She might have nearly 2,000 nm to go, but Dee Caffari has crossed her outbound track, thus completing her round world odyssey. With that crossing, she has become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents. Dee in her 72 ft yacht, which normally takes a boatload of crew, have battled some of the worst weather on the planet in the southern ocean to achieve the loop. She is now only days away from her finish line, which she is expected to cross sometime between the 17th and the 20th May
In an interview with Elaine Bunting after crossing her own track, thus completing her circumnavigation, she said 'I was checking the charts every ten minutes and when I actually did it I had a huge grin on my face and thought 'well, that's one loop, now I've got to get home!'
The official finish line lies between Ushant, France and The Lizard, UK. Once she has crossed the line, it is planned that Dee will make her way directly to Ocean Village in Southampton, UK.
Asked if she feels close to the finish, she said: 'I do, once I cleared the Doldrums and started heeling I felt better about things and getting north of the Cape Verde islands is quite a significant landmark. Now I can see the Canaries and Madeira on the chart and they are pretty close to home for me compared to where I've been. Life is just brilliant at the moment and it's very exciting!'
Having recently seen a passing tanker and heard voices on the VHF for the first time in weeks, yesterday brought another reminder that she is heading for busy waters, but this time Dee reported a 'strange encounter in the early hours.' A vessel came in sight with lights indicating it was under engine despite obviously sailing, and with 'nothing showing on the radar' Dee was concerned.
'I shone a strong beam onto my sails and then at the other vessel. I was relieved to see a deck floodlight go on, on the other vessel. At least I knew someone was awake and had seen me . He made no alteration of course, so I adjusted my course and as I was sailing faster, I cleared enough sea room to be able to get ahead and return to my northerly heading . I wanted to speak to the vessel as a courtesy, as he had no radar signal at all ... I was going to suggest a radar reflector be hoisted for his journey. I tried three times to raise the vessel on the VHF and yet had no response. It made me nervous for his passage and for the remainder of mine.'
Comment from the shore team was 'At the moment, Dee is enjoying unusually favourable downwind running conditions. Not only is it a more comfortable point of sail, but it is also faster. She is already doing around 8 knots at the moment and by digging in to the favourable conditions Dee could take up to 2 days off the time remaining if conditions play out as we hope.'
To follow the latest developments on her site, go to the Aviva Challenge Website
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