other word. Time to go.

4 hours later – what a bloody awful night. Things banging around a bit on deck ? boom and solar panel perhaps? – hard to lash anything securely against this sort of violence but I think it will be ok till daylight. Wind seems to be abating slightly or at least the lulls seem to last longer. Still 60+ in the gusts. VMG only about 4 kts but heaps better than it might be. We’re moving in the right direction, somewhat painfully. Chile wxfax says there’s another one behind this one and there’s not much we can do from here to avoid it.

Special moment no. 42: all noise and bash and violence and water crashing across the deck and I got up from nice warm bunk into damp cabin and lashed myself to the galley rather wishing that I was somewhere else and started the teamaking fiasco. During one specially vicious roll, my face ended up very close to the fogged up window and I saw through the fog a dim glow. Wiped off some condensation and there in quiet splendour was a bright quarter moon bouncing around in the outer darkness. Anyone familiar with Leunig cartoons will get the idea – good feeling. But the tea still jumped out of the mug and I’m sitting in slightly damp shirt tails. Bother.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 06, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2315hrs 06 Mar 2005 UTC 54’21”S 084’34”W Map Ref 103

Pete: Greetings from the frozen south

Alex has been without the computer for 3 days, during which time the wind has been light so a certain member of the team unable to vent his spleen on the keyboard has been pacing, scratching,k eating too many mars bars, minties etc.

The only answer to this early morning problem is a shared draught of Dr Coopers remedial elixir. I unscrewed the cap of one and sensed this lovely smell of malt, hops and barley. It was really strong – I don’t know whether when opening some atomised beer hit my nose or that my nose is sensitive to the different smell. This led me to a few thoughts on the olfactory system which you, gentle reader, may be able to answer.

It’s now about 40 days since we last showered, we both obviously smell pretty bad yety my nose tells me it’s not so bad. Does cold inhibit the sense of smell? I dont know how cold it is inside the boat but it must be seriously cold.

the wind is now back with us, the breeze is southerly, 40-50kts straight off the antarctic, now not that far away.The last sail change took us down to storm jib only. Piston hank, standing rigging, pulpit, mast,boom, winches feel like ice to bare fingers.

As I sit here, I breathe in through my nose and try to smell the air. Nothing. the only sensation is that the cold air has now frozen the tip of my nose. As you spend extended periods of time with a particular smell, does the olfactory system desensitise that smell to make life a bit more comfortable? Kim and others, vI need answers. 40 days in the tropics awaits us and I suspect showering arrangements will become a priority. Cheers and best wishes to all Pete.

Alex:

A little bit trepidatory out here. Looks as if we will get a bit of a lull as a ridge goes through over the next day or so and then it’s on. The previous grib indicated 45 kt from the NW (in our experience, that means 70+ for a lot of the time) for several days. Not a pleasant prospect, given the likely size of the seas. The latest file says 35kt from the west – again for several days. This is a big improvement but still very nasty. Things change so fast we are not counting any chickens yet. In any case, we’re not going to get it easy for a bit. The hardest part is sitting here without any real control over what we can do except cope with what arrives, and waiting for it to arrive. Still getting 50+. Now very big seas, occasionally breaking over the boat. Can’t point towards the Horn any more – tracking about 040m, Horn bears 082m. But now less than a Hobart to go. The consultation is occurring as I write.

Small change later – we’ve got the main up again with 3 reefs and we’re back on track. Seas abating slowly and ok for a day or so.

From Ann G.
Cape Horn Adventure

Thought you may find earlier adventures around the Horn of interest to
read. I have to say it was a little unnerving reading this earlier
account from 1948. If this email is too long, I apologize. The
Amicale Internationale des Capitaines au Long-Cours Cap Horniers – St.
Malo (AICH), is a unique maritime organization. Captain Martin Lee
tells their tale, and his own……..

Cape Horn lies in Latitude 55º 58′ 28” South, Longitude 67º 17′ 20”
West of Greenwich and marks the point where the Atlantic and Pacific
meet. The Dutch navigator Schouten is said to have named it in 1616,
either after his home town of Hoorn or after one of his ships. The
Cape consists of steep black rocks rising to a height of 1390 feet,
the cliffs looming up and stretching away to the north. It is now
marked by a lighthouse and a monument to all Cape Horn sailors, placed
there by the Chilean Section of the AICH in 1992.

These bald facts belie the inescapable truth that Cape Horn is
synonymous with bad weather and tremendous seas of great and sometimes
overpowering length. The east-going Atlantic Drift and the Cape Horn
current, overcast skies and a constant series of depressions – not to
mention the icebergs in summer time – make life under sail in these
waters both uncomfortable and dangerous.

My own rounding was in 1948 on board the four-masted, 330 – foot
barque PASSAT, now preserved in much altered state at Travemunde in
Germany but then owned by Gustaf Erickson of Mariehamn, in the Finnish
Aland Islands. I was at the latter end of my apprenticeship, having
joined PASSAT in the Baltic in 1946, loading timber for South Africa.
We were now on our way to Falmouth for orders from Port Victoria in
South Australia, with a full cargo of 4.900 tons of wheat. Erickson,
as well-recorded elsewhere, * was the last man to operate a commercial
fleet of sailing ships until just after World War II and I take up the
story from my records of the time:

“”So we sailed from Port Victoria, May 17th 1948, wearily beating out
of the Spencer Gulf, trying to clear the land that tried to grasp us
if we came too close at the end of a reach. Tacking ship every four
hours: a laborious business with a small crew and PASSAT’s heavy
spars, needing all hands on deck and a great deal of violent
persuasion from the mates. On May 19th we saw the last of Australia.
Kangaroo Island slipped by on the port beam, we were free at last and
now we could get down to the business of sailing.

Course was set for the Roaring Forties, where the westerly gales rage
round the world, building up that long, heavy, Southern Ocean swell
which has to be watched with such care by the sailor running before
the wind. Three days later we spoke the British M.V. PORT CHALMERS
homeward bound to London. She would be home before we reached Cape
Horn and outward-bound again before we arrived in Falmouth but life on
her would be dull and uninteresting. I almost felt sorry for them as
we sailed by in the cool evening air. The flickering morse lights
talking across the sea were that last contact we would have with other
people for over three months””. (By a strange stroke of fate, my first
ship as a newly qualified officer was that same PORT CHALMERS and life
on board was far from uninteresting). “”As the nights drew in PASSAT
rolled and plunged south-eastwards, the weather became colder and more
harsh, oilskins and seaboots were the order of the day. Twenty days
out the weather worsened. It was overcast with occasional snow
squalls. A bitter gale coming up from the ice howled and boomed in the
rigging but the ship was going well, rolling and crashing her way
through the seas, sending the spray flying over the catheads and
shipping volumes of water over both rails into the well decks, which
were untenable most of the time. We had been looking forward to this
Cape Horn weather but life was very uncomfortable. We were wet and
cold working on deck and turned-in still wet but not quite so cold.
The fore and after decks were continually awash, the main braces had
been led up onto the midship deck for safety and lifelines were rigged
along the bulwarks.

The wind was not kind to us that year; it was not until we were within
a few days of the Horn that it came away from the west and we reeled
off the miles more steadily. PASSAT made no record runs; she had not
been drydocked for over a year and was very sluggish, steering
heavily, often taking two men at the wheel and needing never-ending
vigilance when running before the wind.

On July 3rd we passed Cape Horn, leaving it 88 mile to the nor’d,
seeing nothing of the land and wondering if the “”dreaded Cape”” would
ever watch a tall ship pass that way again. It was doubtful, the
modern world has no time for the windjammer. As if passing the Horn
was the herald of better things, or perhaps just being kind to the
last of the square-riggers, the weather became warm and favourable
winds were the rule and not the exception. For the first time in fifty
days we set the royals and other fine-weather sails, felt rather
pleased with ourselves and sat back to enjoy the good weather. This
complacency was soon shattered. We were in the region of the dreaded
pampero, which set in on July 20th about 600 miles east of the river
Plate. The pampero brings disaster to the unwary with its sudden
arrival and the violent rain squalls and sudden shifts of wind which
have been the cause of the loss of many fine sailing ships in the
past””.

So much for the personal record of what it was like, running our
easting down, round the Horn on a routine commercial voyage. There
was, however, a lighter side to the Cape Horn story. In 19th –century
Liverpool there was a famous sailors’ boarding house called Paddy
West’s. The “”packet rats”” (landsmen and criminals on the run) who used
this establishment were at some stage led into the tap room where they
paraded round a bull’s horn mounted on the table. There was also a
compass which they had to place in a nearby wooden box. They could
then tell any hard-case mate who engaged them that they had “”rounded
the Horn three times and could box the compass””! West also provided a
packet rat’s “”kit”” for the voyage-traditionally a top hat and a
lantern to see him through the winter passage – with a collection of
discharges, faked or stolen from a dead man, to say that he was a real
“”AB””. In return his advance pay note settled Paddy West’s bill! These
paper sailors were a danger to themselves and to their ships, though
cold Cape Horns weather is said to have had one advantage – it got rid
of their bed bugs! I won’t comment on that but I do know that it had
little effect on the armies of resident cockroaches.

Fingers and toes crossed for your safe return.

From Kristen M.
Alex my Friend,

You have independently hit upon a topic which I have been floating past uncomprehending stares for years. At what point does technology devalue exploration?

My experience and contemplations come from dry land, which, even in the wilderness appears to be much more hospitable than the surroundings of your washing machine. I first began questioning whether technology was infringing upon the wilderness experience when people began placing rescue calls from their cell phones. Next came omnipresent GPS devices, and now EPERBs (which are still less common in the US—to the point where I don’t know the correct spelling).
Which are intelligent safety measures and which are crutches? It all depends on one’s point of view.

I’m a somewhat wimpy traveler—I have limited my explorations to places that are either well populated or within a few days walk of civilization. In these circumstances, I view a cell phone and/or EPERB as somehow cheating. My theory is that I should be responsible for myself or I shouldn’t be in the woods. However, a legitimate counter proposal is that the more technology I can use to assist in my own rescue, the less I endanger others who will attempt to rescue me.
Should I someday need rescuing (touch wood) I will be very grateful to the people and organizations who assist me.

Part 2 of 3 — Kristen M

Another of my pet theories is that as a society we have organized ourselves to remove too much risk. Many members of our society who share ancestors with your boot ferals and other animal species require the stimulation that danger brings. It is my belief that the discrepancy between the risk we routinely incur and the stimulation we crave has led to the exponential rise in “”extreme”” sports. I think that we’re desperately trying to massage our adrenal glands. Those fast boats that go whizzing past you are another manifestation of the same need for stimulation. Worse yet, the owners use technology to fine tune the rules so that they can believe that they are doing something that hasn’t been done before by many people. My fond hope is that our society will eventually direct these urges in constructive ways—perhaps this need for stimulation is what will drive us to explore off the planet.

Meanwhile, I too feel an albatross emblazoned with “”What’s the Point?””
hanging around my neck. My friend Karl taught me that there are at least two ways to approaching any project. In addition to being goal oriented, there is the process oriented method of experiencing life.
I have come to believe that life is inherently a process oriented sport. Particularly for those of us who live in the first world, survival is rarely an issue. For those of you currently living in washing machines, survival is a bit more challenging, but you must admit that the new bit is your personal experiences—the process in which you are engaged.

Part 3 of 3 — Kristen M.
I admire you for having the gumption to undertake a journey that involves so much hard work and tedium. I’m trying to goad myself into undertaking something hard and I’m resisting greatly [what’s the point?]. Meanwhile, your dedicated journaling is allowing us electronic bystanders to partake of your adventure in a small way. As a girl in front of a keyboard with a nice glass of cognac at my side, I’m able to glimpse a wee bit of your experience. Usually it’s a cup of tea instead of the cognac so your reports of tea make me feel a tiny bit more connected to an experience which I very much doubt I will ever have. However, were I to be a boot feral along for the ride, the experience would still be purely personal, with some entertainment thrown in at interacting with the boot and its owner.

Ok, enough theory. IMHO the intrinsic value in what you are doing is what you are learning about yourself and the world, and what you are teaching the rest of us. I am a strong advocate of the idea that one gets out of an experience what one puts into it. I recently learned that the reason that Thai cooking and architecture are so complex is because one of the concepts of Thai spirituality is that the significance of an offering is relative to how much the donor had to give up to make the offering. Thus, a crust of bread may be more worthy than a banquet. Complicated cooking involves effort. Sailing around the world on/in Berri involves a great deal of effort. I believe that the rewards will be proportional to that effort, and that they will be intrinsically valuable.

I’m in danger of using up my share of bytes. I’ll proof this and send you more thoughts (and my dental dilemma for your $.02) another day…ok cognac is influencing my proofing abilities but I suspect you’d prefer mail with errors sooner rather than pristine mail later.

From Bruce & Sue B.
I take it you’re getting emails on-board.
Been following progress with interest – great website.
Up till a few days ago, I could also look at the weather you’re experiencing from NZ Met, however you are now out of their coverage!
Do you know of any others that give good mapped coverage in your area?
Not far to go now for the big one – Cape Horn.
Take care.
All our best wishes

From David H.
Missive from the nations capital
Gooday Pete,
I sent you a hullo a while ago, don’t know if you received it, but I
will just continue to send short missives along periodically. Life in
the washing machine sounds rather damp and cool at your latitudes near
the big Convergence Zone in the sea. But ‘the Horn’ is progressively
appearing on your ‘radar’ and that is good news and you are making good
progress. Your journey is a lifetime adventure and one that only us
‘landlubbers’ can wonder about what you are experiencing. I enjoy the
prose on the updates and while life in a small craft is cramped your
world is huge indeed.

