Logs ( 20 )

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 03, 2006 - 1427hrs EDT │Hobart Departure

1427hrs 03 Jan 2006 EDT Hobart Departure

[ed: report from Malcolm in Hobart:

They got away from the RYCT at 14:27 into a southwesterly of 50kts gusting to 70. All racing on the river was cancelled today but Alex’s comment was “we’ve got to make the most of this while it lasts”!]

[ed: some good pictures here…]

Arriving in Sydney:

Arrival of Rolex Sydney Hobart entrant Berrimilla in Sydney, returning from round-world sailing adventure before competing in race again. Berrimilla skippers, Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier – Photo from regattanews.com

Battle Flags:

Arrival of Rolex Sydney Hobart entrant Berrimilla in Sydney, returning from round-world sailing adventure before competing in race again. – Photo from regattanews.com

The RORC Seamanship Award

Janet Grosvenor, RORC Racing Manager, presenting the Coates Schofield Trophy to (from left) Peter Crozier and Alex Whitworth of Berrimilla Rolex Fastnet Race 2005 Daniel Forster/ROLEX – Photo from regattanews.com

The Polish Trophy

(L to R) Alex Whitworth, Berrimilla skipper & CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis

Hobart, 01/01/ 06 Rolex Sydney Hobart 2005 Official Prizegiving at Royal YC of Tasmania (L to R) Alex Whitworth, Berrimilla skipper & CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis. Berrimilla received the Polish Trophy – Photo from regattanews.com

[ed: later updated from alex:]

We left Constitution Dock at 1145, after sweaty 15 minutes keeping Berri circling in the middle while we waited for the bridge then down to RYCT to refuel – they had already called off today’s racing – and sad farewell to all our friends and away – after a rather unorthodox and unseamanlike departure – wasn’t intended to be as risky as it became but we got out without damaging anyone or ourselves. Arse, though, not class. I think we were the only boat moving except for a couple coming in – good feeling. Worth a bit of a headbang at the start to get the easy miles later. And we

forgot to put the mainsail in the track so we would have had a big scramble to get it in and run the reefing lines if we had needed it. Silly omission.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 03, 2006 - 2030hrs EDT

2030hrs 03 Jan 2006 EDT 43’20”S 148’00”E Ref 683

Abeam Cape Raoul 03/2030 and about 3 miles south heading out past Tasman Island which we will also leave well to the north. Steady 45 -55 knots down the Derwent and until half an hour – now down to 35 – 45, big southern ocean waves coming in – looking upwind to the SW and into the sun in Storm Bay, the sea appeared to be a deep bilious frothy green – the ferals would have loved it – and slate grey down sun. Motion now reasonable easy – long rolling slide forward with the seas on the stbd quarter.

Has the makings of being a lovely sunset, reflecting off Tasman Island and the cliffs around the entrance to Port Arthur – one of my favourite bits of scenery. Don’t often see it in such wild conditions but it adds a smoky storm haze to the atmosphere that softens the detail but seems to enhance the grandeur

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 04, 2006 - 0630hrs EDT

0630hrs 04 Jan 2006 EDT 42’26”S 148’00”E Ref 684

Now 4226 14825 04/0630 after a busy night and we’re just coming up to Cape Sonnerat at the south eastern end of Schouten Island and the Freycinet Peninsula. Ile des Phoques inshore in the bay. Good progress mostly just under the #5 but we have now set the cutdown. Wind has abated to a gentle 20 – 25 knots. Noice. Demolition in six days. Passed a brightly lit fishing boat quite close last night – so brightly lit that I could not distinguish navigation lights or signal lights. I think he was trawling and I should perhaps have given way.

Thanks to everyone who wrote while we were in Hobart – I don’t have copies of your notes on this computer so I wont even try to reply.

Hi L, J and H – hope I remembered correctly. Kevvo would have waved but now he’s in about 5 pieces outside my garage at home.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 04, 2006 - 1120hrs EDT

1120hrs 04 Jan 2006 EDT 41’59”S 148’36”E Ref 685

And now at 4159 14836, 04/1120 approaching Bicheno and I’ll try to send it again. No go – don’t know why. Paul – we’ve still got a couple of Dr Bodds and I have just opened one in your honour – to help the bacon sando down.

Duncan – since the tea update, we have acquired two one-pint plastic insulated mugs with broad bases and rubber non-skid pads and lids – brilliant and they also hold a full can of Guinness but they are impossible to stow and end up sculling around anywhere they can be stuffed into a space.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 04, 2006 - 2000hrs EDT

2000hrs 04 Jan 2006 EDT 41’16”S 148’40”E Ref 686

[ed: phone report from Alex]

Motor sailing along in a gentle NE off St Helens. About 2 days to Eden – and perhaps a 38’ yacht to salvage (Savcor, a Sydney 38 leased by Swedes for this years S2H was rolled in 6m seas off Eden yesterday as it returned to Sydney from Hobart.  The crew rescued by the Police launch and the boat was left adrift – Article Here).


