Despite strong winds and big seas Dee Caffari enjoys a positive start to the New Year

Date 2 January 0157

Position S 51° 51′ / W 64° 11′

If I had a drink for every toast made to Aviva and I on New Year’s Eve then my head would have been very bad yesterday. Thank you again for all the kind messages and thoughts at this time of year. They are really great to receive and really help me pick my head up and get going again.

New Year’s Day bought with it 35 knots, rain, thunder and big seas. The temperature also plummeted with the southerly wind. We reduced sail early as we were expecting it and hung on for the ride. This is the test we needed for the breather pipes on the autopilot. It was a bouncy introduction to 2006 but a very positive one.

I have started 2006 with new stores of determination, resilience, confidence and tenacity. The Southern Ocean will require a different mind set than the Atlantic. I will need to nurse the boat and myself, preserve ourselves and make sure we get through unscathed. After that, as the conditions improve, then we can re evaluate how we are doing and what condition we are in. This is all about the end result now, of completing the voyage.

The afternoon bought with it a change in conditions. The sky cleared for the first time for days and blue patches were seen between patches of much thinner cloud. The wind was still from the south so was still cold but it had eased and allowed us to fly a little more sail. The sea had not had time to abate and there was a big swell residing making progress through the waves and against the Falkland Current very difficult. We are trying to make our way to the corner and at present the forecast is for some good conditions to round Cape Horn. I have my fingers crossed that we can get the photographic evidence this time so maybe next year I can take a break from coming round again!

I have been thinking about any New Year resolutions that I could try. The only one that I was concentrating on was to complete this voyage safely. I considered stopping biting my nails, but I am pretty close to my knuckles already after the drama of the last few weeks, so that one is a long shot and one that I make every year. The aims, hopes and aspirations for 2006 are difficult to make right now at the bottom of the world with 18,000 miles still to go, but as we make progress and get closer to home I am sure they will become clearer. I have already been thinking of other events and adventures that I would love to take on, but we need to do these things one at a time and I think I should concentrate on the job at hand.

I may have been sympathising with everyone who had a sore head this morning from parties they may have attended but the first day of the year seemed to last forever. I was dozing and waking up, thinking I had been asleep for ages and only ten minutes had passed. I did a few jobs, thinking it must be nearly dinner time and again it was still really early. This may have had something to do with calling home UK time and then being up changing the sails really early again and just generally starting the day super early. Time was definitely on a go-slow. Thankfully the wind wasn’t.

All the best from Dee and Aviva