Tuesday February 17th, 2009
Dee Caffari is now officially the only woman to have sailed twice round the world, in different directions - against and with prevailing winds and currents. She crossed the Vendee Globe finishing line in sixth place to become one of only fifteen solo sailors to do so in less than 100 days. This is a major feat when compared to three years ago when she completed a circumnavigation ‘the wrong way’ in just over 178 days.
On her return to Les Sables d'Olonne she had this to say, “There were people there waving and saying hello and I thought that was pretty cool and then a random motor cruiser came up and shouted Go Dee! And I thought wow I’m close to the finish now. Then when everybody came out towards me… I knew there would be some Ribs and stuff, but this sight was brilliant and it’s such a gorgeous day. The sunset was beautiful and a lovely sunrise and I had dolphins, so I knew it was going to be a good day.”
When asked how she felt about finishing sixth she added, “If you’d said that in the beginning, I’d have laughed in your face. I had an awesome start, then I made a few mistakes tactically in the Atlantic and the intensity of the race in the South Atlantic was just phenomenal. I sort of said, I’m not sure if I can do this. I was OK in the south, then I lost a bit of confidence in my first storm. Everybody was having lots of problems and that was when all the damage was happening and there was Yann’s injury and I lost all my confidence then.”
On valentine’s Day fellow Brit, Sam Davies was the third skipper to cross the finishing line but had a 50 hour wait before being ‘pipped’ at the post for Third place by Frenchman Marc Guillemot who finished minus a keel. The ever enthusiastic 23 year-old Roxy Skipper had this to say
“It was an incredible finish, pretty full on. I managed to make the most of a nice sunset with 20 knots of wind and on the helm with my I-pod on singing out loud, then some fast reaching and then I was taken by surprise because the boats came out to meet me so early and stayed with me for about an hour. And so it was a bit full on because there was a lot more wind than I anticipated and so I had to do a bit of sail changing and so lots of action right up to the end of the race… It was kind of almost disbelief when I crossed, it really does just seem like yesterday when I was leaving, and I can’t believe I have sailed all the way around the world, so it is really a weird feeling and I think it is going to take a couple of days to sink in what I have done.”
Even though her official position is fourth she remained upbeat about actually coming in third in the pack “I never ever thought I might finish in third place, not at all, not at all, I could not even imagine being able to finish in fifth in the top five, I was kind of hoping to make the top 10, this really is a dream finish.”
The 2008/2009 Vendee Globe has been a true epic, with records smashed, some incredible surprises and nail-biting dramas. With a few yachts still heading home, including Brits Brain Thompson and Steve White. The Harbour Guides Crew salute you all for your inspirational bravery and absolute determination.
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