I will be going to Tweed in late March to visit mum who still struggles
on in her home and hopefully to do some fishin’. Life in the
mono-climate (office) trundles along. We are going to WA in April for a
survey of the waterways around Albany. It should be a hoot.

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Canberra. Friday it was 33 deg, Saturday
it was 20 deg and today is a balmy 25 or so. I am drawing some plans for
the deck at the house. I think it has been at least 10 yrs drawing these
plans. I wonder how long it will take to build the deck.
Hullo to Alex

Cheers & keep laughing

Eleanor, I have the bar of Adversity Chocolate at the ready – I think we may need it!

Ann G thanks for AICH stuff – interesting and we’ll have to check it out.

Kris – if you want to do these things as personal adventures, you can’t avoid the fact that – out here anyway – there is an international legal requirement to go to the aid of someone in distress and therefore, if you get into trouble, others may have to put their lives at risk to save yours. So, a big responsibility a) not to get in to trouble and b)if you do, then you must minimise the risk to others.

In both instances, whatever works – just try to get it right and especially, don’t take rescue services for granted. Their people all have mortgages and kids too. The only way to avoid the responsibility you have to those others is the purists dream – don’t tell anyone you are going, don’t tell anyone you are in trouble and be prepared to die alone if you cant sort it out for yourself. There have been a few of these and there is a book by someone – a Frenchman, I think. Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon is what the letters stand for.

Beales – there’s a weather map on the website, probably the SPAC MSLP anal. from www.bom.gov.au. Try any Chilean met website too – we get a fax every day at about 2300UTC.

Heggie, thanks – yes, we’re getting you.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 07, 2005 - 1245hrs UTC

1245hrs 07 Mar 2005 UTC 54’16”S 082’24”W Map Ref 104

It’s a month for big birthdays. Hilary’s Dad Frank in Frome in Somerset will be 91 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Frank, from The Washing Machine At The Other End Of The World. We’ll drink your health down here and I hope lots of other people reading this will do the same. We’re looking forward to coming to see you when we eventually get over there. Love to you both.

It’s a very dark night, overcast, no moon, no stars, just the faintest residual glow in the sky. I’ve just spent half an hour in the cockpit tweaking us around to point as closely as possible to the Horn while we have the breeze and sea state to allow.

Eerie up there. Full stormboards in so completely isolated, Pete fast asleep below. Cold wind especially around your face where the party gear doesn’t quite keep it out. You sit in a little bubble of gentle light from the masthead and the instruments and no other frame of reference, so you feel the boat’s movement but can’t see it and you hear the waves breaking around you. The sensation is very like night flying. The light reflects off the white water going past and particularly off the breaking wave crests, the more so when they are above the cockpit before the boat rises up the wave. The crests reflect brilliant masthead white from up there as they seem to roll down towards you (actually, as the boat climbs up the wave towards them) and you hear the hiss as they approach. Thankfully only relatively small – about 5 metres at a guess, over the top of the long circumpolar swells – but with no visual reference it’s hard to judge.

The big circumpolars are with us all the time now as a background presence that you only really see when it all coincides and you can see across two of their crests. Biig! Occasionally there’s a much bigger local wave which breaks over the boat or into the cockpit – I missed all of those while I was up there, but we copped a biggie just as I got the stormboard locked back in on the way down. Win some…! I think these ones come from the remains of an earlier wave pattern where there was the regular big SW circumpolar flow and superimposed on this there was a smaller tighter pattern almost at right angles from the NW so these waves were flowing along the crests and troughs of the circumpolars and making things very confused indeed. The left over big ones are caused by the confluence of two crests, one from each pattern, which amplify and make a much bigger pointy breaking wave that only lasts for a few moments but if you happen to be amongst it, you know it’s there.

Just tried to pull in the VMC wxfax and was able to find the signal but not good enough to provide a picture, so that’s another link with Oz gone. The Chilean version is very good but it only shows the pattern from 120 W across to the Falklands. A shame all youse all can’t listen with us to the Patagonian cruise net sked. Fascinating, the guy who runs it seems larger than life, full of energy and competent and there are all sorts of boats, many nationalities, logged in and it’s full of interesting stuff. Not sure but I think one of them is rowing across the Pacific.

If this last bit was a Hobart race, we’d be around about Batemans Bay -532 to the Horn.

1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 07, 2005 - 2135hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2135hrs 07 Mar 2005 UTC 54’21”S 080’59”W Map Ref 105

Less than 500 to go. About 37.5 k for the runners. Brain closing down, pain out to the ends of every eyelash, anticipation and still the fear that something will fail, anything that breaks the rhythm potentially devastating – every painted line on the road a little mountain to climb. Apparently, there’s a shoulder somewhere on one route very close to the top of Chomolongma that hides the summit until you are almost there…and some people never get past it.

We’re in the predicted soft bit and still don’t know what to expect – the models disagree, but there will be wind for a couple of days at least with a potential header from the SE as we get close. Now setting #4 and 2 reefs, recent wind waves abating, permanent swells more discernible. Lots of seabirds – cold, occasional glimpses of the sun, fluffy seven eighths cumulus at about 2000 ft, all very gentle. Probably time to go and shake a reef or two but will procrastinate for a few minutes as the gusts when they come are still quite strong. Later – changed to cutdown #1 and 2 reefs and still going strong.

From Jenny & Jim S.
Tickled pink with your progress and the way the boat is looking after you both. One query, however – where in the hell do you put all those electronic gizmos? Is there any room for charts?

One other query which relates to BOG and the info that is being cobbled together – was Leven previously Nea from Middle Harbour Yacht Club. According to the NSWYF Yearbooks, Nea was owned by G Comanos at least for 82-84, had the same sail number as Leven – 881 and was purported to be 9.9 metres long. Leven appears as a Parramatta River SC boat in 84-85 owned by B Cunneen and he owned it for a few years (as you know).

The YF records before about 1981 did not include class of yacht but G Comanos owned a Nea as far back as ’77-78. (Incidentally Comanos is variously ascribed as O Comanos, C Comanos or G Comanos in the yearbooks – may or may not be the same person but the circumstantial evidence suggests misprints.) There may have been more than one Nea over these years (like Berrimillas) but it is a clue worth following up.

There is obviously no urgency for a response to this question.

Cheers and continuing best of progress

Jim & Jenny – Gizmos by nature are small. Problem is keeping them warm and dry. Tuner and transmitter are on inside of cockpit wall above port qberth – not properly insulated in the time we had, so some potential condensation problems. Regulators etc same place, other side, but close to engine control lever, so potential condensation plus leak problems. Otherwise, driest parts of boat. The rest face me on the bulkhead over the nav table. This bulkhead has been duplicated (by me) about 200mm further aft over nav table to create space for wiring, backs of black boxes etc. Switch panel on fwd side of original bulkhead over port bunk. Berri is not teak fitted internally, so may be quite different from Virgo. Was launched as Nea in April 1977 for George Comanos, who apparently had various boating relatives which may account for anomalies. Builder’s cert issued by Formit, but in 1984, almost certainly for Brian Cunneen. Don’t know any other history, but a rumour that Nea started by Geoff Baker and completed after he died by Formit. Perhaps Doug Brooker would know. Laptop lives permanently on nav table, tied down (so,of course, no room for charts) . Also smaller than most and supposed to be waterproof – Panasonic CF 18 – see www.tough.com.au? in website ‘preparations’ doc. and I haven’t looked at a paper chart since we left although we have them all carefully rolled up in case of electrical failure. Software on Board nav package coupled with Cmap has got us this far. Details in same doc. – www.digiboat.com…Simon, who wrote the package, lives up your way.

And keeping it all together for us, wonderful Sailmail, using Pactor 11Pro modem linked to ICOM M802 HF and to laptop via USB. The USB link is the one potential single point of failure, as you might have read earlier.

From Kim K.
Answers to life’s big questions.
Things do not smell as much in the cold as they do not volatilise to the same degree. Except for the 2 kg of chipolatas from Coffs Harbour which have permeated our freezer. Must be strange to have rain without the delightful smell of the sporulating Actinomyces.
“”New Scientist”” recently had a short article about the great unwashed and apparently you reach a static, stable state much like my unwashed teacup at work (or an Indian’s curry pot).
Still, I think when you reach the tropics they will smell you coming from the Azores and the dermal flora will have a banquet!
“”Snowfire”” stick has no lanolin. It is parrafin based with such goodies as clove oil, benzoin, citronella, Thyme oil, Lemon thyme oil and cade oil to name a few… my pommy friend in Cornwall (who you may get to meet) was busy putting it on his crack!

From Ann G.

Olfactory factory
Dear Pete and Alex, to answer ur ? Olf. performance is influenced by
age, smell receptor staus (rodents and other small beasties have over
1000 odor recptors, humans 350) psychological state (familiar smells
give comfort in high stress environment), perception and ambient
temperature. We smell vaporized or gaseous compounds. So if body
effluent is not vaporized in some fashiom, you probably won’t mind. If
it is cold, and you are not waving your arms or shaking the nether
regions around, no chance to vaporize resident smells. Note to self:
when arrived at CH, skip initial bubbly party – you will be the only
ones there! CH noses will be operating properly. So, smell combines
hardware (receptors) and software (behavior, perception) plus sensors
(for temperature). Trust me, you’re so bloody stinky by now, you
should say a little prayer to himself that you are not in 40C weather.
Think about other environs where temp is high and close quarters -
?submariners, space shuttle. This is a small price to pay for any
explorer. Wishing you a safe landing in CH.

From Martin M.
Good to read your log while I’m feeling cooked up (even a little bit trapped) up
in a high-rise office in George Street, Sydney.

However, acknowledging that human nature can be fickle, if I was in a bucking
bronco boat long enough I’m sure I could end up with parallel feelings.

Still, right now I’d recklessly opt for your situation rather than George
Street. Provided hull and deck are very, very solid. And rumour has it that
your Brolga is as solid as they come.

My best wishes for ‘reasonable’ weather in that deepest soutern area – doesn’t
seem right to ask for 15kts and flat seas.

When sailing two-handed to New Zealand I experienced the 3 hours on/off watch
arrangement, and sometimes ….. let’s just say I wished I could sleep a bit
longer.

Will closely follow your progress, especially over the coming days, and my
sincere best wishes for a safe journey.

Kim and Ann – thanks for olfactory expertise – is it ok to post your answers on website? will have to instruct bootferals not to vaporise their bodily fluids and to stop farting. And there’s no question of sissy bubbles at Cape Horn, Ann. We’ve got a bottle of Australian rum, donated for the purpose by RANSA, our sailing club. Should be sufficient to assault even the most dormant of receptors. Looks like it may be wet and windy when we get down there, so may need it for fortification too.

Kris, thanks for the serial. Pete says you think too much – nah, says I, just the metaboles circulating and fizzing a bit. Mostly agree with you, may react later after ponder.

Hi Martin M. I think I’d rather be here than in your office too – most of the time. When did you 2 hand to NZ and in what?

WJR – was thinking of you and J and the last ks of one of those Melbournes when we almost went past your house and there you were by the roadside – have you persevered this far with us?

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 8, 2005 - 1245hrs UTC

1245hrs 08 Mar 2005 UTC 54’58”S 078’43”W Map Ref 106

The GPS has a facility (ETE) that calculates estimated time en route to a waypoint, but ours only calculates up to 100 hours. It recalculates every few seconds so the estimate changes drastically sometimes over those seconds, depending on which part of a wave the boat is on and similar factors. Consequently,it’s not a good thing to watch or even become conscious of. For the last month or so, we’ve had Cape Horn as the next waypoint and we’ve watched the distance come down from about three and a half thousand miles to, right now, 412 miles. There has been a blank space in the ETE field for all that time.

No longer.

ETE now hovers around 60 – 90 hours so ETA Horn probably sometime on Friday, UTC. Wishful thinking but a definite milestone. For all of you out there, the next three or four days are – I suppose – the tedious fabric of a normal working week. Kim, no doubt, will stare at the side fence, beer in hand, volatilising a lot and wishing it was Saturday so he could have a beer and stop staring at the fence and life will go on as normal. For us, though, it will be a nailbiter as we watch the grib, the actual weather, the horizon, Berrimilla’s little needs and comforts and the beer supply as the ETE counts down, desperately slowly and we look out for the first snowy mountain top. The forecast is promising – but no chickens anywhere in sight yet. We have just crossed 54 51 S so we are now further south that we have ever been. Also past 80 W and in a couple of hours should be under 400 to go. 3 reasons for mild celebration. Just shared the last three snakes, but we found a bag with TimTams, Shapes AND McVities – only one packet of each but wooohooo!

The scale of things down here is surprising. I have never really though about how big Tierra del Fuego might be, or the Straits of Magellan, but the two together, with all the amazingly rugged islands around the edges seem to be about half as big as the state of Victoria. They now take up a big chunk of the laptop screen in SOB mode. We’ll be looking for Slarty’s signature when we get closer. Love to have time to cruise it all – the Beagle Channel is supposed to have the best glaciers in the world.

Kris – Cognac sounds nice. I know its old sailors stuff, but don’t ever again think of that housebrick hanging from your collar as an albatross – one of the most breathtakingly lovely sights in the world is a big albatross flowing towards you at about 30 knots wingtips millimetres above the water, huge curved wings quivering as it surfs its own bow wave, serene, majestic, arrogantly in charge of its element. Instead, go find one – real or metaphorical – discard the brick and the point will be pretty clear.

