Nyfiken på… Dee Caffari

Inför starten av Vendee Globe kan det vara kul att stifta bekantskap med några av deltagarna. Först ut är Dee Caffari. Säkert en snabb båt från Owen-Clarke men hon har kanske inte den erfarenhet som krävs. Och inte helst okontroversiell.

Major challenges in the last few months?
For me it has been a combination of many things. I have tried to sail as much as possible onboard AVIVA, she is a relatively new Open 60 so miles under the belt have been very important. I have also worked hard on my physical preparations with specific fitness training to work on strength, core stability and injury prevention. I have also focused on aspects that I needed to gain confidence in – such as mast climbing, which is something most sailors dread but is a necessary evil!

Biggest improvement this time in the Open 60 class?
The new generation boats are powerful beasts and are in essence simple to sail but difficult to sail well. The boats are very technologically advanced and it is a task to fully understand all aspects of the new boat with confidence. AVIVA has been well prepared by my dedicated shore team and I can’t wait to get started, I just hope to do the boat justice

Sleep is always an issue sailing solo. What’s your approach?
I have been helped with my physical preparations by the sports scientists at Leeds Met University and sleep was one of the areas we looked at quite closely. We kept a record of my sleep patterns on previous races and training sails and looked at the impact these patterns had on my performance or mood. I now feel that I have much more awareness on when I should be trying to get some sleep and how much I should be a aiming for in a 24 hour period. Being aware is half the battle.

Which top three skippers will we see at the podium?
I would very much like to see fellow Brit Mike Golding up there on the podium as he really deserves it. I anticipate Brian Thompson will give him a run for his money but the French are so dominant and good at this event and my personal favourite is Loick Peyron, all he touches is gold!


A phenomenal lady
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? Whatever the answer, Dee Caffari does things on a grand scale. In 2004, she took part in the Global Challenge. In 2006, she achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first woman to sail around the world single-handed “the wrong way”, against the prevailing winds and currents. On board her 72-foot boat designed for a crew, she struggled for six months to complete this long voyage around the planet: 178 days, 3 hours and 5 minutes. She thus entered the history books alongside VDH, Philippe Monnet and indeed Mike Golding, with whom she has worked.

For this successful sportswoman, a former sailing monitor and physical education instructor, who did the London Marathon in 7 hours and 23 minutes, «The Vendée Globe is the most difficult yachting race: the best sailors in the world, the best boats, the largest fleet.» Dee just can’t wait to enter the history books and become queen once again by being the first woman to have sailed around the world single-handed in both directions.

The boat
Aviva is the latest creation from the Owen-Clarke design team. She is also the sistership to Ecover, Mike Golding’s boat. A choice, which is allowing both boats to develop together by an exchange of information aiming to make the two yachts that much easier to handle.