Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 26 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 29, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 26 May 2008

MONDAY, 26 MAY 2008

4336.46 17351.22 Mon 26/05/2008 14:16

Was right first time – its Andak. Moonless, so far, at 2245 AEST, 2345 local. Hazy, first and second mag stars only, grey sky with myriad pinpricks – Great Bear was directly over masthead, now off to port – undefined horizon – just a heavy merge from grey to black. Doing diesel sums – how far can we motor this time – we have 130 ltrs in jerries and whatever is in the tank, say 60 ltrs so 190 @ 2/hr = 95 hrs or about 3 days = about 300 miles. My Amchitka waypoint is 533 miles ahead, then there’s at least another 400 to Dutch along the inside. In round numbers, 300 miles in the tank, 1000 to go and we need a contingency factor so say 200 in the tank + 100 contingency. I think we’ll keep the motor running for 24 hrs max and reassess with new grib and actual progress as factors.

I saw an aircraft too – I wonder which route we’re under. Perhaps Seattle to Beijing? My aircraft seemed to be going north, and was to the east of us. US West coast over the pole to Moscow perhaps or am I way off?

Follow up from my last about state of mind – I can’t know, of course, that I actually do wake up when things change – just a pious hope – but I do know that I have done so at a couple of critical times – once just in time to prevent the forestay from parting company with the boat.

180 degrees – the International Dateline – that arbitrary divider imposed by Imperial Britain – last time Berri crossed it was way down at the other end, just south of the Antipodes Islands, so named because they are almost exactly opposite Greenwich on the earth’s surface. That was in January 2005 and about 6 months later I stood at the exact opposite end of the axis, on the Greenwich meridian at the Observatory. I bet there aren’t many people alive who have done that. Odd feeling too – think about all that mass and heat in between…Will be fitting to cross it again in Amchitka pass if we do go through that way.

Propagation here non existent – odd – so will try iridium to see whether there’s goodies for us out there. Speed awol in Dartmouth, so might be change in routine.

Just stuck my head up to check for sea monsters and there’s a soft cheesy moon just above the horizon, yellow through the murk and only the first mag stars visible – but there’s a horizon.


McQ: A heater in the Boot Room??

Wet feet = sad me
Cold feet = sad me
Dry feet = happy me
Warm feet = happy me
Warm and dry feet = extra happy me!!!

A simple formula really but Alex’s latest innovation, a variation on the hot water bottle theme is just wonderful (empty nutella tub and, of course, ziploc bag, just in case it leaks!) Warm up some water- but not too hot to melt the plastic, into nutella pot, screw lid up tightly, into ziploc and tuck in at the bottom of the Cat’s Meow at the start of off watch and two hours later, toasty feet- woo hoo!!!

Which got me thinking:

Is there a heater in the boot room?? Probably, being the Arctic. And which sort of person is worse/better- the one who rushes back, first into the boot room, throws of his layers and takes pride of place by the heater for his boots to warm them up overnight… or, the one who ambles in late after everyone else has gone and moves aforementioned boots and replaces his own in the best, warmest spot. Then theres the type of person who keeps his boots in the corner furthest from the heater, he will have no probs locating his own boots in the morning but has to suffer cold feet continually. A system perhaps, whereby, everyone gets a turn of their boots getting the warmest spot??? A heater in the boot room- adds a whole new dynamic.

5 knotters of wind at the mo, so donk on and pointing to destination: first clear night in ages tho’- I see stars!!! Saw a plane too and I think a satellite aswell… busy up there tonight!!

Lots of love

PS. For Heat(h)er (!!): I seem to recall we used to make excellent lemonade at 67WPS and Viewmount too- we have 6 lemons and 3 limes left on board, some sugar (not loads- need to keep enough for our tea and coffee, v v important!!) Can you tell me what quantities of sugar and water i need for our fruit and do i need to add anything else/ do anything other than pulverise the whole lot together??? lots of love Cor xxx


Noon 4253.46 17341.60 Mon 26/05/2008 04:13

dtd 1039 dmg 115

Kimbra, I’ve left a message for Gary Ramos Been thinking about state of mind, cold feet, endless finishing straights – all more or less linked. Standing beside the Cutty Sark, before the fire when she was fully rigged, I wondered how anyone could get that huge ship with that enormous sail area and unimaginable power up to maximum speed and keep her there for 90 days through the southern ocean rollers, the doldrums, and all the storms and calms in between. How would you feel as the captain, making daily decisions about sail, course, weather and the rest with the ship creaking and straining around you and water crashing across the decks and the rig vibrating and shuddering and flexing with every huge wave? Disaster lurking every moment and with every breaking wave – some bigger than the ship itself. Were those men so confident in their ships and their own abilities that they would sleep easily at night with all that going on – and, above all, a deadline to meet and a race to win in some cases? Or did they, like me, live their lives in a state of nervous, analytical, catastrophising, anticipation? Was their whole attention focused on the ship and its dialogue with them, the subtle changes in tone and pitch, in vibration, in motion through and over the water, the tiny sounds that signalled changes in condition, in the state of a massive brace or a spar and the state of the crew and their capacity to keep driving the ship? That’s me and it’s a big big strain. Only at times when the sea is at its most benign and there’s nothing in the forecast can I ease up and read or do a crossword or listen to music. Inevitably, when I do, it gets interrupted by a random thought about something that needs fixing or that should go on the list for Dutch. I sleep tuned to the boat and when things change, I’m usually awake immediately and trying to sense what has changed. When things are bad, I doze, but don’t sleep, and usually sitting on the floor of the boat at least partly dressed in party gear. I guess that in my world, shit happens and I like to feel that I’m prepared to deal with it and am at least partly on top of each possibility before it happens and have taken action to minimise or prevent it. Lots of examples on this trip – checkstays, furler mods, backstay tackle. And simple things like noticing that the shackle pin holding the tack on the main to the gooseneck had unwound a couple of turns, or that my mousing line for the checkstay was about to fly loose in 30 kts – little things that so often get ignored or missed And as I write this, I wonder what I have actually missed as we enter the never ending finishing straight.

The Melbourne marathon finishes next to the Art Gallery almost in the city centre. The last 8 or so kilometres are almost straight – a long straight stretch along St Kilda rd, about 4 k, the long shallow bend to the left at Toorak rd, and back again past the old barracks and then a final kink to the left and you can see the finish. A whole kilometre away at least. If you’ve never run one, you won’t have any idea how difficult it is to keep pushing a screaming body metre by metre along those stretches and the final k is almost the hardest because that’s when you know you have to push even harder and you cant feel your legs any more and your eyes have no focus. The headbangingest thing I’ve ever done and not just once but about 15 times. This little stretch of 500 miles or so to Amchitka is similar – never seems to get shorter, day to day – GPS always seems to say 5 days 6 hrs to go. Immensely difficult to stay cool and just wait while it all happens – but happen it will.

And cold feet. Dry though they may be, they just don’t ever get warm. I’ve just remembered that Pete and I used plastic beer bottles as hotties and I’m experimenting as I write. But we’ll buy those little metal camping drink bottles in Dutch and use them for the next leg.


SpaceRef staff editor.