1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005


Logs ( 20 )

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 23, 2005 - 0800hrs EDT Sydney

0800hrs 23 Dec 2005 EDT Sydney

In the churn

Have you ever tried to sort through about 2 tons of mouldy feral grotted slimy bags, boxes, ropes’ ends, tool boxes, food bins, smelly clothes – all mixed in with Kevvo in severe dismantle mode, engine spares, charts, media interviews, a laptop that for some reason won’t talk to the internet or anyone else and the deadline fast hooning up over the horizon. My house is knee deep in stuff – far worse than the photos of before loading the van a year ago – but there is some order now in the heaps – Pete must be the same. Hilary has cooked and frozen the main meals, we have to go shopping for the complementary stuff and sufficient medicinal compound to get us down there and the margin ain’t so rosy but we’ll make the start with everything in place and working. Hope to do the Cat 1 safety check today – should be routine but if fixes needed we’ve -just- got time.

Massive thanks to all y’all for wonderful emails and encouragement and support – the offers of help have been constant and moving – there will be a Lucky Gust prize, as promised as soon as I can get organised to arrange – and various other prizes and if anyone wants their Berri shirts signed – or anything else – just turn up with the appropriate pen – we’ll apply greasy hand to the job…Berri is beside the clubhouse at CYC for those that live here.

Sorry – no time for more – wx looks a bit quirky for the start – will be interesting.

[ed: later….]

Forgot – thanks to everyone who came out to the heads to escort us in – and went to north Head and Bradleys and CYC – wonderful. heart stirring knee trembler of a welcome – Gobsmacked we were!. And have just had a quick look at the Anarchists on sailinganarchy – blimey – did we really inspire all that purple prose?? Thanks everyone – nice te be able to read it. Gotta go – safety check to organise.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 24, 2005 - 0800hrs │Sydney

0800hrs 24 Dec 2005 EDT Sydney

The churn has subsided – a bit. We did the Cat 1 safety check yesterday and no blips. so all ok as far as paperwork and administration goes and we’re ready to go. Briefing at CYC today and four of us are required to attend. It’s always a bit of a shambles getting in because of the need for everyone to sign the lists. We will get a forecast – looks promising at this stage but we’ll only really know when we cross the finishing line at Battery Point. And the Gig will be over…We just have to remember that this time, it’s a U turn to get home, not just a leftie.

[Ed: The Syd2Hob web site is excellent – with a great boat tracker feature. ]

We will keep the website and the alert list going during the race and after and will keep you advised about Berri news and the progress of The Book.

For the sailing anarchists [ed: thread here] – sorry – forgot to acknowledge the Albatross – aka Diomedea – greeting us at the Heads. Thanks Phil and David. Nice touch! All the best for the race, yez all.

More photos, this time at the CYC:

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 25, 2005 – 1200hrs EDT │Sydney

1200hrs 25 Dec 2005 EDT Sydney

[Ed: A Merry Christmas to all the Berriphiles out there, and safe and highly enjoyable New Year.  We at Berrimilla.com have thoroughly enjoyed your electronic company over the year.  Take care, and have a go at what ever you want too – you only live once!  Now, back to normal transmissions ;-)]

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 26, 2005 – 1400hrs EDT

1400hrs 26 Dec 2005 EDT 33’50”S 151’18”E Ref 668

[Ed: position only- off Sydney Heads].

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 26 2005 – 1500hrs EDT

1500hrs 26 Dec 2005 EDT 33’54”S 151’20”E Ref 669

Nice start, dreadful sloppy spectator wash at South Head – lost about half an hour almost stalled but we’re out and away. Lots of mates waving and hollering – thanks everyone. Now we have to go south all over again. Pete and I finished the theoretical gig on the start line – finished the 2004 Hobart Jan 1st 2005, Fastnet in August and we’re racing in the 2005 Hobart. Wooohooo – small drama before we left the dock – the alternator wouldn’t excite – panic – eventually traced to a loose socket on the fast charge regulator, but we were all ready and resigned to start and retire when the battery died (so no radio skeds especially at Green Cape) We’d still have sailed to Hobart, reporting by satphone, but outside the rules. Would have been a long way to go to retire…

Now just cracked off heading for Tasman Island down the rhumb line – no appreciable current, 35-40 kt front due Wednesday sometime. The further south we can get before we hit it, the better as there will be more west in it the further south we are Sorry no photos from the start – cant get the phone configured properly..