[ed: a later email in from Alex:]

I haven’t been able to connect to Sailmail since we left Hobart and don’t know why so will continue to churn these out in case it is just a propagation glitch.

South east of St Helen’s. Motoring, light north easter, forecast to last all day tomorrow too – not good and we will try to get as far north as possible. We’ve heard that the Sydney 38 Savcor is abandoned and adrift somewhere SE of Eden – worth a look when we get up there although I would be very surprised if the Eden fishermen haven’t already salvaged it.

Sad story – there was a dead albatross in the water a few miles back with another – presumably its mate – circling around. Almost a personal bereavement.


[ed: request from Hilary and no doubt seconded by Alex]


Could you post a message for Australian readers [ed: International readers can listen online] of the log to tell them that The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy is being broadcast on ABC RADIO National at 5.30 on week nights.

 [ed: You can listen online  just remember, it is Sydney time which is GMT + 11 currently]

The first episode was broadcast today, in which Arthur Dent was saved by Ford Prefect when Earth was demolished, Arthur is introduced to the Hitch Hikers’ Guide, with it’s cover which says “Don’t Panic” (Arthur is a contributor to the guide), and Ford and Arthur, having hitched aboard a Vogon Constructor Fleet vessel, are discovered by the Vogon commander, who reads them Vogon poetry. For those Ozzies who want to know what Alex’s references to HHGTTG are all about, this is an opportunity to find out.

Thank you,


1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 05, 2006 - 0030hrs EDT

0030hrs 05 Jan 2006 EDT 40’53”S 148’55”E Ref 687

now 4053 14855 05/0030 abeam Eddystone Point – misty, starry night, no wind, oily calm, bright phosphorescent trail in the water. A bit of a contrast to yesterday.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 05, 2006 - 1000hrs EDT

1000hrs 05 Jan 2006 EDT 40’09”S 149’13”E Ref 688

Hot, cloudless, glassy calm with a long rolling swell from the south – must be something happening down there but it ain’t doing it here – and we’re motoring. 36 hours to Eden – minimum unless we get some helpful wind. Last night had the dolphin slash across the sky again – haven’t seen the Milky Way that bright for ages.

 From Neil C-A

HAPPY NEW YEAR and many CONGRATULATIONS on your spectacular achievment. Sorry I’m a bit late with the felicitations but my examiner had (what I hope is) one little task for me. 29th Dec had dreadful back ache – couldn’t stand or walk very frightening Drs diagnosed it as probable the stents in my common bile duct had settled somewhat. Originally suggested I went back into hospital for one or two days for intravenous pain killers but persuaded him I would try and stick it out. Didn’t want to miss new years eve with the family. Too cut it short I was given some pretty strong painkillers to take orally and it seems to have worked. Am now getting about again and feeling am on proper mend.

Sympathise with you re cutting the lines. It happened to us in Antigua after Antigua week 1991. Some blasted Frenchman decided to slip early and cut the lot of us loose. Fortunately most crews were sleeping on board but he got clean away before anyone was aware we were drifting in a convoy accross Nelson’s Dockyard. Some people are just inconsiderate or nutters we have yet to decide which one the Frenchman fell into. Thats all I know is that if he had been apprehended he would not be so cavalier in future.

Anywat prepare well for London and let me know how you are getting along once things have settled down. I also would if poss like to be advised how the book is doing and when it will be available.

See ya all in London with a little or large portion of medicine

Neil CA – your examiner seems to be as ornery as ours. Stick with the 4 P’s and we’ll see you at the next start line – for the London Marathon 2007. I actually met one of the runners in Hobart – onya Graham. Andy R – have you bought the shoes yet??

From Trudi, Barbados

A very Happy New Year, Alex and Peter,

I want to thank you for your very entertaining log, written during your incredible trip, and I think line honours for the Hobart to Hobart Race is a wonderful idea, as well as all the other awards! I am sorry we never made radio contact, however, maybe another time. It sounds like you have other adventures up your sleeve, putting off the ultimate anti-climax?

I would like you to put me down for a copy of the upcoming book, please. I know you promised one to Martin, but I want one of my own, please, and if you need an advance, please let me know the amount!

Hi Trudi – glad you enjoyed the gig – we’ll try and get the book written by mid year-ish so in time for christmas and we’ll put you on the list. The website will stay until at least April 2007 and the London Marathon.

 From Katherine I. and Stephen

 A Happy New Year to you both and your families.
 What vicarious sailing pleasure will I have now?
 Looking forward to London 2007!

Katherine I., thanks and we’ll be in touch – a bit harried right now – hope your knee is ok and the shoes are back on. Mine aren’t – feeling the need desperately but must wait till we get back to sydney in a week or so.

 From Paul R.

Dear Doctors of Sailing,

Just back today from my Christmas hols in Phuket.

Read the logs, saw the movie…awaiting the book!

 Congratulations on the successful completion of your sailing marathon, the personal goals achieved, the capturing of keyboard sailors imaginations and an inspiration to us all. You two have proved that providing you have an adequate supply in the medicine chest there are still adventures out there to be had. No high tech rocket ships are needed just proper prior planning, wisdom, a sense of humour, and the imagination to do it. I wish I were more eloquent but……wooohooo. Well done!

