Dee Caffari reports back on day 23 of her solo record attempt

Yesterday I had a much calmer day. I guess I had run out of steam. I learnt a valuable lesson though and that was I could tweak and change the sail every five minutes for every change in wind that there was, or I could play the averages and take some time out and end up with the same boat speed. As I am in this for the long term and not just the next week the latter arrangements works much better and we sailed as many miles with much less effort. When sailing a 45 tonne yacht in 10 knots of breeze there is very little one can do. I have increased my boat speed by changing course by 10 degrees. This has allowed me more consistent speed whilst the wind has been so indecisive. We are still making progress south and as the wind is planned to back further we can always gybe and make the miles west again.

Changing my outlook has reduced the amount of stress I was putting on myself. Although the clock isn’t ticking over this voyage I am still trying to push on as fast and as best as I can. However, allowing Aviva to sail a little freer has also allowed me to service another winch, sponge the bilges, call a couple of interviews, test the next part of the autopilot as we get closer to the root of the problems there, and so the list is endless.

The sky greeted me in the morning like a cloud textbook. There was nearly every type of cloud around. There was some flat stratos cloud, some fluffy white cumulus, and some of the grey and wet cumulus nimbus. Then above all of that lot was like a mackerel cloud. Now I have read some weather books and can just about deal with one type of cloud at a time but when they were all presented like that I was a little lost. What I do know is that Mike Broughton has informed me that the weather will not improve in consistency for a couple more days and probably not until I clear Cabo Frio on the coast of Brazil, just by Rio de Janeiro. So I must deal with the weather I have and make the most of it by getting some of my other jobs done while the conditions allow.

An amazing guy called Andy Mouncey, The Coach Company, told me a very significant phrase when I was getting ready for this adventure. He told me to concentrate on the things that I can do something about and not to waste effort on worrying about those things that I couldn’t do anything about. This has made a lot of sense to me during the preparation phase and now in the actuality of doing the adventure. It’s top tips that you pick up from a variety of people over time that give you the depths to draw upon when needed.

But your own head can only carry you so far. The support and kindness that so many people have displayed in their messages mean so much to me and make such a difference. I sometimes read them and think wow, who are they talking about. Then I have to pinch myself and realise the kind-heartedness is all for Aviva and I. It does make a difference and I read the messages to Aviva each time they are sent. Now there’s a vision for you, me reading to the yacht. We have some great conversations you know!

Anyway, tonight’s story is…. Are you sailing comfortably? Then I will begin!

Dee & Aviva


DATE    15/12/2005     
TIME    00h00  
SPEED OVER GROUND (knots)       6.8    
COURSE (°)      170    
APPARENT WIND SPEED (knots)     9.0    
TRUE WIND SPEED (knots) 11.8   
SEA TEMPERATURE (°C)    26.9   
AIR TEMPERATURE (°C)    26.0   


LATITUDE        S 19° 1′       
LONGTITUDE      W 34° 44′      
DTF     25,387 
CMG     164.5  
SMG     4.3    
24HR RUN        139    
24HR SPEED      5.8    
LAST REPORT     15/12/05 07h58