Sunday, 2 January 2011

BWR: Good Start for Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella in the Barcelona World Race

Start of the Barcelona World Race. Image copyright Maria Muina.

by Jo Uffendall and Coralie Rassinoux

At 12:00 GMT on 31st December, record breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella, crossed the start line of the 25,000 mile Barcelona World Race onboard the IMOCA 60 yacht GAES Centros Auditivos. This is Caffari’s first round the world race since the epic Vendée Globe which saw Caffari finish sixth out of 30 starters to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, both ways around the world.

As the only all-female crew in the competition, both Caffari and Corbella are keen to put in a consistent and competitive performance and showed their enthusiasm as they rounded the North buoy in third position 26 minutes after crossing the start line. Before leaving the dock, Caffari spoke about the first stage of the race:
“The Mediterranean is complicated and we’ve practised here a lot but we’ve got 500 miles of it to start and finish with and honestly this is the part I dread the most."

In stark contrast, Anna knows the Med well but has never sailed in the Southern Ocean so hopefully we can support each other and draw on our strengths in each area.”
When asked about the contrast between solo and double handed sailing, Caffari added:
“Overall I’m really confident about the race and looking forward to enjoying it. I know there will be some bad times as well as lots of good times and it will be great to have someone to share them all with.”

One of the first things the girls will be sharing this evening is an old Spanish tradition, which Corbella explained as she boarded GAES Centros Auditivos:
“Although we will have just begun the Barcelona World Race, I am hoping that I can continue an old Spanish custom of eating the twelve grapes. At midnight tonight, as the clock strikes twelve it is tradition in Spain to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. I have the grapes with me and if we join the rest of Spain in doing this, it will give us good luck for 2011.”

Start of the Barcelona World Race. Image copyright Maria Muina.

After Alex Thomson’s forced retirement from the race due to an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, Dee Caffari will be the only one flying the flag for Great Britain in the race. Wouter Verbraak, Hugo Boss’s replacement skipper has jumped onboard as substitute skipper for the race.

The fleet are anticipating light winds through the Mediterranean to the Straits of Gibraltar which will create a frustrating and stressful start for the skippers who will all be hoping to make some early gains. Sail choice and tactical decisions will be all important as these are likely to shape the fleet and as the leading group break out into the stronger winds of the Atlantic the gap will increase more rapidly. Teams playing catch up might spend a long time trying to make good their early deficit.Aviva has been a longstanding supporter of Dee Caffari and her inspirational record breaking sailing achievements, assisting her to three world records including becoming the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions. As Founding Partner of Caffari’s sailing campaign, Aviva is pleased to extend this support to Corbella and GAES for the Barcelona World Race.

GAES Centros Auditivos
Barcelona World Race