With each storm that she survives Dee Caffari wonders if she's pushing her luck further to the limit
Date12 March at 2325
PositionS 42° 38 ‘/E 84° 15’
I didn’t see the sunset I wanted but I did survive the western side of the storm. The system itself was changing daily and was proving very difficult for Mike [Broughton] to predict exactly what I would encounter from it.
Just when I was at a low ebb last night, having reached the centre of the storm and tacked, I received an update which was perfect timing. I was sailing in headwinds forcing me north and the news in the e-mail was that the worst was over, it had turned out that the eastern side was much worse than predicted and that the western side would be a little easier on us.
I slowly got lifted on my course until I was making just north of west and we didn’t see over 43 knots of wind, which after my four hours of over 50 knots on the way into the system was a welcome break.
I was absolutely exhausted; I was hungry and dehydrated, really badly needed the toilet and needed sleep. As the conditions eased over the following eight hours I was able to address all of these issues. Now I am back on adding to the sail plan as the wind eases further. The sea has not lost its anger yet, although its colour has returned to a deep blue rather than the grey beneath the foam and wind blown spume from the storm.
Another storm survived, although it is great to come through the other side unscathed, I cannot help thinking in the back of my mind that each one must be pushing our luck further to the limit. Conditions are more difficult to deal with, as Aviva and I are getting more and more tired. The great news now is that once more we have a little respite with the weather for some rest and recuperation and some thorough checks before our next challenge ahead.
Tonight, the conditions have eased completely as we have neared a high-pressure cell. We are back to full sails again and the sea has returned to a gentle ocean swell. It hardly seems possible that 24 hours ago we were sailing through 50 knots and operating on pure survival. Tonight, the sky is clear, the moon has been out and now it has left the black sky littered with stars. The horizon has stretched further away from us rather than reaching only the next incoming wave and I have a feeling that we may be seeing a fine sunrise.
Dee and Aviva