1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs


Logs ( 31 )

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

May 31, 2005 – 0615hrs UTC

0615hrs 31 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 264

whales.. at least three of them although i only saw one – the other two sounded from just below the surface and left two huge flat swirls on the surface so big that they flattened the waves. the one i saw breeched just ahead of the boat – perhaps a couple of boatlengths – going at right angles towards the nw. sort of olive grey, great long smooth back, with an incongruously small dorsal fin, definitely not a humpback like we see in oz, seemed to be flowing across our bows for ever, didn’t see its head or its tail and it seemed to be at least as long as the boat. beats muesli for breakfast. can anyone identify it? not much to go on.

we’ve slowed down a lot – rain, very low overcast, long rolling swell – vis about half a mile – 3rd still possible but need some more wind. wonder what the delightfull and inventive examiner still has in store for us – plenty of opportunity for her yet . i’ve been doing some rudimentary tidal vectors – something unfamiliar to many oz sailors but essential here, where the channel tides run at up to 4 kts in the middle and 7 around some of the headlands.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

31 May 31, 2005 – 1215hrs UTC

1215hrs 31 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 265

one of those special days – just been thro’ v. big pod/school of what looked like small humpbacks  – about 15 ft long, maybe more, dark olive brown, big triangular dorsal just ahead of hmp , horiz. tails, curved like whales’  and round heads – travelling mostly in pairs. porpoises? big dolphins? small whales?

looking like late thurs gmt or early fri – probably in the dark – don’t want to hang around outside for daylight – so may miss webcam but will phone mal when have better estimate + he can alert all y’a.

[ed: If you want to be alerted as soon as I hear anything (and you’re not already registered), put yourself on the Berri Update list by sending an email to alert@berrimilla.com].

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

May 31, 2005 - 2215hrs UTC

2215hrs 31 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 266

it’s all gone very soft indeed. about 5 kts from the sw and we’re burning a bit of diesel just to keep moving. eta now friday – may make webcam yet. the usual n atlantic mist – no real horizon and long swell, surprisingly few ships so far – we’re just between the main routes. will be a very long couple of days

From Jeremy B., Falmouth

There are few hazards in the entrance. You should see the Lizard light from a long way off,then the Manacles buoy,then some way off to the north you will probably see a red light fairly low down,this is the red sector of St Anthonys light which is on the east side of the entrance.The only hazard is the Black rock in the middle of the entrance,this has a beacon on it but is unlit.However there is a cardinal buoy to the east of it that marks the west of the big ship channel.From there in a yacht one can head NW to the docks eastern and northern arms keeping an eye out for the Governor buoy on the way, and head into the Penryn River.Alternatively by day,one can leave the Black rock to Stbd and head up the western shore.Once past the docks turn to port for the pontoons against the town to the right of Customs House quay.At night this may take a little finding because of all the town lights!!

jeremy, tks for details – no probs and will go to harbourmasters pontoons

From Salvatore R.

Hi Alex good to see you are progressing in the journey, knowing you out there makes us all envious and wish to be there with to share some of the magic pink mornings moments.  Anyway enough of these niceties and down to business – have consulted with Emma and come up with an idea to show you that we mean support to the business end not just words..
How would you feel if we get one of your pictures i thought the one on the web site whereyou are in front of the horn, have it nicely framed and run a raffle at keycorp to raise some  funds ? If you are happy that we do this how do we get a copy of the picture ? may be from th ewebmaster ? Please let me know if you are ok with this initiative and wish you all the best and fair winds.

sal – thanks – have suggested to al perhaps a friday with everyone turning up in berri gear?  may be able to get you a signed shirt to raffle? will be a week or so before fenwick can get stocks up.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 0445hrs UTC

0445hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 267

back up to speed again for the mo. late tomorrow afternoon would be possible if this hangs in – which would be truly amazingly cool and froody because we have one g + t left and half a can of the dr. each plus a couple for the lizard and the manacles. cutting things a bit fine, i think. tomorrow would be  132 sailing days  fromsydney, 126 fromhobart, 115 fromdunedinand 69 fromstanley. high water fmth is at 1421 so we’ll be pushing the ebb if it happens. i think though, that friday morning is  more likely.

hard to believe it could be tomorrow – but must not lose sight of the main purpose – we are only half way round, with the first 3 legs completed and three to go. we have still to fumble our way around the fastnet course, get back tosydney, get some dr coopers into us and race tohobart. then it’s beer and skitles and a pan galactic gargle blaster or two. and back to work.