Fromm Ann G.: Olfactory factory
Dear Pete and Alex, to answer ur ? Olf. performance is influenced by
age, smell receptor staus (rodents and other small beasties have over
1000 odor recptors, humans 350) psychological state (familiar smells
give comfort in high stress environment), perception and ambient
temperature. We smell vaporized or gaseous compounds. So if body
effluent is not vaporized in some fashiom, you probably won’t mind. If
it is cold, and you are not waving your arms or shaking the nether
regions around, no chance to vaporize resident smells. Note to self:
when arrived at CH, skip initial bubbly party – you will be the only
ones there! CH noses will be operating properly. So, smell combines
hardware (receptors) and software (behavior, perception) plus sensors
(for temperature). Trust me, you’re so bloody stinky by now, you
should say a little prayer to himself that you are not in 40C weather.
Think about other environs where temp is high and close quarters –
?submariners, space shuttle. This is a small price to pay for any
explorer. Wishing you a safe landing in CH.

Ann, it’s a well known fact that The Right Stuff doesn’t volatilise, so space shuttles must be atmospherically pristine. All the submariners I’ve known are very much The Wrong Stuff and they fart as well. You and Kim should swap sporulating Actinomyce stories by the fence over that beer.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 8, 2005 - 1830hrs UTC

1830hrs 08 Mar 2005 UTC 55’14”S 077’53”W Map Ref 107

Here we go. The grib says we should be getting 30-35, we’re in sustained NW 45- 50 gusting to 65. Big – no, huge waves, often breaking around and over us. Sustained howl in the rig. We started with twin poles in 25, now we’ve just got the storm jib and we’re more or less running with the wind on the port quarter, 5 – 7knots on 115M so still broadly the right direction – horn bears 082. Berri taking it well so far but clearly not liking it. And this is just the start. Grib says 45 knots on thursday. Mostly don’t have an ETE on the GPS any more – told you always to ignore it! Just saw 70 kt gust.

From Bill K.
Hats off to you both, from Bill and the crew of Delta Wing. If we can help in any way contact me please! In Berri your efforts are right up there with the hotshots.

From Kees
I just caught up reading your fascinating story. I was away in Auckland for
almost two weeks, doing a bit of SAP training. Had no internet access in the
motel, so I fell behind, but I now caught up again. Last night I spoke with
Hilary who invited us for the Berrimilla bash. Regretfully we can not make
it. This Saturday I am off to China again, two weeks work in Chengdu. Diny
is coming a bit later and after I have finished work, we are going on
another trip. This time we first go to a world heritage area north west of
Chengdu and then to Xian and Beijing. We both are looking forward to it, but
unfortunately it clashes with the bash. But Hilary mentioned that next year
there will be a big party. I have already pencilled this one in.

When I am in Auckland I always go to Border’s bookshop and buy something.
Discovered there the latest book written by Jared Diamond. I read two books
written by him, “”Guns, Germs and Steel”” (short story of everybody during the
last 13,000 years) and “”The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee”” (us). His
latest book is called “”Collapse”” (How societies choose to fail or survive””).
Fascinating reading. The first chapter is about the US state of Montana and
describes the current situation and how it got into that situation. It is
sometimes unbelievable to see what sort of decisions people unknowingly make
and what consequences that has on the environment. I just started the second
chapter which describes the collapse of the Polynesian society on Easter
Island. According to Jared Diamond, the Polynesians were very good at
navigation and were able anticipate an island long before land became
visible from the flock of nesting seabirds that fly out over a radius of a
hundred miles. This meant that the effective diameter of Easter Island was
200 miles rather than 9. Something maybe to think about when all electronics
fail and it is too cloudy to shoot stars.

I will probably fall behind again when I am in China, but will catch up and
send you an email about our Chinese adventures. For sure very different than
yours.

hi Bill and the Delta Wings. Enjoy this from afar guys. And you, Kees.

Will see if we are still in contact. If so, will try to do series of short updates over next 48 hours.

Keep talking to us – shorties please.[ed: that means a couple of lines, thanks]

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 08, 2005 - 1945hrs UTC │BOG Manual of Etiquette for Adverse Situations: Ritual Biscuit Dunking

1945hrs 08 Mar 2005 UTC 55’18”S 077’43”W Map Ref 108
BOG Manual of Etiquette for Adverse Situations: – of special interest is Ritual Biscuit Dunking

Well the last one seems to be on it’s way to all you Cats out there so I’ll try to bring yez up to date in a bit more detail. Just made a pot of coffee – deelishus – with my regulation 2 discs of Mr McVitie’s finest. So first,you need to know that we are keeping up the standards down here in what seems to be a BOG standard Cape Horn bashing. Extract from the BOG Manual of Etiquette for Adverse Situations:

Ritual Biscuit Dunking:

On being handed ones mug of coffee, or, where staff shortages require one to make or collect it oneself, on attaining suitable braced position, gently test biscuit diameter across diameter of mug. The Very Best Biscuits will not fit into the mug. If the biscuit just reaches the surface of the coffee, allow it to soak for a few moments to attain preferred consistency under the local sludge factor which should be applied using the Mercator Spherical Projection Method. (If biscuit does nor reach surface, chew off short chord from edge and proceed as follows). On removing biscuit. gently chew off small dunked chord, leaving a short straight edge. Savour flavour and reapply sludge factor if necessary. Rotate biscuit so that straight edge is parallel with side of mug and dunk to a level of 3 – 4 millimetres for required time and remove. Chew off newly dunked segment, leaving two straight edges at right right angles. Savour for several seconds. Rotate biscuit so that shortest edge is presented to surface and dunk. Chew off small dunked segment and continue procedure until remaining segment is no longer large enough to dunk without wetting fingers. One is then faced with The Dunker’s Dilemma: should one eat the remaining segment or drop it in the mug to be slurped later? The very best authorities say that either course is acceptable but the latter is recommended. Dunk on, BOG’s ‘n Cats.

So, end of nonsense. Here we are, sometimes roaring along at 8+ knots off the tops of waves with white water everywhere and sometimes wallowing in the troughs with the generator turbine not even turning. Occasional big breaker crashes in from the port beam – somewhat scary. Continuous noise of wind and rushing water. I won’t pretend it’s fun but I think it is survivable. Next move, if it gets worse, will be to drop the storm jib and bare pole it. I think we are better off running with the sail for the mo. Steady 50+ most of the time, driving rain, quite cold, barometer falling but not too rapidly for comfort. Still have VMG’s for the Horn – around 4 kts and 360 to go. This course will take us a fair way south of the Horn if the wind is sustained for the duration, so we should have plenty of sea room as it backs to the west and increases by Thursday.

39 k for the runners – cramping, brain mushy, out of focus – you know the drill. But you can feel the line approaching.

Six Footers take note – you’ve got a mere 4 – 8 hours of it so go for it – and good luck.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 09, 2005 - 0815hrs UTC

0815hrs 09 Mar 2005 UTC 55’26”S 075’59”W Map Ref 109

I think it is easing and abating. The wind has backed as expected, although to the SW instead of W and is now steady at about 40 kt. No more gusts of 60-70 thankfully. I am doing my midnight to three UTC penance and I’ve just been outside to gybe the boat back towards the Horn after waiting to be sure the wind change is fully established. You are probably all a bit full of descriptions of the difficulties of transition from troglodyte to water nymph (me?) but at the risk once again of being tedious, the jibe took maybe two minutes plus a bit of acclimatisation beforehand and some checking and monitoring and tweaking afterwards. Getting into full party gearbeanie, headlight,neck warmer, sock liners, waterproof sox, WWG pants(still dripping wet from last time), WWG jacket (ditto, and clammy wet inside too – yerk), harness, tether, inner and outer gloves – takes about 15 minutes of severe physical exertion as Berri cavorts around. Then another 15 minutes on return. No wonder the tendency is to procrastinate. But well worth the doing – Berri now heading direct for the Horn again and ETE’s on the GPS.

And we’ve just been hit by another 60 kt gust followed by 10 kt surge off a wave. Poo. Glad I’m back inside. Back to constant 50 – 65 knots. All happened very quickly. Pete still sleeping the sleep of the innocent.

Memorable meals – in the midst of the earlier fuss, Pete mixed a couple of cans of meat and vegies with left over pasta from yesterday and heated it all up and dogbowled it and it was hot and lumpy and better than almost anything else I could have asked for. At times like these…

Back up to 70 again…really glad I gybed when I did. Might not be possible right now.

About 4 hours later – Pete gave me an extra hour – nice – and the barometer has risen from 989 to 994. Encouraging, but wind still peaking around 50. Seems fairly gentle! 300 miles to the Horn and the nearest bit of Chile is only 115 miles away – an island at 54 30 27 S 073 05 59 W. VMG hovering around 4 knots – slow but steady and safe. Daylight in about 3 hours and we can decide whether more sail is possible.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 09, 2005 - 1330hrs UTC

1330hrs 09 Mar 2005 UTC 55’35”S 075’17”W Map Ref 110

Here we still are, daylight, steady 40 – 50 going up to 70 under some of the blackest and nastiest rain squalls I’ve ever seen. Just tried to film one. Still just the storm jib and no real question of more – we thought about twin storm jibs but abandoned the idea.

Some feedback please – We have been asked by a well known sailing world website to allow them to publish what I assume would be edited excerpts from these logs on a daily basis, the incentive being that instead of the paltry 8000 hits we’ve had in the six or so weeks we’ve been out here, we’d get that many in the first hour of the first morning. I told them, politely, via Steve, to go away – we are not interested in hits as such. This website was set up to talk with you, our families and our friends and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. My recent lament was about the shallowness of the marketing and sponsorship spectaculars and I refuse to be drawn into the soundbite game for other people’s commercial ends. Nor am I happy to give up control of my own words to an editor who is not out here with us. These updates are part of a unique stream of collective consciousness and each one is linked to incidents and emotions and your comments and responses and I don’t want that integrity tampered with. I invited the website to put up a link to this one on theirs and publicise it if they feel that there is genuine interest for what we are doing amongst their world wide breakfast hitters. Interesting to see what they do.

But what do all y’all think? Is this simply another dinosaur refusing to become extinct or am I right? I concede that there might be clear benefits from publicity but I don’t like the downside.

More on waves – these ones have a wavelength of about 150 – 200 metres and they are probably about 15 metres trough to crest. The waves themselves stretch for ever, but thankfully aren’t breaking along their full length. Quite steep, but Berri just rides up over them as they come in from the starboard quarter. If one happens to be breaking or breaks as a result of Berri’s presence, we get surrounded by about an acre of furious white water rushing away to the sides and ahead and the foamy wind streaks tail away and up over the front of the next one in line. Spectacular and exhilarating to sit in the cockpit amongst it all. Occasional bursts of sunlight add sparkle and deep colour to the water.

From Tim V.
It could be worse, you could be in the cyclone off Cooktown. On the other hand you would be warm. Good luck Tim & all (!) at 31 plus the bloody dog.

Tim, we feel really enormously encouraged by your helpful observation. Couldn’t possibly cope with being warm, as you say.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 09, 2005 – 2115hrs UTC │Pete’s Equation

2115hrs 09 Mar 2005 UTC 55’47”S 074’06”W Map Ref 111

Clench time Malcolm.  Pretty much as predicted by the grib modified by the Berrimilla fudge factor – we’re now in constant W 50 going on 60 gusting 70 and I saw a 75. Howl becoming a scream. BIG waves – at least mast height, some breaking. Bare poling directly downwind at about 5 knots and apparently reasonably comfortable. All gone very dark as rain squall dumps horizontal rain and an extra gust for good measure. We had two storm jibs twin poled in a lull that we thought was a change but clearly wasn’t. Lasted about half an hour. Managed a bit of film of that but not as exciting as now. Still heading towards the Horn, which is nice. And we just have to be patient and sit it out and hope it starts to abate. Shades of Southern NZ – successive rain squalls, big wind increases under them and unremitting. The Doctor is assisting us with tranquilising draughts. What else can I say – seems to be standard fare down here and it’s not as if we weren’t expecting it. Horn still late Friday UTC if we can keep around 5 knots on the clock. 232 to go.

For the runners, probably about 40k. Some of you will know that around here it either gets very much worse as you realise there’s still two and a bit k to go or the proximity of the finish unlocks a reserve supply of energy and spirit and you can actually speed up. Some interesting research out there on that one, to do with fooling the body’s self preservation mechanism into thinking it isn’t so hard after all. We’re very much in uplift mode but that could change very easily.

So, all yez all, be patient and sit it out with us and well try to keep you posted. May be a bit low on power because speed rather slow for generator.

Pete has been doing some calculations and he says that a double brew of 60 bottles of Coopers seems to last at least three times as long when his daughters cant get their hands on it. Suits me!

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 10, 2005 - 0730hrs UTC │ NASA will try to talk to us

0730hrs 10 Mar 2005 UTC 55’54”S 072’56”W Map Ref 112

Would all y’all join us both in wishing Ben and Georgina all the very best for their wedding on Saturday in Oz and for the future. The have been part of the Berrimilla extended family ever since Ben jumped off the comforts of New Endeavour into a particularly nasty trip back from Hobart to Sydney about 10 years ago and then raced down with us the following year. The less said the better about other boats he’s been on since then, though – guttersnipe! This will be the first time they will miss the annual Berrimilla Bash and, but for Pete and myself setting a precedent and missing it too, I would feel it necessary to chastise them for getting their priorities wrong.

Still pretty violent down here but it does seem as if the wind has backed a little and is easing. Berrimilla is being thrown off the sides of waves and rolls quite ferociously every now and again and it’s quite hard to brace oneself. Banging in these keystrokes takes some serious concentration and exercises all sorts of odd muscles. Essential to keep the forearms locked to the edge of the nav table while everything else moves 40 – 50 feet sideways and around the barrel. Teamaking now especially hazardous. We’ll wait until daylight and then put some sail up again – it does seem that the sustained 60 -70 knot gusts have diminished and the sea is subsiding. It is the sea, not so much the strong wind, that makes it dangerous to keep the boat moving at much more than steerage way because even bare poled on top of one of these crests in a 70 knot gust, Berri takes off sometimes at more than 10 knots in streamers of bluish white foam. Add boat speed to that and there’s a potentially sticky sideways arrival in breaking water at the bottom of the heap. So we’re doing it very slowly and rounding now looks like Saturday rather than tomoz. Maybe close to wedding time – we’ll have a rum in their honour when we get to open the bottle.