More later.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 27, 2005 – 0025hrs EDT

0025hrs 27 Dec 2005 EDT 34’39”S 150’57”E Ref 670

Wind still SE – just on the edge of the Assy [ed: asymmetrical spinnaker] but with a 2 knot set taking us west. Having missed about a thousand lobster pots off the English coast during the Fastnet, we collected the floatline for a biggie just off Maroubra [ed: southern end of Sydney] – 3 floats all wrapped around the skeg and we dragged it along  for a bit and stopped. Pete flashed the Parts and jumped in with a knife to cut it away – he seems to like going overboard! We had to free the sheets to get the pressure off the pot line and make sure we stayed in touch with Pete – and we lost about 10 minutes. Gillawa [ed: smallest boat in the race – about a metre shorter than Berri] was just astern and they checked that we were ok as they sailed past. I think we may have caught them again. Wind has eased a bit. Fenwick [ed: he of the Berri shirt factory] and Sarah [ed: Pete’s daughter] on watch, first sked at 2005 this evening, then at 0705 and 1705 each day.

Berri going well – but we’re right out at the back now after the stall at South Head and the lobster pot. Some work to do. 2UE want to talk to us later, around 2100.

Sailmail misbehaving -not seeing outgoing messages – damn – and satcom down – antenna failure – double damn.

Wind now S will have to tack out to avoid Point Perp.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 27, 2005 - 0700hrs EDT

0700hrs 27 Dec 2005 EDT 34’56”S 151’00”E Ref 671

The bus shelter is becalmed near Point Perp. Ok as long as everyone else is – just about to do the 0705 sked and we’ll find out.

After the sked,it seems the others must be going fairly slowly too –  we can actually see three boats but don’t know who they are. Just waiting again for the promises NE to set in. No sign of it yet – I’ve just been round in a couple of circles – one in each direction, just for fun. Not.

Bacon sando was noice – only one Consultation per day in this new, lightweight boat so will conserve it till later.

From Peter F.

Quite by accident I heard your interview on the ABC this morning (Boxing Day) and caught up with what you’ve been doing for the past year.  It’s a long way from, and, I imagine, a vast improvement over, dealing with the shenanigans of Public Sector computing.  I don’t know about you, but I still have waking nightmares about your pal and mine – TonyK – and his imaginative approach to tendering! 

 I’m really sorry I missed the web-site all last year, but I’ve started to read it now, and I am really enjoying it.  Just reached “”Sitrep: 1105hrs 13 Jan 2005. 45’25″”S 155’42″”E”” where you mention a competition to describe the inside of your left sea-boot, suggesting the more erudite might like to try a haiku.  It’s quite a coincidence, because a few years after I left Business and Consumer  Affairs, I set up my own consulting company (very small – just me and Deborah), and called it Haiku Computing and Management Consultants.  The reason for the name was twofold:  (1) I wanted to avoid all variations on Tech and the letters “”Z”” or “”X”” (eg ComTech, TechCom, Z-Tech, XTech, TekCons, etc etc) and (2) because many years I ago, I saw in the Herald poetry section, and poem as follows:


  A haiku has sev-

  enteen syllables, to write

  one is quite diffic.

It immediately appealed to my sense of humour, and unless I have misremembered yours, I think you’d like it too. 

