Dee Caffari copes with constant big winds and lack of sleep down south

Date17 January 2331

PositionS 51 °3’/W 111° 8′

Something didn’t feel quite right Aviva felt really uncomfortable. I knew the wind was going to increase and we were set up for it but I couldn’t rest. All Monday I had felt uncomfortable. I had a headache from my head to head with the staysail the day before and I was tired from having a bumpy and gusty night on Sunday. The wind had increased and was spending most of its time above 30 knots. I went on deck to investigate.

There were waves I couldn’t see over and every other wave covered the foredeck so I was even struggling to see the furling drums for the headsails. The sky was grey and angry looking. On the horizon I could see isolated showers with some of the clouds. The patchy blue sky was way behind me; the night was bringing with it grey, wet and windy conditions. The apparent wind speed was showing between 36 knots and 45 knots. Aviva was riding the waves well with the odd one pushing her over on her side.

I would be beyond any good to man or beast if I had a night with no rest. I knew I had to watch the wind so I could tack in the middle of the night. I made the decision to furl the staysail. I knew that in the lulls we would slow down but the ride generally would be more comfortable. If the conditions then allowed when we tacked I could fly her again. I gave it a try.

Immediately the motion felt better, I was also more relaxed with less sail and a forecast of gusts in excess of 40 knots again. We were also, when at the right angle to the ever-shifting wind, making 7 knots speed over the ground.

I felt better for the decision although it was a difficult one to make. Again I was caught up with performance and boat speed and forgetting the bigger picture of being the only yacht in this ocean, thousands of miles from land.

I have just tacked and the wind has gone from 28 knots to 46 knots true without any build up. It is just so gusty with a massive sea that has built up. The day has delivered grey, cold and wet weather. It really is miserable. Add to that the wind ranging from 30- 45 knots of wind and the ocean has become like a lunar landscape with craters everywhere. We have been launching off waves that I didn’t think we were coming down from. When we did land we really knew about it, with a jolt and shudder and a horrible noise as all the parts of Aviva set themselves up again. It is the relentless slamming that wears you down.

I must be quite tired today, as I have just cried reading the messages. I have been very proud of myself at how together I have been recently but I have just received today’s messages and I was really pleased because I could do with a boost and after reading them I had tears in my eyes. The endless support makes such a difference and does really help. Today is a perfect example of needing that little extra from external sources to keep at it.

Dee and Aviva