Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 31 May 2008

Status Report From: Berrimilla Down-under Mars
Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2008



5059.02 17956.53 Sat 31/05/2008 16:03

Tacked 0615. Stick fully forward, right rudder, mosh pit here we come, accompanied by heavy metal from Kakrafoon. Too tight to sail, so heady rolled away and motoring on about 350 @ about 4kts. Should get us abeam waypoint with lots of sea room and can tack again to lay Garelof Island - looks like a volcanic cone on the chart. Tracking back towards the IDL - could be one of those days ...sday esoht fo of...

Tom G - please describe the Right Whale - unfortunately we don't have our cetacean recognition kit. We'll do our best with fishing gear as well - I hope without any actual contact!

And Chris - thanks for advice - confirms our thoughts - which Chris, incidentally? - and there will indeed be a Con if we make it through. Just not exactly sure I've got the tides right, but we'll find out soon! Ann - thanks!

E & P OC about 450 ltrs, mostly in jerries also flex tanks on cockpit floor and coachroof.

Don't want to mess with the chart but we must be almost as far north as the Fastnet, so another first for Berri sometime soon. Glims of daylight - always better when you can see what you're doing. I need a cuppa and some ritual dunking to while away the next few hours. More as the day unfoldssdslofnu...


5059.21 17946.50 The Plan updated Sat 31/05/2008 15:20

We're still shuffling along on about 110 - intending to keep going until 0400 at least which should put us about on the IDL. Then we'll tack on to about north which should take us straight up the middle. The tide should be negligible by 0600 and we can - I hope - push on up to the tricky bit about half way through where we can use the engine if necessary to opt for the deeper western side or the shallower east. Daylight around 0600 as well, or what passes for daylight here. Flood tide - again, I hope - from 0900ish. I feel cold and a bit seasick - not nice. Can't sleep and I've lost my Olga knitted beanie that I sleep in. Major tragedy.

Terns are back, and another puffin before dark. Phosphorescence subdued - more cream than fire, but with big sparkles. Grey black night again - merging horizon, bleak, cold overcast. McQ has broken out the emergency snickers and given me my half so that I can hide them from her.

0345 - reassessed and we'll go on a bit longer. Been lifted so changes angle for next tack.


McQ: Grumpy and ranty, but we've crossed the date line!!! Yay!!!

Its pretty rubbish at the moment. I am trying to be grumpy too!!! We are doing between one and 3 knots slewing around between 070 and 100 course, pounding over some waves, slopping over others, despite my continual efforts I just can't get Kevvo to go straight. One minute we are reaching along next minute sails all flapping and we are about to tack. grrrr. Sometimes you just switch to Kevvo and there we go stonking along and you think 'Kevvo you amazing'!! but that seems to be in loads of and consistent wind. We don't have quite enough and the short steep chop just confuses him, I think. Poor Kevvo!!! It would be ok if we could just keep an average speed on and if I could get some idea from the course whats going on wind wise, as to whether we are generally being lifted still or starting to be headed, instead of having to change the instrument display to the digital wind readout, which is accurate but you tend to get fixated on it changing in degree increments (irrelevent out here) or watching the picture of the boat swing about on the pooter and not seeing the bigger picture, which would be blindingly obvious if we were just going in a straight line!!! Conclusion: phew, needed a wee rant and don't think its time to tack quite yet!! And wish it would hurry up and get daylight. The cwampet, blurky nights are rubbish!!

It is 1327UTC and we are at 179 59W so we are officially across the date line- all this time travel, making me dizzy!!! woo-hoo!! another milestone!! (Just ignore the fact that we will be tacking back across it shortly!!) Phosphorescence not as incredible tonight- instead of big, long, white streaks trailing out from the side of the boat for as far as the eye can see, we just have a sprinkling of little swirling blobs every time we pound over a wave. Still kinda cool though.

Lots of love




5059.57 179197.45 Sat 31/05/2008 02:35

A bit tense in the Whitters camp. McQ asleep and oblivious. We're 30 miles from Amchitks Island, about 50 miles west of the ideal spot to push the stick forward and dive the veehicle into the mosh pit (how's that for a three tier mixed metaphor?) and the wind is building - now 15 - 20 apparent as we progress - and we're on the stbd tack, so working the damaged shroud. I've just put the 3rd reef in to minimise the stress, everything softly softly, trying not to pound. Shortish steep sea, not too difficult, water now grey olive greenish but seems crystal clear. Our chart tidal data is set to Sydney time (it would be wouldn't it, when everything else in the software is on UTC!) but if I've got it right, it tells us that the tide turns against us at around midnight tonight until about 0900 tomoz. This more or less correlates with Kimbra's data, (hers set to UTC - 10). and for a different tidal station. Seems to me, therefore, that we can get ourselves as close as we can by midnight, perhaps motor NE to get a better position and start going in around 0600ADT, on the last of the ebb. I think we'll have to motor unless we can get upwind somehow. Then it's all down to Huey and the Examiner.

