DEE CAFFARI PROFILE
Friday December 5th, 2008
Despite being born and raised in landlocked Herefordshire, Dee Cafferi is one of the most successful women within the British sailing scene. Having set the record as the first woman to sail single-handedly round the world ‘the wrong way’ she has now set her sights on the Vendee Globe round the world challenge If she completes the race successfully she will become the only woman to have circumnavigated to world alone both ways.
The former PE teacher, however, remains somewhat philosophical about her maritime achievements “When you spend most of your childhood in Portsmouth sailing with your Dad from an early age in a British yachting paradise, isn’t this surely your destiny?”
After spending five years in teaching, Dee made the decision to follow her dreams and left academia to join the maritime industry. In 2000 her adventurous spirit took her to Barbados where she earned a qualification as a water sports instructor. Her sailing qualifications were quick to follow and she began working in yacht and charter business, which enabled her to sail both in the UK and the Caribbean.
But it was whilst watching the finish of the 2000/2001 Global Challenge that Dee had an Epiphany. The next 4 years were spent garnering the experience necessary to pass the rigorous selection process require to enter the 2004/2005 event as the only female skipper in the fleet that year.
After ten months at sea she completed the Global Challenge in July 2005 full of determination to push boundaries further still and within four months she was setting sail on her pioneering voyage. On 21st may 2006 Dee sailed triumphantly into Southampton. She had become the first woman in history to sail around the world, single-handed, non-stop and against the prevailing winds and currents and was duly awarded the MBE for her achievement.
Two and a half years later, with yet another enormous challenge ahead Dee has lost none of that driving spirit that brought her this far
'I love sailing with the trade winds in the tropics. I enjoy the conditions and everything seems fun. Obviously the Southern Ocean, where the conditions are so hostile and rescue is so far away, is the bit I'm most anxious about… It can get pretty bad, with ice-cold water and freezing winds blowing off the Antarctic. The wind chill freezes you to the bone and you can't dry off, you can't warm up. And the boats racing around almost on the edge of being out of control.
'The race aspect of this makes it much tougher. This is my first Vendee Globe and the biggest challenge yet… On the other hand I've been out there alone for six months. When it's becoming a real struggle I can comfort myself with the thought that it won't be for as long. I'll be back by Easter this time. It's great.'
The Harbour Guides Crew wishes Dee a safe voyage and a future filled with further challenges and successes.
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