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Archives for July 2010


Hasn't washed his trousers since Brighton

To be fair they were clean on the first time I went to Gatwick. And I've only worn them for a couple of night watches since then. Trousers don't feature very heavily in my life at the moment.

Fia Tira leaves Musket Cove

It does solve the 2 month old mystery. "Where did my head torch go", the pocket of my trousers obviously.

As I put in the Tweet I got Katrin to e-mail in before I left musket cove. The weather forecast for this passage was not good. Its been true to its word. Half way through that sentence I had to grab hold and cling on as the boat lurched violently. This morning's watch was almost pleasant. Only once did the boat broach violently and I only caught the wind speed going over 30Kn's once.

Don't get me wrong its still bloody rough. But evening yesterday my watch the wind was 24-35 knots with prolonged periods above 30. Oh and bloody rough. 3 Gerry cans (empty ones) were washed off there tie down spot by the leeward shrouds. I tied them on I think they broke their strings. I tied them so its probably my fault. But usually when I tie something it stays tied. Ask Matt. Once on his Dart Hawk we broke the spinnaker halyard cleat, actually we broke it quite a lot, but on this occasion I tied the spinnaker up the mast. It stayed tied doing quite a lot of damage to the rudders when we hit Ryde Sands.

Left to Right: Moonshiner, Perigriana, Chisel, Aqualuna


Despite being a rally we don't often have mass exoduses. Its a shame. The Musket Cove people offered to shepherd us out the reefs since the Customs officers had come over to check us all out. About a dozen off us left at once. 7 in a full procession. We threaded through the reefs with Aqualuna, Moonshiner, Fia Tira, Perigrina, and chisel. I forget who we could see in front, Simaderel went out a different pass. Natiboo might have been in front too or it could have been Aspen.

Bright sunlight 20knots of breeze made for some good photographs, even with what is left of my camera. Hope some people shot some pictures of us.


Position: 17° 52' S, 171° 79.8' E | Posted: Wed 28th July 2010


Alice? Who the **** is Alice?

errr? Which one is Alice?

I dunno I think its and English thing. It happened once before, Germany Tall Ships Race, 95 or 96. The band on the dock were playing "Living Next Door to Alice". We (SV Marabu + SV Speedwell), obviously, as every pure bred English man does added to the chorus in the traditional way.

I don't think, the Germans, or their kids expected it. I guess its just a British thing.

It  is  just a British thing the Fijian band in Savusavu played it and were shocked and stunned, as were the Americans and the Canadians on the rally. Not sure about the Swedes I will ask. When, spontaneously, and without prior agreement the entire British part of the rally went "Alice who the F**k is Alice" at the top of their voices mid chorus. It is just a British thing then. Certainly came as a shock the Fijians.

In musket cove at present, its a tinny island resort. With hobie cats, I will never criticise a BSC Hobie again. Even green pea is both younger and better than these. Sorry Justine. Still could be worse could be one of their windsurfers....

Golf tomorrow. I have agreed to organise the rally hobie racing here. Thank god I won't have to sail one.

Sunset (having beaten the camera into working)


Ahem.... For those bright sparks who noticed I'd crossed the 180 degree line, this has now been fixed for the eastern hemisphere. Lucky I'm not navigating.

Position: 17° 46.3' S, 177° 11.6' E | Posted: Sun 18th July 2010


Fiji the kid

Friday we were welcomed to Savusavu by the chief, I drank too much Kava.

Several people have thought on Twitter or FB that meant Cava. With my spelling its understandable. Kava is a root, long an spindly, know here as grog. Its ground up into a powder mixed with water and drunk, with some ceremony. Its technically a narcotic, as opposed to alcohol which is a depressant. I suspect it has a lot to do with the local political problems, which are ethnic. The Indian population keeps getting successful, and there for elected. Which doesn't go down well with the ethnic Fijians. Who spend far far to long sat on their arse drinking Kava.

162135 is me

Yesterday, politics aside, we raced dinghies, this is not me and Matt's idea of a good dinghy, there are no A-Class cats or 14s or 600s here. Just lasers and opies. Mostly opies. I begged not to be in an opie. I don't fit. If I were to stand up I'd be in serious danger of catching my testicles on the top of the mast.

I did end up in an opie,  Brian had signed his kids up for the Yachties V Kids racing, despite Annie's inability to sail. The tide was more than the wind anyway. I ended up being ballast and trainer for her. We lost. 14+ stone of Tom will really slow down a boat the size of a washing up bowl. But at least she could steer while I bailed out.

To raise money for the yacht club kids training bets were being placed on the outcome of the races. Since we'd no idea who the good kids were, and as every dinghy sailor knows yachties can's sail for s**t, this was a safe money making scam. Hans off Natiboo did well in his optimist. But two local lads on port tack carved him up when it was his right of way.

