British yachtswoman Dee Caffari will take on world’s largest and most diverse offshore yacht race on 11th August, the RORC Rolex Fastnet. No stranger to gruelling offshore challenge, having raced course five times, Caffari will be joining skipper Sidney Gavignet and his crew onboard 'Mod70' trimaran Oman Air-Musandam for the 608 nautical mile race which they will aim to complete in less than 36 hours depending on the weather.
In her capacity as adviser to the Oman Sail Women’s Programme, Caffari has selected Omani sailor Raya Al Habsi to join the elite crew, enabling her to become the first Omani woman to race offshore and take part in the Rolex Fastnet. The Oman Sail Women’s Programme aims to empower Omani women by allowing them to develop sporting and leadership skills using sailing as a platform and has been a great success since its inception in August 2011.
'The Omani boys have developed their sailing experience and to see the girls doing the same is fantastic. We have taken a lot of small steps to get here and this is a reflection of the willingness of the people of Oman, to accept change and embrace a new way of thinking. We are very sensitive to the heritage and cultures of this nationality, but equally, they have accepted the need to move forward and encourage each other to push the boundaries. The boat is a shining example of cultural diversity working together in a high performance team, something we can all be proud to be a part of.'
Raya Al Habsi who was trained by Caffari for Sail Arabia - The Tour (Satt)earlier in the year, commented ahead of her next challenge.
'I am excited and I know maybe I will face hard times. But I am ready to face those times and do what I need to. I want to get to the end of the race and feel proud. I know very little about the 'Mod70' Oman Air-Musandam, but I know you have to be strong in body and strong in mind as well.'
This year as many as 370 yachts are entered in the race with the course taking the boats around Land's End and across the Celtic Sea before rounding the Fastnet Rock and Bishop's Rock en route to the finish line just off Plymouth.
Ahead of the Rolex Fastnet, Caffari and Raya Al Habsi will be familiarising themselves with Oman Air-Musandam as they engage in a number of sailing activities throughout AAM Cowes Week.
The impressive trimaran will arrive on the south coast from its home in Lorient, France on Friday second August where it will engage in a period of guest sailing over the weekend. On Tuesday 6th August, there will be an opportunity for invited media to sail with the team onboard Oman Air-Musandam to experience these elite racing machines firsthand.
The multinational crew will then join the IMOCA 60’s racing in the Artemis Challenge, a sprint around the Isle of Wight on Thursday eighth August, before final checks are made ahead of the Fastnet Race start on Sunday 11th August.
Crew list for the RORC Rolex Fastnet Race
Skipper – Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
Ahmed Al Hasni (OMA)
Damian Foxall (IRL)
Neal McDonald (GBR)
Raya Al Habsi (OMA)
Dee Caffari (GBR)