Who is Dee Caffari?
Dee Caffari has circumnavigated the globe six times. She 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 a total of 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.
At the start of 2023, Dee joined The Famous Project. The team have set their sights on the Jules Verne Trophy and, if successful, will secure the first world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the planet with an all-female crew. As one of the toughest ocean challenges in the world, they will pit themselves against both the clock and the elements in their attempt to win one of the most prestigious sporting trophies.
Outside of sailing, Dee continues to showcase her talents as a host, presenter and as an International motivational speaker. Dee also spends time supporting her chosen charities and is Chair of the World Sailing Trust, a global charity that promotes the health of oceans and supports sailing in all its forms.
Dee's records & feats
Dee set a world record by becoming the first woman to complete a circumnavigation of the globe against the prevailing winds and currents in 2006.
Dee competed in the 2008/9 Vendée Globe – a race around the world, non-stop and alone. She crossed the finish line in 6th place out of 30 starters.
Dee crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race in April 2011 and on completion of this race entered the record books once again as the only woman to have circumnavigated the globe, non-stop, three times.
Dee joined Team SCA and set a new speed record for a female crew, circumnavigating Britain and Ireland in 2014 after they completed the race in 4 days 21 hours and 39 seconds, beating her previous record.
In 2017/18, Dee skippered the first mixed gender youth team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. Racing under the United Nations Environment initiative Clean Seas Turn the Tide on Plastic.
This is Dee's story...
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 solo, non-stop race around the world, 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. With completion of the Barcelona World Race Dee became the only woman to have sailed three times around the world non-stop.
Dee joined Team SCA in 2014, the all-female entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. During training, the team successfully claimed the Round Britain and Ireland speed record for a female crewed monohull in 4 days 21 hours and 39 seconds.
Dee returned to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 where she skippered Team Turn the Tide on Plastic. The campaign raised awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and inspired people to take action in their day to day lives. Dee continues to highlight the vital importance of reducing our dependence on plastics and improve ocean health.
After a career change, from being a secondary school teacher of Physical Education for five years, Dee secured her place as the only female skipper in the fleet to race in the Global Challenge race in 2004. 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. It was just four months later that Dee set off again to attempt her pioneering voyage – the Aviva Challenge, solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents.
Dee is actively involved in a number of charities. In 2018 Dee was invited to Chair the World Sailing Trust, a new global charity that will promote the health of oceans and grow participation of the sport to protect its future. Dee is on the advisory board of A Plastic Planet who’s single goal is to turn off the plastic tap by dramatically reducing the use of conventional plastic. In addition, Dee sits on the Operations Committee for the RNLI and is a patron for GAFIRS, an Independent Lifeboat station. Dee is also a patron for the charity Sail 4 Cancer and St Mary’s Junior Sailing Club. Dee is proud to be an ambassador for UKSA
Dee has been a presenter and producer for a number of media channels, helping to support and promote female athletes, sport and environment.
Dee’s timeline of major events
Secondary School PE Teacher
March 1, 2000
Dee started out as a secondary school physical education teacher and made the decision to pursue a sailing career in 2000.
October 3, 2004
Dee had secured her place as the only female skipper in the fleet to race in the 10-month Global Challenge race, which departed on 3 October 2004. Held every four years, this race took a fleet of one-design (or matching) steel yachts, crewed by amateur sailors who have paid to take part, the Westabout route round Cape Horn and through the Southern Ocean where winds can exceed 70 knots. Dee was the skipper of the yacht Imagine It. Done. The race saw the team develop from having to retire from the second leg of the race to finishing on the podium in leg six.
November 20, 2005
On 20th November 2005, Dee set off on her pioneering voyage, the Aviva Challenge, where she attempted to single-handedly circumnavigate the world against the prevailing winds and currents.
Aviva Challenge Finish
May 18, 2006
Dee completed her circumnavigation of the world against the prevailing winds and currents on 18 May 2006, at 17:55pm, after 178 days at sea. She set a world record by becoming the first woman to complete this epic voyage.
Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge
November 1, 2006
Dee led an all female team in the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge. They covered over 6500km of rugged terrain using four disciplines to raise money for cancer charities.
December 5, 2006
Dee was awarded the BBC South Yachtswoman of the Year and Raymarine Yachtswoman of the Year awards.
Partnership with Mike Golding
March 20, 2007
Dee announces a technical partnership with Mike Golding to allow both the British entries in the Vendee Globe to work together.
April 7, 2007
Dee completes the Flora London Marathon.
Awarded an MBE
June 17, 2007
Dee was named on Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours list and was awarded an MBE for her solo round the world record achievement.
‘Against the Flow’ book published
September 24, 2007
Dee’s book ‘Against the Flow’ was published.
2008 Artemis Transat Race
May 24, 2008
Dee competed in the Artemis Transat race across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth in the UK to Boston in the USA.
2008/9 Vendee Globe
November 15, 2008
Dee competed in the 2008/9 Vendee Globe – a race around the world, non-stop and alone, known as the Everest of sailing.
2008/9 Vendee Globe Finish
February 11, 2009
Dee completes the Vendee Globe and crosses the finish line in 6th place out of the 30 original competitors.
Speed Record – Round Britain and Ireland
June 23, 2009
Dee added to her achievements by setting a new speed record for circumnavigating Britain and Ireland after crossing the Solent finish line on her Open 60 Aviva. She completed the race in 6 days 11 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds, having lopped a massive 17 hours off the existing time.
2009 Transat Jacques Vabre
November 8, 2009
Dee and co-skipper, Brian Thompson, secured 8th place in the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race. At the end of her first full IMOCA season, Dee was placed 6th out of the 33 skippers in the IMOCA World Championship rankings.
June 1, 2010
Dee and her crew of five took part in a legged racing tour of Spain, the Vuelta Espana.
2010/11 Barcelona World Race
December 31, 2010
Dee Caffari and her co skipper, Anna Corbella finished 6th place in the Barcelona World Race.
Rolex Fastnet Race
August 14, 2011
Dee competed onboard Race for Water in the Rolex Fastnet race, finishing inside the course record within 34 hours.
Rolex ISAF Yachtswoman – Shortlisted
November 8, 2011
Dee was delighted to be shortlisted for the Rolex ISAF Yachtswoman of the Year Award.
2012-2016 Oman Sail Womens Programme
July 2, 2012
Dee led this pioneering initiative to empower Omani women and create equal opportunities in the sport of sailing.
Dee Caffari Honorary Commander
January 31, 2013
As Honorary Commander RNR Dee visits FOST.
H20 Radio Show Presenter
April 1, 2013
Presenting the H20 show for the second year.
Row 2 Win Launch
May 11, 2013
Dee joins fellow Crew Clothing Ambassador Ben Fogle to launch Row 2 Win.
Round The Island Race 2013
June 1, 2013
Toe in the Water races Round The Island.
2013 Rolex Fastnet Race
August 11, 2013
Joining the crew on Oman Air Mod 70 Dee sails to victory in the Fastnet Race winning the MOCRA Class after a busy Cowes Week.
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards
September 21, 2013
Awarding the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at St James Palace.
Becomes Team SCA Member
January 1, 2014
Dee is selected to be part of Team SCA the only all-female team entry into the Volvo Ocean Race.
January 1, 2016
Dee took on the role of performance coach to nurture offshore British sailing talent to help reach their goal of competing in the Vendee Globe 2020.
Sport Relief 2016
March 7, 2016
Dee is part of the ‘Hell on the High Seas’ challenge which raised over £1 million for Sport Relief.
Turn the Tide on Plastic
October 22, 2017
Dee skippers the first ever mixed gender youth team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Maiden Factor
August 6, 2018
Dee skippers newly restored yacht Maiden on her voyage to London and receives a royal welcome from Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Haya Bint al Hussein.