malcom i think today’s definition of a record would be something like data stored in retrievable form – so who’s out of date? it’s actually on a cd, but you might have felt less pedantically challenged if i’d said ‘recording’ perhaps? must have been made in the early 1940’s. and we owned it originally as a 45 vinyl played on a mono box.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 1015hrs UTC

1015hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 268

wooohooo. we’re past the continental shelf – crossed the 200m contour 3 hrs ago and we’ve got a depth reading again  -564 ft – the wonders etc. have received one bribe re arrival time so far – any advances? the water now grey, cloudy green – just like old times. more on the whales – the big one’s dorsal was curved back slightly and rounded – otherwise, no other distinguishers except that it was big. the pod of smaller ones looked like humpbacked torpedoes – that sort of head, and big triangular dorsals and very whale-like tails. mostly not breeching high enough to see their heads, unlike the bottlenose dolphins that almost leave the water sometimes.

we have just consulted on the auspiciousness of crossing 200 to go and found it rating very high – ar9.99 – and we have a small consultative draft left to check the ar for 100 tonight, i hope.

thanks to everyone who is ordering shirts and doing other fundraising – really appreciated. i will keep the updates going after we arrive and i can get a local  isp – hope to use rya.org.uk but will advise in a day or two. i suspect we have a bit of reading to do – all we’ve had since the hf died has been malcolm’s laconic 800kb summaries twice a day. looking forward to it.

thanks all y’all. from alexl’s description, we will cross the webcam from left to right in the foreground and park in the right hand corner somewhere. if it looks beyond the big jetty as well, you might just see us coming into the harbour from right to left and turning towards at the end of the jetty.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 1300hrs UTC

1300hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 269

late tomoz or early friday is the go. we’re on time for tomoz at the mo, but seems to be softening again. we will set the dayglo orange storm jib on the inner forestay for our entry, so all y’all on the webcam can see us amid all the others. if it’s dark, we’ll turn on the spreader lights as soon as we are out of the shipping areas and the storm jib will do the proverbial. either way, you shoild certainly be able to see us. who’s in line for the eta prizes? we don’t know nuffin  out here. my oz mobile should be operational from around midday tomoz – not sure how good the service would be at lands end.

if we get in at night, we may be confined on board until customs open in the morning – i don’t know whether they have a 24 hour service. thirstmaking – perhaps they would allow a small delivery to be dropped on the pontoon next to us.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 1815hrs UTC

1815hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 270

148 to go and it’s a lottery. the wind is softening and i don’t have a forecast. my feeling is that we’ll get in around midnight tomorrow but it ain’t necessarily so. we’ve finished the gin, so there’s some incentive to get there. only one ship so far. pristine ransa burgee flying – thanks ransa, and j m-b, your ensign too as the courtesy flag under the q. will get it back to you in due course, or a new one if you’d rather. to everyone at ransa, thanks for coming along for the ride – we sail virtual races with y’all every saturday – and if there’s anyone over here – dave – come and find us – my oz mobie will be switched to messagebank as soon as i get my local sim and i’ll collect oz messages from it a couple of times each day.

updates will be a bit more domestic for a few weeks but we will keep them coming. wait till you see the to-do list. chances are we will stay in fmth for all june then go to lymington.

peter bruce tells me that yesterday’s big whale was a finwhale, 2nd biggest in the world. coool. no attempts to identify the smaller ones yet.

hang in there with us – it’ll be a long 24 hours.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 2215hrs UTC

2215hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 271

there are 16 submarine cables on my chart radiating out from lands end heading nw-sw. just thought you’d like to know. we are going well – expect to stare into the lizard’s gullet around 1600 tomorrow and fmth from 1800. front due same time 25-35 sw so cd be busy. look for orange dayglo storm jib on webcam from 1800 but will update on the way in from lizrd, perhaps by mobile to malcolm or steve.

seem to be bisecting angle between main shipping lanes – noice, but still need extra vigilance. quite murky, tho vis good.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 01, 2005 – 2315hrs UTC

2315hrs 01 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 272

went back to cockpit after the last one and almost immediately, 3 ships in sight.  seems we’re getting closer to something or other. reaching for towel and hgttg.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 02, 2005 – 0345hrs UTC