In an earlier update from mid Pacific, I waffled on about our being pretty isolated and the crew of the International Space Station being the nearest humans to us several times a day. Malcolm emailed NASA and they are going to try to talk to us if they can manage it technically. And they wished us luck. Thanks NASA – something rather special for an old workhorse.

And thanks everyone for your feedback on whether we should hand over this nonsense to a commercial website. Seems you are all emphatically on my side and I’m pleased. If we’re that interesting, it seems to me, then any website that purports to inform should do just that and provide the link.

Keeping these short cos we’re down on power. Onya Ben and Georgina.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 10, 2005 - 1315hrs UTC │Nocturnal Pneumatics

1315hrs 10 Mar 2005 UTC 55’49”S 072’30”W Map Ref 113

Daylight, sailing again, 7.5 knots directly towards the Horn. fingers, toes, ears, eyelashes and bootferals all firmly crossed. Pete has a long update, so I’ll jump – see yez. Nearest bit ofChile now about 60 miles away. Woo0ohooo.

Pete: Hello out there

I’m sitting tightly harnessed to the galley bench having a cup of tea its about 3am local time. We are sailing downwind under bare poles – we have had no sail up for about the last 15 hours. Yesterday we spent most of the night and morning under storm jib. Later with a drop in the wind and an easing of the rain squalls we decided to square away and head for the Horn. We set 2 storm jibs poled out as twin sails. Excellent, good speed with perfect direction.

Went below, settled down for about half an hour then a squall hit and we were sliding down the face of a wave very fast. Up on deck again, get rid of one storm jib and the boat was travelling ok again. Whilst tidying up the deck, putting poles away etc we were hit again by a squall. We both looked at eachother and in seconds the other storm jib was down and we have been under bare poles since.

With no sail we are safe but uncomfortable. No sail means no lateral stability so when we get hit by a wave, the boat rolls violently from side to side. If hit by another and the roll is in phase with this then the roll increases in amplitude, if the roll is out of phase then the boat and the wavy collide with a crash arresting the roll but hurling untethered bodies into the side of the boat.

This is getting a bit technical but i need to explain why I’m sitting here with a full cup of hot tea trying to keep the level of the tea in phase with the roll of the boat and hoping not to be hit by an out of phase wave which will immediately cover me in hot tea. If requested, I’ll include an appendix on simple harmonic motion.

A word about food. We have managed to have a hot evening meal together every evening since leaving Hobart. Some have been really good, others not so exciting. In passing, I’ve noticed that the after dinner conversation is rather dull since the red wine left the table.

Early in the trip variety was easy with all the fresh vegies etc from Hobart and Dunedin but since then it’s been dried and canned food except for alex’s vegie garden which produces fresh cress and mung beans. When in Dunedin, we restocked the boat. All canned food was lumped together then randomly separated into 5 large heavy plastic bags (Kathmandhu pack liners). When I say randomly I mean not to fill one bag with say various tins of canned fruit while missing essentials like braised steak and veg. Each of these bags was put in an under-bunk locker and the lid firmly screwed down. We have used 2 of these bags since Dunedin. Some of these tins have prduced some good results. The sauerkraut went really well with rice corn kernels onion and garlic with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. A can of beetroot went into aq rice salad later it produced a kiddies party type of dish, a very attractive bright fluro pink. I thought it very iffy but alex seemed to enjoy the final result.

Alex has made bread when conditions have allowed and it’s been great.

I’m now at the end of the second bag. Tins that were’nt used in ther first are still with us, such as sardines in rich tomato sauce, sliced cling peaches in syrup, creamed corn, spinach etc. Perhaps sardines a la peche it sauerkraut.

Some tins should be avoided though. On a recent morning I woke and noticed my sleeping bag had assumed thge form of a scale model Hindenberg. Not thinking, i unzipped the seal around my neck. I was immediately assaulted by a gale force blast of the nocturnal pneumatics. Fortunately the early morning air was very cold and instantly condensed this vile volatile vapour (alliteration?). I escaped with only severe stinging of the eyes. Bugger. I must remember never to add a can of chilli beans to the pasta sauce ever again.

 

It’s now about 8 am local – we have set the #4 and the main with 1 reef. A little overpowered at the moment as we reach for thew Horn at about 7.5 kts. with less that 180 to go so if this keeps up we will be there tomorrow morning. The wind, though,is expected to drop.

To all those mates out there sending us news and encouragement, many thanks and keep up the flow. Too hard to list you all but we’re glad you’re there. Brian and Jen, Bert and Sandra and Kevin from Dunedin, are you still with  us?

To Bob and Eugenie, I’ll ave a large drink to your health as we pass the Horn. Noel, good luck with the new hip -you must feel like the Tin Man now. To Steve, many thanks for all your work and G9d speed along the “Six Foot Track tomorrow.

Cheers for now Pete.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 11, 2005 – 0715hrs UTC

0715hrs 11 Mar 2005 UTC 56’08”S 069’45”W Map Ref 114

86 miles to go and – touch wood – the stage seems to be set. Cold, slightly hazy night, gerzillions of stars up there but just a bit fuzzy, series of little rain squalls chasing us as always but without the ferocity of a couple of days ago. Poled out #4 and full main, heading straight for Cabo de Hornos. Islas Diego Ramirez about 50 miles on the starboard bow. Wind west at 15 – 20 kts.

Just been overtaken by what looked like very large ship to the North. Bearings changed rapidly from 330 through north to 030 so safe – tried calling on Ch 16 and heard something some minutes later but indistinct. White flares and big torches and hand held VHF in the cockpit and I stick my head up every 10 minutes to have a look around. First sign of other humans since Sarau passed us before the Antipodes Islands about a month ago.

Heard again from NASA – the crew of the Intl. Space Station would like to talk to us. Something of an honour although would have been more interesting mid-ocean when they were the closest humans to us. We will probably be in the Falklands by their suggested dates – Steve is co-ordinating. Berrimilla’s 15 minutes of fame!

Must stick head up…ship has disappeared ahead, horizon clear. Have to spend a few minutes up there each time, to let eyes adjust and to make sure that we have been on top of enough of these big swells to see anything that may be distant and hidden behind one of them.

Here’s hoping the wind holds

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 11, 2005 - 2042hrs UTC │Cape Horn Rounded

2042hrs 11 Mar 2005 UTC 56’00”S 067’15”W Map Ref 115

Abeam Cape Horn with dolphins not far away. A unique and special moment in anyone’s life and we feel hugely privileged to be able to experience it. Our love and thanks to Jeanne and Hilary and our kids, Eleanor, Luke, Sarah, Eve, Tessa and Katherine without whose staunch, unhesitating and continuous support and lack of fuss over the last year or so, it would not have been possible. To Peter Joubert, who seems to know something about seaworthy boats (would someone tell him please because he won’t be reading this) and to Tommy Melville, whose ghost has surely been out here looking after us and to all y’all hitting the website or helping in other ways, for your interest and support and encouragement especially in times of adversity. And a word for Kurtsy – good to have known you and All’s Fair down here too. And onya Steve and Malcolm and wonderful old Berrimilla with a 2. We loves youse all and RANSA’s rum is doing the honours.
Pete and Alex.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 11, 2005 – 2309hrs UTC

2309hrs 11 Mar 2005 UTC 55’54”S 066’43”W Map Ref 116 6341nm

Ok – that was the formal one – took the first couple of doses of RANSA elixir to compose. Left hand down a bit has now occurred and we are now torpid and dozy. The storms are over there – somewhere else.

Now we’re headed direct for the Falklands, leaving Staten Island to port – sad, but we got some local advice and decided that Le Maire Strait is too tricky for a couple of first timers. Various things to say – huge relief in actually getting round before the next set of nasties, the water is now grey, the wind has eased as we are now behind some biggish rocks and if it all holds together, we should be in Stanley in 4 days. We spoke to the Chilean Navy at Cape Horn and we think we will be called by the Argentine Navy sometime soon. Do wish I could speak Spanish. RANSA burgee flying along with minuscule Chilean flag, to be exchanged soon for similarly miniscule Argentine flag. Slarty’s signature clearly visible on the side of the Horn. A true artist – pity he’s been asleep for so long.

I’m told there are too many in-jokes in this stuff. Not really – if anyone wants to follow them up, there’s plenty of information for Googling. There are some personal ones, directly addressed, to bludgers like Fenwick, but you wouldn’t want to know about those anyway.

Sensational clouds looking back to the Horn. Black rain squalls now in the way with sunlight spearing down in mist and radiating light but no detail. Silhouette of the Cape in angled rays. I hope Pete’s photos work cos I’m here and he’s up there. He’s muttering about colours you don’t see in Sidney – clear blue skies, greys and pinks. Just had a look – woohoo fiery pinky orange clouds and digital cameras bloody miss it. Horn fading into a Turner sunset.

Simon, really sorry to hear the news from Hilary. We had a contemplative consultation.

As for the rest of you, go have a drink of something and celebrate for us.

Should we come back? For me, only if i could do it with Hilary. There are other things to do.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 12, 2005 UTC – 0803hrs

Sitrep: 0803hrs 12 Mar 2005 UTC 55’41”S 065’24”W Map Ref 117

Soooo nice to be going North – and in almost flat calm water, dead downwind, 5 knots and the water is going around the hull so quietly that all you can hear is the occasional bubble forming around the skeg. Bliss – and from here it gets warmer.

We are heading directly towards Sea Lion Islands off the southern corner of East Falkland, 299 miles away. This takes us east and clear of Isla de los Estadas or Staten Island and across the Birdwood Bank. Should take us about two days, and perhaps another day from there into Port Stanley. Stage two put to bed – but no predictions, Whitworth – remember the last ten or so ETA’s for the Horn.

Took lots of photos and film as we passed. We took Gerry’s advice and went by at about a mile offshore to enjoy the view. Just another craggy headland except for the myth and legend – but an emotional and moving hour or so. One little bit of unfinished business cleared up as well. Surrounded by rain squalls but glances of sunlight reflecting off the Horn itself and the rock faces and scrubby bits of the islands to the North. Almost perfectly timed as it turned out. And all the tension has evaporated – it’s done, we got moderately bashed, Berri’s fine and the crew is beginning to notice that they smell. Unclench, Malcolm! I’ll do some stats for the trip for the next update.

And Malcolm, how did you go? Ditto Steve – we’re busting to get the news.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 12, 2005 – 0803hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0803hrs 12 Mar 2005 UTC 55’41”S 065’24”W Map Ref 117

Soooo nice to be going North – and in almost flat calm water, dead downwind, 5 knots and the water is going around the hull so quietly that all you can hear is the occasional bubble forming around the skeg. Bliss – and from here it gets warmer.

We are heading directly towards Sea Lion Islands off the southern corner of East Falkland, 299 miles away. This takes us east and clear of Isla de los Estadas or Staten Island and across the Birdwood Bank. Should take us about two days, and perhaps another day from there into Port Stanley. Stage two put to bed – but no predictions, Whitworth – remember the last ten or so ETA’s for the Horn.

Took lots of photos and film as we passed. We took Gerry’s advice and went by at about a mile offshore to enjoy the view. Just another craggy headland except for the myth and legend – but an emotional and moving hour or so. One little bit of unfinished business cleared up as well. Surrounded by rain squalls but glances of sunlight reflecting off the Horn itself and the rock faces and scrubby bits of the islands to the North. Almost perfectly timed as it turned out. And all the tension has evaporated – it’s done, we got moderately bashed, Berri’s fine and the crew is beginning to notice that they smell. Unclench, Malcolm! I’ll do some stats for the trip for the next update.

And Malcolm, how did you go? Ditto Steve – we’re busting to get the news.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 12, 2005 – 1825hrs UTC

Sitrep: 1825hrs 12 Mar 2005 UTC 55’08”S 063’39”W Map Ref 118

We’re hard on the wind – unusual and probably for the first time since the Hobart race. Gentle, easy sailing. We’d forgotten what if feels like and the sun is out as well, so everything drying out. Staten Island along the horizon to the north east, with some big hills – all cloud covered. The tropics start here! But the wind is dropping so all previous estimates are off…

Some stats to the Horn. We left Hobart on Jan 10, passed the Horn on March 11 so 60 days elapsed. Dunedin was a 9 day diversion so say 51 days sailing and 44 since Dunedin. The GPS trip log read 5357nm from Dunedin and with a bit of guesstimation 6707 from Sydney. These numbers are only ballpark, as we had all systems off for a time and other little crashes along the way. The instrument log, measuring through the water distance, read 7611nm from Sydney. Same caveat applies, but we certainly did not sail the straightest course.

Possible average of three sail changes per day. About 50 ltrs diesel used including long motor out of Dunedin. We made enough desalinated water to keep us going for about half our needs. After we replumb the intake so that it works in all conditions,we should be able to exist just on dsesalinated as long as we have adequate power. The Ampair generator is working but at reduced output, and the solar panel gives us about 4 amps in full sunlight.

I have – I hope – saved all the track data from the Software on Board application so we should be able to recreate some of the good, the bad and the ugly bits on a cd or paper chart. Not as many photos as we would have liked and relatively little video because the conditions most of the time were way outside the dry and cosy.

We’re rooting around in the various storage compartments to get stuff out and dry and the compartment itself dried out as much as possible. Everything was at least damp and some parts were very wet. By a superhuman devotion and rigid conformity to sock changing routine and sandal wearing and boot storage, I managed to keep my feet dry until about the beginning of the storm on the other side of the Horn, when one of my boots ended up flat on the floor and full of bilge water. The ferals had a picnic. Just getting it dried out today in the sun.

