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AVIVA CHALLENGE

January 17, 2006 11:36 0 comments

LATEST REPORT FROM DEE CAFFARI:

RECEIVED AT 00H21 ON 17TH JANUARY 2006

Today was the first really grey and dreary morning I have had recently. There was some heavy rain and thick black clouds in the sky. The sea state was still very large and there was an enormous amount of water being shipped over the deck. Even with the rain, there was more salt water over the deck than fresh.

I had that dreaded Monday feeling. I knew we had to change the autopilots over and again I had grown in confidence with the one I was using and I didn’t really want to upset what was working. I engaged the wheel and turned the pilot off. I changed the switch over to the other pilot, pressed go and thankfully breathed a sigh of relief. All systems fell into place and everything was fine. I have long since given up trying to understand why and now accept all that is good.

The rain has gone and the clouds are breaking up again to give a more familiar look to my Southern Ocean skies. The wind has been a constant 27 – 32 knots. The lulls are around 25 knots of wind and the gusts are in the region of 35 knots of wind. I have been in these conditions now for three days and they begin to feel normal. There is the constant reminder that we are crashing to windward as we launch off a wave and arrive with a massive thud and shudder onto the next wave. Then there is the noise that the torrent of water makes as it washes down the deck. The wind direction has been quite changeable during the course of the day and while I have been waiting for the wind to back so I can tack, it has almost been teasing me. It has made my current course less than desirable and just when I think this is it and it is time to tack the wind will swing back again. It’s a game of patience and we need to get it right. There is a big difference in heading and course over the ground with a variation here of 30degrees east.

Another gusty night looks set for us so we shall try and navigate our way through the craters that the ocean is leaving on our path.

It does takes it’s toll on you physically beating to windward endlessly. Living at a 30 degree angle and riding a bucking bronco continuously makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. Everything requires more effort and a greater degree of planning. Handling food, using saucepans, and bowls and trying not to lose the contents of what you have just made onto the floor. You end up using all parts of your body to stop yourself falling over and keep the pans and bowls upright. I had a classic whilst pinned at the chart table, gravity dictating how I was sat. I was drinking a cup of tea from a mug with a lid on it whilst pondering over a sudoku puzzle when we launch off a wave and my mug somersaulted into my lap spilling its scalding contents over me. I was desperate to jump up, but defying gravity and Southern Ocean Waves took a little bit of time and the burning sensation increased. It just goes to show how easy silly accidents can happen.

Dee and Aviva

You can send Dee a message at:
www.avivachallenge.com


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