1-6. Below 50S


Logs ( 17 )

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 20, 2005 - 0840hrs UTC

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Kristen M.
Greetings from Mosier, Oregon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must be at my quota, Take care.

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 21, 2005 – 1316hrs UTC

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 22, 2005 - 0018hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 22, 2005 – 2100hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 23, 2005 – 2315hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 24, 2005 – 1445hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 24, 2005 - 2145hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 25, 2005 – 1345hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 – 0715hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 - 1455hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

From Ann A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

here in the States.

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

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

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

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

Fingers and toes crossed for your safe return.

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

From John W.

Just being reading your site.

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

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

From Peter C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 - 2215hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 27, 2005 – 0730hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 – 0035hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 - 1300hrs UTC

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

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

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

Lots more seabirds around. Closer to land perhaps.

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

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

From Jop

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

nothing comes to mind to improve what you are doing

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

From Jim S.

We read you updates assiduously – thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Flop

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

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

From Cam & Pam & Woc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 – 1615hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers and still maintaining a quiet form of rage – Pete