Dee recounts her ordeal as she's towed to safety in Spain:
Dee recounts her ordeal as she’s towed to safety in Spain:
I have delayed writing after the disaster as emotions were running high and I couldn’t quite work out what I was suffering from, shock, fear, devastation, etc ….. or probably all of the above.
The initial reaction to hearing a second bang after landing off the wave and looking up and seeing nothing was ‘ wow the mast has gone ‘. Then it struck me, ‘oh my God I have been dismasted and I am going to have to cope with this on my own ‘. Maybe instinct fuelled by adrenalin kicked in. The first decision was what order to do everything in. I immediately called Andrew Roberts the Campaign Director so that he could put the crisis management plan into action and organize s e a rescue for me. I knew with my mileage from land and the sea state that I didn’t have nearly enough fuel to motor anywhere. I then located the knife and the hacksaw with spare blades and my head torch. I think the saving grace was that at 0600hrs in the morning it was still dark so all I could do was work methodically along the boat and concentrate on what my head torch was shining on. If I had been able to see the conditions for what they really were then I would have been really petrified. As it was I was scared, but I knew I had to protect the integrity of the vessel to keep me safe.
It took just under two hours to free Aviva and me from the wreckage, quite an impressive piece of work (even if I do say so myself) I was pleased and relieved, but now I was sat like a bobbing cork in these horrendous conditions with nothing to do but wait. This was the hard part. Aviva rolled around like crazy and everything below decks fell around the floor, on deck everything was washed continuously overboard, I remained clipped on and just sat, the shock of my predicament finally sinking in.
It was as light was fading that I finally had some good news. I knew I couldn’t handle being at sea alone overnight just bobbing. I had small emergency navigation lights rigged and I knew my radar picture would barely be seen by shipping, the stress would be too much. HMS Northumberland came into view at 2300hrs and sent me to sleep while the Commanding officer, Martin Simpson and his ship’s company, kept vigil over Aviva and I.
Today has been a waiting game as the Spanish tug made her way to my aid. At 1530hrs this afternoon the navy bid me farewell and the tug guys took over. They took me under tow in a difficult sea state and began guiding me to Spain. It is slow going but conditions will continue to improve as the wind continues to drop and the sea state settles, so hopefully we can increase our speed and get to La Coruna where the boat team is waiting and more importantly Harry is there to give me a cuddle because I need one. In the mean time I shall continue to try a fight the rudders, as one is twisted since the dismasting and get the boat to follow the tug without me having to hand steer all the time.