Tuesday, 24 November 2009

TJV: Caffari and Thompson powered up for final stage of the Transat Jacques Vabre

by Kelly Russell

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson have successfully repaired the faulty generator onboard Aviva having collected a spare part off the coast of the northern tip of St Lucia.

The British duo minimised the loss of miles of the rest of the fleet by slowing for just 14 minutes to receive the spare part which was ribbed out to Aviva from the Rodney Bay Marina, having been sent by the Aviva Ocean Racing shore team.

With the generator now functioning, Caffari and Thompson are able to charge the batteries than run Aviva’s onboard systems and will be looking to draw on the support of instruments such as the autopilot and wind instruments to help navigate the optimum route to the finish.

Harry Spedding, Aviva Ocean Racing Campaign Manager added:
“I do not think it has been stated enough just how hard a time Dee and Brian have had over the last 10 days. In the middle of last night they rendezvoused with a rib from Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia. Shortly afterwards they were able to fully charge the batteries and know that they could race on to Costa Rica.

“Before this they have been conserving power in every way possible. This has meant that they have had the use of no autopilot for over a week, they have been steering an hour at a time for that entire week, during their hour off they must do all the other jobs that need to be done as well as eat and drink, before they snatch some rest. They have only been able to get the most basic of weather information each day, and have had no real in depth knowledge of the fleets’ whereabouts (other than when they were in sight of Veolia Environnement). They have not been able to run the water makers, other than for real essential. In the light airs they could not trim the keel as often as they would have liked.

“Manoeuvres are complicated with the lack of an autopilot. One person has to drive all the time, so the other person is basically sailing single handed. In the heat of the Caribbean this is energy sapping.

“Having spoken to them both recently it is undoubtedly the lack of rest that has affected them the most, combined with hot conditions and probable dehydration. Speaking to Dee in the small hours the relief was evident in her voice. They now feel that there is every chance of catching the two boats in front as the gybe the last 1000 miles to Costa Rica.”

At 10h00 Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, were in seventh place, 33 miles behind Veolia Environnement in sixth.

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s latest diary entry received on 23 November 2009 at 0607 GMT:

“The gentle purr of an engine in the background as I write this is the generator producing juice for my batteries. It has been a while since we heard this sound and some very hard work has been done by the shore team, Brian and myself to get to this stage. It is a great place to be that marks our entry into the Caribbean Sea.

"A quick detour into Rodney Bay saw us rendezvous with Adam Foster, the General Manager of Rodney Bay Marina and his guys as they delivered our much wanted package with a true welcoming smile. After a thank you and a discussion on how nice a rum and ting would be on the beach at 'Spinnakers', Brian and I turned back out to the west and set sail again.

"Now we realise there are three of us onboard. We can use the pilot which had all but been forgotten and it makes a much better course than us who at times have been tired and distracted by hunger or thirst. Yippee! is the general consensus onboard and now we have some lost miles to recover.”

Aviva Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

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