The feet themselves have survived well – no nasty bits between the toes, no blisters, but all the hard lumpy skin around the toes and balls of the feet from wearing running shoes has softened and worn off, so I’ve got some work to do there.

We’ve got about a normal sized bin full of plastic and non-bio garbage all taped up in plastic bags in the lazarette and elsewhere.

And dirty washing – I really don’t want to be around when I open that particular bag. 40 day old sox and other unmentionables have been quietly festering together in a big swelling plastic pack liner – no opportunity to do any washing since Dunedin.

And now I’m going to make some bread to get us to the end of the road – I hope. Score so far, 10 loaves, no fishes. A real treat, but it takes about 4 hours and needs lots of room which, in the difficult bits, was not always practicable.

Damage minimal except for the knockdown and some very minor fittings. We lost a complete set of spare mainsail battens from inside the boom during an early storm.

And Kevvo, our Fleming self steering unit, has functioned perfectly for the whole distance, through calms, storms and the knockdown. We will take it off in Stanley and check it out and grease and clean it. Kevin Fleming, take a bow.

Finisterre fleeces too – Tom Kay, take a bow and we’ll talk to you in the UK.

Gill OC IJ Ocean Racer wet weather gear has kept us dry and is fantastic to use – mostly. I would prefer to have fewer features that I find gimmicky and impractical in favour of some unfashionable but vitally useful velcro-closed patch pockets on the thighs.

That’s enough – bread is rising.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 13, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 13 Mar 2005 UTC 54’28”S 062’33”W Map Ref 119

G’say all y’all from a dark and gently breezy South Atlantic. Still haven’t quite taken it in but we’re definitely here.

On reflection, having now seen Cape Horn in brilliant close up, I still think that the 10 mile stretch of coast between Tasman Island and Cape Raoul (in the south east corner of Tasmania)is the most spectacularly splendid bit of scenery I have ever seen, the more so if associated with Port Arthur, the colonial prison which is reached from the sea about half way along. For the convicts, brooding, desolate gleaming wet black rocky cliffs and the Isle of the Dead to greet them as they turned the final bend into Port Arthur must really have seemed like the very end of the world. For me, that association with the past and the massive grandeur of the volcanic formations that form that coastline are one of the reasons I still bang my head against the Hobart race.

Oddment for today: we pulled in the generator turbine to check it for chafe (stopped the boat this time…!) and found that one of the two blades had broken off about half way along its length. It seems to be a clean break and there’s no obvious impact damage although the other blade seems to have been grazed by something hard and rough. The turbine trails behind the boat about half a metre below the surface and unless there’s an uncharted rock just below the surface somewhere near the Horn, we haven’t been in less than 100 metres of water since we last checked it about a week ago. Very mysterious. The standard yachties’ insurance claim excuse of ‘submerged shipping container done it’ doesn’t compute (the boat would have hit any floating object first, and with enough force for us to have felt it) and I just can’t see what could have caused it. We will try and get it fixed or another one made in Stanley. In the meantime, we have streamed the coarse pitch turbine, but we’re going much too slowly for it to be effective. But it puts in a bit and it all helps.

Having difficulty contacting Sailmail Chile so will keep these short for the mo.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 13, 2005 - 1500hrs UTC

1500hrs 13 Mar 2005 UTC 54’01”S 061’48”W Map Ref 120

From: Louise from Jersey, Channel Islands.
My brother, Rowley B. and owner of Django, is constantly reminding us of your intrepid journey. Right now, my own son is sailing through the Southern Ocean on one of the Global Challenge yachts but your situation sounds quite ghastly. “”Sailing”” with no sails etc – quelle horreur!! We are getting huge vicarious pleasure from your most entertaining sitreps. Keep safe, keep sailing and may the winds soon give you a chance to have a relaxing cuppa!

From Heggie
It is Friday night in Canberra. It’s a beautiful balmy autumn evening.
There are clear skies and lots of stars. I have had a few beers (Cooper
sparkling ales) at ‘Filthy’s’ the local hang-out on Friday night.

Over the past few weeks I have figured out the nutrients (nitrogen and
phosphorus) in the sediments of most Australian estuaries are important
controls on the water quality of our coastal waterways; that they are
predictable and are controlled by the abundance of diatoms in the
waterway. Well, it doesn’t sound like much, but small achievements in
science come after long periods of experimentation and deliberation. I
will tell you about it over a few ales.

Diatoms are also the most abundant plant in the oceans where you are
sailing. Their properties dominate the composition of the sediments
about 5 km beneath your keel. The diatomaceous signal in the sediments
is so strong that it dominates the composition of the circumpolar
sediments for several thousands of kilometers. The albatross probably
excrete diatomaceous faecal pellets. If you happen to catch one it is
probably good luck!

Sound like you are pretty close to rounding ‘the Horn’.

I look forward to the next update. I expect you will be celebrating with
a round of ‘Dr Coopers’. I will be celebrating your achievement and
drinking to your health.

Good luck. Cheers & laffs

From Ann G
Well done. Isabella wrote to me to let me know you were abeam the
Horn around 11 pm UK time Friday, and that the rum was flowing….
words do fail at times like this…While waiting to hear from Berri, I
was reading a website of Nancy (forgotten her last name now….)
trimaran rounding CH earlier this year. Solo flight. Castorama BQ.
Yikes, what bravery you all have. From the accounts of hazards assoc.
with CH, sounds like you had ideal conditions. Now onward to hot
showers, laundry, dry beds. The folks in Stanley must have more than
a cottage industry to assist weary, soaked fellow travellers in their
quest to round the Horn and beyond. Wanted to ask – what are the
differences in rounding the Horn if going from Atlantic to Pacific? Or
is it nasty either way? Ann

From Barry D.
I will open a good bottle of red in your honour tonight.
Cheers

From Malcom
Congratulations Old Timers.
I guess you have just joined the Villiers Old Salts Round the Horn Club.
Pretty exclusive club. Good on yer!

From Graham S.
Congratulations Alex & Pete, how many other Brolgas have been round the Horn if any ?, not many glitz & glitter yachts either. You probably have some sort of a record. I have been particularly worried that nothing had been posted for 3 days.
Regards to you both

Some acknowledgements and thanks for good wishes: Rowley and Louise, wish your son all the best from Berri, Louise; David W in Hobart (new boat yet??); Gary – your plastic jars are everywhere! – Ron C (what new website?); Heggie – we can feel the diatomaceous signal from here – keeps telling us we’re thirsty, Gerry W, Ann – Much much harder going east -west – against wind and current and often v. nasty. Square riggers often spent weeks trying and I seem to remember Bligh gave up and went the long way around via the Indian Ocean. We’re a couple of softies really and only qualify for the earring but not pissing into wind, Kris, Barry D.; Malcom, from the salty ones, and Graham S – Brolgas are the go – we’ve got a BOG (Brolga Owners Group) going if you are interested – Steve can put you in touch.

We are well on the way across to East Falkland, just to the NE of the Burdwood Bank where the depth is only 100m in places. There’s a little rocky island caled Beauchene Island smack in our track 117 miles ahead, so we should be there in daylight, Kelp warnings all over the chart (digital Cmap version) but haven’t seen any yet. We’ve got about 35 kts from the NW so beam reaching at 7 -8kts, grey and overcast, water grey but glassy clear. Great sailing but cold – English Channel on a warm summer’s day!

More on stats – this laptop has been on continuously since Dunedin except when the generator died. Several minor crashes, which are a real pain because of the fragility of the USB link software – I have to get the reboot in just the right order or I get the microsoft blue screen of death and have to start again. Happened about half an hour before we got to the Horn – Murphy at work, and again this morning. There are so many applications and gadgets that have to work together that it is not surprising.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 13, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2000hrs 13 Mar 2005 UTC 53’49”S 061’12”W Map Ref 121 Errata & corrigenda -I don’t remember the legal term but it’s to do with descriptive words or lists in statutes – if a statute includes a set of words or a list to describe something, anything not so described or included in the list is considered to be excluded. So I made a list of acknowledgements in my last update and left out Roger and the crew in the Sailing Office at CYC. Dreadful mistake by the parliamentary draftsperson and much mea culpa-ing. Sorry everyone and truly chuffing to know that you’re watching and you should’a been listed. I’ll stop making lists – too easy to get it wrong.

I’ve just had a troll through the medium waveband on the radio and picked up the BBC World Service which could only be coming from the Falklands, now 186 miles away. There was another program as well, possibly the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Perhaps this is the modern equivalent of the early sailors’ sensing land by noting the behaviour of seabirds and subtle changes in swell and cloud patterns and, of course seaweed and other flotsam. Exciting to be this close.

Whichever of the weather gods have their hands on the mixing levers seem not to want to let us get there the easy way though. We’re back down to the #5, no main, in a really lumpy sea and 30-40 knots with about a knot and a half of adverse current. No problem except for the waves but there’s no sense in crashing on just to get in a few hours early. Racing we ain’t. But I think it might all be easing and I might venture out and think about putting the main back up with the 2 reefs that are already in it. Later – woke Pete up and we put the third reef in and put it back up, More stable and riding the slop quite well and 7 knots in the right direction instead of 3. Important for 2 reasons – we get some battery charge from the coarse turbine at 7, and it gets us along the track to a hot shower. Perhaps 36 hours to go.

Later: Moderate quantity of egg on face of RYA Instructor. With only two people on board, it’s difficult to keep a permanent watch on deck, but the drill is that whoever is on watch sticks his head up every 20 minutes or so had have a squiz around the horizon and we keep the VHF on channel 16 (for the nautically challenged, 16 is for distress calls and for making initial contact with other stations before moving to another channel). It’s a wet, rough and windy night and not at all pleasant out there so the tendency is to limit visits to the cockpit, but I stuck my head up half an hour ago, got drenched and saw another vessel’s lights about a mile away heading towards us. Ducked back in and discovered that I had forgotten to turn the VHF back on after pulling in the Chilean wxfax on the HF an hour earlier. First splash of egg. Called up vessel at xx S xx w and received instant answer from the Falklands Island Fisheries Protection Vessel Sigma, who had been trying to call us to establish our identity. Second splash of egg. Apart from Malcolm and Hamish in Sarau, the wonderful people on the Patagonian Cruise Net and the Chilean Navy at Cape Horn, they are the first people we have spoken to on the radio since leaving Dunedin. Amongst other things, they told us the isobars are getting closer together, so the weather is not likely to improve before we arrive, but at least there should be plenty of wind to get us there. Nice to talk to you, Sigma, in case you get to read this, and thanks for your help.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 14, 2005 – 1400hrs UTC │In Praise of the Brolga

1400hrs 14 Mar 2005 UTC 52’38”S 059’17”W Map Ref 122

Passed Beauchene Island about 15 miles to starboard about 2 hours ago and we are in contact with Harbour Control Stanley, with the help of a relay from Sigma. Battery was a bit low and suspect we were not transmitting at full herbs. Have caffeinated, dunked with unrestricted access to Mr McVities finest and we are now consulting the Dublin Doctor about the perils and tribulations of the last 82 miles to Cape Pembroke at the entrance to Stanley harbour. Lots of floating kelp, seabirds in abundance (can you have an abundance of seabirds?). On the lookout for Sea Lion Islands 15 miles ahead. It looks like about 15 – 16 hours to Cape Pembroke, or after nightfall. We will talk to Herbour Control later and decide whether to try to enter StanleyHarbour at night. It looks pretty easy, but a bit of local help is always wise.

Thanks by the bucketful to everyone who has written since we rounded – it’s been a sustaining joy throughout the voyage to get your messages and encouragement. Must have been really lonely in the early days of this stuff.

Not sure how many more of these there will be before we get close and I have to do some real work but at least one. It’s been a bellyful of laughs, a wonderful gig, and thanks all y’all for coming along for the ride. Hope you’ve had as much fun reading this nonsense as we have putting it together. We will keep it going while in Stanley and let you know when the next big episode is due to commence. Noreen, I hope there wont be any evictions – even the boot ferals are getting to be  kind of family.

Tony – thanks for info – we were talking to all those boats on the way through on the Patagonian Cruise Net. I think Pelagic skipper is Steve Wilkins who I know – wish I’d known all those heavies were on board.

Richard at Fastnet, thanks – looking forward to a cold ale with you.

Judy – we’ll check out the pub and report back.

Malcolm R and Chris Palmer, seems you might have been in the same boat inshore skippering over the w/e and not known of the connection. Is that a coincidence or isn’t it??

We’re surrounded by dolphins – lots of them, spearing out of the short steep waves around us.


[Brolga Update from Pete]

To all the Brolga owners out there.

What perception you had, what a superb choice of sailing vessel you aspired to. What volumes of yachting knowledge both practical and theoretical led you to this exquisite boat or did you – like most of us – just get lucky? Alex, I know, chose carefully, with this trip somewhere in his mind even in 1993 when he bought Berrimilla.

With less that 50 miles to go to Port Stanley I feel I can crow a little about what a  good boat these are.

Berri kept us cocooned and safe through the worst seas I have ever experienced. The boat did everything right. She is extremely well balanced and well mannered. As long as we could get the sail off her in time when hit by strong rain squalls, Berri sailed beautifully in heavy weather with not much pressure on the Fleming self steering gear. Brolgas are  how can I describe it? – slippery. They slide through the water easily and need very little sail to do this. At times the boat is moving so well you cannot ear the water passing the hull while down below.

Brolgas are well ballasted with a deep keel and low centre of gravity. Unlike most other boats, then look as good out of the water as in – there’s a photo in the ‘Preparations’ doc on the website. The first time I stepped on board one, the deck didnj’t move with my weight. With most 33ft boats, the gunwsale drops a few inches on boarding. When we sailed it, the tiller could be dropped to leave hands free to adjust sheets etc without the boat diverging from its course.

