Big celebratory surprise in store for Dee Caffari's 100th day at sea 28/2/06

Dee Caffari who marks her 100th day at sea today has a particularly grim celebratory surprise in store for later. Caffari who set sail from Portsmouth on 21 November last year aiming to become the first woman to sail solo round the world, solo non-stop against the prevailing winds is, according to weather forecaster Mike Broughton, due to hit a storm which could reach speeds of 60 kts plus later today.

Broughton expects the winds to build tonight and by tomorrow morning the vigorous cold front with winds in the 50s and 60s will generate violent conditions. Looking ahead Broughton added: “Looking forward to Friday we’re going to change tactics and head south-west to go underneath a secondary low-pressure system so we avoid the stronger winds to the north. But for tonight Dee will be facing a ‘full-on’ storm.”

Before things started to get exciting Caffari’s sent her latest diary.

Date28 February at 0005

PositionS 45° 24’/E 120° 3′

I just want to welcome Thomas Steven Gush who arrived into this world at the weekend, congratulations to the new mum and dad, Steve and Su, my thoughts and wishes are with you.

Good news followed by bad news. Aviva and I are heading towards deteriorating conditions, severe storm force winds and then another of our old friends, a secondary low, to deal with afterwards just to finish the week off. What a way to welcome March.

I can honestly say I am not looking forward to the week ahead and have had a chat with Aviva and let her know what she faces. She responded by turning the pilot alarm on as we tacked. I got the message, so that makes two of us more than a little nervous.

While I was on deck I was compelled to turn my head torch off and sat, as I was absorbed into the velvet sky. The stars looked so low I thought we were going to run into them. Then I noticed that the whole sky seemed lower as if I could reach up and touch it. Stars were everywhere from the highest point above us to just resting on the horizon. It was a lovely quiet 10 minutes.

The temperature has dropped and I have donned another thermal layer, one that I discarded as we closed New Zealand. That along with being tired reminded me that I needed to rest before we got to this next batch of bad weather so I was ready for it. This is looking like the worst of the weather yet for the Southern Ocean.

Dee and Aviva