Day 99 - Dr Evil’s Secret On-Water Lair!!

August 15, 2009 – 10:41 am
  Day 98 Meatballs
Dr Evil’s Secret Lair (Click To Enlarge)

Today we woke, had breakfast and then hauled in the sea anchor (using the trip line) and got on with some very decent rowing. Despite a slight headwind and waves coming against Bo we’re making very reasonable speeds.

Just as we started taking to the oars the sea me started to beep. A ship was nearby. We looked but couldn’t see anything. After an hour Mick called out as he could see it but it looked weird. He was certainly right.

Over the next few hours we closed in on what according to our VHF conversation was SBX-1 a research vessel but before we could invite ourselves onboard for lunch or even just if they could lower us a few burgers and chips they told us that we were not to come within 3nm of their position. Rather difficult with our manouvourability and speed.

Eventually about lunchtime there was the noise of engines in the air and this huge structure started to look very sprightly indeed and in under 45 minutes had gone over the horizon. Bizarre, strange and certainly a one off.

Maybe it was a research vessel, maybe it was a US missile listening post or maybe just maybe it was Dr Evil’s secret on water lair.

36°44′33”N 166°51′8”W
Chris & Mick travelled 20.5 miles East-North-East (heading 57.0°) on day 99
They ended 2417.4 miles from San Francisco (19.6 miles closer than yesterday)
They covered miles 2645 to 2663 of the trip
Their average pace so far has been 26.9 miles/day towards San Francisco
They have 89.8 days remaining at this rate, so would arrive in San Francisco on 12 Nov 2009
Their target heading for the shortest route to San Francisco is East-North-East (heading 74.5°)
See where the boat is

A spot of Wikipedia research has uncovered this: “Sea-Based X-Band Radar is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System.”


It’s Sacrifice Time

Thank you so much for all the sacrifices that you’re going to make at noon today. We’re going to sacrifice a couple of tea bags and those of you who know us well will instantly realise the depth of that as a sacrifice.

Please can you all make your sacrifices at 12-noon British Time (BST) today (Saturday 15th August), then note what you’ve sacrificed in the comments.

  1. 22 Responses to “Day 99 - Dr Evil’s Secret On-Water Lair!!”

  2. Hello Chris and Mick

    Ohhh - I might be first on to blog today, depending on how quickly I can get this typed!

    I am very worried about Dr Evil’s Secret Lair and the two messages you received from them yesterday from guys with very British sounding names (who are obviously aliens from another planet). They have obviously picked up enough knowledge while their space ship is parked on the ocean in order to be able to communicate with you via this blog site and even to think of inviting you for lunch! I didn’t know aliens did lunch, to be quite honest with you!
    Anyhow, after recovering from seeing them nearby yesterday, I hope you were able to get some good rowing in. Keeeeeeep rowing, keeeeeep smiling and keeeeeeeep safe.

    By Sue from Cornwall on Aug 15, 2009

  3. ps: I think everyone else must be having a lie-in this morning, as it is Saturday!! The others will no doubt start chatting later in the day, once they have woken up and dealt with their sacrifices. In this day of credit crunch/recession, I find myself havinig to make sacrifices every day, but if everyone manages to do something at the same time today, that might put a boost on the strength of the wind behind you….

    By Sue from Cornwall on Aug 15, 2009

  4. You two may have just foiled a seceret U.S covert war with China and in the process saved thousands of lives, nice one lads!
    Keep up the good work
    I hope all todays sacrifices do the trick.


    By John Hanafin on Aug 15, 2009

  5. excellent ! I love it.. decades of deceipt & covert ops, all to hide the Top Seecwet” listening post in the middle of flippin’ nowhere… and you guys row past it in your widdle boat. I bet even the double secret spy satellites, that we all know are watching everything we do, haven’t found it yet.

    can you try & find Atlantis while you’re out there? and also perhaps all my odd socks that have gone missing from the washing basket?

    By Cath on Aug 15, 2009

  6. Are you sure it’s not where Neptune and Poseidon are about to tee off from on the latest Roman vs Greek mythological sea God golf tournament?

    Baaaa stout fellow!

    By Typical Lightweight Matelot on Aug 15, 2009

  7. Hmmm Cath, the secrecy element may have been lost by the Wikipedia post… US Security at it’s best! They’ll have UK citizens hacking into the pentagon next… hang on.

    It also seems safe to assume if they are reading these blogs and keeping tabs on you boys. So I shall revert to code.

    The pelican is in in the bag, repeat the pelican is in the bag.

    By Biff on Aug 15, 2009

  8. oh Biff, dear boy, Wikipedia is simply a misinformation tool fed to us by the oppressors.. but who am I to burst your bubble?

