As Aviva heads past the Azores, Dee Caffari hears a bang from the vang... 12/5/06

Date11 May at 2346

PositionN 37° 48′ / W 23° 51′

The weather today delivered a real mixed bag. There were moments of warm sunshine and then huge ominous looking black clouds would roll in, change the wind direction and speed dramatically and dump a load of rain on Aviva and I and then roll away again leaving us wallowing in no breeze again. That was the order for most of the day. It makes life tiring and frustrating, constant course changes and sail changes take their toll after a while, but in the back of my kind I know we will have broken the 1000 miles barrier and then there can be no stopping us, we can rest when we are finished.

That said, Aviva did remind me that we needed to sail safely yesterday as I heard a huge bang and rushed on deck. My first look was at the sails and I was pleased to say everything was fine and then I looked at the vang and saw that the spectra single part rope had snapped. Given it is 18mm in diameter and the weight of the boom with a full sail was pulling on it, you can only imagine the noise it made as it snapped. It was replaced within 20 minutes after I had struggled to undo the bowlines securing the original in place as they had sailed 27,000 miles under load in extreme conditions.

Finally we are passing the Azores tonight, not that I can see any sign of land or life. The sea temperature has dropped yet again and once more at sunset, dolphins playing around Aviva’s bow accompanied us. They were having great fun chasing the waves and cutting across Aviva’s path. While I was watching their display on the bow, we had successfully avoided a huge rain cloud that was passing astern of us and from the cloud there was a huge rainbow stretching into the sky. I was relieved that we were not in the rain, not only to avoid getting wet yet again but for allowing me to see the wonderfully clear colours of the rainbow. I was tempted to sail to the end to check for the pot of gold! But we know our gold is off the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall.

Dee & Aviva