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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK. Nearly there!

The last two cans

Perfectly rationed dosage of Dr Murphy's throat clearing elixir - we have 5 miles to go and we are about to open the last two (of 144, over 69 days). I'll do another post tomorrow with the stats and other news and will keep them going while we are here.

Small glow of happiness.

Love yez all and thanks for being out there.

In sight of the lighthouse

Or we would be if it wasn't hidden in the haze. It seems that I must have forgotten to send a position report yesterday.

Position 0630/9th 3356 01755, trip 148/48 DMG 138 Capetown now 25 miles to harbour entrance.

Crystal dawn - glassy water, reflections of the moon, the sky, pinkish cloud - and Table Mountain. Almost windless - just enough to move us. Basking seal waved his flipper at us.

Doug - we will send Susan's tribute on its way when I have sent this.

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The barn door beckons

But we are not there yet. 56 miles to go, dying wind, massive knock from the current. Next time, I'd do it differently.

For the sailors: things that work:
Berrimilla's propeller, a Kiwi Feather Prop - elegant bit of kit, like Kevvo, also living down at the back. Simple, really easy to adjust and fix, pitch adjust can be done with an allen key under water. Replacement blades are easy to fit and the whole caboodle is very efficient at moving the old barge through the water. What's more, there's a really good manual that comes with it and the guys in NZ are responsive and helpful. Berri has had hers since 2003 - one of the early ones - and it has worked perfectly for nearly two circumnavigations plus all the Sydney-Hobarts and Lord Howe races in the meantime. This has included some very rough treatment at times. We have to adjust the pitch in CT after test running it for 100 hours or so with the new engine and it will be a simple matter of turning an allen key on each blade and then squirting grease into it.

48 miles to go - metre by metre - almost no wind.
44 miles to go and I think I can see the loom of the lights of the big city. Woohoo - small one in case I'm wrong. Amazing night - not a cloud anywhere except tiny one reflecting the lights - oily calm so all the stars reflected too off the water surface - which way is up? And the filmy phosphorescence that comes from algal blooms or so I understand. But the most vivid and wonderful night I can remember - no moon yet and each star and all the gas clouds and nebulae piercingly bright.

We are burning the last of our carefully conserved diesel - there's just enough to get us there with a pooptillionth to spare as long as it stays calm. If we start rolling too much, the fuel uptake tube in the tank will get bubbles in it and life will become tedious. The lighthouse has a range of 25 miles so not just yet but it's close and then we will send Susan Knight her little tribute, 155 years too late but in memory of all those people who died on the way. Just a few jelly babies and some M&Ms tied up in a handkerchief with a bit of green ribbon from the shrouds.

24 miles to go - engine stopped, mirror calm, brilliant moonlight, the sea reflecting the universe and the gentlest of caressing zephyrs as Berrimilla ghosts into an African dawn in her own rippled image. This is one of the great corners on Earth - a part of the ocean where ships and people have converged for at least 600 years - imagine! Of the Europeans, Bartholomeu Dias was probably the first, almost by mistake and he's still here somewhere with his crew in the remains of their little ship. Slavers, colonisers, gold diggers of every kind, the greedy and the godly, the cruel and the saintly, all with their dreams and their convictions have sought this corner. And the ships - rugged little Portuguese caravels, possibly Arab dhows, even Cheng Ho with his junks may have reached this place - a bit of sea unmarked, insignificant, unremarkable except for the effort, the resources, the desperation perhaps that has been thrown into getting here. And today, almost no-one passes this way - technology has made it almost irrelevant.

But here we are, in tiny Berrimilla, our own hopes and dreams drifting into the history of this place.

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