Monday, 29 June 2009

Falmouth Workboat Intergalactics

Boats entered from the outer reaches of the Universe - star clusters way beyond the visible - Squornshellus Zeta, the Frogstar, Kakrafoon - boats from everywhere, due to arrive in warp drive freighters riding the background radiation. Sadly, they all ran into the Vogon fleet and they had to listen to 3 days of poetry as penance and missed the start.

So there were 15. Photos of some of them, parked for lunch between races on Friday. I was in Victory, the yellow one in the middle, Pete in Moon, away practising. Some racing images perhaps later.

Now Saturday eve and I think Victory has a very good chance - we have to do something very silly (like, perhaps, starting the last race tomorrow...) to lose it.

Freaky windy calm windy day on Sunday and the mighty Victory emerged as intergalactic champion - perhaps thanks to Prostetnic Jeltz, but nevertheless, the champ. Last couple of pics with the loot on the ferry going home. David Carne (swigging from the can) very kindly gave me the glass trophy as the novice in the crew so Berri has a proper G & T glass...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Sarah's Photos

Some more makeover pics - thanks Sarah and also for huge paint job.

A bit more research about Russian ice and the bureaucracy is not encouraging. A difficult decision, even if we do get a permit.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A little bit of everything

The photos - Berri's evolving new persona - grey blue and white decks with some of the old multi layered gunge still visible on the side decks, yet to be stripped and wire brushed off. Woodwork all sanded and oiled. New gearbox installed after a couple of days of pain and contortion. The old one has gone to Southampton to be rebuilt and we'll carry it as a spare. And Pete brought a shiny new Oz red ensign to replace the one that sailed to Melbourne with Pete Goss in Spirit of Mystery so Berri is now appropriately - if not exactly properly - dressed with ensign and courtesy Red Duster given to us in the Falklands by John M-B so it too has just completed a circumnavigation via the NW Passage.

Sea trials at 0530 this morning on a sparkling calm Falmouth morning - cast off the mooring lines shaped to the bollards after about 6 weeks of attachment and shunted her around inside the marina pontoons so we would not lose our ace spot. She goes backwards and forwards and her extra 6 horses certainly seem to make a difference. And back alongside. Sarah T has driven down from London for a couple of days and is in charge of painting the white bits of deck. Two coats by tonight except the cockpit which we'll do tomorrow just before we all depart for Hatherleigh and then the Katadyn man in Weston Super Mare.

Nothing yet from the Russians. We have decided that if we have not heard by the end of this month, we will pull the plug on the NE Passage and look at other options for getting home. The latest that I think we could safely leave for Murmansk is July 20th and that is cutting things very fine indeed. If we get permit with acceptable conditions by June 30 it gives us 3 weeks to get organised and we still do not have visas - no point until the permit arrives - and I don't want to set off unless we are sure that all the boxes are ticked.

So watch this space...

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The mighty Tit

The photo is David Carne and the mighty Tom Tit - 105 years old and rigged like the boat in the background but only 16ft long. Rig almost as tall as Berri's. Lovely boat - we were racing and Dave very generously let me steer while he did all the hard work and tactics and told me what to do. And we were first across the line by a respectable margin but probably did not save our handicap on the others. Dave is a legendary sailor - was out in Sydney in Blizzard for the 1979 Sydney - Hobart (and, I'm happy to say, was a small boats race that year and we beat them in Miko...) and he sailed with Ted Heath on various Morning Clouds after that. Was a steep learning curve yesterday though for this old fart.

The replacement gearbox should arrive from Sydney - once again, huge thanks to Witchard Marine and John W. - and the penance begins. I have also been given an original Hurth gearbox, perhaps 30 years old, but supposedly in working order and probably containing all the original plates and springs - the parts that seem to fail regularly in the newer versions. Very tempted to fit it and see whether it goes...We intend to make some changes to the exhaust system too while the engine is out of the way.

Pete arrives Wednesday and I'm doing the second mega presentation (both voyages) at Flushing SC that evening.

No news yet from Russia.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The taste and the smell...

Smell - to me the most evocative of the senses, able to lift me from the mundane here and now to the ghostly thrill of experience long past and - at the time - unrecognisably  formative. Parked alongside Berri on the pontoons for a couple of days has been a big (big!) three masted lugger from St. Malo with a crew of 8 or so pipe smoking French speaking men and women - the women without pipes but doing yer ordinary Gauloise or whatever passes as such in 2009. They ate on deck - wine,  onions, snags and other much more sophisticated fare but the smell! I was instantly beamed back in time to 1961 and the St Malo race from Plymouth in Leopard - we'd sailed across the Minquiers at high tide into St Malo and there I was yesterday, an old geezer in Falmouth in 2009 teleported into the nearly 50 years younger kid just soaking in delight in my first French port. And  my olfactory bits replayed Ambre Solaire - it was really hot and still and we went down to the beach under the fortress walls and all the truly gorgeous French girls were greasing themselves with the stuff - a primitive version of SP150 - and the air was honeyed with the perfume and about as viscous. A  naive and inexperienced repressed just out of school 19 year old in heaven.

Ambre Solaire still use the same perfume and it inevitably wafts me back to those days of delightful sand in the toes expectation.

The photos just for fun. Sorry none of the lugger - would have been intrusive.  Berri just visible on the right of the Chain Locker.

And - glooom - the gearbox we put in with so much sweat and contortion in Dutch Harbour has died.  Girding the loins to go through it all again.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Glitch correction

Here's the proper poster.

second, Falmouth webcam link with the 'l' on the end should work better.

2 jetties in the foreground, cold wet and windy. The visitors' pontoons are in the middle distance behind the end of the furthest of the two jetties. Berri just about visible in the middle behind and to the right of the dark bulk of the pilot boat on the pontoons. Chain Locker white building directly to the left of the pontoons. No punters outside today!

Friday, 5 June 2009

More talk sessions?

If anyone is following this and can't make the Shipwrights talk on Thursday 11th, I will be doing at least one more  session at Flushing SC at 1930 on Monday 15th and possibly a second same time Wednesday 17th. If you want to to come to either of these, please contact me on 0781 600 4379


My Blunnies died...

Just before Pete and I set off from Hobart for Cape Horn in 2005, I bought a pair of Blundstone sandals - Blundstones have been making shoes and boots in Hobart since 1870 and were a legend unto themselves - my sandals lived up to the legend but finally karked a few days ago - on the 4th anniversary of their first arrival in Falmouth. Seemed an auspicious day to say goodbye. And, sadly, Blundstones are no more in Hobart - they've gone to China.

Here's a link to one of Paul's Falmouth webcams  This one is on top of the Maritime Museum Tower and you can see the Chain Locker, the white building  middle distance on the left, and close to it the visitors' pontoons, more or less directly behind the end of the furthest jetty in the foreground with the two big blue superyachts on it. Berri is on the inside of the pontoons behind the orange pilot boat (when it is alongside). Right now the pilot boat is out and we are directly in line with the mast of the left hand superyacht.

The Great Berri Refurbish proceeds. Still working on the deck and don't want to lose my place on the pontoon as it's nicely sheltered so haven't yet been sailing. Some mildly positive but indirect news from Moscow. Things move very slowly.