Watermaker failure threatens Dee's record attempt

Solo yachtswoman Dee Caffari is facing a potential threat to her record attempt this afternoon as she and her shore team struggle to fix Aviva's broken watermaker. She discovered today that she has got less than 150 litres of fresh water left, which means she does not have enough for basic daily drinking needs or to rehydrate dried food until the finish.

'The situation could become serious,' confirms Andrew Roberts, Aviva Challenge project director. 'She has taken a calculated risk in trying to keep the boat as light as possible for the Atlantic and minimise the weight of the water she is carrying.'

Guided by the Aviva Challenge shore team, Dee is spending her second day trying to fix a leak from her watermaker high pressure pump. Ashore, her team have been taking an identical pump apart in an effort to find and communicate a solution. 'We know how to fix it, and there are spares on board which hopefully will work, but some of these - seals, for example - have been used already,' explains Andrew Roberts.

'There is another option to use a pump which was damaged before Cape Horn and combine components from that into one good pump, but it is a complicated, technical piece of equipment and it's an expert's job. And these solutions progressively get more difficult so the problem gets bigger rather than smaller.'

If Dee cannot fix her watermaker, her team will start looking at emergency measures, says Andrew Roberts. 'She could keep going by collecting rainwater, but it's physically quite difficult to do and we can't be sure there will be enough rain. We might also need to assess how much tinned food she has left and other things that have liquid in them.'

'We are all optimists by nature,' adds Andrew Roberts, 'but we are worried about the watermaker and we need to look on the practical side.'

INSTRUMENT READINGS

TELEMETRY (LAST REPORT 11/04/06 15h03 BST )

SPEED OVER GROUND 7 knots
COURSE 280°
SEA TEMPERATURE 22.60°C

STATUS (LAST REPORT 11/04/2006 13h58)

STATUS UNDER WAY
LATITUDE S 18° 43'
LONGTITUDE E 5° 27'
DTF 5,033
CMG 330.3
SMG 6.3
24HR RUN 186
24HR SPEED 6.3

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

Event website: http://www.avivachallenge.com
http://www.sail-world.com/22960