While you’ve had a REAL sea change, Deborah and I have had the yuppie version – we now live on a 75 acre farm in Jamberoo (about 5km inland from Kiama).  Really enjoying country life – but the commute’s a doozy!  I’m still working full-time in Sydney as a Project Manager, but I’m looking for a change which will enable a little more work from home.

Hope you have a great Sydney – Hobart.  Would love to catch up when you have some time and are next in Sydney.

Peter F-  thanks for 17 syllables – will find you later. Neil – glad your prescription was filled! Susannah – I have your CD – Coombsy – remind me when we get back, please, hi everyoone else and thanks for emailsd signs of breeze – gotta go – fingers crossed.

Some good coverage and photos on the Sydney Morning Herald site and the SMH photo gallery

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 27, 2005 – 1100hrs EDT

1100hrs 27 Dec 2005 EDT 35’00”S 150’59”E Ref 672

Point Perpendicular Parking lot…

A real glass-out. Oily, humid, hot, windless – a bit of current taking us west and that’s it. Parked – flopping, slatting, sweating and watching for every tiny ripple and change in the distant reflections off the water that may signal a zephyr. New year’s eve looking very shaky unless the forecast NEsterly sets in. We hope everyone is in the same hole but the fleet is now so spread that it’s unlikely.

Old friends day too – we’ve just had a satphone call from Andy Rice at the Rolex Media centre – Hi Andy – we last spoke to him as we finished the Fastnet in August but never met because he had to go off to some other fleshpot – Hang around in Hobart, Andy, and buy us a beer – I think we’re going to need it.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 27, 2005 - 1430hrs EDT

1430hrs 27 Dec 2005 EDT 36’14”S 150’53”E Ref 673

Wind at last – ENE 15 – and we’ve got the assy up and dragging us along at 7.5+ knots smack down the rhumb line in a nice flat sea with a long, low swell. I expect the guys further south are getting a bit more, but it doesn’t really matter – we are going flat out and any more breeze would affect the sea state and slow us down.

Steady stream of big ships going south – I’ve tried sending selective DSC calls to test our new AIS gear but no go – either they are not listening or I’ve got it wrong somehow. The call appears to be transmitted but no acknowledgement or contact via the designated frequency. Will check when we get in – if we can get it working properly, it’s a great safety asset.

Passed a big sunfish half an hour ago while I was talking to Nik at Rolex Media – about 2 metres from the boat – a lucky sunfish, I think – in our overpopulated bus shelter, we are a rather solid lump to have bump into you.

CG – little bowl snug beside the nav table.

Chicken balti for dinner tonight – not sure yet how we will manage a sitting of six – it’s all a bit different. Pete and I are about to have a little Consultation to consider the matter.

Some start pictures here – thanks Les & Karen Newling

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 27, 2005 – 2350hrs EDT

2350hrs 27 Dec 2005 EDT 36’33”S 150’37”E Ref 674
The best day’s sailing for a longtime – almost low flying. We’ve had 20-25 knots since lunchtime and we’re now well south of Montagu, estimating Green Cape around 0500 and Bass Strait a couple of hours later. Sea rising and we’re rolling a bit – complacency wake up call – have just flooded the cockpit and dropped several buckets into the saloon so, too late, we’ve put the storm board in. Starboard quarterberth a bit wet but ok otherwise. I’m about to be on watch – gotta go.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 28, 2005 – 0845hrs EDT

0845hrs 28 Dec 2005 EDT 37’33”S 150’28”E Ref 675

Just entering Bass Strait – message from Steve to say that Wild Oats has finished and broken the record. Last time the record went, we were exactly half way, so 70 odd miles further south, and that year it took us another week to finish and I busted my face. Hope it’s a bit better this time.