    Oh hell, but now they know that I know, and they know that you know that I know that they know.. and now everyone knows ! Watch your backs everyone.. it could be someone you know comes for you! Wrap your head in tin foil & sit in the cupboard under the stairs, take some Irn Bru & pack of Garibaldi’s for sustenance.. I will contact you again when the moon rises high over the Kremlin

    By Cath on Aug 15, 2009

  9. ps.. apart from the lovely buttery crumpets, I have also “sacrifed” my credit card at noon today, chopped into tiny useless pieces .. if that doesn’t apease the PTB, then nuffink will.. you have no idea how painful it was

    By Cath on Aug 15, 2009

  10. Well, Chris and Mick, I have just sacrificed a chocolate biscuit with my morning coffee. It seems that all the sacrifices have worked as you have started moving again. Hurray! Do you think all the electronic widgets on board Dr Evil’s Secret Lair may have affected the weather and now that it has moved away you will get constant westerly winds for the rest of the way?

    Thank you for the birthday wishes yesterday from my aunties and from Grace. I had a nice relaxing day making some lace, walking in the Surrey Hills and eating out at a small, cosy bar-restaurant in Chertsey. I can’t take too much excitement at my age these days!!!!
    Just to let you know that Chris didn’t completely forget me - he rang this morning having got his days and times in a muddle.

    Keep the blog comments coming everyone, even though it’s the weekend, Chris told me that they both really enjoyed the huge post of 60 comments on Thursday.

    Well done, lads! You WILL get to SF! Stay safe.

    By Mum Martin on Aug 15, 2009

  11. Happy Belated Birthday to Mum Martin!

    Oh my goodness what a photo! And we thought you were on a mission to cross the Pacific… Dr Evil’s speedboat to his Evil Lair might now be a supremely powered two man rowing boat, no wonder the mileage has gone up. I agree with Biff, I think we need to watch how we communicate here on in.

    I was going to sacrifice a chip into the sea at Brighton but I had to stay at home catching up on paperwork. So, I have sacrificed not putting a chip into the sea and the whole of my Saturday morning. I am glad the wind has changed, I don’t want to do anymore sacrifices like this, it’s almost as hard work as rowing an Ocean (though maybe not as hard work as escaping from Dr.Evil’s lair…).

    How many OXO cubes have you left? When’s the next rush on Bolaganasty? x

    By Horsey Claire on Aug 15, 2009

  12. So now we get the truth, courtesy of Biff. Pelican in the bag??? B***** Hell, chaps. Think of all that protein…….clearly the answer is to sacrifice the pelican….at noon BST of course!

    All of which takes me back to Chris’ early days when starting out on his 4-year Product Design degree course at Brunel University, way, way back, ten years ago. Being concerned parents, we took the opportunity one weekend during his first month to telephone the lad in the halls of residence.

    “How’s it going, chap? Are you eating properly? Would you like to pop home for a nice roast dinner with all the trimmings to fatten you up?”

    “No thanks, Dad, you’re all right. I’ve got breast of duckling defrosting on the table downstairs.”

    I ask you, breast of duckling!!! It was at that point that I stopped worrying about his protein intake, and banished all thoughts of deprived and impoverished students! The fact that he’d bought it heavily reduced from the local supermarket the previous evening and the fact that its ‘best before date’ had expired didn’t matter much at all. Sympathy evaporated quicker than you could say “Boo”, or “Bo” for that matter.

    I’ve never worried about his food intake from that day until this week, when I began to twitch about their remaining reserves on board! However, when the man rang up this morning, he was at some pains to reassure me that although aware of how far much further they’ve got to row, and how much food they’ve got on board, there really was no need for undue concern……… Even so, chaps, I wouldn’t look a gift tuna, or pelican, in the mouth!

    By Dad Martin on Aug 15, 2009

  13. Hi! Sea-Based X-Band Radar (aka SBX-1) is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System.

    I know this because I worked on the contract for it for 5 years, and my husband is currently working on it.

    Best of luck to you guys…

    P.S. Google it…

    By Susan on Aug 15, 2009

  14. I note with interest yesterday’s comment number 25 from the good-ship David Fisher (onboard SBX-1) with the accompanying question, ” Can you provide a list of the electronic equipment operated on your ship?”

    At the risk of being wicked…….and creating a minor international incident, why don’t you ask him the same question?………and see how far you get!

    Only kidding, guys. Your contribution to the blog , and those of John and Susan are welcome and appreciated.

    By Dad Martin on Aug 15, 2009

  15. Oops…didn’t realize that you had already googled it…disregard my previous comment.

    By Susan on Aug 15, 2009

  16. Believe you me; you were just as much a curiosity to the folks in my lair as we were to you. Best of luck and stay safe! The word about your website and picture of the lair is quickly spreading, you may not realize it, but the crossing has gained you a number of enthusiastic supporters. Fair winds and following seas!

    By dr. evil on Aug 15, 2009

  17. Upon further consideration and studying the picture posted on today’s diary, I am wondering whether Dr Evil’s Lair is in fact the bouncy castle which went missing from someone’s back garden not so long ago…. (although of course, I haven’t googled it yet). The golf ball on the top reminds me of one I saw on a high-rise building in Dubai last year! It’s great to read that Chris and Mick have gained more enthusiastic supporters since yesterday! So we all say, keeeeeeep rowing, keeeeep smiling and keeeeeep safe Chris and Mick.

