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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

From Pete

Pete writes
I've been moved to write due to a distinct lack of something to do. I'm now towards the end of my two night watches, the sun is coming up, Alex has just appeared so I'll make my way to the fridge to extract a couple of Murphy's for breakfast.
Aggahhhh much better.
We put in a good days work last Sunday. By the end of my night watch the wind had dropped to 6-8 kts and boat speed was down to 3-4 kts, this was perilously close to "turn the key time" so a suggestion was made that perhaps a kite might solve the problem of keeping boat speed above the 4.8 kts required to reach Cape Town by Sat. the 5th.
Up it went a nice new flat assymetrical from the craft of Brian Shilland. True wind was a little aft of the beam so it wasn't long before we were getting 5-6 kts as the apparent wind increased and moved forward to about 15 to 20 degs ahead of the beam. We had a wonderful run all day but by 4 in the arvo wind was above 15 kts boat speed was mostly about 6 7 sometimes 8 and we were still up on course, as they say we were hoooooning along, with a huge grin and a "Whoooo Hooooo".
The problem with Berri and the old style deep keel mid to heavy displacement type of boat is that they have to push a lot of water out of the way to move forward. As a completely bare boat she weighs 5.5 tons, set up for a voyage of 14000 miles she probably weights in at say 7 tons. This means that she has to get 7 cubic metres of water out of her path. Of course pushing water out of the way is easy at low speed but as the speed increases it gets so much harder to displace the water quickly and eventually the boat reaches its maximum hull speed. The boat now moves in a trough created by the bow and stern waves.
If the wind now increases and the boat speed does not and you have a kite up then things start to go decidedly pear shaped very quickly.
The obvious question is how do you get the kite down with one steering and only one other to bring the sail in. How do you control the halyard drop and gather the sail at the same time.
Alex and I have competed the last 3 Fastnet races in the 2 handed division, you learn a lot from the single handers over a beer after the race. One trick we learnt was to throw the halyard in the water, first it avoids tangles as it streams out the back and a few figure 8s on the end puts just the right tension on to control the drop. The kite is then gathered in through the slot between the mainsail foot and the boom.
We had decided earlier on to pull the kite down at about 4.30 which would give enough time to repack the sail and tidy all the bits of string up before the bar opened at 5 for a G&T. The wind never got to the point where the sail was threatened and we doused it easily using the above method. I'll write more now as all the good books have been read and all the little jobs that can be done at sea are crossed off the "To do list".
A footnote to Allan. Fenwick are you OK we havn't had an abusive letter from you yet?
Woc. So you found me. Is Graeme back for Christmas and will the stock market have recovered by then?
Cheers Pete.

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.

5 Degrees West!

Fresh from the Falmouth Photos cutting-room floor comes a sequel to
the video "Berrimilla's Journey Home to Australia."
For those who missed the first one (or can't be bothered to slog
backwards through the links) here it is:

For the second one, go here:

This second video was made as a result of the Chain Locker Crew in
Falmouth celebrating 5 Degrees West in the bar last night. You'll see
them all (still upright) at the end of the video. Cheers, me hearties,
and thanks to Paul Harry of Falmouth Photos.

Posted by Iz in the UK

Thalassarche chlororhynchos (Atlantic yellow-nosed Albatross to you)

With an avian write-up of such rapturous heights, I'm sure we readers
as one, wish to take a squizz at the Atlantic Yellow Nosed Albatross.
Trying to find a copyright-free image of the bird in flight has eluded
me but here's one of it contemplating its navel, from Wikipedia. It
is posted there courtesy of - to
whom grateful thanks.
To see the bird in flight, go to
where there are several more images, and a video sequence of its
breathtaking flight.

At opposite ends of the arc

0700/26th position 3023 00109, trip 109, 1009 to Cape Town so 9 miles to the marathon half way point and a celebratory Talisker moment.

From Gordy:
hi alex pete berri
just a quick one to let you know drinks were taken buy the crowd in the
chain at 1800 24/11 as promised good few in attendance carny paul pauline
tall paul shane tim the fish and a few from ponsarden photos to follow
sign off now ok take care guys
keep her going boys

A truly inspirational gathering of poets, philosophers and other seekers after the truth - onya chasps! We were right there with you in pious spirituosity!

Correction to my last - Fred Watson's red giant may have been only the size of earth's orbit - still no dried lentil. Idle thoughts about all this were followed by one of the longest burn up plumes from an object entering earth's atmosphere that I think I have ever seen - from our position 30.13 S 001.36 W time 0148/26th November, track roughly SE - NW, perhaps 320, altitude at the start about 30 deg and it flew almost to the NW horizon directly under Orion. Very fast, very thin trail, not a lot of light but spectacular.

Sue of the yellow piggy - erk! But thanks for storm surf info about southern ocean swells - I was close after all and they have been with us all day.

First Albatross

Oh wonder of the Universe - can there be anything so lovely anywhere between here and Squornshellous Zeta? I think it's an Atlantic Yellow Nosed albatross - black eyes, grey head, yellow line on beak, white rump, grey uppers and white underparts with black leading edges underwing. The definition and depth of colour of its markings seem closer to the Bullers which lives in the Pacific. All depends on yellow lines on the beak and subtle differences in plumage - I have some reasonable photos but the beak is indistinct, unfortunately but I don't think there's a second yellow line under the beak. Anyway, a joy to behold and I do hope that if life has evolved amongst any of the galaxies that have been around for the last 13 billion years or so, Albatrosses are part of it. Perhaps Herschel will tell us.

And we just crossed 30 S. A bunch of opportunities to listen to Vogon poetry and mother-in-law jokes coming up as we sit with our favourite medical consultant - there's the Greenwich meridian about a day away and 1000 to go in about 70 miles. Then we will pass Sydney just before we get to CT and maybe even Wollonging if we aim past it to beat the wind and current. Plus our albatross. Yay and wooohooo.

Pete saw a ship! So much excitement in a day - I am faint and trembling with whelm.

The moon has just gone down in the west and the night sky has come to life - all those potential albatrosses out there in the universal boonies - Berrimilla's own intimate 14 billion year slice of space-time. Gravity is in the eye of the beholder - s/he who first drew an outline that linked the stars into constellations. Orion's belt now satisfactorily defies its northern hemisphere creator and dangles upwards - Sirius, Castor and Pollux, Procyon and the rest of the mob in attendance and the Pleiades nebulating happily. I'd love to have a stable platform and a telescope out hers! Space is really really big and there's so much stuff to look at! Fred Watson, my favourite astronomer, told me there's a red giant out there with a diameter larger that our Solar system. Coo! Makes poor old Betelgeuese look like a dried lentil.

Carol, thanks - we'll do our best - these systems give us lots of cloud cover so iffy at best.

Scott - no chance we'll make Hobart for the post S2H shindig - most likely end January. Where are you these days?

Enough already. This is going via iridium.