by Oliver Dewar
Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) is a double-handed, round the world race for Class40 yachts. The race is a total of approximately 30,000 nautical miles. GOR is pleased to welcome round the world yachtswoman, Dee Caffari MBE, as Race Ambassador.
Dee Caffari joins the GOR as Race Ambassador - Global Ocean Race 2011-12
Having recently completed the Barcelona World Race as the first double-handed, all-female team to race around the planet non-stop, Caffari has a valuable insight to the GOR. Dee will visit Palma, Mallorca, for the start and finish of the race; will assist in supporting the sailing charity, the Global Vision Sailing Trust, and will provide comment on the GOR action in a weekly blog on the event’s website.
'I am delighted to take on the role as Race Ambassador for the Global Ocean Race,' comments Caffari. 'Having just completed a non-stop circumnavigation double-handed, I have some idea what the race competitors will be going through and I am looking forward to following the race and commenting on the action as they take on the oceans,' she continues. The former physical education instructor first hit the yachting headlines in 2004 as a professional Global Challenge skipper sailing around the world ‘the wrong way’ against the prevailing winds and currents with 17 amateur crew on a 70ft, steel yacht. Having barely finished the gruelling, upwind, fully-crewed circumnavigation, Caffari and her team quickly refitted the yacht and, renamed Aviva Challenge, she set off single-handed along the same route, securing a place in the record books 178 days later as the first woman to sail solo, nonstop, around the world westabout.
Moving into the IMOCA Open 60 Class, Dee completed a third circumnavigation in the single-handed, nonstop, 2008-09 Vendée Globe, finishing in sixth place out of 30 starters on Aviva and went on to break the Round Britain and Ireland Record for fully-crewed monohulls on the same boat in the summer of 2009, setting the barrier at six days and 11 hours. Recently, Caffari completed the double-handed, nonstop, round-the-world Barcelona World Race with Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella, taking sixth place out of 14 starters on IMOCA Open 60 GAES. Her involvement with the GOR signals further involvement in a sport that Caffari is devoted to: 'The GOR’s format is exciting and Class40’s always provide intensely close racing,' says Dee. 'Combined with the calibre and diversity of the teams entered in the race, it’s going to be a thrilling contest to watch and I’m already looking forward to the start in September.'
Caffari’s appointment is very significant for Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR: 'Dee is the most appropriate Ambassador we could possibly wish for,' he says. 'Highly talented and hugely popular, she has been with us in the background since our early days with kind words and positive support just when we needed it most and I’m certain Dee doesn’t even realise how important this was for us,' continues Hall. 'I would not profess to knowing Dee that well yet, but even when you know her just a little, Dee is simply one of those people that when you make big, sometimes difficult decisions, you do so thinking, ‘What would Dee think?’,' explains the Race Director. 'This is no spurious endorsement as often happens with sports stars; Dee genuinely believes in what we do as a race and with the aims of the Global Vision Sailing Trust.'
Dee’s charity involvement is already prolific: she is actively involved in the Toe in the Water charity re-inspiring injured servicemen and women through sailing; she is Patron of Sail 4 Cancer; she is active with the Cancer Research charity and is Ambassador for The Green Blue programme raising awareness of marine environment issues. However, Caffari will also support the Global Vision Sailing Trust (GVST) – a UK-based charity created to introduce under-privileged young people to sailing and its core values via a dinghy sailing programme initially operating in the stopover ports of the GOR. 'The Global Vision Sailing Trust will be a fabulous means to introduce young people to the sport of sailing in each of the stop overs,' confirms Dee. 'This unique opportunity will allow them to interact with the amazing teams and personalities connected with the GOR and experience why we all love the sport of sailing,' she adds.
For Piers Williams, CEO of Global Vision, Caffari’s support is invaluable: 'Dee is an inspirational, high-profile, international yachtswoman,' says Williams. 'Her example, drive and enthusiasm will make her a fantastic Ambassador for GVST,' he confirms. 'GVST is all about sailing and giving something back to the under-privileged of the world,' continues Williams. 'I can’t think of a more appropriate person to support us in achieving our charitable objectives,' he adds. 'It’s great to have Dee onboard.'
'Welcome onboard, Dee – it’s an honour to have you with us,' concludes Josh Hall.
Global Ocean Race website