Dee Caffari is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times. One of Britain’s most inspirational women she is an experienced, popular international speaker whose warm delivery alongside images and footage brings the drama and challenges of her world-record-setting voyages alive.
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.
In 2009 Dee completed the 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 making her the only woman to have sailed single-handed, non-stop around the world in both directions.
In April 2011, Dee successfully completed another circumnavigation, this time with a Spanish co-skipper. On completion of the Barcelona World Race, Dee became the only woman to have sailed three times around the world non-stop.
Dee continues to hold the female crewed monohull Round Britain and Ireland Speed Record set in June 2009 at 6 days 11 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds.
A former secondary school teacher of Physical Education, Dee 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.
As an enthusiast of testing personal limitations and living outside her comfort zone, it is not just sailing activities that Dee has relished taking part in. The increasingly popular sport of adventure racing takes place at all levels but the most extreme for Dee has been the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge. This involved Dee leading an all female team over 6500km of rugged terrain using the four disciplines of trekking, running, cycling and kayaking to raise money for cancer charities. Dee is a Patron for the charity Sail 4 Cancer and more recently became an Ambassador for Toe in the Water where she is actively involved in sailing with injured service personnel with the aim of re-inspiring, re-engaging and re-integration..
A love of the ocean and coastlines has also seen Dee become an ambassador for the RYA Green Blue Campaign to help encourage everyone to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.
Looking towards the future Dee aims to compete in the 2012/13 Vendée Globe once again with the intention of securing a podium position. Dee’s warm delivery brings the drama and challenges of her world-record-setting voyages alive.
An superb After Dinner & Award Host, Dee delivers something special with anecdotes drawn from three circumnavigations of the globe detailing the courageous challenges she has faced. Dee tailors her talks to inspire and entertain her audience. Clients appreciate Dee’s humour as well as her engaging, natural style.
- 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. Good communication, focus, careful preparation, goal setting and developing others’ talents are key. 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 an hostile environment. Dee speaks from experience of staying motivated when things get tough, achieving high performance, self-belief and succeeding against the odds.