Huge run last night but sadly, we wrapped the assy around the forestay and destroyed it getting it unwrapped. Juddy swinging around at the masthead in a nasty sea with the remains of the sail flogging. Now sitting at what we think is the beginning of the front – low grey overcast, drizzle, soft, variable wind – waiting to see what happens. Will be tricky without the assy if the forecast for tomorrow holds. New Year’s Eve still possible.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 2005, 28 - 1300hrs EDT

1300hrs 28 Dec 2005 EDT 37’50”S 150’26”E Ref 676

[ed: current ETA 7am 1st Jan]

Well done Wild Oats – onya fellas!.[ed: Wild Oats wins line honours in a race record of 1 day 18 hours 40 mins 10 secs, 1hr 7 mins under Nokia’s 1999 record – and that was without a mainsail for the last 30 miles or so!]  If you can wait around long enough we’ll say it in person. More likely, we’ll meet you coming back… Wild Oats Article & Berri Article

Kite wraps – How not to do it – first, don’t get a wrap. Second, don’t ever leave a headsail halyard tied off on the pulpit when the kite is up. Third, if you do get a nasty tight double ended wrap like we did, with the headsail halyard knitted into it, remember that the first thing to try is to release the headsail halyard and let it run – it just may slide down the forestay inside the wrap and allow you to pull the whole thing down. We got 1 & 2 wrong (me for 2 – I saw and failed to ask for a change)and we forgot 3 – yet all of us have done it at least once. Instead, we went the hard way and sent JJ up the mast and he almost succeeded – the kite tore where it was pinched by the halyard right at the top. It is repairable, but not out here, so we’re down to one kite. Tired and silly – but we got it sorted without any other damage and we’re now trying to negotiate the southerly change – all very soft and uncertain for the moment and hasn’t settled. I do hope we get some real wind behind it – there’s a long way to go.

All’s well in the bus shelter, though rather crowded. No dogs out here, but lots of flies and lots of big sunfish – we’ve seen at least three very big ones.

JC thanks for phosphorescent pome – too tired to read and appreciate – will savour later.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 29, 2005 – 0130hrs EDT

0130hrs 29 Dec 2005 EDT 39’00”S 150’26”E Ref 677

Hard on the wind, mid Bass St. at roughly half way. Just woken from first real sleep since we started, snug and warm under new Sea rug – One of the things that really work. Full main and #1 and lumpy sea. there are some boats out here I wouldn’t like to be on in this – sitting on the rail all the way and wet and uncomfortable. Iff this holds, we will get to Tasman Island late tomorrow with a real possibility of a New Year’s eve party in Hobart. Fingers crossed.

Time to make a cuppa and dunk a gaggle of McVities, then full party gear and on watch for 2 hours. We work a staggered system so that we do the first hour with one person and the second with another. Makes for variety and the time goes more quickly.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 29, 2005 – 1215hrs EDT

1215hrs 29 Dec 2005 EDT 40’02”S 149’45”E Ref 678

70 miles east of Flinders and past 40 S – we’ve driven Berri as fast as she will go but very difficult to catch up all the time we must have lost in the first night parking lot. We have about a knot and a half of adverse current here so our speed on the tracker won’t look as impressive as it does on the log in the boat. We will continue to point as Tasman Island, ETA about 2000 tomorrow if the wind holds. Not a brilliant time of the day to get there – hope there’s enough gradient wind to keep Storm Bay and the Derwent open for us. If so, then about 0900 on New Year’s eve on the line.

Troops all OK, bus shelter not too damp, ferals coming out of their hidey holes at the prospect of varietal sock and underdag fodder. Great fruitcake and meals, Hilary – thanks. The less squeamish amongst us had a standard Berri breakfast in the sun this morning – fat bacon sando soaked in tabasco lubricated by a Guinness followed by very alcoholic fruit cake. Yummy.

