Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 29 April 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 1, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 29 April 2008


Moments in the maelstrom

Some things stand out in the memory. We have a masthead tricolour light (red, green and white,for the nautically challenged). In the middle of one of the really severe squalls sometime in the last few nights, I was hand steering, Berri was surging and crashing along at nearly 8 knots, rain in sheets, spray rushing past, all reflecting both the cockpit instrument lights and the tricolour and surrounding us in a glowing pulsating cocoon. All together, freckle clenched exhilaration. I looked up, eyes slitted against the rain, to check the wind indicator at the masthead and there, streaming away from the masthead and away into the blasting night, was a lovely string of ruby jewelled water reflecting the red sector of the tri. Living moments.

Tonight is almost clear – Omar’s bowl of night in all it’s gorgeous magnificence. Old old cliche, but it really does bring home how infinitesimally, gobsmackingly tiny we are in the scheme of things.


Tiny blog – AW

first almost clear night since we left. Universe in full spreading magnificence – gerzillions and gerzillions of little twinklies and – wonder of wonders – N hemisphere stars – Great Bear, upside down ahead at about 15 deg, Orion out to port and the Southern Cross astern. Real sign of progress. Cant see the Pole Star yet…


McQ: Inspired by Chichester…

Another day, another night, and another change of accessories: as it gets dark and you swap your hat and sunnies for headtorch and feet (boots)… all good out here, still hooning along in the right direction and less than 200nm to the equator and present opening time from Kimbras goodie bag!!!! YAY, how exciting!!!!

You know what I was saying yesterday bout pressies for Neptune, well since nine this morning he is the proud owner of a fantastic slam floppy sun hat… a bit of bad luck for me!!! but a pre-emptive gift for the Boss of the Sea, perhaps???
At least my fave hat has gone to a good cause- I am now down to the old faithful Royal Honkers yacht club and my new UK mcWilliams cap from Larkey… which I have been firmly attaching to myself!!!

J’nie-AMAZING to hear from you, don’t worry about your reply being long, we are just so far from radio signal in Oz now that its hard to send and receive and we aren’t quite quite in full Hawaii range yet. not too fussed re FB, unless wee cashie had anything of interest to say???? send to Speed if any news. Also, think Alex messaged you with suggestions but for your friend- Victoria, Hi, some more books by female sailors: Claire Francis’s book, must read, Dee Caffari- Against the Flow, is out, not read but Dee is great so should be good; Emma Richards, might be called Around Alone, not read but there is definitely a copy at RAv D, Adrienne Cahalan, Around the Buoys- just read this, good and Ado is a lawyer AND a sailor- Imagine that!!! Lots more will spring to mind I am sure but if there is one round the world book that ought to be read, and I know he is not female but you can’t beat Chichester’s book Gipsy Moth Circles the World. Brilliant!!!!

At this end, we are learning the Ancient Mariner….!!

lots of love to all


noon 0321.32 16243.25

DTD 3822 so dmg 98

Of Magic, Superstition, Female Sailors

Sailors have – I think – always been superstitious. Probably because we’re out here completely powerless in an indifferent magnificence that ignores us completely and it’s comforting to feel that there’s something however insubstantial going for us. In 1998, before the Sydney – Hobart that ended in tragedy for some of my friends, Gordon Smith, one of Berri’s crew, brought on board a recently minted Oz 50c coin showing George Bass and Matthew Flinders and commemorating their discovery of Bass Strait. We stuck it on a little bulkhead where it’s been ever since – now black with corrosion and almost unrecognisable even as a coin. We won our half of that race…And now, on our Magic Bulkhead, we have one of the ISS Expedition 10 badges with Leroy and Salizan’s own design for their mission. Plus Isabella’s little Magic patch of RTW Berri sail and her tellales that went half way. And her new telltales are operational on the shrouds.

All seems to be working so far! For some that didn’t, google H. L. Hunley submarine – first ever to sink another ship, the Housatonic (American civil war) but the crew drowned shortly after when the sub foundered. The skipper, whose name I have forgotten, had survived an earlier battle because a silver dollar had diverted a bullet. They recently raised the sub and found the coin on his body. Sad.

Soo, if you think like I do, you’ll go along with it, but know full well that it’s all the luck of the draw and planning…

Jennie – some fantastic female sailors have written books – try Kay Cottee, Adrienne Cahalan, Naomi James, Clare Francis…Don’t know whether Annie Gash did, but worth a look.


0339.37 16243.16 On the Upside of Wallow – for a change

As you can see, we’re being pushed west by some pretty solid current, but there’s lots of north there too, thanks to Carla. Carla, so sorry I forgot your birthday – was in my mind the day before, but perhaps Vlad and the drums got in the way. Anyway, you got your birthday wish and we got our wind which we’ve still got. I have teleported you virtual 6 pack Dr Coopers finest. If my aim as bad as for Keith’s, it will have smashed your petunias, but I hope it lands softly close to or in your fridge.

Some good news – wood again firmly touched – donk has been running for nearly 3 hours and no sign of oil. Not yet convinced and will examine carefully when cooled. Also watermaker has made nearly 12 litres in that time. I have put 4 directly into the tank, after tasting it, of course. Sooo…we’re aboout 200 from the equator and I think we’ll have enough diesel and water should not be a problem unless we really get slowed down. And I forgot – I can dismantle a watermaker and put a handle on it for manual operation – so there’s backup. And about 800 to half way.
Later: donk looks ok – small seepage around oil filter, but definitely not enough for concern. Everything to remain crossed please – for the duration.

McQ’s Dad – make her do some real work for the thing! A few poems! Pshaw! If you happen to be in London on June 4, Peter is launching his latest HWS – 6, I think – at Royal Thames YC at lunchtime. Berri has her very own chapter.


SpaceRef staff editor.