 I’ll keep watching this space until you pull the plug….. and I’ll look out for an adventure of my own.

Thanks for all the fish etc,

Paul – thanks – that sort of feedback was what kept us going – don’t stop! Visited any nice mud holes recently? With or without Dr Bod and and the relevant small writing and photocopy? Long live the Vogon poets – noice baseline for awful comparisons.

Caro – how was the frigid dog? And frozen chocolate? I expect to be in London end Feb-ish and may do a talk at RORC.

Amanda – if you are still on the air – please give me some dates end feb early march and I’ll be in touch. Ta. HNY to all y’all at RORC.

CG – have run the idea past the sailing club and they like it – will think it through some more and write to you. Happy New Year. I have the cup still beside me – will mount it later.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 05, 2006 - 1400hrs EDT

1400hrs 05 Jan 2006 EDT 39’49”S 149’17”E Ref 689

Just north of Flinders Island. Tiny NE breeze, still motoring under flat blue sky, the sea deep iridescent blue and when you look down into it there are slivery spokes of light radiating from your shadow and tiny luminous wildlife reflecting the sunlight. All enhanced with a noice cold drop of Dr Boags.

So what’s next? We’ve had lots of requests to keep the website going and to keep people advised as to the progress of the book and we can certainly do that – and keep the Marathon runners newsletter going too- but is there anything anyone else out there would like us to include? There’s the new BOG – the Brolga Owners Group as well but that has limited appeal to most of you. Personally, I would love to follow up on the things that all y’all have said you are going to do, either as a result of reading the log or because you were going to do it anyway and we’ve added some information or encouragement or impetus, so please keep on reporting progress – we can post anything you may want us to or that would be useful for other people.

Or we can just accept the Council’s decision and go along with the eviction order from the bus shelter and watch the bulldozers sweep it away.

Any suggestions – in anonymous brown paper envelopes if you like – gratefully accepted.


And it isn’t over yet – the Examiner still stalks the boardwalk and it’s a long way to South Head, however much experience we may think we have. We should reach Eden around 1800 tomoz. Will report as we go.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 06, 2006 - 0230hrs EDT

0230hrs 06 Jan 2006 EDT 38’30”S 149’35”E Ref 690

Another woolly black night but this time it isn’t raining. The darkness is soft and tactile and we’re undulating into a short sea with 2 reefs and the 4 which Pete and I set an hour or so ago. Berri perfectly balanced – on the step, for the aviators – at 7 and a half knots with the occasional wave thumping into the weather bow and throwing a couple of bathfuls of water over the cockpit. Nice sailing, as long as you get the timing right and duck at the exact moments. The woolly black is touched by the loom of the Bass Strait oil rigs just hardening the horizon to the west – there are at least 16 of them about 50 miles away. And we’re approaching the bottom right hand corner of [the]  Oz [mainland, leaving god’s own south eastern Australia, a.k.a. Tasmania, behind ;-0(with apologies to all Taswegians. Especially Colin) ]  – for my 26th time, 13 each way – and there will be ships in the offing so we have to part the wool and peer through it. We are 86 miles south of Eden and should get in this evening for a quick stop and refuel – and Fenwick needs a shower. I think I can see Wollongong just beyond Eden. Can’t get much further south than that without falling into the og.

From Tony J.

hi alex and peter–this is from a friend of fenwick–alex we last met at his birthday party a little over a year ago–i am an old chap that has been racing a pawtucket at RPAYC for some years–we had a lovely chat about your proposed trip and now of course you have successfully completed it.

alan gave me your web address and i have read lots of your log but not all of it–i remember the western pacific,cape horn,the falklands and the blow to the north and most of the indian ocean.

i write to congratulate you both on the sensational achievement of sailing the small brolga around the planet and coping with the extreme conditions the oceans of the world have thrown at you.i have great respect for the courage and seamanship of you both.you have had to cope with the navigating,weather planning,electronics,food,diesel and the myriad detail of making it all work and at the same time nurse your boat so she made it in one piece.

i have done lots of ocean miles and loved your log describingthe ocean and wave conditions,the shreiking winds and the wildlife particularly the birdlife(not to mention the ferals)–very entertaining except the bits that had you both on the foredeck doing sail changes,reefing or dropping poles in the latest gale……..also loved your sense of humour.

alan tells me you got a great result in the fastnet,so congratulations on the great voyage,the fastnet and of course the seamanship award fromRORC which really sums it all up……………best wishes for a good trip home from hobart.

Tony J – I remember our conversation – thanks for your note and we’ll have a beer again soon if Fenwick ever invites me up there again after all the awful things I’ve said about him. He’s not a bad sailor – will have to ask him out to play again.

From Bill H.

Well done Alex – been quietly following progress of late – missed you in Malta due to lack of data!! Fair bit of time and saltwater between Fastnets – I was in Martlet but can’t recall which one you were in – was it the Grenville “”boat””  –  must catch up when next I get to Sydney – PS Love the logs and the consults.