I’m told I sounded grumpy on ABC radio this morning – they rang during the sked and I was trying to listen to the weather at the same time. Tricky. Have just spoken to Nik at Rolex MegaMedia and it seems 2UE will be after us later as well. Roll up, roll up – the tail enders will be the only story soon, when everyone else is down at the pub.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 30, 2005 - 0600hrs EDT

0600hrs 30 Dec 2005 EDT 42’04”S 148’58”E Ref 679

That was the night that was! We’ve been reaching with full main and #1 in three to four metre beam seas with wind gusting to 40+, mostly 30-35, and getting sustained bursts of 9+ knots, often 11 in short bursts and never below 8. Knocked off a few miles but I expect every one else has too. Quite hairy sailing and difficult sometimes but exhilarating. To steer the boat, you have to be braced across the bus shelter bit and working really hard occasionally, although relatively easy to stay in control. The sun has just risen, we’re 30 miles out from Freycinet and 80 from Tasman Island. Too early to predict but should be around this afternoon lateish. Will then depend on conditions around the corner. I hope we can hear the weather forecast this time.

Much too early for a wooohooo but a bacon sando and a Consultation with ‘imself the Doctor from Dublin after the 0705 sked will be in order, I think. Keep your fingers, toes, eyebrows, knees and everything else crossed that we can keep it all together and the wind holds for the next 36 hours or so to get us home. We’re working on the problem!

[Ed: the Yacht Tracker has Berri getting into Hobart at about 11:30pm 30/12 – that’s tonight!]

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 30, 2005 – 1645hrs EDT

1645hrs 30 Dec 2005 EDT 42’48”S 148’23”E Ref 680

It’s a fickle race course. All our speed last night wasted-  we’re thudding into a short nasty sea and a SE sea breeze @ 25 knots just able to lay TI because we’re way out to sea. I think  the boats inshore – Polaris and Isabella and Tilting – will have a bit more trouble. We won’t round tonight unless we get really lucky – The sea breeze will die with the sun and we’ll be parked until morning. We’ve already lost everything we gained on the boats now around the corner so that’s the end of any chance of a place – we’re just trying to stay up with the boats around us.

I think we can just see TI 32 miles away.

We’ll just grind it out, as usual. A third park will be frustrating – hope we manage to avoid it. Still possible we won’t even get in tomorrow if the predicted light and variables arrive.

Time to get set up for the sked.

[Ed: actually two “eds” this time.  Stephen and Malcolm are both in Hobart to welcome Berri back again (talk about déjà vu all over again!).  We are heading out in Mal’s Wildfire to meet Berri in the morning (subject to The Examiner being kind, so no updates until; we get back in later in the day…. Sorry ‘bout that….] 

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 31, 2005 – 0030hrs EDT

0030hrs 31 Dec 2005 EDT 43’15”S 148’03”E Ref 681

3 miles to Tasman Island, poled out 1 in tiny breeze from NE – if it holds we’ll round at 0100. Then it’s anyone’s guess – the wind around the corner is always different and often radically different. We have to sail about 8 miles west to get around Cape Raoul and then NE to the Iron Pot about 25 miles further on. Then 11 miles up the Derwent to the finish. Eyebrows crossed please – I’m not superstitious but I’m sure it helps! 

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Dec 31 2005 - 1554hrs EDT

1554hrs 31 Dec 2005 EDT 42’53”S 147’20”E Ref 682

[ed: finished the Rolex 2005 Sydney to Hobart!  A long slow tedious struggle up the Derwent with The Examiner opting for light to no breeze as the test today.  The finish time slipped and slipped and slipped, but we got there.  Web Slaves Stephen and Malcolm were joined by 4 other Berriphiles on Mal’s lovely boat, Wildfire, as we spent 10 hours cruising down the Derwent and escorting Berri up to the finish at 3:54pm on News Years Eve.  A huge welcome at Constitution Dock, media all over the place, and much consultation and congratulations all around.  I (web Slave Stephen) am now back in Sydney and will publish photos and stuff soon… promise.  Thanks for your support.  Alex will be back online soon.]

Using Google Earth?  This is the track of Wildfire heading down the Derwent and returning to the finish with Berri.

Rolex Web Site article here

Some photos of the arrival and finish:

For those with bandwidth and a decent connection, this is a 6mb video of the finish – only about 10 secs!