I was suitably impressed.

I’ve been sailing Brolgas for about 12 years now and a couple of years ago bought one for myself. My love of these boats has never changed in all these years.

A Brolga is a boat for life. There is no need to change. It can take you comfortably anywhere you reasonably want to go.

After last year’s Hobart, I met the designer, Peter Joubert, in Hobart. I told him about Alex’s plans to sail Berri to England to compete in the Fastnet race., Not much response to that information. I asked him about my boat, which is called Zoe. He said he’d never heard of it, so I went back further with names – Western Rambler was on a plate with a radio call sign and I found an old life vest with the name ‘Dorothy 2′ on it. His eyes immedisately lit up “Dorothy 2 – that was my  physiotherapist Eddy Wall-Smith’s boat – she used to race out of Sandringham, he sailed her very well.” Now we had established some common ground, I was keen to move on to cockpit design but before I could, Peter wished us good luck and said he was off to see Thorry on Tilting at Windmills. He’s a hard man to lock into conversation but I may have better luck next time.

A few people have asked us about the Brolga’s cockpit and how it coped with the conditions. For all those non Brolgaphiles, some background. The Brolga does not have a b ridge deck from cockpit to cabin entry. Most boats have a cockpit well – i.e. the cockpit floor is enclosed on all sides by seats etc. modern boats sometimes have no rear side to the cockpit so that any wave that enters simply washes over the back. The downside of this is thsat you are terribly exposed in following seas when waves can simply wash in. The Brolga has a keyhole shaped cabin entry with the bottomof the entry only a few inches above the cockpit floor.’ leaving a well enclosed on three sides but open on the forward side to the interior of the boat. Not a good look to have if a wave fills the cockpit. We always have the bottom washboard in which seals the cockpit to about an inch above the cockpit seats.

After a long talk with Gerry Fitzgerald who sailed Spirit of Sydney from Eden to Ushuaia via the Horn, Alex and I decided Berri needed washboards that completely sealed the cabin entry. I made 2 washboards, the bottom one I’ve just mentioned, the top one has a hinged flap about 20cms high that can be locked o unlocked from inside or out. The flap ventilates and allows conversation, and food and rink o be passed out to the person on watch in bad conditions. I extended the width of the two washboards to enable two waterproof rubber seals to be fitted to thew outer edge, one sealed the the back of the cabin the other to the teak trim which lines the entry, so water has to get past 2 seals with a step of about an  inch between them. The boards are sealed by strong wooden lugs with a tapered leading edge which pulls the board in against the seal when turned to lock the board in. There are 4 lugs and a lockwood night latch  on the top board and three on the bottom and we put large grab handles inside and outside each board. These are invaluable in heavy rolling conditions while trying to quickly secure the boards. This has worked well and very little water – about half a bucket – came in during the knockdown and most of this through a taped up vent.

A lot of people would like a bridge across the cockpit entry with a sliding hatch. This is easy to get in and out of but I have no idea how you can completely seal a sliding hatch. Only when you have been in an inverted boat can you appreciate fully how all openings need to be fully sealed.

The wave that got us was a freak very hollow and right behind a large wave in front. Wrong place, wrong time. Berri lifted herself beautifully to the millions of other waves that passed under her.

We have had a huge response from people congratulating us on our efforts – many thanks for that but  want to congratulate the boat. Berri has put in a huge effort – she’s nearly thirty. I’m 59 and alex is 62 and we need a boat that can look after us and not demand attention. Berri is all of that. The boat does all the hard work she accepts most of the wind and waves punishment we pull the strings and point her in the right direction. To Peter Joubert, thank you for designing an immensely strong seaworthy boat, to Geoff Baker and all who worked on building Brolgas with and after him, thanks for the extra effort thats required to build a top boat.

To anyone out there thinking of doing a trip like this, as well as an excellent boat you must have prudence and patience. The southern ocean is very unforgiving and you can only do what it allows you to do, not what you want to do. Its ability to dominate a small boat lets you know quickly who runs the business out there.

Finally, to everyone who took the trouble to write, your encouragement and humour revived our spirits and eased us through the bad patches Cheers and best wishes Pete.

 

[later]

Its 0200 local and we’re just sailing into Port William, the outer harbour for Stanley. Stanley opens at 0800 but we have permission to go straight in.

K, Alphonse says Hi and he wants to get off El, adversity choc survived the Horn storms but not the long days run up to here. Nice – thanks.

1-8. Horn to Falkland Islands

Mar 15, 2005 – 0655hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0655hrs 15 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

0635 entered Narrows,Port Stanley

0655 anchored,Port StanleyHarbour51 41 15.3 S 057 49 14.8 W Log 7980 nm exSydney(through the water), 5710 exDunedin(GPS trip log)

Steve and Malcolm, take a bow and thanks for your truly wonderful backup. We’re going to consult, then grab a couple of hours sleep. Customs etc at 0800 local, 1100UTC. We’ll be in touch as soon as we know what’s happening.  Doesn’t seem to be a mobile phone network – will investigate tomorrow.

A & P

1-9. Falklands

Mar 17, 2005 - 2300hrs UTC

2300hrs 17 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Stephen (the web bloke):

This update is a compilation of a number of conversations and emails over the few days since Berri reached Port Stanley. Since arriving and clearing customs they boys have been busy reprovisioning, carrying out repairs, further refining the operations of Berri on the high seas – they should have it just about nailed by the time they get back to Sydney. They have holed up in a B&B near the port (although everything in Stanley is near the port). The satellite phone which has given so much grief has been retired and a bright new one that actually works.

There are two current projects on at the moment. The first is that Alex has discovered that the annual Falklands Islands Marathon is on this Sunday, and so he has scammed a pair of running shoes and will run – well, will shuffle the full 42.2k just because it is there. Apparently there is a huge field – 30 I believe – and ideal running conditions 7C and drizzle. Will he never learn?

The second project is setting up a 30 min chat with the International Space Station. Astronaut Leroy Chiao is keen to talk with the boys about their trip so far, and they are exchanging photos. There is even some daft scheme to see if they can photograph each other in the mid Atlantic later in the month.

Finally, currently departure plans are for next Wednesday, but as with most sailing timetables, these things are most fluid.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 18, 2005 - 0125hrs UTC

0125hrs 18 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Stanley(the place, not the name)

Alex: The Falklands – fascinating – land of contrasts – chunks of wrecked or modified 19th century sailing ships lying around in heaps, absolutely no facilities for visiting yachties and I was told they try to discourage us because some visitors have turned up and ripped off the people who were helping them and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world from selling fishing licences to the highest bidder. So much so that no locals have to go fishing unless they actually feel like it.

Wonderful place – we got here in the middle of a cold windy night and parked just inside the harbour entrance – woke to a bleak windy dawn and had an awful day trying to get Berri parked somewhere where she would not get damaged and was sheltered from the easterly that is still blowing.

Then Mike Harte and John Maskell-Bott, Andy Cullen and Bruce Wilkes turned up and things started to improve – massively. JMB brought the new generator, BW a case of guinness and some bottles – Thanks Tim – and Mike brought his presence and advice and local knowledge and in no time at all we were half way to being organised. And a shower at Mike’s place WOOHOO. And definitely not a B&B – Lafone Guest House is one of the best and most welcoming places I have ever stayed in.

And then Mike told me about the marathon – the first ever in the FI and, apart from one run at the S. Pole, I think, the southernmost anywhere and how could anyone say no. Had to cheat to get in – entries long since closed ,and I get no 13 – traditionally not allocated, so there’s a challenge lads and lasses. The local radio station broadcast an appeal for running shoes and HM Govt obliged – a bit big but they’ll get me round. I’m really concerned about the cold – it’s 7 degrees and windy and drizzly – but I’ll get there. Don’t know how many entries but less than 30, I think.

And the ISS link up tomorrow. As I said to NASA, absolutely gobsmacking. Cant send you Commander Leroy Chiao’s photos but you’d be gobsmacked too.

Supposed to be having dinner – another long story – and will be in trouble if I dont stop. We loves yez all.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 18, 2005 - 1730hrs UTC │Port Stanley, Falklands - 1st talk with ISS

1730hrs 18 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123
Alex: 16:59 – 17:25 GMT, Friday, March 18th

Well, says he, overdoing the understatement, we have just spent half an hour talking to Dr Leroy Chiao, Commander of the International Space Station.

A very low tech slow speed operation in the charge of a couple of grizzled and smelly veterans down here linked by similarities on the human scale to some very special technology moving a bit faster and to a couple of courageous people right at the forefront of their fields and of scientific research.

Probably one or the most interesting few minutes of my life. And, it seems, we will be able to try an experiment from the south atlantic using our gigazillion candela spotlight to find out whether Leroy and Salizhan can see us. Coool. We have exchanged some photos and there will be more. I owe Leroy some video of a big albatross in full endurance trim – hard to get but I’ll do my best. Thanks, Leroy, for your time and your interest.

And it was all made possible because Malcolm Robinson took the initiative and sent an email to NASA after my mid pacific musings about isolation and being closer to the ISS crew than any other humans. Thanks Mal and you’d better get your Inshore ticket after that one!.

No way to cap that, so I won’t try. More tomorrow, perhaps.

[ed: Links to info on the ISS and Leroy.]

1-9. Falklands

Mar 19, 2005 - 2200hrs UTC

2200hrs 19 Mar 2005 UTC 51’41”S 057’49”W Map Ref 123

Quick update to wish all the bashers a happy bash and we’ll ring you to say g’day. That’s at 0300 here, with the marathon to follow, so it’s an early night here for this kid. Today was a touristy day – we went to Volunteer Point to visit the King penguins. The road goes out past all the 1982 battlefields close to Stanley and then meanders across about 15 miles af very muddy peat bog – the signpost says ‘Volunteer Point through this gate

- if unsure, please ask’ and it’s then about an hour of some very serious 4 wheel driving and you’d better know the way. We were with Patrick Watts, who knows lots of local history and can talk about it while concentrating on keeping his wagon on all four wheels in some difficult country.

The marathon course has a lot more attitude than your average rather tame flat downhill all the way Oz version. The weather has improved marginally and it may not be quite so cold but if there is any wind and rain, it will be something of a headbang. Have Pete organised to be out there laughing a lot and clutching various versions of The Doctor – call it experimental – one should always do science in adversity. No doubt there will be photos.

From Roger W.

Alex & Pete

It must be great to have a shower & sleep in a bed! I want to hear about the Falklands, particularly now 20+ years after the war, how the islanders feel about it in retrospect, what they think of Argentina now, what sort of future they have etc. I used to supply cigarettes (mostly Craven A in tins) to the Falklands in the 60s, I used to get the hand written order twice a year from the lady who ran the post office – I even remember that her name was Velma Malcolm! – and then send them on the twice-a-year supply vessel. I was in Buenos Aires in ’82 when the war started, and indeed regularly from ’69 to ’82, including periods of residence in Paraguay and Uruguay. At the time I was appalled that we actually went to war and killed people over the islands, but was glad we thrashed Argentina which was ruled at the time by a bunch of thugs and had an army made up of indolent sods who spent all their time avoiding actual military duty. I don’t expect a thesis by return, but look forward to discussing these and other matters in the bar on your return! Good luck in the marathon Alex you daft sod!

Roger, Wilma wrote a book and I’m trying to get you a copy – not easy but there may be some still around. She died a couple of years ago. More later.

Congratulations on Horn rounding, from Jennifer

Alex & Peter,

warm & hearty congratulations on your achievement. What a wonderful
experience for you both and the trusty Brolga. Well done “”conquering”” Cape
Horn.

I have been following your adventures since mid-way to NZ, however due to
excessive work demands during the last week or so, have only just managed to
catch-up on your progress. I personally know many, many of the people
reading your log entries and work with one – Brolga owner Rowley Beckett.
Several of the people you respond to in the log I also know, so it’s a fun
discussion point when we cross paths.

I did a couple of CYCA SOPS races during February/March with one of your
recent Sydney-Hobart crew, James. He joined us regulars on “”Athena””, a
Bavaria 38 that tried to make Hobart in 2004 but ended up in Eden.
Undeterred, the owners are planning Syd-Southport in July followed by
another assault on Hobart. Hopefully we will see you on the start line.

For me, the most interesting aspect has been the ability to read the logs in
near real time. None of this nasty waiting for snail-mail to arrive. It’s
quite amazing to think what you can do with technology these days. Hope you
have a conversation with the Space Station – I’m looking forward to that log
entry!!

Anyway, have a well-earned rest and a consultation or twenty with the
Doctor.

Wishing you good sailing and fair winds for the next leg of the journey.

Regards
Jennifer

Jennifer, Hi and thanks for kind words and thanks to to everyone else – so many of you – who have written to us. I’m sorry that events have got a bit beyond my capacity to reply to everyone but I’m a lot less able to get to a pc than on the boat. Will try to catch up and answer questions in the next couple of days. That is, if I survive tomorrow.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 20, 2005 - 0600hrs UTC

0600hrs 20 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

And the day dawned overcast and windy (it’s always windy here…) and coldish – maybe 10 degrees – but not yet raining. Second cup of tea put away I’m just off to the boat to get some survival biscuits and feel the atmosphere and then off to the start in a couple of hours. Pete will be wandering the course with appropriate sustenance and he’s off to the fresh fruit and veg market to provision us for the next 70 days. We have to get diesel and water on board too and do some limited shopping and then it’s go when the weather looks reasonable.

Steve and Malcolm, tomorrow I will post cd’s with photos and other files – you might need a copy of Airmail to read some of them so I will include an early version. Marc Robinson could perhaps advise (prep. document). Track data to Simon @ digiboat pse.