Bill H – I was in Leopard – cant remember the Division. Jerry H is out there too – Jerry – I’ve tried to email you direct but it keeps bouncing.

From Duncan Wells

 I know you guys are amazing but you are even amazinger than I thought.  How do you get time to race, celebrate and read all the stuff that comes in and comment on it.  I thought you would be far too busy.  Never mind burning at both ends, this candle is alight along its length !

 I assumed that the Highwayman’s Hitch would be in your repertoire and I am honoured to think that I may have added to it.  And how typical of you to nobble it within seconds by googling it.  I had a look too and the explanations were not bad but it is easier than they make out, there are only three parts to it.

1.  Make a bight out of a length of rope and pass this under that to which you wish to attach the rope.  With any bight you will have a standing end (going to that which you wish to attach) and a running end (the loose end of the rope).  I’ve made this sound much too complicated for the sake of clarity if you get my drift.

2.  Take a loop of the standing end and pass it through the bight.  Tighten by pulling on the running end.

3.  Take a loop of the running end and pass it through the loop made by the standing end and tighten by pulling the standing end.

 Bish bosh job’s a good’un.  Horse not going anywhere and running end free to whip off as soon as you have robbed the bank or stage coach, or if it was a rustler’s hitch (same thing) nicked a few more ponies.

 Better still just pop over and I’ll show you.

BTW I know you asked if people would let you know if their stuff was free to publish/refer to and of course anything that I have said is, although I don’t imagine it contributes to what you are about to produce – book wise that is.

From Don P.

Dear Professor Sir Alex (well, the Pommie cricketers all got MBEs, so why not … ),

 Sorry we missed you in Hobart. We spent a bit of time on Saturday arvo watching out for you at the stinkhouse (aka Blinking Billy Point), but you must have sneaked in while we weren’t watching. We were there until about 3 pm (and saw a boat get to the finish at about that time) then went inside and looked on the yacht tracker which said you were ~4 nm out and expected at ~ 4:48 pm. So we went out again at around 4 pm and you had apparently already arrived. Buggered if I know how you did it. We went to the docks that evening, but (sensibly) there was no-one from Berri around – it was a pretty miserable scene.

Anyway, well done to all of you, and best wishes for the New Year. I hope all goes well for the trip back, and we’ll catch up for a (slow) run/stagger in due course.

Duncan – thanks again. Don, sorry we missed you – will chase you for a run soon.

And a big G’day to all the new Gusts – thanks for signing on and for your kind words -I’ll try to reply when we get home.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 07, 2006 - 0400hrs EDT

0400hrs 07 Jan 2006 EDT 36’44”S 150’02”E Ref 691

Then it was a black woolly night with bonus added rain – slow, persistent drizzle that runs down the sails, trickles along the boom and finds every tiny opening around the neck of the party jacket. Windless, motoring, visibility about half a mile, occasional glimpses of the lights of Eden through the murk. Bleah!

And a short sleep later, the rain has cleared, there’s a hazy curtain across the stars, Venus is pushing through and just trailing a sliver of light across the water and the coastal lights strung along the port side from Goalen Head to the north to Eden way behind us – still visible because of the bright lights of the woodchip mill.

Every time we come here, I’m amazed by the jellyfish – huge pink and brown and cream blobs of jelly with slimy almost fibrous cores and ectoplasm-ish sometimes almost invisible filmy ‘jelly’ around the outside. And huge – some nearly a metre across and by the million, just like currants in a fruit cake wherever you look. Occasionally the propeller chops one up with a great clatter but mostly they glide by in their massed anarchic disorder – all colours and sizes. One year we anchored in Twofold Bay and there were so many of them clogging the water it was almost possible to walk over them to the fishermans’ wharf across the bay.

We were surrounded by other yachts approaching Eden, but most of them peeled off into the harbour and we have one solitary cvompanion way out to sea – we can just see his port nav light on the horizon. For the first time ever, we have not stopped in Eden – it’s an odd feeling – but it seemed more sensible to take advantage of a period of relatively neutral conditions – no wind – and get as far north as possible before the forecast north easter sets in and bashes us. We are now 18 miles south of Bermagui – a possible stop, but I think we will keep going at least to Ulladulla 80 miles north or even all the way to Sydney. Sydney is just under two days away at our present tortoise like progress at 4 knots against a knot or so of East Australian Current. I think we have just enough diesel to get there if we get a little help from the wind somewhere along the way – but more likely that we will stop somewhere to refuel.

From John S.

What size storm jib and trysail do you use and what are your thoughts on the matter.
I have a Cavalier 32.

John S – we use a very small storm jib and trisail – I think they are cut as the designer intended from the sail plan. There is almost certainly a sail plan for the Cav 32 and it will have storm gear in it – go with that or talk to your sailmaker who should know where to find the sail plan. It’s important to remember that storm gear is emergency equipment rather than an extension of your racing sail plan and the trisail is not a fourth reef. I think there is a formula for the recommended sizes for both sails in the Yachting Australia Blue book – but I don’t know where you live and that may not be available. I’m sure there’s something in the RYA literature as well. Write to me again if you cant’t find the information.

