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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Onya Pete!

Test flight was indicative - personal worst half - about 2.06.30. A bit slower than the world record for a marathon.

But a few things worked - this might sound a bit pretentious so I'll try to get it right:  In Sydney, I help to deliver the ISAF Safety and Sea Survival course for offshore yachties. Part of the course mentions the need for "the will to live" - one of those meaningless catch phrases that is not really helpful in a survival situation. I try to get the message across in the classroom by developing the idea of the need for a mental plan to stay alive until the cavalry arrives. Lots of ways of doing this and each person will do something different but essentially you must manage time in your head and maintain a level of determination not to wimp out and die. No matter how long it takes, no wimping.

Following that theme but an apparent non sequitur, Pete Goss friended me on FB yesterday - some random flabber and a bit of ghast but noice! - and, coincidentally, I was reading his book (Close to the Wind) and specifically his astonishingly courageous rescue of Raphael Dinelli. Out there on the course this morning, wimpery was hovering. Turgid biomass, incipient then actual pain, brain not wanting to endure for the full two hours. Survival plan essential so I turned the thing into Pete's rescue - writ small, of course, but conceptually very strong. Raphael was out there in his sinking boat and I had to get there - as fast as possible. Every downhill became a surging incipient broach, every uphill a knockdown that had to be endured and recovered, in between was mental cups of tea, dealing with the pain of infected elbow, sorting the sailing and the autopilot and knowing that if I stopped and walked, Raphael got a bit colder. The crunch came at 9 miles where the Examiner cracked her whip and the legs faltered but Raphael was still out there so we soldiered on. Every pothole a cliff, every curve a corrosive dose of acid.

At 11 miles - vroom - the RAAF aircraft arrived and things started to improve but that last couple of miles and a bit was interminable - all gently or severely up hill and the boat was on its side for most of the journey.

And then there he was - at the 13 mile sign, a red liferaft, lit up by the RAAF...6 minutes late but we got there. Raphael alive - just. And he had champagne in the raft - odd people, the French! And if all this makes no sense, go buy Pete's book and read it - 'Close to the Wind' on Amazon will find it.

On the way, I passed several Consultant Surgeries - The Stag, The Crown and a third whose name my doozy mind refused to register. All that medicinal compound and not a drop to drink. The Examiner at her most exquisitely subtle.