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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.

Of pointy bits and whoopee cushions

Position 0700 5th 3853 03442 trip 126 DMG 97 so still zigging and zagging but improving.

Dawn this morning - 0230 ish UTC, two big albatrosses and the usual gaggle of Yellow Noses. The big ones were probably New Zealand but possibly Snowy - the plumage is very similar and proper identification requires a good look at the bill. Breathtakingly gorgeous - and in the golden dawn as they banked away, their white underparts had a golden sheen for the few seconds they reflected the sun directly. If they hang around till the evening, they will be pink in the dying sunset. Drool all y'all at your desks in the big smoke!

In the interests of science and education - ain't we always striving to add to the great store of knowledge? - an experiment that seems to be working. As some of you will know, the best part of a cornflakes packet and of some production boats that arrive by ship in plastic cocoons is the packaging. I have the bits of the soft plastic strip that once wrapped a Beneteau mast doing good things all over the boat. Those of you who have followed this saga from its early days will also know of the awful problem of lacerated bum caused by the pointy bits of your pelvis trying to bore their way out through the glutes as you sit on the hard surfaces and Berri pirouettes and corkscrews around you. Inescapable and Awful! But in a moment of inspiration yesterday, I cut a piece of the plastic strip about 40cm by 20 and then cut two 120mm holes in it at the correct distance to accommodate the arse bones and behold - it seems to work. A two holer version of a piles pad, I think!

So have a noice day. We are about to crack 9000 miles by GPS from Falmouth.

Freaks in the frame?

First Macca, now perhaps Sailing Anarchy. Can this be fame? Notoriety? Just the result of being seen as freaks? Ho hum. Happy New Year to all you anarchists out there if you do get to read this nonsense.

This is a savage bit of ocean, even in summer. The early Portuguese explorers called it the graveyard of ships and no bloody wonder. There's a lot of them still here including Bartholomeu Diaz, one of my heroes. It seems to have even more bite that last time we were here. Hoping that once we get clear of the influence of the african continent, it will come to its senses.

SteveJ asked what happens after a big knockdown - does Berri just spring back as if it was always intended to have a bit of fun. Yep - that's what happens - well, it is what has always happened so far! - her angle of vanishing stability is 146 degrees - she will roll to 146 degrees and still have righting moment so is immensely stiff by modern standards and she just flips back once the wave has past. Different story if the mast goes into the water though as we found when we were rolled right over and dismasted off Gabo Island 3 years ago this week. There's a 2mb pdf of that story here: Dismasted pdf (SJ, if it's gone, could you pse add one to the blog? Ta! ed: link to pdf added

Udo - my apologies - I made a mistake with one of the posts and left the footer on the message, dozy old fart that I am. I don't actually send these from the berrimilla2 address but from our sailmail address. The B2 address is put on the post to stop people just hitting the reply button and sending 10 pages of message strings, caveats and other garbage with their 3 line note and also, the idea is to keep the spammers at arms length and to keep their crap out of our inbox. We're off the air immediately if that happens - this is a radio link and very tenuous. Thanks for your NY message!

Malcom, thanks for advice - if we do make the dive, we will head for Christmas Harbour (Baie de L'Oiseau, NE corner) first and then go the northern route to Port au Francais. However, given yesterday's little drama, the dive is looking iffy. We'll monitor the conditions but no point in risking the boat and ourselves if it stays savage.


Variations on a theme of Prufrock. When I was camping out in the bloodhouse on the corner of the main drag in Nome in July 2008, in those uncertain days while we waited for Point Barrow ice to break and melt, I needed to make coffee and I bought a small electric water boiler which came with a little blue plastic funnel and a pack of 100 one cup filter papers. I left the heater with Pat when we departed, but I still have the funnel and 15 of those 100 filters left - that's 85 cups of coffee for the NW passage, the Atlantic across the top and then down to Agulhas and the Indian to here. A silly statistic - rough guess 13000 miles, so a cup every 150 miles or so. Must have drunk a lot in the NWP because almost none from Falmouth to here.

And the not so trivial - as you read this you are probably sitting at your computer, surrounded by all the usual paraphernalia - books, papers, pencils, coffee cups, photos of the cat, the cat itself and all the rest. Imagine if you will what would happen if your house was turned on its side and a bit past the horizontal. All sorts of chaos...That's what has just happened to us - quite a severe knockdown, as usual after the wind had abated considerably and we'd thought it safe to set some sail and get going again. I was perhaps too ambitious with the wind angle, putting it more on the beam than the quarter. Pete was here behind the cone of silence and I'd just got up for a pee and was looking directly through the big starboard galley window and saw it coming. The boat rose and rolled to port and everything not properly stowed in the galley and quarter berth shelves launched itself across the boat and into the cone - tubs of margerine, apples, some kilkenny - chaos. We must have rolled through about 110 degrees - a tub of margerine that started below the waterline in a quarterberth bin made a big splat of yellow goo right at the top of the cone (heavy plastic curtain protecting the nav table and the electronics - it has saved our bacon countless times) and was still going up. Then it and several others fell to the floor and - of course - ended upside down on our bit of hairy matting. Careful stowage looked after the rest of the (heavy) gear around the boat but a timely reminder of our vulnerability. Cockpit a disaster zone but no apparent damage and now all sorted and cleaned up. Pete asleep, I'm on watch and the big waves are still out there. Poo! Makes Kerguelen look very iffy indeed.