From Mark L.

Re the ongoing website.

I’d hate to see it disappear. It’s been great to be part of this experience (albeit at very much arm’s length) that I’m experiencing a feeling of let down already. I wonder how you feel?

The adventures of Berrimilla will continue to interest me and the website could be expanded to provide tips for the novice yachtsman (given the advice already contributed). But with you and Pete as the trailblazers, has  anyone thought of retracing your steps – two man crews but a race this time – a dozen or so 60 footers – so every year, the Sydney to Hobart, the race to England, the Fastnet and then  race back to Hobart. Now that would be exciting!

When you’re back in Sydney and have time to settle down, it would be good if you could find some time to discuss my sailing aspirations. Potter and I have discussed some potential cruises (Lord Howe for example), but given my lack of experience, I’m reluctant to go offshore unless I’m confident that we can get back  – or at least survive any potential disasters.

Thanks for the last 12 months.

Mark L – interesting Idea re the website (or, at least, for your future entertainment!) and I’ve passed it on to the Petit Bateau mob -

From Nick C.

 Signed your guest book a while back and gather you got your Merlin reprogrammed…

 Here’s a thought you may find appealing:

 The pleasure of your website for me and so many others was being able to follow your voyages more or or less in real time, to live them by proxy as it were. So for more pleasure, more voyages… Open the site up to blogs from others on major passages, the more difficult the better. They email their stuff to you, you post it, we read it… I’m aware there are many sailing forums but I don’t think there’s anything like this. For what the idea is worth…

  As it happens I’m a Pittwater man (Lovett Bay) and I’m setting up my own boat for a solo circum-navigation which I aim to do in three years time, when I’m 60. John Witchard and Kevin Fleming put me on to your site and I must thank you for the invaluable information I’ve gleaned from your experiences. Also, may I congratulate you on a totally quixotic but totally excellent adventure. Wonderful.

Nick C too – thanks to you both and we’ll think about it.

G’day Dr Wendy – look forward to seeing you again.

From Malcom Robinson

Have spoken to Marcus (long skinny bloke on Wildfire) about the possibility of converting your video footage to DVD. He thinks that it wouldn’t be a big problem and, although he hasn’t got Video 8 gear himself, thinks he can get access to some if needs be. He suggested that it’s not a very difficult task and that you’re likely to find someone closer to home who can do it – but if not, contact him.

Malcolm – the video is already dvd – it’s a dvd handycam – but I don’t know how to put all the 8cm discs onto a big CD – I think the cam came with a package – will investigate.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 08, 2006 – 0045hrs EDT

0045hrs 08 Jan 2006 EDT 35’21”S 150’40”E Ref 692

It’s just two days short of a year since we left Hobart – I was tentative and unsure and certainly unaware of the size of what we were starting to do and now we’ve done it and I can’t really believe that – barring Jonah’s whale – it’s the last night at sea before we get back to Sydney. Act 6, scene 4 – the Epilogue. The demolition order on the old bus shelter is two days away, the Vogon poets are lined up to serenade its passing and I’m sad. It’s a lovely night – the big orange moon has just dipped behind Ulladulla to the west, the Milky Way is a huge Dolphin slash across the sky and the stars are brilliant. We’ve gone from the solitude and massive indifference of the oceans to this relatively crowded bit of sea just south of Point Perpendicular – there are two fishing boats just over the horizon to the east, a small ship heading south, another yacht out on the horizon, someone overtaking us far astern and car headlights along the coast about 10 miles away. Point Perpendicular light, with all the memories it evokes from all the years since 1977 when I first saw it under very difficult circumstances is just off the port bow with its big flash every ten seconds and the loom of Wollongong and Sydney beyond is silhouetting St George’s Head to the south and west of the light. And again, I’m sad. Sad that it’s almost over, yet full too of the achievement that I doubt that I will ever be able to put into perspective – it is as if it never happened, yet there’s a set of logs, a seamanship award, some pots and medals and a few more lines on Pete’s face and probably on mine to indicate that perhaps it did – maybe to someone else. I’m sad too that – for the time being – there will be no reason to write this stuff here at Berri’s cramped little nav table with my knees wedged under it and the LED’s winking at me. And sad that all y’all out there who have become real friends will probably go away with no more reason to check the website – but it’s been a huge experience and I love you all. Thanks for your interest, your support, encouragement, sometimes highly personal stories and just for being out there and giving us a reason to keep going, hour by hour, watch by watch, day by day until we finish the job.

But don’t go away just yet. It has been suggested that we should keep the website going and open it to other passsagemakers – the more difficult and exotic the better – they write, we post. you read – so that you – and we – still have real time stories to follow. I like the idea but it may take some organising – Brian and Jen, the Lazenbys, perhaps, Nick C (whose suggestion it was) and all y’all who told us about your plans and dreams, get in touch – please – if you are interested and we’ll see what we can do.

