HomeWelcomeUpdatesCompanyAircraftPeopleProjectsEquipmentOperationsPhoto AlbumGuest BookSearchAdastrianaQuestions



Alex in the cockpit of Berrimilla as they round Cape Horn

Alex was born in an air raid shelter in Malta in 1942. His Maltese mother was a volunteer nursing aide and his father was a pilot in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. Alex grew up near Manchester or wherever his father was stationed. His father taught him the basics of sailing from age ten in an 11 foot clinker dinghy with a modified gunter rig. Alex joined the Royal Navy on a short service commission in the Fleet Air Arm from 1961 to 1965. He served with 892 Squadron as an observer on de Havilland Sea Vixens. In May 1966 Alex emigrated to Australia where he joined Adastra Aerial Surveys as a navigator. Before leaving Adastra around 1975, Alex had worked part-time while he undertook university studies. From 1971 to 1975 he studied at Melbourne University where he gained a BA Hons degree. From 1975 to 1976 he studied at the Australian National University for a PhD which he did not complete. After two years as a labourer, he joined the New South Wales Public Service in 1978. After leaving the Public Service in 1980, he studied for an MBA at AGSM after which he returned to the NSW Public Service from 1982 until 1993. He then joined Keycorp where he worked until 2004. Alex then became a self-employed sailing instructor. He holds Yachtmaster Offshore Instructor qualifications with the Royal Yachting Association and Yachting Australia. Alex entered into a partnership to buy Berrimilla in 1993. He has competed in 13 Sydney to Hobart races (11 in Berrimilla) and approximately 7 Sydney to Lord Howe races. In the troubled Sydney to Hobart race of 1998, Alex won overall in the Performance Handicap Division. He also won the 1999 Lord Howe race on handicap and came third on handicap in the 2002 Sydney to Hobart. At the time of writing (May 2005) Alex and Peter Crozier are sailing Berrimilla around the world.

For more about Alex and Berrimilla, go to www.berrimilla.com


Alex in the cockpit of an Adastra Hudson under the watchful gaze of the legendary Lionel Van Praag.
(Photo: Alex Whitworth Collection)
(click for a larger image)

Why Alex needed to sail around the world. He'd seen all of Australia during his time as a navigator with Adastra! Alex didn't normally use an Ansett-ANA route map for navigation but this one provided a useful vehicle for him to record where he had been and the areas he had surveyed.


For anyone who might worry about Alex suffering claustrophobia in Berri's small cabin, this was his office in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm on a boat slightly larger than Berri. This is a de Havilland Sea Vixen with the observer's cockpit circled in red. Alternatively known as the "Coal Hole", this compartment was buried deep in the bowels of the aeroplane and the windows were only added later as a minor concession to the welfare of the occupant.
(Photo courtesy of the Queensland Air Museum)


Berrimilla's Welcome Home Party