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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Con trail effects

And Berri early on a soft Crosshaven morning beside the Lifeboat Station


1. Dressed for the evening Con in dirty weather - a Guy Cotten TPS dry suit - great gear for the pearshaped.
2. Burgee swap - Mike MacCarthy, Admiral of the Royal Cork YC.  We raised about 450 euros for the RNLI - thanks everyone.
3. Alan Barton rendezvous in Mounts Bay, just south of Tater Du. He still had 140 miles to go to Cork, into the gale warning

Gale warning Sea Areas Lundy, Sole, Fastnet

Gale force winds expected soon. Looking west from Sea Area Plymouth - the leading edge of the system - already blowing in Fastnet

This is what I sent from the boat earlier today the wrong address. To be fixed

Hooning again
This will be the first one from the boat if I've got the address right. We left Crosshaven at 1115 this morning after loading sufficient medication to get us most of the way back to Oz and now we're at 51 28N 007 45W in a 20 kt S Wester and hooning along at about 7 knots towards Land's End. Crosshaven pictures from Falmouth tomorrow.

So nice to have Berri alive again after she's been a rather sad and sorry inanimate object alongside the pontoon. The trip over was a really good workout, even though it was pretty unpleasant from about half way. Now we're in a steepish quartering sea and rolling a lot but it will soon be time for the daily Con - this time with an obscure medical practitioner we found in a run down surgery in the back blocks of Falmouth. And Crosshaven was lovely. Thanks everyone for looking after us so well.

We're at the Longships Lighthouse at Land's End - about 140 miles in 23 hours. Nice little hoon. Should be in Falmouth late afternoon, AGW. Thousands of little dolphins frothing around and leaping earlier - light brown with whiteish undersides - I'll look them up when I can find the book. Jet con trails all over the sky - different people, different lives...

And here we are alongside in Falmouth - a day of amazing cloud formations ahead of some wind tonight. We even managecd a rendezvous with Alan from Crosshaven at Lands End - he was delivering a big powerboat to Cork from Southampton - we'd said goodbye to him in Crosshaven less than 24 hours earlier.

Photos when I have a better link.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Faraday part 2

LED interference with VHF radios is apparently a common problem, not foreseen by the manufacturers. Some, such as OGM, have fixed it: see
Berri's nav light is an Aquasignal S32 and I have written to Aquasignal to see whether they too have a fix. Watch this space.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It has been suggested that a faraday cage over the nav lights at the masthead might fix the interference with the VHF. I've just been up the mast on the climber to wrap the nav light fitting completely in two layers of alfoil as a test run and it doesn't make any difference. Damn! And now I have to go up again to take it off but I'll take the silicone spray up with me and squirt the mainsail track on the way down.
I have also been told that LED's are on/off devices and the resulting frequency might be the problem. On to Google when I get down from the mast but if anyone has any suggestions, please toss them this way via the gust book. It must have been fixed somewhere sometime before today...

Publlicity mugshots

Thanks to John Roche - Crosshaven photographer extraordinaire - for the photos. The younger and more handsome of the old geezers in the photo is Alan Barton, Lifeboat Operations Manager of the Crosshaven Lifeboat. He has enough fascinating stories to be doing a gig of his own.
The gimlet eyed observers amongst you will notice that certain rules developed for the Port of Cork have been relaxed in Berrimilla's honour at the discretion of the Harbourmaster. We are most grateful for the indulgence. Those familiar with earlier episodes in this and the original blog will also notice that we have changed medical practitioners. Henceforth the good Doctor from Cork, Barber Surgeon Murphy,  will be responsible for the health of Berrimilla's crew, in consultation with Emeritus Professor Dr. Gordon. I have ordered sufficient quantities of their several potions to ensure that, Vogons and Krikkit robots permitting, we are medically protected all the way back to Australia. How we get there is yet to be decided.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crosshaven Lifeboat visits...

And Ian, Con and Ritchie in the Crosshaven lifeboat. Good to have them around.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Irish Heron visits an Australian Brolga

Taken half an hour ago. Berri in full Irish kit.

A gale in the Celtic sea

Sounds romantic doesn't it? Robert Louis Stephenson or Joseph Conrad. Let me tell you, it ain't!
This should have been sent from Berri somewhere in the Celtic Sea but I realised that I did not have the direct addresses for the blog with me. Senility marches on...
So it is coming to you from the Crosshaven Lifeboat station. We arrived yesterday morning at about 0600 after a bit of a headbang from half way - 30+ knots, slap diggety bang on the nose and a nasty short steep sea that even berri could not bash into any better than about 60 degrees off the wind. Having a furler instead of a real sail up the front doesn't help either - as soon as it is rolled in a few turns it loses its shape completely and becomes a potato sack so it won't point and you know the rest.
Back under the stars at night - I was having a crisis of confidence based on weeks of inertia and thinking about Russia and the options for getting back to Oz - the dreads of lethargy corroding the innards. But back in harness and under the stars and it all washes away. One needs that buzz of incipient fear all the time just to stay alert and avoid the dreaded complacency, but it doesn't have to be an obsession. And the clouds - classic low pressure system and I think we were quite close to the centre - coming into the Irish coast, there were ceramic knifeblades, hard edged frisbees, dolphins and whales (really, for the imaginitive! Just like a Rorschacht - Douglas Adams would have approved), knotted twisted umbilicals, herrinbone patterned snakes and the usual high altitude mares tails in glowing gold and white under and through the woolly haze that seemed to be incandescent through it all. Wonderful!
But a great workout for Berri. We gave the engine and gearbox lots of work to do and, except from some unusual noises from, we think, the gearbox, it worked really well. I think that the extra horses in the engine will allow me to add a degree or so of pitch to the prop too, so on the Falmouth to-do list. The mast stayed up, the new radar reflector stayed attached to the mast, the radios and Sailmail worked, some glitches with the power to the GPS and - real doozy this one - I'd forgotten that the wonderful LED masthead lights we have interfere with the VHF radio. The light fitting is inches away from the VHF stub antenna - anyone got any suggestions? Our work around is to use the emergency nav lights if we need to use the VHF at night and to keep a hand held wasterproof VHF in the cockpit. Kevvo worked as expected - poor old geriatric didn't like the Celtic slop though and we used the electric autopilot as well. And alongside, we met the Irish Navy's training yacht with a crew of young professional navy people and some young trainees. The skipper gave us their spare (and for them, too small) Irish ensign for our courtesy flag, so Berri is once again properly dressed and in a new outfit.
But it took us an extra day to get here. I'm told the Lifeboat was going to meet us at the harbour entrance but without the VHF masthead antenna, we could not hear Valencia so they could not ask us for our position. Pity - would have been huge fun to be escorted into town! As it is, we are alongside the Lifeboat Station being looked after right royally. I think the crews were tickled to hear about the general Berri madness.
I have to sing for my supper at the Royal Cork YC and the Lifeboat people next Thursday - another stoush with powerpoint and microsoft to get it all to work - and we intend to leave the following day.
Pete has gone to Dublin to catch up with family and friends and I'm doing the necessary sort after a messy trip and meeting some lovely people. Photos to follow if i can download the camera.
There will be a new blog address soon unless we can get access to the old passwords for the Down Under Mars site. If it all works, you should be able to email us indirectly and have your email forwarded but there will not be a website as in the earlier voyages.

Monday, July 13, 2009

getting the process sorted...

This is Berri off Maatsuyker Island on the way into Hobart last time. 50 knots just about to hit us.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First post

Just a test. There doesn't seem to be an option to post photos - not necessary at sea but noice from ports where there might be medicinal potions