And we have a book or two to write. We will keep a progress check on that one on the website as well. Pete may write later as we get closer to Sydney and I’ll do a final installment too.

I don’t want to send this – it’s the beginning of the ending…the Vogons are rustling their crib sheets…

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 08, 2006 - 1600hrs EDT

1600hrs 08 Jan 2006 EDT 34’30”S 151’18”E Ref 693

A grab bag of final thoughts before demolition day – and a coming home party?

North of Wollongong, duly celebrated in accordance with custom. 08/1600

For the Lazenbys – lightning conductor – I’m not qualified to advise – read Ewen Thompson’s website www.marinelightning.com I think but there’s a link on the Berri site in the preparations document. The short answer is you don’t need one until you get struck but it’s a really good feeling to know it’s there when the lightning is zapping into the water all around you. Ewen also advised us that the safest place for satphones, handheld GPS, mobile etc is in the microwave if you have one, or in a metal box if you haven’t.

John S – I’ve looked at the formulae for storm sails in the Blue Book – I think Berrimilla’s are quite a bit smaller than the formula would allow. And they work very well indeed.

Sunrise at Point Perp – great slabs of grey brown rock tinged delicately pink – Kris, do you remember the pink line as the sunlight went down the cliff – you told me the technical term but I’ve forgotten? It has just happened.

And for Steve Jackson – thanks aren’t enough so you get to run a marathon – lucky lad – but thanks anyway. You took on what looked like a little job minding a family contact website and it turned into a full time operation, along with your other two full time jobs and you didn’t flinch or walk away and there are 105000 hits out there to testify to the amazing job you have done. Gratitude, appreciation, thanks in abundance from Pete and me and our families and I’m sure from the many people out there who have appreciated what you have done. And to Malcolm Robinson too, for minding the shop so well while Steve was away – you can run the marathon too if you want to. Ho Ho Ho! I think we have 5 marathon runners for London 2007 so far – any more out there?

Incidentally, Malcolm has just won his division in Hobart’s Sail South week in his new boat Wildfire – a very clever thing to do in distinguished company – we dips our lids to Mal and Dave and the crew – well done.

And thanks to Fenwick who is here with us on the final leg for huge effort with shirts and stuff, and especially to all y’all who have sent us donations to help with the communication costs – Thank you all.

And – once again – thanks for all your wonderful emails and Gust Book entries. I am going to print them all and read them whenever life gets difficult or lonely.

Then there’s Berrimilla – what a boat! Time for a bit of TLC – she’s looking very much as as you’d expect after being bashed by the world’s oceans but everything works and we didn’t break anything although a couple of swages in the rig were looking pearshaped by Falmouth. We didn’t lose a winch handle. Just the liferaft and some battens. Onya Berri. I hope Peter Joubert has noticed and approved. Thorry, I meant to ask you about that in Hobart…

For everyone within reach of Sydney, we will try to organise a DIY coming home party in the next few weeks – probably a picnic in a park somewhere not very far from Rushcutters Bay and we can put Berri in the pond at CYC to take part – BYO everything and clean up afterwards. We will put the details on the website as soon as we can so watch this space.

I’ll send this one now so that Steve can post it today and I’ll sign off the gig once we’re through the Heads. At this rate, that will be around midnight – so only one day short of the year and a day closer to the joys of Vogon poetry and homelessness for the two old farts. The old but shelter has been a fun home for the year and we’ve got a huge pile of cans for the demolisher.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 08, 2006 – 2045hrs EDT

2045hrs 08 Jan 2006 EDT 34’05”S 151’17”E Ref 694

We’ve been motoring most of the way from Eden and we’re still motoring – into a couple of knots of current and a gentle north easter. It just might allow us to complete the journey in style with the big purple and gold kite ghosting up the harbour asSydneysleeps it’s way into Monday and another day in the office. Hope so – would not be fitting to motor all the way.

Two seals basking together in a big clump of seaweed – flippers raised, lolling back until they heard us coming and rolled over and dived, coming back up behind us to have a squizz at these noisy humans disturbing their peace. And a couple of acres of dolphins leaping and splashing across our path. People abseiling on the cliffs of the National Park. Big haloed half moon behind some cirrus and aircraft taking off and landing over Botany Bay with their strobe lights playing amongst the stars. A brightly lit ship on the eastern horizon. We seem to be almost home. No feeling to it yet – somehow motoring just doesn’t grab the viscerals.

Caro – thanks for that very interesting bottle and glad the dog behaved. Yellow snow indeed. Next the Iditarod.

The rustling of Vogon crib sheets is deafening. 42184 metres down, one to go. Boxing Day, 2005 to January 9th 2006 – more than 30000 miles, 260 odd sailing days, three races, some silver thingies, one tiny one and very special, an amazing track on the website, a real spaceman, rolling warehouses in the southern ocean, all dreamed up in serious Consultation in the bus shelter in the studio. It never really happened at all, and the stack of cans just grew and grew. Where will the dogs go to pee next week? And the pigeons?

