A good sleep and meal are great for morale

What a difference a day makes, I should have a pound for every time I have said that. The weather came to meet me and we have spent the last 24 hours in 30 knots of breeze, a brief spell at 40 knots and now it is moderating to 22 – 25 knots.

I calculated that in my desperation to keep Aviva moving as well as possible, I had over the last three days as a minimum put in three reefs and shaken out three reefs every day. There have been other movements with the mainsail as well but at the very least those six movements have taken place and when the mainsail is 350Kg that is a pretty tough exercise programme. I actually got myself beyond where I have been to date so far on this voyage. I had been sailing and the breeze was at 25 knots and I went on deck to put the second reef in. By the time I had finished the wind had dropped again and changed direction. So dutifully I shook the reef back out again and as I was at the final stages of getting halyard tension I could have cried. My arms were getting well beyond their capacity; I was exhausted.

I hadn’t slept properly for a couple of days and now with all the sail changes I was also physically tired. I managed two 30-minute sleeps and felt much different. I ate some food and by this time the wind was doing what I was expecting and filling in. I gradually reduced the sail plan until we were sailing in 35 knots and I was set for that wind speed. I then knew the only thing I really needed then was sleep. I spent then the next few hours concentrating on trying to sleep. The sail plan was staying, in the lulls we were very slow but in the normal wind and the gusts everything was fine. But I was beyond being able to change it.

A new day has delivered us from the rainy weather and we have a mixture of cloud around and some strong gusts of wind but generally it is dropping as the barometric pressure is rising. Sleep has transformed me as well. I have been delivered from the near exhaustion state I was in late last night. Any tears have dried and my arms feel as if they belong to me again. I shall eat a substantial meal rather than relying on the snacks as I was while I was too tired to spend time cooking rather than sleeping, and then we will tack in this westerly breeze to head south as we claw our way to the west.

Dee & Aviva