[ed: from Alex later…]

We needed all 15 or so P’s – patience, persistence, prudence,  perseverance and the rest to get here. We rounded Tasman Island in the dark last night and trickled slowly into Storm Bay which was anything but stormy and then around the Pot into the Derwent with our two faithful, hardworking magnificent web slaves, Malcolm Robinson and Steve Jackson tagging along in Malcolm’s very much faster boat Wildfire. And Colin arrived in Ceilidh (got it right that time!)  And then we stopped. Almost. We just managed to creeeeep up the river with no speed registered on the log but a smidgin faster than the outgoing current.  Finally, near the Garrow, a little breeze from behind and we set the big purple and  gold kite and finished slowly but in style.

And what a welcome – Hobart always turns it on for the backmarkers but this was different and very special – it seemed that there were thousands of people on the dock and the other boats, all hooting and yelling and Geoff Lavis, the Commodore was there with a bottle of Bundy – thanks Geoff –  and someone else with the traditional slab of Boags and Andy Rice from Rolex Media who we last spoke to in Plymouth and friends and relations and the media and hundreds of people some of whom had flown in from all over the place – a couple from Western Australia and Hilary and Rosie and Eve from sydney and old uncle Tom Cobbley and all…truly wonderful welcome and thanks to you all for being there.

And CYC/RYCT have asked us to attend the prizegiving tomorrow too.  Interesting.

And then we have to think about sailing back and writing the book and doing some work and getting the running shoes on again for me with London Marathon 2007 in the distance. We will be in touch with all the potential starters soon. And I have to get my hair cut.

WOOOOHOOOOOOOOO – Huge relief – Happy New Year everyone – for once we made it in in time for the fireworks and John’s real birthday and we’ll be thinking of you all out there having your own celebrations. Thanks for your enthusiasm, encouragement, support, personal messages, poems, stories and lovely emails – it has been an astonishing year and we will keep it all going for at least as long as it takes to get back to Sydney. Please don’t go away yet….

Special thanks to the teams at RORC and CYC for giving it purpose and looking after us so well, and to Rolex for the media coverage – really nice for a little boat at the bac k of the fleet to get a bit of attention – keep it up!

I must now get to the fireworks and then sleep for about a week – actually, probably about 4 hours, but more in one go than for a long time.

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Jan 2006, 01 – 0000hrs EDT │Happy New Year

0000hrs 01 Jan 2005 EDT Happy New Year
[[ed: says it all really – Happy New Year! Great fireworks in Hobart – nice to see them from within Hobart rather than looking at them way off in the distance from Storm Bay as in previous years! Let’s see what we can get up to in 2006. Thanks again to all the supporters – every email and gust entry gets read and cogitated upon. Take call all from the Berri motley crew!

1-33. Sydney-Hobart Race 2005

Jan 02, 2006 - 1900hrs EDT │Hobart

1900hrs 02 Jan 2006 EDT Hobart

The day after the day before…

Fenwick – lovely bloke – went back to the boat to sleep last night after a big meal up here at the Sutherland’s and it was lucky he did. Some idiot – and I don’t say that lightly and we think we know who it was – had left Constitution Dock and taken our stern anchor line with them – uprooting the anchor and dumping it close to the little channel under the bridge at the entrance. Berri was left with Polaris attached to her starboard side bumping against the dock in a bit of a blow – Allan started the engine and managed to get the anchor out a but further but not enough to hold both boats off the dock so he sat there with a nice Kiwi who failed dismally to see the charm that oozes from the Fenwick persona but she did latch on to the bottle of Bundy that was on offer and she sat there with him all night holding both boats off the wharf until Polaris’ skipper arrived at about 0900 and helped them to reset the anchor and sort out the mess.

And then another idiot – and we think we also know who this one was – departed from up the line of boats without properly re-attaching the boats that were tied to his own back to the wharf. One of these has a varnished wooden hull. Inexcusable incompetence. Result – several more boats adrift against the wharf and in danger of severe damage.