    By Sue from Cornwall on Aug 15, 2009

  18. Aw guys!! You should have asked to come visit for lunch. I’m betting that we would have accommodated you. We were having poached salmon yesterday. :-)

    Evil Minion of Dr. Evil

    By John Alexander on Aug 15, 2009

  19. Today I sacrificed my dog walking trainers.
    They have tramped countless miles over stoney hill and boggy dale and consequently smell like a compost heap.
    That should give the wind-gods something to think about!
    Hope you make good progress from now on, without any more encounters with strange floating thingys!

    By linda on Aug 15, 2009

  20. That must have been pretty exciting to see out there!

    It is kind of bewildering how large the ocean is, and yet you can manage to run into other vessels!

    Good luck with the winds changing!

    By Erinn from Toronto on Aug 16, 2009

  21. Looks like a RADAR dome to me mate…

    By Laser.Beam on Aug 17, 2009

  22. I managed to give up Tube8 for almost an entire hour at midday. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.

    By The Egypt!an on Aug 17, 2009

  23. Hey guys how’s it going!?

    Thought I’d send you some info on the SBX platform you saw - just FYI :)

    The platform is part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system being deployed by MDA. Being sea-based allows the platform(s) to be moved to areas where they are needed for enhanced missile defense. Fixed radars provide coverage for a very limited area due to the curvature of the Earth. The primary task SBX will carry out is discrimination (identification) of enemy warheads from decoys, followed by precision tracking of the identified warheads.

    The platform has many small radomes for various communications tasks and a central, large dome that encloses and protects a phased-array, 1,814 tonnes (4,000,000 pound) X band radar antenna. The small radomes are rigid, but the central dome is not - the flexible cover is supported by positive air pressure amounting to a few inches of water. The amount of air pressure is variable depending on weather conditions.

    The radar antenna itself is described as being 384 square meters. It has a large number of solid-state transmit-receive modules mounted on a hexagonal flat base which can move ±270 degrees in azimuth and 0 to 85 degrees elevation (although software currently limits the maximum physical elevation to 80 degrees). The maximum azimuth and elevation velocities are approximately 5-8 degrees per second. In addition to the physical motion of the base, the beam can be electronically steered off bore-sight (details classified).

    There are currently 22,000 modules installed on the base. Each module has one transmit-receive feed horn and one auxiliary receive feed horn for a second polarization, so there are 44,000 feedhorns. The base is roughly 2/3 populated and so there is room for installation of additional modules. The current modules are concentrated towards the center, so as to minimize grating lobes. This configuration allows it to support the very-long-range target discrimination and tracking that GMD’s midcourse segment requires. The array requires over a megawatt of power.

    In addition to the power consumed by the radar, the thrusters which make the platform self-propelled are all electric and require substantial power (maximum platform speed is in the neighborhood of 8 knots). To support this and all other electrical equipment, the platform currently has six, 3.6 megawatt generators (12 cylinder Caterpillar diesels). The generators are in two compartments, one port and one starboard. The maximum power currently drawn is roughly 12 megawatts, and there are plans to expand the number of generators to eight, so that one entire compartment could be lost and the platform would still continue to operate at full capability.

    The active electronically scanned array radar is derived from the radar used in the Aegis combat system, and is a part of the layered ballistic missile defense (BMDS) program of the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA). One important difference from Aegis is the use of X band in the SBX. Aegis uses S band, and Patriot uses the higher-frequency C band. The X band frequency is higher still, so its shorter wavelength enables finer resolution of tracked objects. The radar is designed and built by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems for Boeing, the prime contractor on the project for MDA.

    The radar is described by Lt. Gen Trey Obering (director of MDA) as being able to track an object the size of a baseball over San Francisco in California from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, approximately 2,900 miles (4,700 km). The radar will guide land-based missiles from Alaska and California, as well as in-theatre assets.

    The CS-50 semi-submersible platform on which the radar is mounted was built as the “Moss Sirius” at the Vyborg shipyard in Russia for Moss Maritime (now part of the Saipem offshore company, which is a subsidiary of Italian energy corporation Eni S.p.A.). It was purchased for the Sea-based X-band Radar project by the Boeing company, outfitted with propulsion, power and living quarters at the AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, and integrated with the radar at the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas.

    The first such vessel is scheduled to be based in Adak Island, Alaska, part of the Aleutian Islands. From that location it will be able to track missiles launched toward the US from both North Korea and China. Although her homeport is in Alaska, she will be tasked with moving throughout the Pacific Ocean to support her mission. The name given to the SBX platform, “SBX-1″, indicates the possibility of further units of the class; in circumstances when a vessel is required to be continually on duty over a long period of time, common naval practice is to have at least three units of the type available. Three further platforms of the CS-50/Moss Sirius design were under construction or contract at the Severodvinsk shipyard in Russia as of early 2007, but as of that time it was unknown whether they would be purchased by the US for more SBX radars or sold to other buyers.

    As of June 23, 2009, the SBX has been moved to offshore Hawaii in response to a potential North Korean missile launch.

    By Matt G on Aug 23, 2009

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.