FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens


Position 0630 2nd 3845 02932 trip 128 DMG 118 and we're poddling along with the full small headsail poled out, no main. Conservative but it looked modestly hairy earlier and it was time for the breakfast con and this report. We have put 3 reefs in the main so it's a piecrust to get it up if it stays soft. TGS soft today, WSW backing NW then a front and SW for another day. All good.

In the last post, I was having idle thoughts about 'assistance' in the context of circumnavigations. Most 'unassisted' circumnavigators today are supported by a small army of routers, meteorologists, motivators, sleep pattern experts, medical advisors, talk you through changing a channel on the radio experts and all the rest. Not too many true Corinthians still around but I was reminded of Les Powles who we met in Lymington 5 years ago. He's the only true Corinthian I've ever met,
the only man I've heard of in recent times who in my opinion has done it all on his own and he's done it three times in an old battered boat under extreme conditions, no radio and no intention of seeking help. He had almost no money and he did it all without telling anyone although he did write a book (great title as well – 'Two Hands Open' I think, as in surrendering to the indifference of the sea)to try to make some money for repairs. I think he was made yachtsman of the year after someone found out about the second one and he nearly died of starvation on the third. When we met him in Lymington he was planning his 4th. Daft old fart. I don't know whether he actually set off but I'm inclined to doubt it – he seemed to have lost the enthusiasm for it and I'm not surprised. But a real nice guy and a true successor to Slocum and Dumas. Buy his book if you can find it. Send him money if you can find him.

Carol G – Kerguelen has very interesting history – discovered by French explorer Kerguelen who went home and made some exaggerated claims, was sent back to finish the job, wimped out and was gaoled on return for various interesting reasons and was then freed by the revolutionary committee as a victim of the aristocracy. He was one of the lucky ones. The islands were visited by Cook a few years later, same spot as Kerguelen's ship's boat landed, then succession of expeditions including Ross and Crozier in Erebus & Terror in 1840 before joining Franklin for NW Passage disaster and whaling, coal mining attempt, sheep farming etc. Now has French scientific base and satellite tracking station. As part of the history, if you can get it, there's a book by Raymond Rallier du Baty called '15000 miles in a ketch' which is, I think, the English translation of his French original called 'Aventure sur Kerguelen' or something similar. Written in 1909ish. Long out of print. Heard about it in Cape Town and have read more in the stuff Doug sent me. The SW peninsula of Kerguelen is named after him.

Val and Jill – glad you like this stuff – makes it all worth while somehow. I hope that we will not need to call in to Freo on the way home but you will certainly know if we do – come and visit the boat. Several Berri crew members from times past live close to you. You can put comments on the blog at the end of each post but you can only send us emails via the berriilla2@gmail address and they get forwarded to us – this is to keep spammers away from our radio inbox.

Deb and Andrew – HNY to you too! Make sure you anchor that rock properly – I want to be able to find it again. The bastards allowed NZ to drift last time we were over there and we had to start a square search. The secret was to listen for sheep bleating in the night.

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