End of diatribe. There’s a front due through tomorrow morning with a few days of westerlies behind it, so we’re hoping to get away tomorrow evening and out into them for a quick trip to Eden. Unfortunately, it means we’ll miss a visit to Port Arthur on the way but you don’t get easy miles down here and you grab them when you can. We will fill up with mussels in Eden and perhaps get a lazy cruise up the NSW coast from there. With a beer as we pass Wollongong at 37 S.

We have a lot of gear to squeeze into the boat – we left lots here before we left for the Falklands last year and a lot more when we got in from Falmouth – was it only a couple of weeks ago? With five on board, it will be tight.

From Duncan Wells

Dear Both,

This may be too long for you to receive on sailmail and so I expect the webmeister(s) may well wait until you are on dry land and forward it to your land based email.

My apologies if I am commenting on history but as you know I am still reading and thoroughly enjoying the logs (I started late) and am up to 10th Oct.  I only have up and until the 18th Oct to go before I am on to logs which I read live as it were.


Your observation about the little boat you sent off to Henry Knight in memory and how it was just 2 minutes before it was on a different wave and Berri and it went out of synch is very valuable.  We teach people about this which is why we have a danbuoy with an enormous extension and light on top for when we are offshore and in conditions but even that is unlikely to be successful if the wave height and length are too great.  I have never been in the position of having anyone fall off, let alone in a big sea but I suppose if the conditions allowed it the option would be to send someone up the mast – not an enviable job – but possibly the only way of finding someone without a helicopter.

Pete’s dive for the briny was alarming and thank goodness he was able to swim to and catch the turbine cable and that you were on deck to stop the boat.

I came out in a cold sweat as I read that because it reminded me that when I singlehand which I do quite a bit, I am vulnerable.  If there was a sea or the wind was up I would be wearing a lifejacket and lifeline on the foredeck (probably) but if conditions were reasonable while I might have a lifejacket on I probably would not have a lifeline.  The boom would not be prevented and if the autopilot went mad for a moment there is every possibility of an unintentional gybe.  In local waters I don’t trail a polypropolene line or any sort of tripping device for the autopilot and even if I were lucky enough to be swept down the side of the boat so that I could grab the bathing ladder (unlikely and highly difficult to grab hold of as the bathing ladder is stowed in the up position on passage, meaning that the rung available to grab would be about 2 feet from the water), how on earth could one hold on, let alone climb out of the water.  3 knots is enormous force against the body let alone 6 knots.  I am always careful and have never had any problems or indeed encountered any fears when out on the water.  It is only sitting in the comfort of my office that I get the sweats… ‘what if…’

If I was going long distance I would trail a line which in turn would be set to trip the windvane.  Of course we don’t use windvanes on coastal stuff, just good old reliable electronic autopilots.


Have you ever tried those mugs with lids and a drinking hole ?  I don’t use them but given that I have on several occasions lost the entire contents of the tea mug when helming in a bit of wind I might have a look at them.  It’s interesting that no matter how much or little you fill a tea mug if you are exposed to a bit of wind, as you raise the mug to your lips the proximity of lips and mug and the strength of the wind cause a suction which whips the entire contents of the mug out and over the rail.  Not a drop is splashed on the deck or the gunwhale, or about one’s person.  The lips are hardly even moist !  Ducking down out of the wind is the only answer to this for me.  Which only goes to show that there is many a slip twixt cup and lip.


Yes indeed, very useful I find and often forgotten.  I use one of these to tidy away the flag halyard on the starboard spreader.  Instead of tying it to a cleat on the mast where it can interfere with lazy jacks etc I tie it with a rolling hitch to the stainless steel shroud and despite being lanyard on steel it holds tight very well.  A little tweak here and there.

