Dee Caffari fixes broken watermaker

Dee Caffari and her team are celebrating after making successful repairs to her broken watermaker. The failure had left Dee with less than 150 litres of fresh water in Aviva’s tanks, which was not enough to last until the finish so a solution was vital.

'It is a wonderful feeling and a huge relief,' said Dee, 'and it is all down to the painstaking patience of the shore team. They guided me step by step through every stage during our trouble shooting session and then as the problems moved from electrics to the mechanics, once again they took me step by step through the inside workings of the high-pressure pump … It has taken three days of perseverance and patience. They didn't cry or have a tantrum in frustration; they just smoothly moved onto the next possibility.'

The successful repairs were the result of a joint effort and three days of extensive communication between Dee and the team ashore. 'There have been a lot of emails and descriptions back and forth, but in end what happened was a four way job with input from our engineer Peter Pierce, electronics engineer Keith Baxter and Matthew Ratsey,' explains Aviva Challenge Project Director Andrew Roberts. 'Peter and Keith took the same type of pump apart so they were seeing exactly what Dee was seeing and they talked through it all on the Iridium satellite phone.'

This enabled Dee to strip a spare pump down and use parts from this to replace the faulty components in her watermaker. After checking that it is working correctly, Dee has begun making more fresh water. 'She's going to fill one full tank with 350 litres, and that will be enough to finish the voyage, including a shower or two,' added Andrew. 'We all have a great sense of relief, because even though Dee made light of the problem in her diaries it was actually pretty serious. This is a very complex bit of equipment, so she's done a great job.'

'I've been discussing rain dances and water rationing,' joked Dee. 'Although I wasn't desperate it was serious and we have worked incredibly hard through every aspect of the machine to solve it.'


LATEST REPORT FROM DEE CAFFARI: THURSDAY 13 APRIL 2006

I was able to stop doing my rain dance on deck, as I can make water once again!

As I write I am lost in a noise of the generator and the water maker both on so that I can fill my water tank. It is a wonderful feeling and a huge relief and it is all down to the painstaking patience of the shore team. They guided me step by step through every stage during our trouble shooting session and then as the problems moved from electrics to the mechanics, once again they took me step by step through the inside workings of the high pressure pump and we changed the appropriate seals and more importantly put it all back together to produce the right result.

It has taken three days of perseverance and patience, which was more abundant in the shore team than in myself. They didn't cry or have a tantrum in frustration; they just smoothly moved onto the next possibility. Even when I put the two sets of seals on the wrong side they calmly suggested I changed them over with no accusations.

This episode has heightened the need for vigilance all the way to the end and not to risk everything by allowing complacency to creep in. It also goes to show that absolutely anything can still happen with the miles left, even though in relation to what has gone before it is a small amount of time and distance. It has also strengthened the team and we are together making sure we consider every possibility with our daily and weekly checks. I may still be physically alone, but the shore team has been with me all the way and have proved their worth tenfold. They have overcome every problem that has arisen on the voyage and kept my confidence levels up in the process.

Aviva has also been wonderful, almost as a thank you to fixing a part of her; she has been sailing along quite happily in between each gybe. I am continuing to gybe along our corridor of wind and now in relief and a pretty dirty and sweaty mess I shall celebrate by having a well-earned shower. Life will feel wonderful after that as I wash the worries and frustrations of the last few days away.

A soon to be cleaner Dee & Aviva

INSTRUMENT READINGS - TELEMETRY (LAST REPORT 12/04/06 14h19 BST )

SPEED OVER GROUND 7 knots
COURSE 350°
SEA TEMPERATURE 23.40°C
Please note: Wind data currently unavailable due to a problem with the wind instruments

STATUS (LAST REPORT 13/04/2006 07h58)

STATUS UNDER WAY
LATITUDE S 16° 2'
LONGTITUDE E 2° 36'
DTF 4,804
CMG 305.5
SMG 4.9
24HR RUN 122
24HR SPEED 5.1

DTF - Distance To Finish: Distance from last reported position to the finishing line
CMG - Course Made Good: Course in degrees between the last two reported positions
SMG - Speed Made Good: Speed between the last two reported positions
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