Dee Caffari has endured further damage to her mainsail following a 65-knot storm

Dee Caffari (Aviva) has endured further damage to her mainsail following a battering by a 65-knot storm in the southern ocean. The solo skipper had already repaired a number of tears to her mainsail, but knew as she approached the notorious Cape Horn in a vicious storm it may lead to more damage.

A temporary decrease in wind strength will help Dee Caffari round the Cape in the next 36 hours and prepare for the next storm looming on the weather forecast. She will continue to conserve the mainsail as much as possible before attempting the repairs around the Falkland Islands.

Whilst the performance of the boat will be affected before she can attend to the latest problems, the Aviva Ocean Racing shore team are confident that Caffari has enough material onboard to make the repairs. At present the damage is just below the 4th reef and between the 2nd and 3rd reef of the mainsail.

Joff Brown, Aviva Ocean Racing Project Manager said: “Dee’s mainsail continues to deteriorate, as predicted, but once Dee is through this bad weather system she will be in a better position to effect some repairs. We hope for a better breeze in the South Atlantic which will impede the rate of further deterioration.”

Dee Caffari’s latest diary entry received on Tuesday 13 December at 18:30 GMT:

“A nightmare twenty four hours where I spent most of it in 50 to 65 knots of wind. Aviva survived, I survived, but the mainsail didn’t. No great surprise as the wind was vicious but it was the sea state that was the scariest thing. I have never seen sea so huge before. The wind has eased but has left a messy and still big sea state which is making progress difficult with a mainsail that can go no higher than 4 reefs. I am stuck with this until I can get conditions where I can assess the damage and decide a repair to get me going again.

“My biggest concern now is the fact that slow boat speed may mean I will be hit by the next storm too and I do not think I can do it all again!”

Rankings at 15:00 GMT, Wednesday 14 January

1 . Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) at 4617 miles to finish
2 . Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) at 229 miles from first place
3 . Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) at 710 miles from first place
4 . Sam Davies (Roxy) at 1651 miles from first place
5 . Marc Guillemot (Safran) at 1988 miles from first place
6 . Brian Thompson (Bahrain Team Pindar) at 2561 miles from first place
7 . Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) at 2731 miles from first place
8 . Dee Caffari (Aviva) at 2786 miles from first place
9 . Steve White (Toe in the water) at 3873 miles from first place
10 . Rich Wilson (Great American III) at 5004 miles from first place
11 . Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport . Kapsch) at 6645 miles from first place
12 . Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) at 6672 miles from first place
RDG . Vincent Riou (PRB). 3rd