For Berrimilla's first circumnavigation, the International Space Station
and the North West Passage, go to

Monday, November 2, 2009

Evolution and Murphics

15 miles into the southern hemisphere and appropriate breakfast behind us if that's the right word. I think we're in the real SE trades. Iff (= if and only if) I'm right then we have about 1200 miles of easy sailing down behind the S Atlantic High to around 20 S near Martin Vaz. Big headsail on and full main. After that we have to squeeze the genie back into the bottle and get down to about 34 S and across to Cape Town. Sounds easy doesn't it? Last time we had one of the worst storms I can remember south of the high roughly on the Greenwich meridian. It's all written in the first voyage blog - relentless and indifferent, 50 - 60 knots and regular knockdowns to and sometimes past the horizontal. I think that was where my first Merlin calculator died. And I wept for it as an old friend. New one courtesy of - who? really sorry but senility has got me - is now kept in the nav table.

Seems we might be Macca'ed next Sunday if I can manage the satphone and talk at the same time - Shades of Gerald Ford and chewing gum.

In the interests of science - I get (and not everybody does) what's called a photic sneeze whenever I get out into the sunlight for the first time in a while - comes from nowhere, big blast and it's gone. WW2 Spitfire pilots used to dread it apparently as they emerged from cloud into bright sunlight and needed absolute concentration to see the Messerschmitt. I've noticed that after consultation with Dr Murphy at breakfast, both Pete and I seem to sneeze in similar fashion. Possibly mine might be delayed photic but this morning, definitely two separate events. A Murphic sneeze perhaps? What is the evolutionary advantage of this? Or are we due to become statistical relics?

There are, of course, always (at least until one runs out) two Murphys sailing along with us. The excellent consultant from Cork represents the ephemeral element and the other one is The Lawyer - he who says that if it can go wrong it will - the first law of statistics in Berri. Paraphrased without elegance but proper brevity as 'shit happens'.