After being dismasted, Dee Caffari spoke to me earlier


Poor Dee Caffari. Her Open 60 Aviva was dismasted in the dark hours before dawn this morning in 45-50 knots of headwinds and a heavy sea, some 160 north-west of La Coruña. The boat fell off a large wave and the mast toppled over the port side.

Part of it took out a daggerboard and one rudder was damaged, so Aviva is now disabled.

After Dee cut away the mast and rigging, this was the sorry sight on board. A mastless 60ft boat looks pathetically small in this large, grey seascape, doesn’t it?

This is a real a kick in the teeth for her. The Transat Ecover BtoB from Brazil to Brittany has been an extremely tough race, but she was on the final 300 miles and just over a day away from qualifying for next year’s solo Vendée Globe.

Now, all she can do is wait for a tow, which is being arranged by her shore team. It will be a hard, tiring night keeping watch for shipping and trying to keep busy. Dee was pretty low on fuel, and anyway her boat has only the old IMOCA standard 27hp engine – about as much use as an egg beater.

You can listen to her describing how she was dismasted and explaining her current situation in this podcast I did with her earlier today.