More in about three hours as we get to South Head. The Examiner has relented – the wind has backed a little and we’re sailing. Noice – just south of Bondi which is lit up like a cruise ship on steroids. About an hour to South Head

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 09, 2006 – 0040hrs EDT

0040hrs 09 Jan 2006 EDT 33’50”S 151’17”E Ref 695

[ed: rounding South Head]

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 09, 2006 – 0134hrs EDT

0134hrs 09 Jan 2006 EDT 33’52”S 151’14”E Ref 696

And, like all good things – it’s over. We rounded South Head at 09/0040 and ghosted up a flat calm, silent harbour to the pond at CYC at 0134, a year and two weeks after we left on Boxing day 2005. A final Consultation with the whole crew – Jeanne, Sarah, Fenwick, Pete and me in the cockpit and a few hours sleep and – lovely Sydney -it’s raining and here we are, gigless and gormless, bangless and without a whimper, with  the demolition bulldozers being unloaded, the Vogons clearing their throats and a coming home party to organise – watch this space – I will keep you posted. There’s a mangy dog sniffing around and the pigeons are having a last splat on the roof – not enough wind to blow the cans around the concrete floor…

A last listen to Derek’s dulcet gravel on his 0725 sked and a final sign off for Berrimilla before Derek retires at the end of the year. We’re going to miss him.

Thanks, everyone – it’s been a gas – and please don’t go away just yet.

With love and best wishes from



Pete is going to write the epitaph later. I think – he’s still asleep…

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 10, 2006 - 0730hrs EDT │ Sydney

0730hrs 10 Jan 2006 EDT Sydney

Demolition day and the coming home party.

I can hear the roar of the bulldozers starting up even over the dreadful drone of a phalanx of Vogons scratching and farting and interrupting each other as they read their poems.

We’ll have to find somewhere else to stack the empties.

Berrimilla is back on her mooring looking serenely scruffy – and just a bit smug. She knows she done good. Eerie feeling putting her there – I remember vividly moving her to CYC before the 2004 S2H (thanks for the correction  Ian and yes, you’re on the list of marathon runners – onya mate) and wondering – trepidating actually – about what the next year had in store. And now I know but I can only remember it in little snatches, mostly to do with looking out of one of Berri’s windows and watching the water going past. But there are the logs to read – I’ll have to start on them myself soon! Had a ‘well done’ phone call from theFalklandsin the middle of the night – noice – don’t mind being woken up for one of those!

I’ll take Berri up to RPA this week and roll on some antifoul and a bit of polish and then it’s into writing articles and the Book. Watch this space.

Dianne – sorry I didn’t answer, and yes, we were tethered to the boat – some of the time!

Looks as if we will have the coming home party under the trees near the seawall just to the south of CYC inRushcutterParkprobably the Sunday after next from about 1030 – I will confirm when I have checked with CYC and a few others. It will be entirely DIY – bring the kids and something to eat and drink and a garbage bag to take away the detritus and we’ll talk about shoes and ships and sealing wax – Berri will be in the pond at CYC for those who want to go and stroke her topsides

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 12, 2006 - 0654hrs EDT │Sydney - Picnic details

0654hrs 12 Jan 2006 EDT Sydney

Pete and I will be under the trees just to the south of the side gate to the CYC near the sea wall on Sunday January 22nd from 1030. For the locationally challenged, that means next to CYC on the New South Head Road side of the club house.  Look for the Rolex Fastnet flag. Ed: … or try this map]

We’ d love to Consult with anyone who can get there and we’ll stay till everyone leaves. This is very much a DIY Consultation – we will have a limited quantity of medicinal compound available but please bring something to eat and drink, the kids if they are interested and a garbage bag to take away your empties – there are no rubbish bins in Rushcutter Park and we should leave it as we find it. Non members can get coffee and ale at CYC if you sign in and you live far enough away.

If it is raining, check the website that morning.

Berrimilla will be 50 metres away in the pond at CYC in case anyone wants to inspect her. We will try to have some souvenirs available and we’ll bring the RORC trophy and the Fastnet medals.

1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 15, 2006 - 0730hrs EDT │Sydney

0730hrs 15 Jan 2006 EDT Sydney

Odds and Ends

If anyone passing through the Great Berrimilla Coming Home Consultation next Sunday has a Berri shirt or, indeed anything else that they would like signed, bring it along – we will have a couple of fabric pens handy. I have also started cutting up the old faithful No. 1 genoa that took us a lot of the way around and I should have some sticky labels to go with the pieces in case anyone would like a genuine souvenir with the salt of all the world’s oceans in it. Actually, Brian Shilland cut it up – he who made it in 1993 – only the artist is allowed to destroy his artwork! It has travelled a very long way since then and who knows where all the pieces will end up? There might be a story in that somewhere.