0345hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 273

unless we break something, we will get in today. current eta around 2200z at the harbour entrance. will update as we go until in mobile range and will then call mal or steve from close in with a firm(ish.) estimate for the webcammers. will take the time as we pass the end of the commercial jetty for the arrival time prize. watch this space…

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 02, 2005 – 0630hrs UTC

0630hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 274

accolades:in case it gets too busy for a while:

malcolm robinson in hobart + stevejacksoninsydney: for giving us so much of their time and skill running the website and keeping us in touch – can’t wait to see the website – thanks heaps guys.

kevin fleming: info@flemingselfsteer.com for an elegant and wonderfully effecdtive self steering unit and for his personal interest and concern – the man actually sent us money to get the bearings reamed because he felt the bearings should have got us here – well they did, kevin, thanks.

john witchard: wmdiesel@tpg.com.au – we have had one of his 22hp kubota engines in berrimilla for about 5 years. it hasn’t missed a beat in the most trying circumstances – and all the spares come from the tractor shop, not a specialised marine engineering outfit. thanks john.

brian shilland: who has made all our sails since we bought the boat. he listens, makes great sails that work and they have lasted. the delivery sails we are using  are all over 10 years old – the main has done 8 hobarts including ’98, 5 lord howes and half way round the world through a couple of 80 kt blows and it will get us home. onya brian and thanks.

and especially all y’all for sticking with us, for your support and humour in times of joy and adversity and for giving us something to wrap this venture arouind and inject some purpose it may not have had without you.  we love youse all..

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 02, 2005 – 1145hrs UTC

1145hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 275

50 to go . i’ve run further than that. looking like about 1900z at the harbour entrance – perhaps earlier. 37 to the lizard. first consultation point.

past the scillies – very big traffic separation scheme just south of them – 5 lanes, but really two, one westbound, one eastbound, with very strict rules about entry and exit. we just skirted to the south. huge container ship – flush deck with  small tower stbd side like an aircraft carrier, containers stacked 10 high and about 20 rows of them. not nice on a dark night. surrounded by cormorants – grubby brown and white version with yellowish heads and a spectacular brilliant white bird with black wingtips.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 02, 2005 – 1550hrs UTC

1550hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 276

in mobile range + have spoken to isabella in fmth.. knew we were close when a pusser’s frigate appeared out of the gloom to the north, together with accompanying lynx. can see all of mounts bay except lizard point, which is in the mist. don’t have accurate tidal atlas so only rough estimate, but fmth eta 1945zish plus a bit for the tide perhaps. they seem to have done away with customs formalities and we will need to find a way to immigrate pete’s oz passport, but the pubs will still be open and is + g have a bottle of gin.

so it may just be party time. we will consult as soon as the lizard appears. or maybe before. watch for the storm jib – dont think we could be any more conspic. and we’ll be thiking of all y’all.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 02, 2005 – 1730hrs UTC

1730hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 277

this isengland- balmy sunny evening after the front this afternoon. we’re about to pass the lizard into a 1+  knot tide so eta fmth entrance 2015. then about 15 – 20 minutes to get in. will call mal about half an hour out so as not to wake him too early. ozmobile operational – +61418243600.


1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 02, 2005 - 1855 hrs UTC

02 Jun 2005

1855 hrs UTC: SMS From Alex (yes, it works overseas too – don’t tell teenagers!):

We’ll be late. Big tide. Praps 2200

That’s 6pm Falklands, 11pm Falmouth, midnight Malta, 8am Australian Eastern, 10am New Zealand

2000hrs UTC:Mobilephone call from Alex. Probably an hour away (that’s an hour earlier than above). Very tired but looking forward to a number of gins with Isabella.

I noticed the Falmouth webcam pause for a little while at its usual turn off time and then start again a bit later – thanks for sorting that out Keith! [Falmouth webcam can be seen here]

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 02, 2005 - 2100hrs UTC

2100hrs 02 Jun 2005 UTC Map Ref 278

Phone call from Alex: Just passed theFalmouthjetty! Hello to all and congratulations to the prize winners (Peter Doyle and John Hamilton)

2130UTC: Tied up alongside a very crowded jetty. About to have a g+t.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 04, 2005 - 1430hrs UTC │Falmouth

1430hrs 04 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

Berri now on mooring I-14 at R. Cornwall YC – great place – will be hard to leave!

Tks so much for emails – just printed a book of them at the caff, painfully slow…

Annie T – thanks for contacts – absolutely wonderful – long story, will fill in later – but have use of waterfront shed and workshop! Also got your message – gobsmacked – pse send to Hilary and huge thanks.