I got back just in time for the last and arbitrarily "The Final" laser race. There was for once more breeze than tide. In the opie race I'd been ballast in the fastest thing on the water was Charile from Miss Tippy swimming along with her opie on a string.

I've not sailed a laser in years, and wasn't much cop then. Somewhere in the depths of the sailing club archives[1] is an old Gybesheet, the club newsletter, which contains the phrase "Tom Capsize Griffiths". Since then I've sailed 14's and my RS 600 both which make a laser a piece of piss.


So there's me slinging the boat around the tinny start line area. Roll tacking, leaning in to gybes and pumping out.  Looking quite respectable. Didn't knock my head on the boom once. The Blue Water Rallyists had been drinking pretty steadily for several hours by this time. A lot of money was promptly put on me apparently.

There were only 2 lasers out. Me and a Fijian kid. Maybe 12, maybe a bit older. He had battens in his sail, I didn't. He got to the, slightly mobile, start line early and bore off down it. I arrived just behind him headed up and stopped rather than slide along it. He was defiantly over when the whistle went, but I had the pin end. So far so good. I was behind and to windward of him. He managed to tack ahead though. I rounded the top mark a couple of feet behind. In a panic cos it had a trailing line yanked the dagger board up in case bore off better than him and we were neck and neck downwind. My better bear off worked well. He didn't squeeze me as much as he should when I got the inside line at the bottom mark so I could do a good rounding. His mistake, I think he was trying to do my favourite trick of letting the inside boat run wide cos he can't actually turn till past the mark, but he left me too much space I did a good rounding. We finished lap one with me a boat length ahead. The guy's in the committee boat did seem to have different expressions this time. We tacked opposite ways, he called starboard on me as we crossed. I held my ground and there was at least enough room for a credit card between my rudder and his bow as we crossed. No doubt though he was gaining. Cos when we crossed next I was on starboard and he had to duck me. I enjoyed that. That was my fatal mistake. Cos even after ducking me he was still laying the top mark, I should have tacked already. So much for being horrible to Fijian kids rather than concentrating on the course. He rounded ahead of me, and better this time. I caught him again down wind. Right along side, my boom over his boat. Only this time he was set for the inside line on the bottom mark. Dang. My rounding was aggressive, this time you'd have got a rizzla between my bow and his rudder. Too aggressive. couldn't get the sheet in smoothly or fast enough. I tacked off, nothing to lose at this point, my only hope was he'd run out of wind on the right hand side of the course. He didn't my gamble just meant an extra tack to get to the line and he won.

On behalf of the members of Brighton Sailing Club, The Nuie Yacht Club (of which I am a member) and the the Rallyists I apologise he beat me. Not by much. I had a good time, and one thing I really miss on these trips is the dinghy sailing.

 Much latter.....

The Guy driving the Committee boat says to me "Your a hell of a laser sailor",  I thought that that was nice and said modestly said I wasn't. Didn't think much of it. I was, despite having a bi for the heats, given the second prize in the lasers. I just assumed it was chaotic organisation.

Some time later the Commodore was chatting to me, and said. "you had us worried there, you bloody nearly beat our national representative".

I feel much better now. I didn't lose to A Fiji Kid, I lost to the Fiji kid. So that's OK.



1 - The sailing club archives are box in the sail loft with both the consistency and smell of soft peat.

Position: 16° 46.6' S, 179° 20.2' E | Posted: Tue 13th July 2010


Blues Brothers

its three hundred miles to Fiji, we've a full tank of gas, half a pack of rolling backy, its mid winter and we're wearing sun glasses.


The fuel's gonna come in handy got 5 knots of nor nor west breeze, hard on the wind at west nor west. Speed three knots.
I've as usual an iPod touch loaded with Mash, Dollhouse, Futurama and movies. Its also got the iPhone version of Civ. If you don't know Civ. you haven't lived.
It should have the special edition of The Secret of Monkey island. You do know what that is right? Unfortunately the download for that failed due Tonga internet.
Obviously I not playing or watching any of them. Catching up on the blog (on the iPod) and listening to tunes. Chesney's "I am the one and only", "Temple of Love", "on the ropes" the wonderstuff. Good and little known track, spotify it. Not at all like size of a cow. Waterloo sunset fades out and is replaced by Iggy Pop telling us he's a real wild child. Hmm I think Iggy might be offended by me listening to him whilst only doing 3.8kns.

