Dee Caffari. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Oman Sail
by Joanna Uffendell
British yachtswoman, Dee Caffari, has made her way across the channel to join the Oman Sail MOD 70 team on-board Musandam Oman Air for the Grand Prix Guyader in Northern France. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet, the trimaran will be up against some fierce competition and with a forecast of 15-20 knots, the week looks set to provide a combination of extreme sailing in near perfect conditions.
“I am so excited to be part of Sidney’s team racing on-board the Oman Sail flagship, Musandam Oman Air. I have been training hard in the gym for the last few weeks in preparation as I know how physically challenging these boats are. After I competed in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet aboard another MOD 70 I was almost unable to lift my arms above my head, they were so fatigued.”
The Grand Prix Guyader is a typically French event with every aspect of sailing skill on display. Today a coastal race will take place, which will be dominated by the multihulls and over the weekend the kitesurfers come into their own as the competitors battle it out on speed runs.
Caffari knows the crew on-board the Oman Sail MOD 70 well, however, she is more familiar with the competition on the water. Oman Sail’s main competition will be Jean-Pierre Dick, fresh from the Vendee Globe, aboard his new Virbac Paprec MOD70 together with his crew comprising sailing legends Vincent Riou and Roland Jourdain. Caffari raced around the world against all of them in the Vendee Globe back in 2008/9 and knows that they will be a formidable force in the competition.
Caffari’s team mates are truly multi-national and, although she can happily converse in French, for the next week the crew language is English. With three Omanis, two English, two French and one Irishman on board, communication will be interesting to say the least.
For Caffari, her role on-board for the Grand Prix Guyader will be trimming the mainsail and working up a sweat on the ‘coffee-grinders’. The longer term objective is for Caffari to skipper the Oman Sail MOD70 with a number of the female Omani crew that she trained for Sail Arabia The Tour (SATT) earlier in the year.
Crew list for the Grand Prix Guyader
Skipper – Sidney Gavignet
Fahad Al Hassni
Moshin Al Basaidi
Ahmed Al Balushi