Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Hat Trick of World Records for Dee Caffari

Caffari and all female crew break record for sailing around Britain and Ireland

Caffari, Davies, Merron and Sizer cross the finishing line on board Aviva in record time. Image copyright Lloyd Images.

by Lucie Bartlett

At 08:40:29 Monday morning, 22nd June, Dee Caffari, the British yachtswoman who made history by becoming the first woman to sail solo, non stop both ways around the world, set a new record for sailing around Britain and Ireland. Caffari and her all female crew, including fellow British yachtswoman and Vendée Globe race rival Samantha Davies, completed the course in 6 days, 11 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds – 17 hours and 16 minutes ahead of the previous record set in May 2004 onboard Solune.

Skipper Dee Caffari commented:
“The outright speed record was always our goal and I am ecstatic that we accomplished our aim. In sport, as in many areas of life, choosing the right team is vital to success and over the last six days, Aviva has had a strong, focussed team aboard pushing her every inch of the course. We have all given it 110% and clear communication has played a key part in this achievement. It has very much been a team effort and having the other three girls with me has been a blast.”

The all female crew left Gosport last Monday 15th June and crossed the official start line off Ventnor on the Isle of Wight at 21:09:36, before embarking anti-clockwise on their 2500 mile journey. With changeable conditions throughout the record attempt, Caffari and her crew slipped either side of the required record pace on a daily basis. A high pressure front in the English Channel saw Aviva slow significantly with 450 miles to go but, with enough distance banked under the more favourable weather conditions, Caffari and her crew were able to maintain a sufficient lead to finish inside of the required record pace.

Samantha Davies added:
“It was fantastic to be onboard Aviva for this record breaking trip. We pushed ourselves and the boat hard but it was definitely worth it to finish inside the record. I think I’m almost as exhausted after this trip as I was after the Vendée Globe – although that’s probably as much from the constant chatting as the sailing!”

Joining Caffari and Davies on board Aviva for the record were fellow Brits, offshore sailor Miranda Merron and boat captain Alex Sizer. In the process of breaking the outright record, Caffari and her crew also set a record time for an all female crew. The previous record had stood at 10 days and 16 hours and was set by Samantha Davies and her crew onboard Roxy in June 2007.

Dee Caffari and Sam Davies celebrate with champagne. Image copyright Lloyd Images.

Crew information:

Sam Davies
Aged 34, Samantha Davies made a dramatic entrance into the closed circle of solo sailors by achieving a remarkable feat during the Vendée Globe 2008/2009. Finishing 4th overall, first woman and first British skipper of the race, the Cambridge engineering graduate brought her boat Roxy (double Vendée Globe winner with Michel Desjoyeaux and then Vincent Riou at the helm) home first out of the older generation boats in the prestigious solo round the world race.

Even though the public might have discovered Sam during her round the world voyage, the offshore sailing community had already been keeping a close eye on the progress and talent of the most French of the British sailors (she lives in Kerlin in Brittany). A talented Figaro sailor, Sam has raced four times in the Solitaire du Figaro (2003 to 2006) and sailed on board Roxy in the last edition. She finished the 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre in 10th position (the first of the old generation boats to finish) with her friend and accomplice Jeanne Grégoire. She went to take the fifth place in the Transat Ecover B2B the same year, again onboard Roxy.

Before leaving Les Sables d’Olonne for her first solo round the world race, Sam Davies had already achieved a remarkable 5th place (and first British sailor) in the 2008 Artemis Transat with a sprint finish despite having collided with a whale.
Sam Davies

Miranda Merron
Miranda started sailing when she was 5 years old on the River Seine, south of Paris.
Educated in England, she graduated from Cambridge University before going to work in advertising. Having opted for a change of career, Miranda has been sailing professionally for the past 12 years and has competed in solo, double-handed and fully-crewed races, including the Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre, Volvo Ocean Race and four laps around Britain & Ireland. She has spent the past two seasons racing the Class40 ’40 Degrees’, winning the 2008 Championship.

Alex Sizer
Alex has been involved as preparateur and crew of professional offshore race campaigns for many years. Having raced in the BT Global Challenge as crew for Mike Golding, she has also spent several years working for Mike in the lead up to the Vendée Globe races in 2000 and 2008. She has spent the last two years working as Boat Captain of a Class 40 project, helping the project win 1st place in the 2008 Championship. At present she is overseeing the project of a New Class 40 to be launched in August of this year.

The record-breaking team: Caffari, Sizer, Davies and Merron on Aviva. Image copyright Lloyd Images.

Aviva Ocean Racing

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