Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 1 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 1, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 1 May 2008


Serious for a mo.

Yesterday was May 1. That means that the eclipse on Aug 1 is 3 months away – 91 days in fact. In that time we have to get to Dutch, fix some things, reprovision, get lots of advice, charts, warm clothing etc – and then get up to Nome 600 miles or so north, wait for favourable ice reports at Point Barrow and go north and, if we’re lucky, around the corner and across the top at least as far as Cambridge Bay by Aug 1 so that we are in the path of the eclipse. I think the Haughton Mars Camp people – Pascal and his crew – leave Devon Island around Aug 15 so we need to be up at Beechey by then if possible. Talk about water under keels!

Dutch fixes: the laptop; perhaps a strip and refurbish of backup watermaker motor; the ST 4000 tiller autopilot (which seized yesterday and I’m awaiting advice before taking it apart – where are ya Matt Reyes-McGyver?); major repack of boat to squeeze Kimbra in; maybe fit checkstay points on the mast – seems to be flexing forwards rather a lot and I’m not used to bendy masts so feel a bit unsure of what is reasonable flex and what should be stayed. We have to buy a bear rifle, guinness, other medicinal compounds and soul food. Cold weather diesel and maybe an extra external tank. The rest will depend on what happens between here and Dutch and what facilities there are up there.

So, so far so good but it’s a finely balanced enterprise – massively so – and we still need a lot of luck. Keep ’em all crossed for us please.


The Backing Group – Kimbra

Hello everyone out there. Alex would like you to get some idea of what goes on in the background. The answer is loads and we are blessed with a great team of people Worldwide. All of whom help the project in a variety of ways. Weather forecasts (Wx) are essential and we depend on Kimbra Lindus (who will join Berri for the Northwest Passage sector of the voyage from Alaska). Here is a typical exchange between the forecaster and the boat:

Kimbra:Wind should be more SE for next day. Use it to move NE-ish against current if poss. Stronger gradient winds should be starting to fill in from the east over the next couple of days! Lightish to the west. Still wet north of equator before trades.
Alex:Your predictions spot on. Tks for little bottles. Grib says here more or less same to 5N then wind increasing to top of Marshalls to about 15 kt still Easterly. Plan is to go straight up the meridian if poss to top of M’s then what do you suggest? We could try for height or just keep going in the pious belief that we’ll get into w/sw further up.
Kimbra (today):Short-range: Congrats – you’re about to get back into wet stuff for a few days. Worst of it is to the W & NW of you, doesn’t look as bad to N & E in the big pic. Shittiest on Sunday. Gradient winds should pick up to 15 kts avg from Fri arvo thru Sunday, then another lighter patch @ 10 kts, depending on yr progress nth. Direction mainly E, but will start to feel a bit of NE by Mon – initially assoc more with rain system to W than trades proper.

FYI – tropical cylone in Bay of Bengal. Light years away & heading NW to land. No probs. Low developing NW of Taiwan approx 25N 125E. Also heading NE to brush east coast Japan with gales. Models don’t show any swell/wind in your parts from it. Did you know Japan Met Agency forecasts cherry blossom blooming dates?? To within 4 days!


0129.21 16353.23

Dollink – imagination in recess at the mo – you could post this as is if you like…We’re back in amorphous grey – squall following squall following squall. So far, no Vlad sharpening his stake but still a pain. Can’t see Polaris yet – he’s still down in the murk line around the northern horizon. The equator has receded into the background radiation – Half way is less than 600 miles ahead…Was thinking – might interest the punters if you post my notes to Kimbra and her replies – apart from anything else, saves me having to explain and therefore airtime. Iridium costs money! and we’re just about out of sailmail range of Oz and only marginally in Hawaii.


noon in the North 0027.07 16344.47

dtd 3581 so dmg 116 – mostly motor, but we’re sailing again and looks like Kimbra’s wx change on the horizon.

Nauru – tiny island – once the main source of phosphates for fertiliser all the world’s farmers and no doubt lots of other less productive things. Phosphates come from guano – bird poo – and the island must have been hundreds of metres deep in the stuff – just imagine the time, the numbers of birds, where have they all gone? The island now just a barren spiky rocky wasteland mostly but with a big population. They originally invested well – skyscraper in Melbourne for one – but I don’t know what has happened since.

Still sweaty hot – we have the hatches open and the Cone open so there’s a breeze through the boat that makes sleep possible, and also sitting here.

D – thanks for the xword – it worked – McQ has done a lot of it in her watch and now I’m going to try to finish it.


SpaceRef staff editor.