Bill K – thanks for offer – also gobsmacked – will be in touch in a few days.

Roger, thanks for big effort with RFD – will call you in a couple of days.

And thanks with attitude to all y’all for wonderful emails, support and general good humour – we will keep this going whle we’re here – will try to get better comms so can write longer updates.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 05, 2005 - 1830hrs UTC │Falmouth

1830hrs 05 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

 Seems ridiculous – pete and me sitting in an internet caff at 0900 on wet sunday morning in Fmth on our way down to Berri and we’re really much less in touch and flexible than we were in Berri when the HF was working. Sailmail is great! I now have the mighty laptop configured for a Virgin account but we cant get access to a phone line. Local calls are timed, the place we are staying at has a walk around phone which is permanently on so the laptop cant get a dial tone so don’t even know if the connection works. 

Frustrating but we’ll get it sorted. The best option seems to be to get the radio fixed…

Going to do a big sort out on the boat today – trying to get things in more or less conforming heaps so we can start unloading – wich we have to do using the RCYC launch  at high water over the seawall into Jeremy’s shed. Nothing’s as easy as in Oz.

Tomorrow we contact riggers and electronics persons and get started on the fixes. Have discovered that this caff can actually accept downloads from the gigastik so will try and send some photos and the to-do list perhaps tomorrow.

Simon – I will copy the whole SOB folder on to a cd and send it to you – also airmail and easymail for Mal in case we lose the record. SOB has been a bit quirky of late- you might like to have a look at the tracks and see if there’s anything obvious – it’s been working pretty hard!

BJM – the Chain Locker is, as you thought, full of pokies and jukeboxes but still has a bit of the old atmosphere.  Not somewhere really conducive to a quiet ale tho.

I have been slowly reading all the catch up emails and Gust book entries – feeling as if all y’all are writing about someone else – hardly seems real but thanks in spades – it’s been a humbling experience and hard to describe how I feel at the moment but there’s still a deal of the driven soul around here sweating out the details of the next few weeks to make sure the next two stages work as well as the last ones


And it’s been an amazing ride and I’m glad you all got a kick out of it too.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 06, 2005 – 1800hrs UTC │Falmouth

 1800hrs 06 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

Domestic updates for a couple of months from here. I have some more photos, some fromStanleyand theAtlanticand some historical which i will put on a cd for M &S. Here’s the To Do list for Fmth – just starting to get stuck into it – the rigger had a look this morning and things may not be too bad – but, as he said, there’s no guarantee with this stuff – it could go at any time and you are always taking a chance. Not good for the confidence levels – and we may change from swages to StaLok fittings for any other shrouds that we decide to renew.

We have organised the club launch to help us start unloading later today at high water and then we can start the massive cleanup. Yesterday was damp and dismold and we had a soggy time out on the water packing stuff into bags and sorting through six months of organic thingies in the corners of shelves and under bunkboards. Will try to photograph and video the barnacles and slime if the sun comes out today. Else we’ll do it as we slip the boat.

I’ve been organising 3rd partycar insurance for the old banger- nightmare – and having a slanging match with Telstra about collecting voicemail messages – still does’t always work – international roaming is now a complicated mish mash of local providers, undelivered SMS messages, funny charges and no-one knowing the full story. Another nightmare. I’m not good with bureaucracy and market speak from helpdesks – Hiii! – my name is tweetie! Now how can I help with your problem!! all said with rising inflection and often that note of boredom that must go with the job. But occasionally you get a real gem who makes up for all the others and I found one yesterday.

And the yard has just phoned to arrange to slip the boat so things are moving.

Went for a run in the rain yesterday and can hardly walk today. Serves me right.

You have asked about sleep patterns, when does the movement ground stop moving, how does the tummy cope with change of diet etc. My sleep pattern was geared around about two good 2-3 hour sleeps every 24 hours, usually during the night but sometimes just when I was knackered. Ashore, I usually get 4-5 broken hours at night and I’m back into that now. Moving ground didn’t really last more than the first few hours and my tummy likes fresh veggies and beer and other goodies. Haven’t been hallucinating as far as I know, unless it’s all hallucination anyway – sometimes feels as if it is..

