Dee Caffari MBE is the first woman in history to sail solo, non-stop both ways around the world.
A former secondary school PE teacher, Dee Caffari decided after five years of teaching to change careers. With a desire for adventure, travel, and experiencing new environments, Dee set her sights on the marine industry. First, she qualified as a water sports instructor then completed her offshore sailing qualifications and began to work on yachts.
In her early career, working in the yacht charter business enabled Dee to sail in numerous places around the world and gain valuable mileage and experience. Seeing the 2000/01 Global Challenge fleet return home after their impressive race was the catalyst for Dee’s next goal. In 2004, Dee had secured her place as the only female skipper in the fleet to race in the Global Challenge race.
A natural team leader, the crewed round the world race dealt with man management, conflict management and also the extreme highs and lows encountered with success and failure on a race lasting ten months.
Rather than acting as a deterrent to Dee, this spurred her on to push her boundaries yet again by attempting the same journey – solo and non-stop. After arriving home from the Global Challenge race in July 2005, it was just four months later that Dee set off again to attempt her pioneering voyage – the Aviva Challenge.
Dee Caffari was awarded an MBE in recognition of her solo circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents, setting a world record in the process by becoming the first woman to complete this epic voyage in 2006.
Dee also competed in the 2008/9 Vendée Globe – a race around the world, non-stop and alone, known within the sailing arena as the pinnacle offshore event. Dee crossed the finish line in 6th place out of the 30 starters.
As the only female to sail solo, non-stop in both directions around the world, Dee added to her achievements in June 2009 by claiming the overall crewed monohull Round Britain and Ireland Speed Record, which now stands at six days 11 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds.
Completing the Barcelona World Race (2011) means Dee has achieved a third non-stop lap of the planet – the only woman to do so – and so Dee adds another world record to her prestigious sailing achievements.
As one of Britain’s most inspirational women, Dee Caffari is an experienced, popular international speaker. Dee’s warm delivery brings the drama and challenges of her world-record-setting voyages alive.
Leadership & Teamwork:
Dee has led others through hostile conditions, inspiring an amateur team of sailors in the Global Challenge, for example, and overseeing a dramatic rescue too. She led an all-woman crew to beat the record sailing around Britain and Ireland in June 2009.
Excellent communication, focus, careful preparation, goal setting, and developing other’s talents are essential, as well as a sense of fun!
Courage in Difficult Times:
Sailing solo for nearly six months to become the first woman to sail ‘the wrong way’ round the world, Dee has faced icebergs, intense sleep deprivation, technical failures and the worst that the Southern Ocean can muster. The Vendée Globe is a war of attrition – a competitive race in a hostile environment.
Dee speaks from experience of staying motivated when things get tough, achieving high performance, self-belief and succeeding against the odds.