Tongan Feast

Tonga was brief and fabulous. I've had a little more time to get used to South Pacific food. I know corned beef in Tarro leaves when I see it. The Tongan feast confused even me. Freddie, age 11, to his parents surprise ate some tentacle.
hmm Tentacle, wonder if I can get DOTT for the iPod.
I think it might have been starfish, stood on something on Sunday that looked like it. The plates were banana tree stalks, the bowls coconut husks, table cloth of banana leaves. Mahi Mahi, battered. Fish Cakes in sweet and sour. Chicken in Tarro leaves. Pit roast pig. Tarro root. Tentacle. Meat and swede like stuff. Tongan clams (not my favourite).
Europe have just launched into "the final countdown" even I can't take that NEXT >>
"Coco Jambo" Mr President, so much for my reputation, just when you thought I was showing some taste.

INTERMISSION - boat wakes up genoa away engine on etc.

'However far away I will always love you' Lovesong, not the original by the cure the Punk version by Jack off Jill. Bet spotify doesn't have it. Sorry lads.
Were was I oh sod it. I'm going to paste this into one of the fields of one of my contacts so it syncs with my pc. Apple FAIL, there is a sync option on iTunes for iPhone/pod notes but no programs supported.


Click Here for the Sounds
in my head as I rode
For those of you that read about my quality scooter, and wanted a picture of me on it. Here it is. Please note the can of dignity restorer in the front basket.

Position: 17° 46' S, 176° 79.8' W | Posted: Sat 10th July 2010



I just found this: "State of Decay" and it made me think of giving Windows 7 a review.

Verity Stob writes insightful but techy articles for the register. She? I assume its a she. Uses a Beaufort Scale of cruft to define, just how bad your PC has got. Now I accumulate cruft at a slower rate than most people. I know enough NOT to allow any installer to run without using the "custom" option. But I also use the PC alot.

Tom Desktop PC The Back box with the
side panel open and the missing buttons
 and unmatched cd drives as it was 4 years ago

For instance my home PC is at cruft for 7 (known as a yachtsman's gale in the real scale). It has a boot menu of many options, left to its own devices it boots to a kernel panic of a missing presumed dead version of Dapper Drake Ubuntu Linux[1]. It crashes regularly, partly cos windows is very unhappy at being installed on a AMD Athlon (64bit), and being run on a Second hand P4(32bit) mainboard thrown out by work. It is held together by physical willpower. Since that is a contradiction in terms I'll explain, bits of it are 13 year old second hand such as its 3.5' drive bought third hand off Matt in 97. I've found its best to only connect the bits I need at any given time, rather than running it with its full compliment of hardware. This physical care (and the odd thump) are not sufficient to make it work. You've heard the phrase "A watched kettle never boils", well this PC doesn't boot with out you sat at it. Your brain has to will it on. Before it got that second hand mainboard off work it was cruft mark 8-9. It is a marvellous machine, with partition tables by M.C.Esher, and a pile of odds and ends (half height firewire card bent straight, second network card additional hard disks and chepo video capture card[2]) piled on top to be inserted as needed.

My old Laptop

The reason my desk top is in that state is its become largely a test bed and backup of the laptop[3]. By this time into my last trip my laptop, running XP on excellent but old IBM X series hardware. Was at cruft mark 4-5 symptoms different, but no longer visible due to the smashed screen. Errr I'm going to start the next paragraph with a shock out burst I'm going to say something nice about M$.

Cruft Force 2

Gusting 3 maybe. Shit that's good. Boot times are lower than the loss in battery performance. The only nasty I could find in the event log. was:

Faulting application name: Dreamweaver.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x48c874b4

But no particular significance can be associated to that cos I just tried to open a webpage downloaded with flash get on Tongan internet and, more importantly, dreamweaver is made by Adobe. Its not like dreamweaver was ever a beacon of stability before adobe got their half arsed hands on it.

Its power management - never great, is worse. But windows laptop has ever worked properly, this one didn't when new. Crashing aps (usually due to removing the hard drive it was reading video from), irresponsible undocks etc cause the brightness controls to die till you re- boot. Which is annoying, but other than that its fine.

Better than fine, the reboot is fast, by this stage a re-boot on XP on my old laptop was heading for 15 minutes. If you could get the bloody thing to actually shut down at all. its had the same uses as the old one its been used in multiple internet connection sharing configurations, dinghied, dampened and pickup trucked. It still boots fast and smooth. Windows has developed no nasty habits. Bar the cashing the brightness controls.

I've really only just thought about it but its behaving bloody well indeed. Windows 7 good.

Verity being a normal person has only gone as far as cruft force 10. Normally that's as high as you go. Hopefully that's as far as you go. Extreme weather is catered for with 11 and 12, though yachts people aren't supposed to survive it. Force 12 = Hurricane strength. If you want to know what cruft 11 looks like try these pictures. Cruft 12 I hope I never encounter, some re-search as been done into the phenomenon however, by the brave, but foolish el reg ventblockers.  

1 - OK I'm being optimistic its probably Breezy Badger
2 - Etc. Etc. Etc.

Position: 18° 39.1' S, 173° 59.2' W | Posted: Fri 2nd July 2010

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