FROM 1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 07, 2005 - 2135hrs UTC

Sitrep: 2135hrs 07 Mar 2005 UTC 54’21”S 080’59”W Map Ref 105

Less than 500 to go. About 37.5 k for the runners. Brain closing down, pain out to the ends of every eyelash, anticipation and still the fear that something will fail, anything that breaks the rhythm potentially devastating – every painted line on the road a little mountain to climb. Apparently, there’s a shoulder somewhere on one route very close to the top of Chomolongma that hides the summit until you are almost there…and some people never get past it.

We’re in the predicted soft bit and still don’t know what to expect – the models disagree, but there will be wind for a couple of days at least with a potential header from the SE as we get close. Now setting #4 and 2 reefs, recent wind waves abating, permanent swells more discernible. Lots of seabirds – cold, occasional glimpses of the sun, fluffy seven eighths cumulus at about 2000 ft, all very gentle. Probably time to go and shake a reef or two but will procrastinate for a few minutes as the gusts when they come are still quite strong. Later – changed to cutdown #1 and 2 reefs and still going strong.

From Jenny & Jim S.
Tickled pink with your progress and the way the boat is looking after you both. One query, however – where in the hell do you put all those electronic gizmos? Is there any room for charts?

One other query which relates to BOG and the info that is being cobbled together – was Leven previously Nea from Middle Harbour Yacht Club. According to the NSWYF Yearbooks, Nea was owned by G Comanos at least for 82-84, had the same sail number as Leven – 881 and was purported to be 9.9 metres long. Leven appears as a Parramatta River SC boat in 84-85 owned by B Cunneen and he owned it for a few years (as you know).

The YF records before about 1981 did not include class of yacht but G Comanos owned a Nea as far back as ’77-78. (Incidentally Comanos is variously ascribed as O Comanos, C Comanos or G Comanos in the yearbooks – may or may not be the same person but the circumstantial evidence suggests misprints.) There may have been more than one Nea over these years (like Berrimillas) but it is a clue worth following up.

There is obviously no urgency for a response to this question.

Cheers and continuing best of progress

Jim & Jenny – Gizmos by nature are small. Problem is keeping them warm and dry. Tuner and transmitter are on inside of cockpit wall above port qberth – not properly insulated in the time we had, so some potential condensation problems. Regulators etc same place, other side, but close to engine control lever, so potential condensation plus leak problems. Otherwise, driest parts of boat. The rest face me on the bulkhead over the nav table. This bulkhead has been duplicated (by me) about 200mm further aft over nav table to create space for wiring, backs of black boxes etc. Switch panel on fwd side of original bulkhead over port bunk. Berri is not teak fitted internally, so may be quite different from Virgo. Was launched as Nea in April 1977 for George Comanos, who apparently had various boating relatives which may account for anomalies. Builder’s cert issued by Formit, but in 1984, almost certainly for Brian Cunneen. Don’t know any other history, but a rumour that Nea started by Geoff Baker and completed after he died by Formit. Perhaps Doug Brooker would know. Laptop lives permanently on nav table, tied down (so,of course, no room for charts) . Also smaller than most and supposed to be waterproof – Panasonic CF 18 – see in website ‘preparations’ doc. and I haven’t looked at a paper chart since we left although we have them all carefully rolled up in case of electrical failure. Software on Board nav package coupled with Cmap has got us this far. Details in same doc. –…Simon, who wrote the package, lives up your way.

And keeping it all together for us, wonderful Sailmail, using Pactor 11Pro modem linked to ICOM M802 HF and to laptop via USB. The USB link is the one potential single point of failure, as you might have read earlier.

From Kim K.
Answers to life’s big questions.
Things do not smell as much in the cold as they do not volatilise to the same degree. Except for the 2 kg of chipolatas from Coffs Harbour which have permeated our freezer. Must be strange to have rain without the delightful smell of the sporulating Actinomyces.
“”New Scientist”” recently had a short article about the great unwashed and apparently you reach a static, stable state much like my unwashed teacup at work (or an Indian’s curry pot).
Still, I think when you reach the tropics they will smell you coming from the Azores and the dermal flora will have a banquet!
“”Snowfire”” stick has no lanolin. It is parrafin based with such goodies as clove oil, benzoin, citronella, Thyme oil, Lemon thyme oil and cade oil to name a few… my pommy friend in Cornwall (who you may get to meet) was busy putting it on his crack!

From Ann G.

Olfactory factory
Dear Pete and Alex, to answer ur ? Olf. performance is influenced by
age, smell receptor staus (rodents and other small beasties have over
1000 odor recptors, humans 350) psychological state (familiar smells
give comfort in high stress environment), perception and ambient
temperature. We smell vaporized or gaseous compounds. So if body
effluent is not vaporized in some fashiom, you probably won’t mind. If
it is cold, and you are not waving your arms or shaking the nether
regions around, no chance to vaporize resident smells. Note to self:
when arrived at CH, skip initial bubbly party – you will be the only
ones there! CH noses will be operating properly. So, smell combines
hardware (receptors) and software (behavior, perception) plus sensors
(for temperature). Trust me, you’re so bloody stinky by now, you
should say a little prayer to himself that you are not in 40C weather.
Think about other environs where temp is high and close quarters -
?submariners, space shuttle. This is a small price to pay for any
explorer. Wishing you a safe landing in CH.

From Martin M.
Good to read your log while I’m feeling cooked up (even a little bit trapped) up
in a high-rise office in George Street, Sydney.

However, acknowledging that human nature can be fickle, if I was in a bucking
bronco boat long enough I’m sure I could end up with parallel feelings.

Still, right now I’d recklessly opt for your situation rather than George
Street. Provided hull and deck are very, very solid. And rumour has it that
your Brolga is as solid as they come.

My best wishes for ‘reasonable’ weather in that deepest soutern area – doesn’t
seem right to ask for 15kts and flat seas.

When sailing two-handed to New Zealand I experienced the 3 hours on/off watch
arrangement, and sometimes ….. let’s just say I wished I could sleep a bit

Will closely follow your progress, especially over the coming days, and my
sincere best wishes for a safe journey.

Kim and Ann – thanks for olfactory expertise – is it ok to post your answers on website? will have to instruct bootferals not to vaporise their bodily fluids and to stop farting. And there’s no question of sissy bubbles at Cape Horn, Ann. We’ve got a bottle of Australian rum, donated for the purpose by RANSA, our sailing club. Should be sufficient to assault even the most dormant of receptors. Looks like it may be wet and windy when we get down there, so may need it for fortification too.

Kris, thanks for the serial. Pete says you think too much – nah, says I, just the metaboles circulating and fizzing a bit. Mostly agree with you, may react later after ponder.

Hi Martin M. I think I’d rather be here than in your office too – most of the time. When did you 2 hand to NZ and in what?

WJR – was thinking of you and J and the last ks of one of those Melbournes when we almost went past your house and there you were by the roadside – have you persevered this far with us?

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