Isabella, video minidiscs and windows software also posted tomorrow. Hilary might be able to find the mac disc if it exists – it will be in the box on the downstairs desk and is called Image Mixer for Sony DVD handycam for Mac. But may not have had one in the kit.

It was great to talk to all y’all at the Bash even if it was in the middle of the night. We miss you guys.

[a little later…]

Just had a look – there’s a 25 knot headwind for about the middle 30 k and it has started to rain. Oh whooopeee dooo. And the course winds its way between leftover minefields from 1982.  No different from your average headbanger.  Off to the start.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 20, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

2000hrs 20 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

First, some answers and homework – to Annie and David, the Pippin mob, thanks for your message. Your supply of The Doctor lasted us all the way here and sustained us in adversity and rejoicing – thanks.

WJR – glad you’re still out there – and thanks for your kind words – also sustaining.

From Brian and Jen – Otago Yacht Club
So good to see you made it safely to Port Stanley. Brian and I were consulting the Doctor at the yacht club yesterday with you in mind and this resulted in a request from the yacht club to reprint some excerpts from your log. I’ve decided to go one better though, and ask you if you would like to write a few words for the yacht club newsletter. Something about a flagpole perhaps? If not, permission to pass on some of your lovely words would be much appreciated.

Brian and Jen in Dunedin, it’s about as much as I can manage at the moment to keep the stream of consciousness stuff going without having to put it into something formal like an article. You have my full permission to use any material from the website in your newslatter including photos as long as you quote verbatim – no editing – and acknowledge the source and our copyright.  Hope that helps and you really didn’t need that flagpole anyway. Please say Hi to the rest of our Otago YC friends both at the bar and in the newslatter.

And theMarathon. Now THAT was a headbang. I dont want to bore the non runners with lots of techno runners’ babble so here’s a summary.Marathoncourses, like the sea, are indifferent and unforgiving and I got exactly what I deserved and expected. Easily the hardest marathon course I have run with a hill going up to half way that makes Heartbreak Hill atBostonlook like the edge of a puddle. Mostly head or cross wind at about 20 – 25 knots, air temp about 9 deg and chill factor way below that. The facts – I haven’t been above walking pace since before Xmas, I’m several kilos overweight, borrowed shoes, all the basic mistakes and I finished in 4.49.55, a personal worst by about an hour but not a bad performance under the circumstances. And the photos will show that I finished in deep consultation with The Doctor. Way to go.

Nice touch at the end – no finishers medal but you get a space blanket and a Mars bar.  Thanks to Sally, the dentist, who sorted the hacksaw edge on my front teeth during the week and who took me seriously just before half way and ran after me with a Mars bar. Good for trade, I suppose, but just what I needed. And thanks to the lady who lent me her own gloves as I came back down the same hill in the biting wind. The wind in some places was so strong that I could hardly move forwards. And thanks to Pete, who delivered The Doctor close to the end. I spent some of the idle hours trying to calculate how far Leroy and Salizhan would have travelled in the ISS in the time I was out on the course, but the brain was too mushy and failed to deliver. Anyone care to try?

The winner, Hugh Marsden (?), who has run in the Commonwealth Games, ran about 3.09, way out in front and not challenged.

[Photos here]

We’re still looking at Wednesday for departure – depends on how fast we can get the various supplies we need actually on to Berri.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 23, 2005 - 1900hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1900hrs 23 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI Map Ref 123

This was going to be a ‘here we go again’ update but not quite – we’ve postponed the dockside party until tomorrow morning because we still have a bit of stowing and shopping to do. The wind has changed to the NW and there’s a big high sitting splot in the middle of the S Atlantic so it may last for a few days. All depends on the exact wind angle when we get out there but should give us a reasonable start.

The Falklands has been a wonderful experience. A community with a sense of cohesion and a hard edge and – once you get used to the place – amazingly helpful and interested. We have been privileged to be allowed to write our names in blackboard chalk under a substantial piece of Government property at Government House – we were told it’s how they economise on floor cleaning bills. And there will be more marathons – watch the FI website, all you macho headbangers out there. It’s definitely the one to do and to brag about. Coverage of last Sunday’s inaugural in the local newspaper from next Friday at www.penguin-news.com. [ed: Penguin News is by subscription. We have asked for an extract]

Another silly memory from Sunday’s toil over the hills – there are a lot of military personnel here and there were a few running, with many of their oppos out there rooting for them. As an old geezer with grey locks dangling dank around my ears, I probably stood out a bit, but they all called me Sir. Odd really – haven’t been called sir ever since about 1964 and to be encouraged in a marathon by loud cries of ‘Come on, Sir – you’re looking good’ in broad Geordie and Scouse is novel and surprising when the brain is basically non functional – do they really mean me??

From Cyril L.: Ice cold
Dear Alex,
Just heard about this website recently and the email facility. I am
working my way through the logs – makes me reach for my sweater I must
say. I am delighted to see what great progress you have made, and hope
that things continue to go well.

Hi Cyril – not too many leaves to burn out here!

Graham H: Hello from tassie

Hello Alex and Peter,
Congratulations on your epic journey so far, reading the daily log brings a welcome relief from the mundane routine of my boring office job and is all the more interesting given that myself and my kids have had the opportunity to have a look around Berri at the end of the last 2 S2H races courtesy of Malcolm R. I was interested to read that Alex did the FI marathon, I too have run 9 of the bligters so know what its like. The reason I was e-mailing you was that that I was doing a little surfing on the net and found out that there is a guy called Jesper Olsen who is currently running around the world. Yes you do read that correctly, he started out from Greenwich in London and has been across all of Europe down through Japan, Australia and is just going across America with a plan to run from Glasgow down to London finishing new years eve this year. The web site is www.worldrun.org
The other reason I e-mail is to ask do you hav any plans to write a book of your adventures when you return, you write with such eloquence and your words and pictures deserve to be in print as they so paint a topographic picture of your adventure, perhaps your story could be a Hollywood film!!!! if so who would you like to play you?
Anyway good luck on the next leg of the journey to Blighty, Im sure my compatriots will give you a warm welcome and have plenty of the Dublin doctor to welcome you!!!

From Kristen M.

Your marathon story made me laugh and turn up my new stereo loud and
dance around giggling. The cat wanted to be picked up so I danced
around with him–he decided dancing wasn’t his thing and got down
again but I kept laughing at the audacity and obstinancy and
motivation of running a marathon after months at sea. Wow. I feel so
privileged to come along for the virtual ride. Thanks. And
Congratulations!

Of course the astronauts would think that y’all sailing Berri is cool.
They are human too–highly trained humans, but you two sure are as
well. And they clearly y have an interest in exploration and
journeys. So they have to drink their tea in zero grav–probably
easier than the washing machine sometimes. I think that it’s great
that you got to talk to them and once again I feel so lucky to be part
of the Berri family, even if I claimed excontinence and didn’t make
the party this year.

Up here on northern hemisphere dry land earth things are somewhat less
ambitious. I’ve been doing some odd home-improvement projects. I’m
following my instincts of when in doubt go on vacation and taking 3+
weeks to go cycle in Ireland in a month. Another privilege–the
ability to flit across the pond for a bike ride. I come home to a
visit from my professor buddy who is “”retiring”” but really moving to
Scotland to keep being a professor, reading and thinking and lecturing
and writing on all sorts of brilliant things, just not in the US. I’m
going to keep following his and your examples of acting young.

Happy Trails,

And Graham H and Kris and AlexL and Mick and Rob. Kris, I like excontinence – excontinent is just how one feels at the end of 42k. Or, I suppose, when the cat leaves home.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

We have just about got everything oo to Berri and expect to be able to leave later today. Just fresh bread and some eggs to get.

And today is Hilary’s mums 90th birthday – it’s a big year for big birthdays – Happy Birthday, Olive. We’re thinking of you.

Looks like a nice day out there – northerly wind forecast so not ideal but we’ll just have to go with what we get.

Next one from sailmail, I hope.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1430hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1430hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

Sadly, it’s all gone rather pearshaped. 40+ knot wind came up during the night, long before forecast, blowing Berrimilla directly on to the jetty and making big swell so we are trying to hold her off and limit the damage. Not safe to try and drive her out – too close to rocks if it goes wrong, and it could, very easily. Just hanging in there for what may well be a very long day.

Will keep you posted.Brittany, we may not be able to do Friday night – I will try to let you know as soon as we know ourselves.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 1530hrs UTC │Stanley, Falklands I.

1530hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

We are taking it in turns to babysit the boat – I’m now sitting at the nav table with the laptop, just like old times with the wind howling in the rig and bouncing up and down, but this time we are very much alongside. It seems survivable although extremely uncomfortable, and the gel coat on the starboard side, plus most of Berri’s nice teak toe-rail, will never be the same. Luckily, we have been able to borrow some ship-sized fenders and we have them up against the three big tractor tyres that hang from the jetty. Because of the swell, they tend to work their way up and out from  between boat and tyre and we have to push the boat out and jam them back in. Not easy, in constant 40 knots. Our own fenders are far too puny for the job and are just about useless. We have two huge aft springs holding the boat, and a skinny 6mm spectra halyard line going 50 metres across to another jetty to hod the bows out. The boat is lying to those 3 lines, most of the time. Dead low water, and not sure how things will work as the tide rises. We are stuck here until it abates, probably late tonight, and we will have to sleep on the boat to make sure she stays safe.

So I am not sure exactly when we will get away. We must co-ordinate departure with Customs and I am about to call them to ask whether we can clear and then leave when the wind drops.

Penguin news is on the streets, with the Marathon report.[ed: Penguin News is by subscription – front page here. We are negotiating for an extract]

Article in the Times of Malta: www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=180930&hilite=Whitworth [broken link]

With thanks to Natalino Fenech, a journo friend of Berri inMalta.

1-9. Falklands

Mar 24, 2005 - 2354hrs UTC│Stanley, Falklands I.

2354hrs 24 Mar 2005 UTC Stanley, FI      Map Ref 123

What a day. I think we have preserved Berri more or less undamaged and the wind has finally abated a bit. It was blowing 45-50 for most of the day and for a lot of that, blowing Berri directly on to a big rubber tractor tyre with about a metre and a half swell so no way to control anything much. About 15 degrees of hell too, which didn’t help. Late in the afternoon, Paul, Owen, Mike and the FIC launch turned up and we set it all up so that they could hold us into wind as we ferry glided about 40 metres across to the lee side of a floating jetty. Pretty hairy manoeuvre but we got there and Berri is now not snug but at least relatively safe – touch wood. Thanks guys.

I have some photos but I’m too stuffed to work through download at the mo – just need to get to bed. If the forecast wind change arrives, we will clear customs at 0930 local tomorrow and be out of here.  Sad but necessary. Will try to get photos done early in the morning but no promises at this stage.

Berri after move

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 25, 2005 - 1400hrs UTC

1400hrs 25 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 124

All times back to GMT. We cleared Customs at 1200, departed the jetty at 1300 escorted by a couple of rigid assault boats and entered the Narrows at 1315. We are not running up the S Atlantic on 040M for a point on the equator at about 30 00W. The new generator is working perfectly – thanks everyone concerned with that exercise – and the welded turbine is working too – thanks to J M-B and the RAF.

Arlette – wonderful stay at Lafone and thanks again for everything. Very sad to leave. And to everyone else – lists are too hard – our gratitude and thanks for everything you did for us.

MalcolmR – could you please resend a list of times when the ISS [International Space Station] should be visible – we’ll continue to head 040M for as long as possible, SOG is 6.5 knots at the mo. Ta.

Brittany [Brittany is the NASA scientist co-ordinating the Berri-ISS comms], for your information, in the subject line headers for these updates, the first block of 4 digits is South latitude, the next block of 5 is West longitude, then date/time GMT, then distance to go. I will give you some more specific information tomorrow and keep updating it every day – I think we can start to play tomorrow night, and Leroy can work his own schedule around any convenient night time flypast over the next couple of weeks. With the generator back to full power, we can leave the spotlight on all night. It will be red unless you tell us otherwise. We’ll have the satphone on as well from tonight. Fun by the bucketful and I hope it all works out. When is the spacewalk?

[Brittany’s response]

The EVA (Extravehicular Activity) or spacewalk is scheduled for approx. midnight to 0700 on March 28th. Leroy has an off day on Saturday, March 26th but will probably begin sleep shifting to prepare for the EVA. Depending on when their sleep shifting begins, Saturday could possibly work for Leroy. If things do not work out on Saturday night then you will probably have to try again at the earliest on Monday night.

I have been forwarding your emails to Leroy so he knows what you guys are up to. I know he is excited to try out this experiment!

[Alex’s reply]

Thanks Brittany and Hi Leroy – we’re excited too – how cool can you get. If we can co-ordinate times, we can direct our spotlight towards the ISS if we know where it is and I have asked Malcolm to try send us some times and co-ordinates – Mal, seems we may be looking at Saturday or Monday night. All the best with the EVA, Leroy and we’re looking forward to playing with you. If you are able to call us just before you reach our horizon, we can perhaps get ourselves organised to shine directly at you. Interesting rendezvous! I will be in touch tomorrow afternoon GMT with our likely position for tomorrow night.

[back to normal transmissions]

Happy Easter, all y’all who celebrate it and enjoy the holiday.

