Caffari covers up as the Equator approaches

As Michel Desjoyeaux hurtles across the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonnes this weekend, Dee Caffari will be popping the corks on Aviva to celebrate her return to the North Atlantic.

On her 80th day at sea, Dee is just 720 miles away from the Equator which she will cross just as ‘Le Professor' takes his second Vendee Globe title in nine years.

"It would be nice to be in the same ocean as Foncia when Mich finishes," said Dee who is lying in seventh place less than 4,000 nautical miles from the finish.

"Hopefully I will be there at the weekend unless something disastrous happens between now and then but things are looking pretty good. Mich has sailed an awesome race especially since this is one of the toughest Vendee's ever. It has been fascinating to watch and is a fantastic achievement but then he is very experienced and very good at what he does.

"It seems like the sun has shone on him and he has been very lucky but he will have had plenty of problems but there are some things you don't mind talking about and others that don't need to be shared and I'm sure it will be all revealed when he gets back."

"We have all learned a lot from him but I am really chuffed that having been racing Open 60s for just 18 months, I am still in the race and managing to get my new boat around the world. Ideally, I would like to keep my boat for four years and have time on the water to do other races so in the next race I will be much more confident in both me and my boat without all the worries we have had in this race."

The worries over her delaminated mainsail continue to restrict her performance and yesterday, she found she was back to square one after her recent labours in repairing the sail proved unsuccessful.

"Yesterday was hard because I worked really hard on trying to repair it and it took a long time so I was gutted when I saw it flapping around but I am just going to have to take it down again when I get to the Doldrums and make more repairs. More glueing and more sewing it. It is really annoying because thought I had cracked it.

"I am racing and pushing the boat to close the miles on the guys ahead of me. I am not doing anything stupid but the sail is in the air and is subject to wear and tear whatever I do. I can't take it down because if I do that I can't put any headsails up because then the mast isn't balanced so I have to keep my fingers crossed that it all stays together."

When she crosses the Equator, she will toast Neptune with champagne and offer a few more gifts as a thank you for her final days in the Southern Hemisphere which have been blessed with champagne sailing conditions. 

Hopes of shedding all her layers in favour of a bikini have been put on hold however due to an oversight with the sun cream earlier this week.

"It is hot and humid at the moment but I am having to be careful because my shoulders and back got quite badly burned when I was repairing the mainsail so I am staying covered up for a couple of days but I aim to work hard on my tan before we get home."