Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 19 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 19, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 19 May 2008

MONDAY, 19 MAY 2008

Underway again Mon 19/05/2008 07:50

We sat and rolled around for about 6 hours while the dragon played with his blast vents. Now under way again, still pretty awful but psychologically better. Creeping NNW with heady alone, hoping the grib is right and we get a NWly tomoz. Still a bloody long way to go and if it’s all uphill it will be just like the last 10 k in a marathon – only worse, if that’s possible.

Lots to write about but connections very flaky and my iridium data connection has died, which severely limits us.

3322..20 17116.19 and parked again.Mon 19/05/2008 22:17

I just don’t understand this iridium business. I have 2 motorola 9505 satellite handsets and a data kit that connects one or the other to the USB port on the laptop. Airmail (the sailmail application) has a brilliant iridium connect facility and – if the phone has a signal – it should be just a matter of dialling the iridium data call number, establishing the connection and using Airmail to send and receive messages – plain text only – no effective internet access. One 9505 has my old faithful Falklands Islands Cable and Wireless SIM card in it – a contract service and quite expensive but it has never failed. The other 9505 has an Xsatusa SIM with a 500 minute voucher on it that theoretically should give me voice and data at a cheaper rate. This is still not properly set up, but that’s a different problem It worked fine for data until yesterday but now will not connect to the iridium data service – it tells me that the remote computer will not allow the connection. I have carefully checked all the settings and even created a second dial up connection. The C&W handset sent the last blog and – I hope – will send this one. I can’t access the Xsat support service – too long a story but I cant. Anyone got any ideas?

The sun is out, sparkling day, quite noticeably colder – water @ 22.9 degrees, which slows down the watermaker – and the wind coming from exactly where we want to go at about 25 knots. Because of the sea state, there is no angle that we can sail at that gets us closer to Dutch – the closest, either way, is about 5 degrees away from what we need. And bloody uncomfortable too! The engine will thump into wind and sea and move us slowly and stressfully in the general direction but there’s very little gain per litre of diesel and we now must conserve. So we’re hove to, rolling around, but quiet, boat unstressed, sleep possible.

Heaving to – without getting too technical, means setting the boat so that it lies parallel to the waves and at right angles to the wind, both give or take 20 degrees or so. Some boats, like Berri, do it easily, with no sail up, others won’t do it at all. When hove to, it drifts downwind and sometimes forwards or backwards and generally, apart from the rolling, is snug and safe. In really huge breaking seas, it’s not a good option – you really have to try to sail the boat to minimise the effect of the waves and wind, as we did rather a lot of in the southern ocean, but here, it’s fine. Occasionally a wave breaks and crashes across the boat or fills the cockpit – as just happened, but no drama.

Inside the boat at floor level, everything is damp if not outright wet – you can’t keep a tiny boat dry while you tramp in and out in soaking, dripping party gear, which you then have to get out of and stow somewhere, with the litres of water it is holding dripping out of it. As I sit at the nav table, I’m thrown violently (and I mean violently) around as the boat rolls and have to wedge and brace myself to keep the keys going.

Will try to iridiumise this – we’re out of HF sailmail range at the mo.


Hove to. Noon 3249.08 17123.07

DTD 1596 dmg 83

Passing the time really – not possible to make headway safely with sail into this stuff. Surprisingly, we are moving north while hove to. Slowly! Cant really even do routine maintenance stuff – but bilges must be looked after, and half cupful of exquisitely flavoured but excess olive oil poured down the head (bog, loo, toilet etc for the nautically challenged)

Spoke to Steve on the batphone to resolve laptop problem – I killed the thing in the end and it has come good. i think the nav program takes over and tries to save all the trackpooints. But, in consequence, decided that today’s Con would be with dr Steve the Alchemist. Onya, mate – gold as ever! Will now try to send all this via iridium, which started started this problem in the first place.


Previous cont 3241 17116 Mon 19/05/2008 03:24

Later – 3243.24 17126.41

We’re hove to waiting for this swirl of dragons blast to go away. Wind 25 kts 050M, our heading is 310M and we’re fore reaching 283M towards northern Japan at 1.2 kts. Just might make it in time for the finish of the next Melbourne Osaka race in three years time…There was no way we could make reasonable headway into a truly awful sea – nothing severe, but short, confused, steep, occasionally breaking and dumping on us. Poor Berri pounding and flexing and not happy. So we’re parked until something improves. Could be a day or so, but the grib indicates tomorrow morning. McQ asleep, I’ve had a shave, done the boat chores and will work away at some other things on the list.

Last night full on – I’ve never seen cloud rushing past the moon like that – cloud base must have been about 500 ft to get the perspective. You know, perhaps, how a non stop train blitzing through a station seems to be going very much faster than you expect, sometimes. This cloud was like that. One lovely few moments – tiny clear patch, moon in full glory, silver sky all around and ice crystal halo. Tiny wisps of high cloud, the whole patch surrounded by black, beetling blasting monsters – and then it was gone. Next watch spent out of the cockpit taking out reefs, re running tweakers, sorting messes and tidying up – immensely hard work, because every movement needed bracing against wild gyrations and dumping waves. Soaked. And next watch, McQ in charge, wind came back from the N and put it all back in again. So we considered the options and here we are. Quiet and peaceful, although, inevitably, some wild rolling occasionally.

H – can’t think of any snail mail stuff, thanks. xx

Carla, thanks so much for sorting the email. Moot point as to whether it was spam – to me, all unsolicited commercial email is spam and anathema! Will write today – post caffeination. And perhaps part 2 of 1000 years in a day.

Kimbra – for Dave and Karl – again, huge thanks for all that useful info. If we ever get to Dutch, or Seattle, there will be Consultation and Discussion.


SpaceRef staff editor.