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 25, 2005 - 2140hrs UTC

2140hrs 25 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 125

We are about 50 miles NE of Stanley, close to the edge of the continental shelf so still shallow and quite a big rolling swell from the west. So good to be moving again – it was difficult in the storms on the other side of the Horn even to think about sailing north, in sunshine. But here we are WooHOO. Very special feeling. We’ve been surrounded by masses of floating kelp in all shapes and wonderful wraiths and patterns. There is a long flat version with about the thickness and consistency of the conveyor belt you put your suitcase on at check in at an airport = rubbery, elastic and almost unbreakable. It has a sibling with frilly edges. There is another version with long stringy bits with bubbles and pointed ‘leaves’ – it looks like the sea monsters on old maps when you pass it, with a series if spiky bite protruding from the water. And another like one of those candlesticks with lots of arms. Some of the longer bits are perhaps 20 metres long and some of the clumps seem to have about the volume of a small house. Not good to get tangled in. We are trailing some stringy bubble bits from the skeg. Nuisance but not a show stopper. Hope the turbine doesn’t catch any. A few fishing boats on the horizon earlier but all now astern. We have to keep a constant lookout down here, although the jiggers are lit up likeTimes Squareat Christmas and easy to see at night.

We are both pretty tired – lots of hard work, some hard parties and still a damp boat. No real chance to unload and dry it out but all will improve with every mile in this direction.

Devoncroo – thanks for satphone message and John Clark, thanks for slab of The Doctor delivered in the nasties yesterday by Mike. Very kind thought. I have to absteem as am on antibiotics for vicious throat infection, but a good incentive towards recovery.

Brittany, I don’t know whether you want to get all these or just the relevant ones for Leroy – I will copy to you unless you tell me otherwise. Here’s hoping for a cloudless sky tomorrow night and Monday.

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 26, 2005 – 1040hrs UTC

1040hrs 26 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 126

The romantic view of dawn at sea seems to focus on pretty colours and reflections and thoughts of new beginnings with lots of allegory. Well it ain’t necessarily so – often bleak, cold, very damp with water running off the sails and down the neck. Today, though, has been a confirmation for the poets – huge, sharp full moon all night with an attendant star, wispy clouds very high and lots of dolphins all around us and so quiet that we could hear them breathe as they breached – a double sound like a reverse sneeze – shoo-atish – and seabirds too, visible in the moonlight. The only thing missing was phosphorescence. Dawn with cherry pink clouds on the eastern horizon and reflecting off the water, turning orange then silver as the sun met the horizon. And to the west, the moon sinking into  a deepening soft purple haze. A pair of small albatrosses swooping around us and two black crow like birds apparently trying to land amongst the hardware at the masthead. Beats watching tv. Isolated patches of kelp still around us – we are about 40 miles inside the 1000 mtr depth contour at the edge of the shelf, and our transponder has long since lost the plot. It can cope with 450 feet.

I tried to film the albatrosses for Leroy – extraordinarily difficult to keep them in frame as they disappear into troughs and i have to guess where they will emerge as the boat moves around too, but I think I snatched a reasonable sequence as long as the autofocus held out. They are smaller ones – about 2 metre span with very little anhedral curve as they glide. I’ll hang out for one of the big guys.

We’ve made good progress – 127 miles in 9.5 hours. We have been gradually headed and we will probably be a bit further east tonight than we anticipated.

Brittany, an early estimate would be 48 50S, 054 00W at 0400 tomorrow. Reasonable chance that there will be little or no cloud tonight, but Monday not looking good. We are likely to be sitting under the edge of a tight little low centred to the east of us. I will update in about 12 hours.

Malcolm. thanks for the estimates.

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 26, 2005 - 1545hrs UTC

1545hrs 26 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 127

Hi Brittany, Some rough predictions for tomorrow morning GMT:

0400  50 02S 055 25W

0530  49 57S 055 21W

0700  49 52S 055 18W

We are tracking roughly 040M @ about 5 knots.

There is a low pressure system moving in from the west and things may change – I don’t have enough information to make more than an educated guess – and with it will be lots of cloud. Leroy will be in a much better position to see what is happening and decide whether it is worth continuing. No need to call us if not – we will be able to see for ourselves by then and we’ll cross our fingers for Monday.

 

[ed: an article from the Falkland Islands Press here]

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 27, 2005 - 0930hrs UTC

0930hrs 27 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 128

Well, all y’all, now that the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster has had time to work it’s magic and I’m shaking off my cold and feeling a bit more like one of those primitive ape forms from Sydney, here we go again. Brain has been congealed for a couple of days so apologies if some of this is second time around. I think that this episode/series/act/movement/verse will lack some of the dramatic tension of the last one. More of a largo. Those of you who need a drama fix with your cornflakes had better jump ship now and go watch infotainment on the telly – we’ll give you a hoy for the Fastnet. We have about 70 days to Falmouth, via a waypoint on the equator somewhere about half way between Africa and S. America. We were astonishingly well looked after in Stanley and we have adequate supplies of The Doctor, Aunty Gordon’s Magic Catalyser, John Smith Smoothies and the Archer’s Tool, as well as a few spuds and onions and half a hundredweight of Arlette’s shortbread for ritual dunking ceremonies. We have saved the last two of Pete’s Dr Coopers for crossing the line or Falmouth. Or something. And we have a bit more diesel to help us through the soft bits in the low latitudes (sounds odd, but they are the ones with low numbers close to the equator).We are now just over the edge of the Falklands Escarpment, where the sea bottom shelves from 1000m to 6000m into the Argetine Abyssal.

For the wild lifers, check out the Black Browed Albatross. We have had them around us en masse all yesterday. They breed in the Falklands and there is some concern to preserve the breeding grounds. Lovely birds with black wing tops streaked with grey underneath, creamy beaks and a black line over each eye. They fly alongside us and land and look at us – perhaps 2.5 metre span for the bigger ones. They seem to know when I get out the camera, though, and I still haven’t got any video that I like.

The experiment with the ISS is still a possibility, although Leroy and Salizhan have an EVA scheduled for tomorrow and will be somewhat busy until they have completed it. We are hoping to see the ISS for the first time too – perhaps in a few hours if the cloud allows. Malcolm has sent us the relevant flypast times. Exciting.

EVA’s for us are much less painful and hazardous than a couple of weeks ago, although it is still quite cold and we will need the party gear for a week or two yet. But it IS getting warmer – yay! And we had sunshine all day yesterday – first time since leaving Sydney, I think.

Am just about to do a mini eva to shine our light skywards in case the guys are looking out of their window in their apartment block up there – they are due to pass to the north of us in a few minutes. Back inside and Yikes -it’s cold out there and there is a double layer of cloud so unlikely we’re visible. Only glimpses of the moon. I’ll have another go in 90 minutes although I don’t think it will clear.

Much later – it won’t. We’re in rain under thick cloud. Radio propagation not good, so have delayed sending this. Just boiling a couple of Easter eggs for my breakfast.

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 27, 2005 - 2230hrs UTC

2230hrs 27 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 129

It is nice to be in the lee of a wall like the Andes, although today we are in thick mist, with rain and low cloud. No chance to see the ISS, sadly. These are convergence Zone conditions, but softer than across the wall. We are still getting the Chilean weather fax, but it seems the Brazilians may have stopped their service. We have over a knot of current against us, as expected, but there’s no easy way to predict where it will be so we just have to slog into it. We’re both looking forward to getting back above 40S – seems like a long time ago when we crossed going south – Dec 28 or 29,perhaps.

Leroy and Salizhan will be preparing to open the door in a few hours. We’ll be up there with you in spirit, guys and all the best. Makes Berri’s foredeck seem like a kiddies sandpit. It’s a shame we can’t wave from under the cloud.

From John

The Clark family wish you both all the best for the next leg. Keep up the dialog if you can – we are right there with you. Great to talk to Peter at the “”Bash””. Anything we can do? Glad the Dr arrived. Hope you get to play with the ISS and your candle works – maybe they have an answer for throat infections and rampant foot ferals!

Leroy & Salizhan would have travelled 84,559 miles, 48 yds, 2 ft and 8 ins during your marathon at the reported speed of the ISS. Could you have not slowed down a tad so as to make it 50 yds or even a round 84,560 miles?

John C, I agree with your numbers – I’d got about as far as an estimate of 90K miles in my head as I was running and I checked it later. I couldn’t have gone much slower.

Caroline, if you ever get to read this, we’d both love to know who else is under your table – and please keep us updated with your news. Sorry we couldn’t manage a sail-past on the way out but conditions were deteriorating and we thought we’d better just go for the Narrows.

[Ed: article in the Sydney Morning Herald today here]

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 28, 2005 - 0500hrs UTC

0500hrs 28 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 130

Brittany, I will send you some predictions later today for tonight and tomorrow just in case Leroy still wants to play. Perhaps you could tell him that as long as there is no shipping around us, we could ignite a white flare during one of their passes as well as our spotlight. A white flare is not a distress signal and can be used at any time. I’m sure it would be visible. Please, if you have time, keep us informed about the EVA and their preparations for crew change – it has become kind of personal and important – family stuff in a way and an association that would never have flicked past even my rather busy imagination before this little journey.

From Brittany

Below is an article about the EVA that was performed by Leroy and Salizhan early this morning.  After forwarding your emails to Leroy he mentioned that he would not be able to conduct the lighting experiment until after the EVA. Since he will have to sleep shift again after the EVA I suggest that the best time to start the experiment would be Wednesday evening.  Of course this all depends on the visibility, weather, etc.  I’ll have more information once I hear back from Leroy.

Spacewalking Astronauts Outfit ISS For New Cargo Ship (www.space.com)

Malcolm, could you please keep the flypast times coming at least until we know there will be no more playing. Thanks – I know it’s a hassle.

Berrimilla is running along NNE behind the Wall, still in  the clank and dammies with everything dripping wet. We could easily get enough water to survive on here with a small bucket under the troughs we added to the old main before leavingSydney. The wind is taking us closer toArgentinathan planned but is set to free us again later today. We will run along the coast as far out as possible to avoid the coastal shipping until we get to the corner ofBrazil. Then we will take off towards the middle. Anyway, that’s the plan and it will last at least until the next wind change.

We still have some adverse current. There is an anti-clockwise circulation in theS. Atlantic, as our Times Atlas shows quite clearly. The traditional square riggers’ route to Europe from the Horn actually crossed the ocean to pick up the northerly Benguela current up the coast ofAfricabut we will just head north east along the western side and headbang it.

There’s a wonderful institution around the bottom ofS. Americaknown as the Patagonian Cruise Net. I think I mentioned it several times in PH (pre Horn) updates when we were trying to establish contact with The Other Side. It operates on 8164 khz at 1200UTC every day and it is run by – it seems – any one of several boats that may be more or less central and can talk to others way down south in Antarctica, out in the Pacific and theSouth Atlanticand in the Chilean Channels. Very friendly and helpful, very talkative, with lots of trivia so one needs a bit of patience, essentially a daily link between all the boats within range and there are lots of them, of many nationalities. Much of it is conducted in German or French with helpful translations when needed and often using other boats to relay messages to those out of range. A lot of effort goes into ensuring that everyone is contacted and their position recorded, and everyone is given an opportunity to ask questions and contact other boats. It’s a bit like neighbours talking across several back fences. There are a lot of boats listening in, including some very well known yachts. We clock in every day, but I would go bananas if I had to sit through the whole chat show to get a call in at the end, so we are only peripherally in their vision on this side of the wall and we can drop out at any time without causing concern.

 

[ed: Times of Malta article here – thanks Natalino Fenech]

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 28, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC

2000hrs 28 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 131

After a traditional Berri breakfast of a bacon sando, tabasco and a talk with the Doctor,(yeah, I know I’m absteeming but nothing brown can possibly be alcoholic or fattening so the Doctor and chocolate are ok. I read it in New Scientist..), I have just felt a gentle brush of warm air down through a hatch. Can this be happening – for the first time since leaving Hobart on Jan 10? The sun is out, we’re doing 7 knots, VMG 7. Pete is in shorts – silly old poot has just spent half an hour looking for his glasses and you know the rest. And just about level with Dunedin again – it’s all ticking along. Hobart, then 40S…

We are surrounded by birds – I’ll have a go at three of the more distinctive ones.

First, a very small black and white version of the little flappy bird from the south pacific. Wingspan about 25cm, fast, irregular flapping with darting flight amongst the waves and troughs – occasionally has to do a massive evade as a breaking crest threatens to smother it. A foil to the Albatrosses which are still around – wingspan about the same as Berri’s beam.

Second, an albatross shaped bird but all very dark grey/brown/black – not an easy colour to describe – including beak and feet. Perhaps 2 metre span.

Third – my favourite amongst the small birds, a lovely graceful bird with lustrous grey tops to its wings, each wing having a diagonal dark grey stripe from the trailing edge at the join with the body out and forward to the elbow bend. The overall effect is a gleaming grey chevron across about half the span. It flaps, rather than glides. White underside, other detail too hard to see.

The albatrosses are coming so close the individual feathers are visible in the black wingtips.

A why is it so? question The Atlantic is definitely greenish grey. The Pacific was deep almost indigo blue. The water here seems to be as clear and free of sediment as across the wall – but perhaps it isn’t. Why the difference?

From Malcom

Hi matelots,

A French woman arrived at Noumea today having westwards rowed across the South Pacific in 70 days.

I don’t think anyone has rowed the Atlantic from South to North.  A new record to be created.  Not too late to start, take down those sails and paddle or scull

Malcom, we heard the french rower on the cruise net on the other side and nearly had to relay for her – she had only a few miles to go at the time. There may be another one out there too – my french is too rusty. And I think it’s just eyeballs for the ISS although I’m sure there are all sorts of goodies for precise imaging.

[ed: link to full marathon article – thanks Penguin News – it is a PDF so it is a little big]

1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 29, 2005 - 1115hrs UTC

1115hrs 29 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 132

I’m having an idle speculation day. It seems to me that Berrimilla and her scruffy crew are a bit like an ant being given a ride in the sunlight on the back of an elephant called NASA. There may be mutual benefit but the elephant, in evolutionary terms, is hardly likely to gain much from the presence of a little blob of subint