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 07, 2005 – 1800hrs UTC │Devon

1800hrs 07 Jun 2005 UTC Devon

At my sister’s after 3 really intensive days emptying the boat – still hard to believe we got it all in – and today we started on the cleanup – all the interior black with mould and other ferals – bleach gets most of it off but it ain’t a pleasant job. Big achievement logged. Boots now in orange plastic bag – interesting to see how the ferals cope with that as a photosynthesis exercise. The silver lining though was the can of The Doctor we found under something slimy but still with sufficient structural integrity to preserve the compression – AND the plastic (sorry,AL- no choice really) bottle of Glenfiddich. Woohoo! The Doctor was consulted forthwith but sadly, the can of oysters that was with it had rather lost it’s desire to serve. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe cow would not approve.

We go back for the remaining cleanup tomorrow and then dinner with the other half of the Pippin mob fromHobart. Annie T, thanks for the contact – and your fundraising – can’t go beyond gobsmacking. Will pay for mooring fees for stay in Fmth. Huge.

For the first time since we got here, I think I can see beyond the immediate – things are fitting into a sort of plan and will get done – we have found an electronics person who we thinik knows what he’s talking about – didn’t go Huh? when we asked him about Sailmail and Pactor modems. He’s inSpaintill next week but I think worth waiting for.

The yard is ready for us and the sailmaker has collected our rather tatty offering and is ready to transform it.

And coming from Oz has its advantages. The local chandlery has lost the contact for the manufacturers of Lanokote – the heavy industrial version of cholesterol  – lanolene – made in Nowra – and I was able to ring Bob and Bear at Rushcutter and pass on the info – so we qualify for a discount..

And we will meet Leroy sometime soon – extraordinary rendezvous.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 09, 2005 - 1400hrs UTC │Falmouth

1400hrs 09 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

We’ve had another somewhat knackering morning degunking slime, mould and all the human detritus that accumulates in limber holes and other inaccessible places as well as the slime off the gelcoat which has cooked on and bored into the surface – what’s in this stuff? – and about a square metre of barnacles from under the counter. Berri now sparkling inside and reasonably clean outside – looks like her old self again – very high in the bows cos no sails and other stuff up front and a bit low at the back cos Kevvo’s still attached with nothing to counterbalance.Falklandsdamage to starboard side superficial but obvious – needs TLC.

We hope to slip her next week so now we are shedbound doing a massive sort to decide what goes racing, what gets stored, sent home or just chucked.

Will probably go to London Monday/Tuesday to visit RORC and get the paperwork done for Fastnet entry and just talk to them about requirements – much better than just doing it over the phone – one can do it over a beer.

From Rowley B.

Package delivered to my front-door yesterday.
Am delighted with my “”Berrimilla Around”” jumper.

As an aside, I note a reference is dispatches to a product “”Lanokote””. Does Berri use this on its prop & shaft?
Antifoul treatment is a perenial problem and I’m looking for a better alternative.
Maybe one of the Berri support crew already has the answer?

Rowley – Lanokote works as an antifoul but you do have to keep checking – havent tried to apply it under water but might go on. We use on earthplates as well. Great on your hands too. You can get spray cans of the stuff.

From Malcom C.

A thought from the southern ocean.  To provide a smoother ride for your towed turbine you may wish to put a springer in place so that the cable to the turbine doesn’t transmit all the motion of the boat to the towed body.  A strong band of rubber (bike tire’s inner tube) from the boat to the cable, creating a slack loop in the cable, will enable the rubber to smooth out the shocks a bit, and smooth out the movement of the turbine.  If the turbine does less porpoising it may experience less cavitation.

Malcom – thanks – good idea. Will have a new turbine with two blades soon!

Rigger confident there is a relatively cheap fix – we’re still working o it but I will let you know when we do it- not yet in touch with electronics bod – next week.

Mark B – thanks – we’ll wait till we get back and contact you then.

Just heard from Leroy – we’ll see him and Karen next weekend (17th). WOOHOO!

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

June 13, 2005 - 1800hrs UTC │London

1800hrs 13 Jun 2005 UTC London

I went to London today to collect the paperwork for Fastnet entry from the RORC (which has one of the best positioned clubhouses right in the centre of London, just around the corner from St James’ Palace). I’m going back tomorrow and may need to get into deep and serious discussions – it seems we don’t comply in at least two rather critical areas and perhaps more.  There is a formula for maximum cockpit volume that we may exceed (but that is fixable by including polystyrene or an empty fuel tank) and a requirement for a crash bulkhead forward that we certainly don’t have, plus two watertight bulkheads in the hull, also somewhat lacking in Berri. I’ve only seen one other boat with these – a single handed round the world boat – and I may have misread the requirement. There are several other requirements that differ from the S2H list but not showstoppers. And I have not yet seen a copy of the special appendix covering two handed entries.

