Credit: Georgia Schofield

The beginning of the month began with some coaching for the RORC Griffin initiative. 

RORC has chartered four Sun Fast 30 One Design boats from Cap Regatta to give young sailors the opportunity and experience to race in the 2024 RORC Season’s Points Championship. In total, 300 sailors applied for the Griffin24 programme, of which 40 were chosen for two selection events held in Cowes in late March 2024.  The sailors came from all over the UK, Europe, and the United States, with a wide range of experience from dinghy sailing to offshore racing and blue water cruising. In total 10 nationalities were represented at the selection events, with almost gender parity. From the selection weekends, 20 sailors were then chosen to form the RORC Griffin24 squad.

On the first training weekend in April, I joined Shirley Robertson, Steve Hayles and Ian Walker to offer some coaching and mentoring for the squad ahead of their first races. It was a blustery weekend with some fun conditions and a chance for the crews to take on roles and responsibilities for the upcoming races. We shared a lot of tips with the young sailors and will continue to be on hand to offer support throughout the year.

I then left the cold, wet windy weather of the UK behind me to join The Famous Project in the Caribbean. As we had brought a new team together, we spent a couple of days training and checking before setting off to deliver Limosa back to Europe and completing the first transatlantic crossing by an all-female team on a MOD 70.

We had strong upwind conditions for a couple of days with a messy sea state and a motion that made some of the team a little seasick. However, the queasiness did not stop the sailors fulfilling their roles and before long we were reaching as we slowly headed east.  We were able to hoist the Genniker and then enjoyed five days of wonderful downwind champagne sailing conditions. Alexia did a great job keeping us within a wind band that allowed us to enjoy the sailing and take time to learn and grow in confidence rather than find the stronger more stressful conditions. Our goal was to deliver the boat and team in one piece while creating a learning environment to enable the crew to grow in understanding of this beast of a multihull. We had a tricky high pressure ridge to negotiate just north of the Azores before we had a final blast in broad reaching conditions towards Southern Portugal. We arrived in Portimao on Tuesday 23rd April just ten days after setting off from Antigua with our objectives achieved.

I was not able to stay and celebrate for long as I had an invitation to speak at a Private Equity Conference in Berlin. I delivered a keynote highlighting the synergies between risk and reward and how to create a high performance team, exactly what we are looking to achieve with The Famous Project.

The month ended with a reunion for my university class of ’94. I am not sure where the last 30 years have gone but it was great to return to the Carnegie School of Sport in Leeds where I enjoyed three fun years before taking on a PGCE to qualify as a secondary school teacher. The amenities have certainly moved on and we were quite envious of the state of the art facilities that the students enjoy today. Those who could attend enjoyed reminiscing, storytelling and catching up. Student life has certainly changed from our time and, although much remained the same, it was also very different. What endures is our ability to laugh and share our adventures and I very much look forward to the next reunion.

Dee Caffari

British yachtswoman 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. In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

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