Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 12 April 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
April 12, 2008
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Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 12 April 2008




End of yips, perhaps, with wooden head firmly touched.

We’re now 3 miles north of Coffs and about 85 miles out. McQ asleep but will surely rejoice when she surfaces for her watch. Just gybed and now pointing directly at the San Cristobal waypoint 1255 miles ahead. We’re still banging into about 2 knots of current so our vmg is only about 4.7 kts – gloom! – 11 days to the waypoint AGW. Frustrating, but nowt to do!

Sun just rising – glowing pink contrail from the NE – looks like 4 engines, so perhaps Air France, if they still exist, from Nouvelle Caledonie. Last night I could see the commuter trails between Sydney and Brisvegas – yeeehaaa – know where I’d rather be making a trail.

Berri very fat and heavy but still hikes along remarkably well and very easy to drive. Tends to dive into the waves a bit sometimes which is to be expected but no dramas. Interesting puzzle with the AirGen wind generator. It whizzes away happily but doesn’t seem to put much charge into the battery and doesn’t actually overcome the drain from the systems. I looked at the manual and it says the thing is supposed to maintain about 12.5v in the battery, which it does but the battery was still down to about 82% this morning and I’m running the donk to fill ‘er up. We have enough diesel to run for a couple of hours each day, which we need to do to make water anyway, so again, no dramas. But it’s odd. Or the Xantrex monitor is not properly calibrated.

Nearly Yuri time in Louisiana and Texas. Satphone at the ready.

Just looked outside in full daylight – big swell from the south, perhaps 5 metres, and confused and lumpy.



K – have been in touch with Alphonse – qi works! The place is clean and tidy. He’s even more ferocious with Olympic fervour in the backbone!

El – fantastic – probably won’t see you there but enjoy. Wow!

Izz – telltales and magic installed and operational. Ta!

And once again, here we are – tiny blob in huge ocean going somewhere. Yuri’s night to come – we shall not get faceless, but the sentiment is there.

So much stuff – this time is different. Last time it just happened, this time, seems to me, there are Expectations. We’ll do our best…

Poled out – brilliant night, pointing at San Cristobal, at least 10 days away – hang in there and I’ll think of something…poor old Orion is always upside down down here but he still has a fabulous belt full of nebulae. Go look!

I’m a bit rusty with my HHGTTG but I seem to remember that Zaphod was put into The Vortex or something similar. Was intended to fry his brain and show him how infinitesimally small and insignificant he was in the gobsmackingly HUGE universe and basically just tell him to shut up and go home. Zaphod, unsurprisingly, rather enjoyed the experience and saw the universe as his gobsmackingly interesting and challenging playground. Pascal, if you’re out there, that’s for you!

We’ve just had our little Yuri celebration – wrong time zone, but what the hell, we can have another one soon.


One small sip…………

One small sip for humankind, one huge sip for Yuri. We thought a Consultation in his memory at lunchtime would be appropriate and it was.

We have 3 versions of Dr Cooper’s medicinal compound this time – one brewed by Pete, one by Steve and one by Jasper – and we think that with proper abstemiousness (abstention? or maybe that’s just for the pollies)the supply will get us to Dutch. There is a small quantity of emergency rocket fuel as well, just in case.

Still headbutting the East Australian Current. About a knot here, sea temp 27 degrees, down from 28 so we might be breaking free. Mrs P @ Belmore South, Hi to the All Stars and if they need a project, the CSIRO website has lots of interesting stuff about the EAC and it’s effects. The sea surface is a metre higher and the warm water is pushed down the continental shelf from the tropics by the earth’s rotation.

Noon position 3131.34.1 15340.44.1 Not quite 100 miles I think. I’, rackint my two neurons to try to remember how I fed two positions into my Merlin calculator and it calculated the day’s run. Not necessarily velocity made good but just a distance between 2 points. Gerry, do you remember how to do it – not easily found in the instruction book. Else I’ll have to plot it and that would impinge on all the other important things

Of which more later…


Mcq – Day 3

Its the morning of Day 3 now- and I think I too might have to partake in the consulting this evening for Yuri’s night of partying. We have the satphone at the ready and various people to call later- assuming we get the time differences worked out!!

I was going to write last night but just when I was about to (we were iron sail assisted, but quite downwind at the time) the wind veered round a bit so I gybed the main across and then the wind picked up a bit too, desperate to have the sound of the engine off we unfurled the headsail, then, typically the wind changed its mind again and went back to where it started and died. This made me quite grumpy as in the time it would have taken to smoke a cigarette to wait and see whether it settled in from one direction etc it had swung round and up and back and down again… anyway you get my drift!!

Other than that and the general flopping about in no wind in big lumpety swell it was a second spectacular night… It was one of those nights where the sky looks as though someone has silver spray painted it, and we were also surrounded by a sprinkling of phosphorescence, and the odd big swirl of the stuff behind as the rudder churned up the sea… nights like these are amazing and make it all so worthwhile. There were shooting stars all over the place as well- Alex thinks that we go through some sort of dust field (him, berri and I? Australia? The World? The Galaxy?) once a year and it might be now, but maybe someone intelligent who knows c ould explain!! The moon set early and I remember noticing how bright Orion was. I also noted that he looked less warrior, with belt and sword and more splayed on his back as if someone had stabbed him!!! Maybe its just the way he is in the Southern Hemisphere at that time of night (or maybe there was too much meths in my coffee!!!)

Anyway, should prob go on deck and make sure Kevvo, whom I am coming to like very much, is happy and need to work on my tan too- It’s all really very chilled and content in our little home with all our friends and I hope Alex is too.

Oh, and is day 3 too early for a change of clothes????

Lots of love to all McQ


SpaceRef staff editor.