Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 5 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 5, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 5 May 2008

MONDAY, 5 MAY 2008

0830.34 16416.40 Berri to the Funsters!

Go the Funsters! Great to have you on board. Is there anything you want to know about what we are doing? We can try to answer your questions if you send them to us, but we have to keep it all short so that we can actually transmit your questions and our answers over the radio. They go from the internet to a computer in a sailmail station somewhere in the world (we’re using the one in Honolulu at the mo) and the computer converts them into digital signals and sends them over the radio to our modem in the boat and our computer converts them back into text. All rather slow by mobile phone standards and we are only alloowed 10 minutes per day on the radio. I can use a satellite phone to transmit as well, but that’s very expensive.

Kimbra – got yours re DB – noonsite prob has the details. Would like to have Hbrmaster’s phone # and vhf freq if poss. DB prob v busy. We may not be able to get as high as your GC courses, especially if the wind kicks in further north so could end up west of your waypoints. I have looked at your files and that seems ok. I have the pdf arctic pilot #9 but hard to access – if you have time. cd you please just check the unalaska stuff and make sure there are no potential showstoppers.

H – well fed! and well done. Hang on to the books – can’t remember who or why at this stage. The sea here is dark grey blue – not the bright iridescent deep ocean blue but that may just be that it’s mostly overcast.

End of 0200 – 0400 night watch. Took ipod on deck but never got it out – spent the time thinking about Robert M Pirsig. Next blog maybe, but it will be a ‘Hi mermaid…’ blog if I do.


McQ: Love and War…

Now, I am not Australian (though I would very much like to be!!) but I do know that wee Berri is quite special to have such a superb piece of kit on her bow, that is Love and War’s old furler and sail. It’s funny though that it is our headsail and headsail furler but L&W’s little hankerchief of a staysail and furler!! Well the whole system has been doing us proud until we realised yesterday that the leech was coming apart.

On closer inspection today it appears that the stitching is rotting under the UV light, so today we have meticulously and lovingly sewed it all back together. I only had one little tantrum (to myself) during this sail fixing- most who know me know that if there is one way to make me have a grump it is to put me on a boat that is lurching around violently in the ocean, and give me a back to front and not quite happy palm, needle and thread and make me sow a sail!!! I get so frustrated cause I like things to be neat and perfect and it is pretty impossible to do that along the entire leech in this sort of lumpy sea!!! Anyway, our little sail got flaked and bagged at failing light and we shall finish her tomorrow, hopefully with no battles and she’ll be good as new- she’s almost finished and looking good.

Kimbra- thanks for such detailed weather info- it al looks pretty positive really, thanks. I expect we will end up a touch west of your route due to sea state/ sail choice/ wind but it doesn’t seem that’s a bad thing in the long run. Either way, really really helpful, thanks.

Speedy, I forgot to thank you for the crossword too- brilliant distraction!!! thanks hope everyone is well and happy too on dry land…

must go take my vitamins whist I remember as I have forgotten all day today. very tired and ready for bed now!!! lots of love McQ xxx


0748.21 16405.12 later May 5th

Kimbra thanks for ‘stuff’ really useful.

Flogging dead leeches all day – sore fingers ‘n thumbs. And a sailmaker’s needle is a fearsome thing to behold and to use. Stitching rotten along the entire length of the leech and leech line had burst out in a couple of places and not long in others. We mended the bursts with double stitching – really hard work and hard on the hands, and then put a reinforcing line of stitching all the way from the clew almost to the head – will finish tomorrow. Also small compression hole in foil tape where tape passes through feeder when sail fully hoisted. Must be fixed. Knackered.

We seem to be making progress – as long as the wind isn’t too strong and the seas therefore too lumpy and steep, we can track about 015 M which would take us between two Marshall Island atolls and on to Kimbra’s first waypoint. Too early to plan yet.

When I said no more islands, I had forgotten about Wake. Used to be a military base and probably still is.


0658.29 16350.39 May 5th

One should never set oneself deadlines – or even targets – in this game. It’s still 2 and a bit days to half way and seems as if it has been for days. There’s no real pattern to the trades yet – perhaps there wont be. Nasty – not vicious – squalls 25-30kts with an associated short steep closely patterned sea state – about 3-5 metre waves, very steep, only about 10-30 metres apart and on the beam for our preferred course. Uncomfortable to bloody uncomfortable. In between, moderate sea, 15-18 kts and reasonably workable. Was hoping – as you do – that we’d do better that the 4-5 kts more or less north that we have at the mo.

Kimbra, average track seems to me to be just a bit west of N magnetic, and the sea stops us getting much higher.

Was playing with the concept of the flogging leech. I am told that the Chinese used to pay their doctors only when they were well, as the Doc was then doing his job properly. Perhaps in Hogarth’s London, the rich and dandified sent out to have their Leeches flogged when they (R & D)got sick. And flogging my Consultant leeches out here just means attending to more and more of their potions and elixirs. Dr Jasper, have started magic potion for endless daylight and very good it is too. I just hope it’s efficacious.

Wildlife – was leaning over the side a bit, adjusting the jib sheet winch, and saw this greenish gold shape in the water, quite deep. I first thought we must be dragging a sail or something but it was a fish, perhaps 2 metres long, greenish on top, gold stripey sides and vertical yellow tail. Several more, smaller. A few,indeterminate seabirds.

Ian and all at RORC, thanks for good wishes and all the best to you for a successful season. If Berri hangs together for long enough, we might see you for Fastnet 09. Berri wants her dogbowl back for a reunion.

Speedy, tks for propane warning . I didn’t know(WD40 uses propane-isobutane as a propellant and not the sort of gas you want in a bilge, 20% in air is explosive – ed). Suggest prize for GB should be a copy of your ‘arry and the pursuit of excellence mp3. He’d understand, as that sort of teacher.

Must get out of this sweaty hellhole behind the Cone.


SpaceRef staff editor.