Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 10 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 11, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 10 May 2008


Bog 1750.58 16613.16


Wind has increased, but manageable. Our sewing job on the small headsail seems to be surviving being rolled in and out and it’s the perfect sail for these conditions. Looks as if we will go very close to Wake – but still 90 miles away and plenty of time for adjustments. Some tiny signs that we are getting closer – the nights are noticeably cooler, so sleep is easier and the Great Bear is tickling his tummy on the masthead early every evening. Soon we’ll be directly underneath him.

Speed has an official birthday tomorrow – Consultations and good wishes all around please. There will be Consulting going on out here for sure.

Interesting patch of water we are crossing – the divide between Wake, bomb test HQ and the bomb test range in the Marshalls. Would have been well travelled in the ’40s and ’50s and some famous names – Oppenheimer, Teller, Szilard, Strangelove, Fermi, Beeblebrox and probably some of the rocket scientists too – von Braun, perhaps. Was Einstein ever part of the test team?


McQ: just stuff

Well, it was with slight trepidation that I was looking forward to this evenings meal- Big A was in charge, his turn to cook, and given his fondness for rotting bacon and the fact that I saw him examining the mouldy cabbage earlier, well, I didn’t fancy my chances!!!

However, I am pleased to report, that the bacon barely tasted too piggy and there was only the merest hint of foost in every cabbage mouthful (nothing that good old tabasco couldn’t sort!!) and the whole concoction, with the addition of beanz and toms and pepperoni was really very good!!!

The ocean is beginning to resemble the Pacific that I remember- humungous swell, pretty regular and long, with a fair old sea on top of that. There is still a long way to go before it is as big as I remember, but we were also further north and it would have been Jan/ Feb time then. As is will do nicely though for us, thank you very much. Wee Berri is surging across the sea, with Ray back in charge, we are just trying to coax Berri across and through the waves without too many rig shuddering moments- she’s doing great though, loving it infact, I would guess. Its due to build over the next 48 or so hours so might be an opportunity to try the trysail… in the meantime, we are chomping away at the miles- funny how, not so long ago 20N seemed almost inconceivably far off but now is less than 4 degrees away. crazy stuff.

I am caked in salt- have just mopped it out of my eyes but the rest of me is still caked, my skin has that slimy greasy feel that you get when you have been doused continually with salt water for some time!! Mostly today this is due to being on deck on watch for mere minutes and four huge waves slapped against the hull, then up in the air then down my neck. Unbelievable!! Though at the time I did ask the ocean very politely, no swearing at all, as to whether that was really necessary and whether I really deserved such a drenching. Wherever I moved in the cockpit, the waves would follow and get me, all the rest of the watch- you had to laugh!!!

Thats all for now folks.

Love and hugs,


Of breeding and perhaps a colour index for hydration

My father, bless him, who taught me to sail, was a naval pilot in WW2. He told me the story of one of his Captains, who was a respected horse breeder in his spare time, and who was writing his annual flimsies – reports on the conduct and efficiency of his officers, written on very thin ‘flimsy’ paper. Of one particular officer, he felt it appropriate to write, copied to the officer and the Admiralty : ‘I would not breed from this man.’ Only bettered, I think, by Dorothy Parker and ‘No Leica.’

To all my three Consultant Physicians – DRs. Jasper, Dr. Pete and Dr. Steve, – your potions and elixirs have matured superbly. It is a shame you are not all here to sample – and therefore perhaps evolve and improve – your offerings. However, emphatically, I would breed from you all!

Now – to the smelly, daggy stuff – mostly for Belmore South. Do we wash? – no. Do we smell? maybe, but you wouldn’t notice if you lived here. I have been wearing the same two shirts since we left Sydney – I rinse one in salt water every couple of days and squeeze it out carefully while wearing the other. Unlike McQ, I don’t wear knickers because they do dreadful things to my bum when salty. Just the same two pairs of shorts, rinsed likewise. I shave every three or four days and my whiskers have almost stopped growing. The bum gets treated daily with Savlon and, when sore, as now, with Betadine and I’m being rather careful to sit on it only when essential. We sweat rivers – Niagaras – especially here inside the Cone – and we drink lots of water. I pee into a plastic bucket, (instead of the energy sapping alternative of actually fighting my way forward, opening the two toilet valves, going through the process of pumping out and flushing and closing the valves again) so I can actually look at and assess the colour of my pee. Really useful as an indicator of general health and hydration level – if it looks pale and straw coloured, it’s perfect for Sydney, but I’m drinking too much water for out here (or perhaps better expressed as drinking far more water than necessary for survival out here). If it looks dark golden, it’s about right. I don’t do supplementary vitamins, so no odd variables there.

Hope all that’s useful!


noon 1616.29 16550.34 Anyone know anyone at Wake?


DTD 2639 so dmg 121 yeeehaaa! Absolutely wonderful, exhilarating, once in a lifetime sailing. Berri just below her limits, half headsail, 3 reefs, balanced, Kevvo in charge and surging along, over, through the waves – all brilliant blue, silver, hot as hell, sun almost directly above but to south so no shade. When she doesn’t quite get over a wave, the nose goes in, white water cascades back down the deck and off we go again. Mast flexing forward rather more that leaves me comfortable but does not seem to be stressed.

This wind due to increase over next 36 – 48 hours, so sea state will be pretty horrible by the end and we will certainly have to slow down. Thinking possibly the trisail if it does build to uncomfortable state – never used it with new track and would be about the right size so good practice.

If anyone knows anyone stationed at Wake, looks as if we will certainly pass to the west, possibly some distance away, but will depend on how this develops. Would love to wave if anyone wants to come and find us…the website will indicate our position accurately enough for a practice exercise. If any likelihood of our being in range, we will be on VHF 16 or can do any HF frequency if advised. Iridium phone number [please use ‘contact’ to email for number-ed]- probably won’t get to it first time it rings – ring back in a couple of minutes and unless we’re in pearshape on deck, we’ll be ready.


SpaceRef staff editor.