Another use for the rolling hitch we discuss in class and rarely use in anger on the water is for the occasion when tied to a fixed dock in port and a storm is brewing.  There is no option but to stay put and yet one doesn’t want the boat to be ground against the dock wall.  So laying an anchor/kedge out amidships with the main part of the rode attached to the forward cleat and a rolling hitch to the rode and back to the aft cleat and tightened can hold the boat off.  This is not much cop for UK tidal waters, or rather it is but you will spend all day long adjusting the lines.  It works well in the non (or very little) tidal Med.  Of course if the anchor rode is chain rather than rope then an anchor bend/fishermans bend would be better suited than a rolling hitch.  Please do not think that I am trying to teach my grandmother etc, just trying to relate.

And this brings about another thought.  You mentioned how you had used the rolling hitch and that it was an oft forgotten knot.  The beauty of being an instructor is that one is constantly going through all the procedures and eventualities which each new group of students.  There are always new questions (nothing like teaching something for finding out what you don’t know, eh?) and so one is kept on one’s toes.  If one didn’t instruct, while one would aim to beahve in a seamanlike manner, I expect that habits might creep in which might not always be for the best.  The thiong about boating I find is to be flexible and having a number of options under one’s belt is always useful.  The best option that Tom Cunliffe told me about, well reminded me really, is that if conditions are unfavourable for a departure from the dock, go and make a cup of tea and wait until things improve.  The RYA and their training are rather like that, there are systems and best practices but at no time are these a substitue for thinking one’s way out of a situation and adapting and that’s what we are trying to teach people. 


Tom also taught me this one – very useful.  I am sure you know it but it is the only knot where a bight does not actually go around the post, grabrail, guard rail etc that you are tying the rope to.  It is secure and yet you can get it off with just a flick.  We use it to attach our big fender on the coach roof to ther grabrail.  The assumption being that we will need it in a hurry and don’t want to have to unravel a clove hitch or round turn and two half hitches.  It works too and the knot has never come undone in any of the conditions we have been out in.  These of course have only been coastal, cross channel, channel island or Brittany conditions but you can still get fairly mouldy seas in these areas.

A friend with a boat called an Elling – about 44 feet single screw, displacement motor boat and very seaworthy – occasionally asks me to help him.  He does the driving and I do the lines and I always tie the bow line to the guard rail with a Rustler’s hitch and the same for the stern line so that I can climb down onto the dock, reach up for them and with a flick I have both in my hands.  The fact that the boat has a bow thruster and a stern thruster means that my hitches are somewhat academic as I have all the time in the word to attach the boat to the dock but nonetheless…


If you care to please would you let me know how and why you chose each other for the trip.  It’s a hell of a long way to go in an awfully small environment with two and I know that you didn’t see a great deal of each other but suppose one of you put a winch handle back into a pocket in a way that the other didn’t like ?  How do you resolve that ?  I know it is not important but it could become so.

Anyway, I guess you are making your way back by now, very well done.  My admiration for what you have done and the way in which you have communicated it is boundless.  You have shared something special with all of us and we are enriched for this.  Thank you.

Duncan – thanks for great feedback – I’ve googled the highwayman’s hitch and will practise all the way to Sydney.

From Nigel H.

Congratulations guys.

Remarkable achievement.

Alex ………… For God’s sake …………….. get a bloody haircut.  You look like a bag woman !

Nige – tha Bag Lady is no more – I look like a scrofulous cat from the neck up now. Jane did a great job and I’m back to normal.

From Bill W.

Congratulations and Happy New Year to you all! We are so pleased that the entire plan has been seen through. I shall continue to think that Berri and the Berriphiles hold the Hobart to Hobart record, line honours and a handicap win as well – seems obvious you showed the way for Wild Oats really! All the very best.

And Bill – I like the idea of line honours, record, first on handicap and inaugural winner of the Hobart to Hobart race. Thanks. Any takers for the future will not have much to beat in real terms but they’ll need all the P’s.

Peter, Hugh and many others, thanks for your kind words, I will try to reply to everyone, but it may become too much – we’ll see.