I have just read the draft of a book based on Berrimilla’s travels - purely fictional, but using the logs and an interesting take on the whole adventure – by a well known author in the UK. It has been fascinating talking to him and seeing how fiction is created around actual events. No title yet and probably won’t be launched in Oz for a year or so after the UK launch but I’ll keep you posted. If it sells, he will make a donation to CanTeen, so buy it when it comes out!

For the Marathon runners – I got out on the road during the week and again this morning. Not an inspiring performance – the legs don’t work like they used to and will need to be chivvied. I have now completed about 7 of the 3500 or so kilometres that will be necessary to get me past the Cutty Sark and down the Mall in reasonable time.  Dave, how did you go with the Poole mob? Happy to help with advice if needed. I expect to be in the UK for most of the three weeks from March 21 to April 10 so perhaps we could arrange a run somewhere, followed by a Consultation – Ian, Dave and Katherine, where are you all and I’ll see what we can do. I will send an email to all the runners with my email address so that we can stay in touch.

Neil CA – thanks for your kind offer and I’m glad you are back in training. Must be a really good feeling. I found a photo of you on the internet! I’ll be in touch before March 20 and perhaps we can meet in London.

[ed: Photo of Mal and Steve, Web Slaves – taken the night before Berri arrived in Hobart]


1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 15, 2006 - 0730hrs EDT │Sydney

0730hrs 15 Jan 2006 EDT Sydney

[ed: Well, what do you know.  Yet another award, this time the Award of Merit from the Ocean Cruising Club in the UK.  Honoured.

It reads:

 Dear Alex and Pete,

 re: OCC Award of Merit for 2005.

 I am very pleased to inform you that the Committee of The Ocean Cruising Club has decided to award you one of the two, 2005 OCC Awards of Merit which is for ‘performing some outstanding voyage or achievement’.  This is awarded to you for your wonderful achievement of completing your circumnavigation and including two, successive Sydney to Hobart’s and the Fastnet Race all in the space of one year (plus a few days!) in your, relatively, small boat: Berrimilla. You are two, huge people in the eyes of yachtsmen throughout the world and for “two old geezers in a battered old boat” you have shown the rest of us what sheer guts and determination can achieve and all done with a sense of humour and lots of time to respond to the thousands of email comments and queries.

 Well done and many congratulations on your achievements on behalf of the members of a worldwide club of long-distance sailors.

 The Club’s awards are, traditionally, presented at the AGM Dinner which, this year, will be held in The Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge, London SW1 on Friday evening the 7th April, 2006.  It would be most appropriate if you could both attend as dinner guests of the club, to receive the award yourselves in person.  However, if you are not able to get there, and it would be quite understandable considering the distance involved, you may want to elect someone to receive the award on your behalf.  Either way please let me know so that I can arrange for the accompanying medal to be given to you.  Incidentally, I am planning a trip to Australia at the end of April and there may be an opportunity to make a presentation then.

 The evening will include drinks, the Presentation of Awards followed by dinner and a short speech given by a guest speaker. Dress is reefer jackets.  For your information, our club was formed in 1954 by Humphrey Barton for long-distance sailors (you have to sail 1,000 miles across an ocean in order to qualify!) and now has 1,800 members worldwide.

 Once again, many congratulations.

 Yours in sailing,

 Erik Vischer

Chairman, Awards Sub-Committee.

…. And don’t forget, Sunday 22nd Jan at 10:30am, here


1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 31, 2006 - 0600hrs EDT

0600hrs 31 Jan 2006 EDT

It has been a hectic month and I’ve been neglecting the website – my apologies. It is very difficult to believe that any one would be interested in the humdrum but it seems there are some of you out there who want me to drone on so here goes.

The party was terrific (photos here) – thanks to everyone who came along. We got there at 1000 to get the table set up and some beer on ice and the first partygoers were already there waiting for us. Living in Sydney is thirsty work! As intended, it went all day and people arrived and left as they liked. We had a steady mass of about 40 people around the tree all day but if you were to have checked the faces every hour or so, about half of them would have changed. We had the trophies on the table plus lots of dried food packs and other bits and pieces – scrap books of press clippings, Pete’s photos, the Brolga Register – in which we now have details of 16 Brolgas and a Cape Barren Goose (and if you are its owner and reading this, you didn’t leave us any contact details – please rectify!). We know of 7 more Brolgas but have no owner’s name or any other details.

Robin brought us a lovely hanging mobile with messages for Berri from all the other RANSA boats and even some CYC ones. Thanks Robin.

And there were lots of people who are not sailors but were interested in the logs or the journey, plus some old friends with Adastra connections.

Doug brought us copies of Henry Knight’s diary of the voyage of the Java in 1853 – harrowing to read and we were really glad that we said Hi to young Henry on the way past.

We tidied up and left the park at about 1830 – tired and happy.

I now have to go and bring Berri into the pond to have her surveyed so that I can use her commercially under dispensation. I will write more this evening.

For the marathon runners- if I ever needed some incentive to get out there and bash the tarmac, look at this photo. My belly has almost the same girth as our circumnavigation – panic – I need my towel – there’s no instant transmogrifier in real life and that looks like at least 5000 k’s worth. Erk!