Dee - first female to sail solo across the Southern Ocean from east to west 27/3/06

Date 27 March at 0017
Position S39° 43’/E41° 59′

I had a really good day today. The dawn delivered some wonderful sunshine and both breakfast and lunch were taken alfresco. I even found my shorts and put them on for a couple of hours. It’s the first time my legs have been out for some time I can tell you.

I called my mum to wish her Happy Mother’s Day and we had a really good chat. I felt better for talking to her and decided to find some outside jobs. I cleaned the heater exhaust fumes and some rust marks at the stanchion bases, and then I sat and enjoyed a cup of tea on deck. Simple pleasures such as eating and drinking on deck were just memories and to start to be able to do that once more feels exhilarating. I feel as if the Southern Ocean kept me locked inside for the duration and now suddenly I have been set free. Not having to spend 15 minutes to get dressed every time you want to go on deck is such a relief.

The real highlight of the day was passing to the north of 40 degrees south latitude. That is the first time since mid December last year as we were sailing south along the Argentinean coastline. I do have a low-pressure cold front to pass through in the early hours that will head me and take me south of track before I am able to tack, but generally speaking I shouldn’t be heading south again. Keep your fingers crossed!

That is really the end of the Southern Ocean and I am now the first female to sail non-stop single-handed across the Southern Ocean from east to west. However, I think we should just wait until we round the corner, just so we don’t count our chickens before they hatch.

As the sun set at the end of the day, it was one of those rare moments that remind me of why I chose to take this challenge on. There was flat water with an ocean swell; we had full sails and making about 7 to 8 knots over the ground. The sun had set fire to all the cloud in the sky and it was full of pinks, purples, oranges and reds. There was still a fair amount of cloud around which made the whole impact quite stunning. As the light faded the wind picked up and I put a reef in the mainsail. The night should have a building wind that will lead to the cold front.

The night is showing an abundance of stars in any gaps left uncovered by the cloud, but there is no moon making it very dark by contrast. Everything is wet to the touch yet it has not rained. So it all feels very damp and cold. Hopefully we will have a bright sun to warm and dry everything in the morning.

Dee and Aviva