Dee 'weak and tired' after continuous Southern Ocean gales and now a tropical storm is in the offing

Facing her eighth continual day of gale force headwinds and with no respite ahead, Dee Caffari is entering potentially the most dangerous phase of her solo westabout record. Aviva Challenge weather expert Mike Broughton has warned today that conditions could worsen as a tropical storm heads south towards her. This possibility is a real concern for Caffari and it would be her second battle with hurricane-force winds.

The timing of this storm could not be worse for her. Normally cheerful, Dee reported bluntly an email yesterday that ‘the relentless pounding is winning in the battle to wear me down’. She confesses to feeling ‘weak, tired and pretty fed up.’ With the 72ft Aviva crashing over waves and freefalling into troughs, it has been impossible for her to sleep and she is nearing exhaustion.

This contributed to a mistake she made yesterday while trying to sort out tangled staysail sheets, when she was flailed on the head. Luckily she was not injured but she admitted: ‘probably the most stupid thing I had done regarding my safety during the whole trip’.

Dee’s shore team are also nervous. Project director Andrew Roberts comments: “It’s as long a period of sustained high winds and heavy seas as I can remember, and it does make us worried. It’s hard on Dee and hard on the boat, and with it being so unrelenting there are few opportunities to check everything over. It’s horrendous.”