Could be an interesting day.

For the romantics (and the classicists, I think) I also went to visit Harrison‘s clocks at the Royal Observatory in Greenwick. H4 was there – one of the 2 or 3 most important technological inventions of the last 500 years for the British because it gave them the capacity to find their way around the oceans. Cook had an exact copy on his second voyage. K2 was there too – it went with Bligh in the Bounty and then to Pitcairn with the mutineers and then to Japan with a Nantucket whaler. Just being close to them is goosepimpling.

And Nelson’s Trafalgar uniform, complete with musket ball hole and bloody socks – though not Nelson’s but his secretary’s blood.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 20, 2005 - 0800hrs UTC │Falmouth, Meeting Leroy and Karen Chiao

My apologies – it’s been a very long time. We have been very busy with the smaller Berri fixes while we await the arrival of the electronics whizz tomorrow, We are also expecting a journalist from Yachting Monthly and another from Yachting World – both seem very interested and the ISS contact is just as fascinating over here as it has been in Australia – and, of course, for us.

On which subject, we collected Leroy and Karen Chiao from Newquay airport early on Saturday – I was trepidating a bit because – well, because.

Turns out they both drink Guinness with connoisseurial gusto, were prepared to carry out a number of Consultations on a gentle tour of the Falmouth waterfront, including the Chain Locker, Brian, which isn’t as badly done by as I first thought. We introduced them to the idea of a proper breakfast, being a Consultation with a bacon sandwich and Tabasco to follow and we think the idea may have caught on. And Karen has all five books in the HGTTG trilogy and understands the jokes. Need I say more. Coool and froody people.

And on Sunday, the four of us were invited to lunch with some other friends who had been in contact with Leroy in space. You would all instantly recognise the name but I must respect their privacy. One of the most interesting weekends of my life – magic understates it by a few of Leroy’s orbits.

Berri is still out of the water – the rudder shudder was indeed a loose lower bearing but as this is more of a locator than weight bearing, we think it is easily fixed. Pete has been dismantling Kevvo up the road with a local enthusiast of 78 who has a splendid workshop that has accumulated all sorts of interesting machinery over the years and who likes the challenge – a real perfectionist of the old school – should be finished today. I have been plumbing in the desalinator through a new inlet up forward of the main bulkhead and that will be finished today too. I am also working on realigning the forward cockpit drains so that they work better and we must put on some coats of antifoul before thursday which – if the tide is right – should be the day. Shroud workaround is, we think, just around the corner – we intend to use StaLocks instead of swages and just replace the two lowers. The rigger will do a proper check of all the upper swages when he goes up the mast.

Sails are being repaired and will be ready on the 29th when we get back from Malta and I will be getting out the racing sails from the shed later today if there is time.

And the bills are starting to roll in. Very many thanks to everyone who has contributed with the shirts and straight donations – we are really grateful and will keep you posted on the distribution.

Must go and soil my hands else Pete will think I’m bludging again. Will try to be more chatty from here on. We will be in Malta from 24 – 28 so may be a gap there but will do my best.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 20, 2005 – 1800hrs UTC │Falmouth

1800hrs 20 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

Seems my update about our fastnet entry has been lost in the void somewhere. I sent it from here – the caff – so anything’s possible. We are officially entered in the 2 handed division – I had misread all the things I thought might be showstoppers and I was able to complete all the paperwork and pay the money and, subject to an actual safety inspection, we are on the way to the start line. WOOH!OO! 44 years later…

I went to a presentation at the RORC afterwards and they very kindly asked me to present the prizes – being the wimp I am in public, I found it all a bit difficult but lots of interested people there including some of The Enemy in the 2 handed div. All very helpful and we may go to a small regatta on theBeaulieuRiverwhere I grew up early in July. Really looking forward to that if we can get there.

Reasonably successful day – kevvo finished except for a bit of welding, desalinator done and cockpit drains half done. A bit frustrating because the chandlers all seem to have some of the stuff but not all so there’s a lot of to-in and fro-ing.

YM journo arrives Thursday.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 22, 2005 – 1015hrs UTC │Falmouth

1015hrs 22 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

[ed: I have included an observer update from Alex’s sister, Isabella, who has been a huge help in the UK – don’t know how she puts up with him!]

