Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 16 April 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
April 16, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 16 April 2008


Midnight in the boonies 2310.54 15747.39

Just pulled in Speedy’s midnight special – thanks to everyone for your messages. H, hope you arrived safely in the ‘Jing.

Seems our wild surf is slowing – I was standing on the cockpit seats hanging on to the dodger knees slightly bent riding this violently rolling, pitching, yawing corkscrew of a 7 ton surfboat with the moon ahead gyrating in the sky and the flashing white surf whooshing past the boat – Ben Hur in his chariot, a bareback rider standing on her horse in a circus – whatever the image, the power of the wind and the sea and the boat’s ability to grab it and hoon with a bit of help from Kevvo was the stuff that brings a surge of happys to the heart. And now the wind has abated just a little, brilliant moon still up there, big waves still chasing us and we’re 727 miles from Sydney. Wooohooo.

And I’m not exactly sure what the line on the chart actually means but I think we have left Oz and crossed the border into New Caledonia. Progress of a sort!

Just lost half my scalding cup of tea over my hand and the floor. Oww! Sat on the floor and dunked a little tower of McVities one by one. Way to go. Biskit dunking lessons in the last gig’s logs somewhere – slight change to technique though as we now have a couple of huge mugs we bought in Falmouth last time and the whole biscuit fits in the nozzle so to speak and instant floppiness arrives if care not taken in timing dunk with boat’s roll – total loss of biscuit and sludgy tea…Nice though and can be taken with a spoon later.

Airgen now keeping the batteries fully charged – makes life much easier. Must be the wind strength.

Kimbra – had memory gadget plugged into laptop when it crashed and suspect that’s dead too, so I’ve lost your files unless I saved a copy on the home laptop which I daren’t open in these conditions. Might need some advice as we go north of the border. Also lost your email address

And, Eleanor, yours too – email Speedy and let me know how The Plan progresses.


Every weather event must end sometime…2350.34 15751.26

Mixed feelings about this one. It’s pushing us north way ahead of schedule but it’s bordering on the iffy as far as sea state goes. 25 – 30 kts in the harbour is relatively trivial but out here, with 1000 miles or so of fetch along which the sea builds into short, vicious steep 5 – 8 metre waves with occasional bigger ones (always difficult to judge wave height from the boat) it is nasty and just a bit extreme. We have 3 reefs in the main and most of the furler in and McQ is hand steering. Kevvo get thrown off line and we’re all over the place if we leave him in charge. Next step, if it gets any worse, will be to drop the main. Trisail a possibility but may not be too easy to get at at the mo. Mistake, of course.

Just found some more chocolate. Sun already gone, moon up somewhere tho I cant see it from here. Steely blue sky going grey with long black shadows behind us as the rain squalls build. Would be – no is – magnificent and indifferent, but also threatening. We’re aiming for the west – leeward – side of the reef and Chesterfield Island. Should be up there tomorrow evening AGW.


1130 position 2425.32 15750.20 – there wont be a noon one

DTD 5140 so VMG 135. This seems to be due to stay with us for at least another day, then it gets a bit confused.

Those of you who were tuned in to the B1 log may remember the VoA temperature indicator. The VoA number is getting very low, so the temperature must be rising. On the assumption, that is, that a high number means high viscosity. If you are completely lost, the hitchikers guide to berriland on the previous website might be of assistance…


McQ: Hooning along in a washing machine, pos: 2427.48s 15750.1e

Hello Everybody…Its pretty difficult to find a moment to sit still and write a blog in these conditions!! The Cone of Silence is up/down/in use and to even dare to try and get past in wet weather clothes would be enough to get you keel hauled (understandably so, though!!!) and to take your lifejacket followed by about a gazillion wet layers off to come and writ e a blog means that invevitably something will happen on deck, kevvo will have a moment or whatever and you find yourself needing to leap back up with not nearly enough wet protection!!!

As expected the wind and the sea picked up yesterday and soon enough we were down to three reefs and a wee hankerchief of headsail!!! The good thing (in theory) about a furler is that you don’t need to go to the foredeck to change the amount of sail. So the furthest forward we need to go fo r manouvres is the mast for reefing- that said the bow is only about another two steps forward of the mast on wee Berri!!!

I have seen some bigs seas in my time and I have likened the Pacific Ocean, last time I was here, to like being on a giant 3D roller coaster, for days!!! But that was on a boat nearly twice the length of Berri and if I thought that was a roller coaster- well this is something else.

On a boat this size everthing is heightened an d magnified, so the sheer scale of the walls of water that pile upon from behind seem gigantic. The wind is still blowing, gusting 30, from the starboard quarter so a great fast reach for us. The swell is from the SE but is topped with a short steep confused sea, so every so often, the swell will pick up our stern and we’ll feel as if we are ploughing vertically downward and at the same time the crest of a breaking wave will break beam on, drenching us and really ensuring that we are thrown around violently as if in an open topped washing machine!!!! But it’s great fun!!!!

Not just once have I turned and looked behind to see what is coming next and thanked our luckiy stars that (for the moment) we aren’t going the other way- that really would be a cold, wet, miserable and grumpy ride!!!

Hope everyone is well, lots of love and Happy Birthday Carie McQ x


SpaceRef staff editor.