FROM 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.

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