Isabella writes: They are due inMalta Friday / Saturday. Mum is worrying what to give the lads for breakfast. I didn’t mention a consultation with aTabasco bacon roll, or she’d have tried to organise it.

Just spoke to Alex who is going ape over internet comms being so bad inFalmouth. Internet caff connection has gone down, there’s a queue at the library and the yacht Club turfed him off after 10 minutes.

He can’t wait for the boat to be back in the water so he can use the radio – he says they think they found the prob today with a waterlogged circuit breaker but have to wait until Berri’s afloat again to test it properly.

[ed: now, back to Alex]

Launch day is now crack of dawn on Friday, before we set off for Heathrow [ed: going toMaltato visit Alex’s mum]. The to-do list is looking much more friendly – sails done, liferaft ordered, rudder fixed – Pete did a great job there – had to lift the main suspension plate in the cockpit by a few mm so that it takes the weight off the bottom pin. New cockpit drain seacocks and tubes, desalinator plumbed in properly, tiller being fixed, kevvo due back from the welder today.

Bill, I’ll try to ring you about the liferaft in the next few days.

And the radio is working again WOOOHOOO! The problem was a faulty circuit breaker – we had tried to isolate it at sea but didn’t really know how it was all set up. The acid test will be when it goes back in the water and I connect the laptop and try to contact sailmail. And get some fastnet grib files…

But the usual problems that you will all recognise – as soon as we start on one fix we find another just underneath it so it’s slow going.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 24, 2005 – 0900hrs UTC │Falmouth

0900hrs 24 Jun 2005 UTC Falmouth

Berri is back in the water looking much more like her old self. HF radio works – I think – will have to do some serious testing later – but the laptop is not firing up the USB to serial port box – and the laptop seems to have lost all knowledge of its 20-odd comm ports. Therefore no sailmail. Don’t know what’s going on – Simon, any ideas? The old version of the SOB comm port detector can only find one port – haven’t tried the new one yet.

Have not tried the backup laptop yet either – we just ran out of time – big diagnostic session when we get back fromMaltaon 1/7. We hope to call in at the Fleet Air Arm museum on the way back and we hope that we will be able to get the coal hole in their Sea Vixen opened up for Pete to try out.

The task after that is to sort out the essential racing gear and load it, repack the stuff we will need for the Fmth-Oz voyage and package the rest for sea freight back to Sydney to give us a bit more room. Not as simple as it may look – and we have to get boat and car to Lymington, if possible by 6/7 for a regatta on theBeaulieuRiveron 8,9/7 It’s been a big effort but it seems to be more or less on track except for sailmail.

Then it’s all on again. Hope the laptop can be sorted.

Driving to Heathrow this afternoon and off on the redeye toMaltatonight – gets in at 0115 tomoz. Ugh. After which we will have several Consultations with my Mum who likes her medicine too. Will try to update from there.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 24, 2005 – 2045hrs UTC │Heathrow

2045hrs 24 Jun 2005 UTC Heathrow

We’re at Heathrow after negotiating the parking lot that is the motorway system in southern england – awful and we cut it very fine to discover that the flight has been delayed anyway. Time to Consult.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 25, 2005 – 2130hrs UTC │Malta

Somewhat knackered after a very late night last night  – plane was delayed, then lots of talking…

Took Pete on a whirlwind tour of the Upper Baracca overlooking Grand Harbour and Ta’Qali and the aviation museum and Rabat and Mdina, where there’s a Norman house dating from about the 13th century. Doug, I have photos of the old DC3 if you’d like them –  can email when I download the camera. And they have most of a Swordfish which they found inCanadaof all places.  I want to trace its history, but they dont yet have a serial number.

Big day tomorrow – my Mother is laying on food and drink for all comers, so we have to behave and wear our Berri shirts.

Quick visit planned to Gozo on Monday to visit the cliffs and  the wild thyme at Ta Cenc and back toUKon Tuesday afternoon and it all starts again

Lilian, thanks – I passed on your message.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 28, 2005 - 0500hrs UTC │Malta

0500hrs 28 Jun 2005 UTC Malta

We will be back in uk tonight, and going via Yeovilton and Isabella’s to Falmouth in a couple of days. I will go to London, probably on thursday, because the BBC wants me to read one of the log episodes for a programme they are doing – more later on this – I’ m not sure of the context. Might  get to see the weather forecaster reading the forecast – one of the more enduring memories of my childhood.