Wish us luck!

I think I need a calming consultation - it's the Alchemist today.

A couple of hours later - calm prevails, the Alchemist has worked his magic, McQ up and cooking, wind easing, sea still olive grey - like volcanic glass - and I saw Berri's and my very first Puffin - tubby beast, very flappy and with THAT face - if not a puffin, then a guillemot or an auk? 24 miles from Amchitka Island, no spot heights on chart so don't know what to look for but it looks a bit like Lord Howe. Semisopochnoi to the north looks just a bit interesting too. The Plan is to plough on until something tells us to stop. As McQ says, a 50 mile wide pass is just like the Channel, but this one's a lot shallower.


McQ: Corrish-the new english. Hi from the cwampet berri!!

Engine is off, finally- it's such a pleasure to have just sailing noises (and lizzy whining away!!) Lizzy's pretty amazing- absolutely no engine assistance required to charge the batts so long as there is a bit of wind. We are now averaging about 4 knotters to Amchitka Island!!! Wind is due to be about 15 knots N/NE in approx 12 hours time, probably about the same time we get to the Pass, so likely we will need to tack our way through, which could be kinda time consuming I guess. From the info on the chart (I say 'chart' but I didn't need to do any calculations- just put the cursor over the T symbol for tide info and use arrow keys to get to appropriate time and date on computer- not a purple tidal diamond, breton plotter or set of dividers required!!!) if we get there around 2am local it will be just after LW and just under 1m range at Amchitka Island and at most 0.2knots of current flowing North-east through the pass, but I might have got our time zones totally wrong!! so though it is likely to be wind over tide, with only 0.2 knots flow and the whole thing about 60nm wide I wouldn't have thought it'd be too feisty- famous last words- we shall see!! And of course the info I have to hand may not be accurate/ I may have completely missed some Amchitka Pass oooh chat somewhere and everyone else might know that there is lots of current squeezing the pacific through this little gap- It does decrease in depth from about 4000m quite rapidly to 1000m then averages around 500m for a bit with the min depth about 100m so that could contribute to some lumpety breaking waves!!! We will find out soon enough!!!

Allie: mum sent me a message saying you have organised me some midlayers, so just wanted to say thank you so, so, so much- you are truly amazing (but you know I think that!!!) I shall possibly be forever in your grateful debt and won't forget it when notsocold up north!!! I know I didn't give you much choice tho'!! In exchange I shall wash my Sailing Logic T-shirt and jacket so they are nice and fresh and clean for wearing in port and fully advertise and market you as the only people to sail and race with in the Solent!!! You never know- you might get some Alaskans racing with you next year!!! Thanks again and lots of love Bol xxx

Web: Amazing news re SB engine, so it is said that a bad workman blames his tools, so in this case does VP take any credit or entirely due to maintenance team??? Certainly, I'd like to book in for the diesel engine maintenance course in October, if thats ok? also I don't understand fliders and galloons, gliders and falloons but what is a falloon?? c x

Not much else at moment... pretty grey outside and cwampet too (thats THE new word for cold/wet/damp)- maybe its time I invented a whole new language- soon everyone will be carrying round a copy of the OCD, corrish to english version. (Oxford Corrish Dictionary)

Oh yes, the phosphorescence last night was truly out of this world. wouldn't photograph on my wee olympus tho. but incredible... bright bright white against the black sea, not the usual glowing green, but the sort of pearlescent, iridescent ultraviolet dazzling white- the colour/effect rich and famous people pay loadsa money to their dentist for!!! Never seen anything quite like it- properly mesmerising!! big fat white lines streaking out from the boat swirling miles away into the blackness. And a thick frothy white trail behind us as the prop churned up the ocean. Pretty awesome!!!

Enough ramblings- we've slowed down so am off to deck to speed us up.

lots of love




5106.35 17919.38 Sat 31/05/2008 06:06

Just tacked out from about 12 miles south of Amchitka Island - lousy angle, only making 120 but we'll play with it as things progress. We will see what sort of ground we can make from here until the tide turns tomoz and then go for it. Everything crossed please. Still bleak overcast, thick mist towards Amchitka so no actual sighting.


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