The photos of the party at my Mum’s were taked by Natlino Fenech  from the Times of Malta and his article comes out today – will do a link when it does.  Leroy signed our shirts so we have a bit of history.

Kris, thanks, – I’ll be in touch.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jun 30, 2005 - 0640hrs UTC │Devon

0640hrs 30 Jun 2005 UTC Devon

Yesterday we went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton on the way back from Heathrow. A bit of intensive nostalgia for me because a friend had arranged for us to climb over and into their Sea Vixen. It’s the familiar smell that gets to you first – hydraulic oil, rubber seals, burnt paraffin, sweaty parachute gear in the ejection seat, the residue of the cooling air that is blown over the electronics and all enhanced by the memory of the rather sweet sensation you get from a pressurised oxygen mask. The aircraft probably hasn’t flown for thirty years but it’s all still there. Pete sat in both seats – the coal hole is just as claustrophobic and most of the gear is still in it.

Today I’m off to a BBC studio somewhere in Shepherd’s Bush in London to read a bit of the log for a programme called ‘Something Understood’ - regular Sunday piece on Radio 4 and can be heard over the internet so we will let you know when it is due to go out. Then to the RORC to complete the remaining paperwork for the Fastnet entry – crew list and disclaimers and all the usual stuff that we have to sign these days.

Back to Falmouth tomorrow and the big sort begins. We hope to leave for the Solent in about a week.

1-15. Falmouth, Malta, and environs

Jul 02, 2005 - 1115hrs UTC │Falmouth

1115hrs 02 Jul 2005 UTC Falmouth

[ed: From Alex’s sister, Isabella] Alex is currently up in London swanning around with the BBC. We had a fairly riotous night here last night which involved quantities of Pimms, Retsina and some totally disgraceful choc roulade. We despatched Pete off to Falmouth about half an hour ago with the damp washing we forgot to remove from the line last night because of the combined effects of Pimms, Retsina and choc roulade. And because Pete said it wouldn’t rain.

Alex will be back down there tomorrow.

He borrowed the attached photo from Mum in Malta on the promise that she gets it back. So I have scanned it as best I can. It has faded from being in a frame, but I’ve whoosed out some of the scaggy blobby bits deposited by Mediterranean vermin over the years.

It shows our hero on his first Fastnet race in 1961 and as you can see, the effects of a lifetime of alcohol have demanded their price. He said you might like it for the website and the Fastnet section… no doubt the Berri Team is huddled in convocational planning of this important new area of the site.
Hope all’s well over there in the Calm Before the Fastnet.

[ed: back to Alex] The to-do list continues to shrink. I collected the liferaft this morning and the delivery sails have been fixed. The laptop is now talking to the radio and the modem again – phew! – but I haven’t managed to raise Sailmail so there might still be a glurg somewhere. Given that the Belgian sailmail station is just up the road by comparison with some that we have been talking to, we ought to be able to get them. The laptop problem was, as I suspected, a dud USB cable. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

We are going to try to get the vhf radio upgraded to the new AIS system (cant remember what that stands for) [ed: see below for info on AIS] which means that all the ships we are able to see will appear on our new SOB navigation package and we should appear on their plotters. It’s all done automatically via the vhf radio and it is one of the reasons why the big ships we met were no longer listening on Chanel 16. Big safety plus if we can get it working.

Present plan is to leave for Lymington on Wednesday or Thursday – earlier if we can. The Beaulieu regatta is looking a bit tight but still possible.

We have arranged a rendezvous either here or in the Channel with a friend who is taking a RYA training boat out to Waterford to watch the start of the Tall Ships race.
Should be fun.

Still some minor fixes left but mostly under control. Will send more photos when I manage to get all the bits together in the same place.

Malcom, good idea, I know someone who used to sail with them.

[ed: Thanks to Simon Blundell at digiboat.com.au (simon@digiboat.com.au)]
AIS – Automatic Identification System. Correctly called UAIS for Universal AIS.
VTS – Vessel Tracking System.
For the sailors out there who have been understandably concerned about the phasing out of compulsory monitoring of VHF-16. The AIS technology answers our concerns.
Some links:
All boaters should be learning about this new technology. It is a bigger advancement than RADAR was and probably as significant as GPS (now we know where everyone ELSE is, as well as ourselves).