Sydney Hobart Race
December 17, 2018
Dee joins the Ocean Respect Racing team in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, crossing the line in sixth place and finishing second overall on IRC.
California Offshore Race Week
June 10, 2019
Dee joins the crew on a Santa Cruz 50 ‘Oaxaca’, to claim first in the Spinnaker Cup, 2nd in Coastal Cup, 1st in the SoCal 300 and 1st in the Series for the class.
July 22, 2019
Dee joins the crew of Santa Cruz 50 ‘Oaxaca’, to claim a division win in the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii.
Rolex Fastnet Race
August 5, 2019
Dee joins the crew of Aegir for the Rolex Fastnet Race.
SYZ Translemanique en Solitaire
August 30, 2019
Dee makes a return to solo sailing in this race around Lake Geneva and claims first place on a Grand Surprise.
Ocean Obs Conference
September 9, 2019
Held once every ten years, Dee is invited to deliver a keynote speech at the OceanObs’19 conference in Hawaii.
World Sailing Conference
October 14, 2019
As chair of the World Sailing Trust, Dee presents on the recent strategic review into Women in Sailing and reveals its findings and contributes to the discussion on sustainability in the sport of sailing.
Yacht Racing Forum
November 4, 2019
Dee is invited to join discussions on sailing sponsorship and the future of offshore racing.
Sustainability for the RNLI
January 10, 2020
Dee is invited to lead the special interest group for sustainability for the RNLI.
BOOT Boat Show – Dusseldorf
January 20, 2020
Dee attends the BOOT boat show in Dusseldorf and presents the Seamaster award to Boris Herrmann.
Double Handed National Champion
September 14, 2020
Dee becomes the UK Double Handed National Champion and goes on to represent Team GB at the European Offshore Championships.
World Sailing Conference
October 15, 2020
Dee joins a panel discussion on gender and geographical diversity at the World Sailing Conference and presents at the Maritime UK Awards, both held online allowing guests to attend virtually.
2020 Vendee Globe Commentary
November 8, 2020
Dee provides live commentary for the start of the 2020 Vendee Globe.
STCW Basic Safety Training
December 18, 2020
Dee renewed her STCW Basic Safety Training. The five day course at the UKSA covered Sea Survival, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting Personal Survival Techniques, Elementary First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities and Proficiency in Security Awareness.
August 1, 2021
Dee hosts at Sail GP events throughout the summer.
2021 Rolex Fastnet Race
August 16, 2021
Dee competes double handed in the Rolex Fastnet Race with James Harayda onboard Gentoo, Sunfast 3300. The duo were sadly forced to retire due to irreparable mainsail damage.
Maxi Worlds, Ibiza Gold Cup, St Tropez Regatta
September 11, 2021
Dee joins the world of superyacht racing as trimmer. She joins the crew of Kallima, a Swan 80, for the Maxi Worlds in Sardinia and then Aegir, a Rogers 80, for the Ibiza Gold Cup and St Tropez regatta.
October 23, 2021
Dee is invited to give a TED Talk entitled ‘The Power of What Is Not Said’.
Double Handed National Champion
November 6, 2021
Dee retains her title as the UK Double Handed National Champion for the second year running with James Harayda onboard Gentoo, Sunfast 3300.
Dee is announced as UKSA’s Youth and Mental Health Ambassador
February 7, 2022
I hope that by supporting the UKSA in this role as Youth and Mental Health Ambassador, I will be able to facilitate confidence in our young people to ensure our future generations can thrive. Being out in the elements facing the forces of mother nature, you soon realise that everyone is equal. She doesn’t care about your gender, race, religion or socio economic background. Agile thinking, adaptability, teamwork and collaboration are all required and these are all skills that are transferable into everyday life.
From Coast to Canal
June 17, 2022
From Coast to Canal is a fly-on-the-wall documentary following Dee’s maiden narrowboat voyage on the Grand Union Canal in Leicestershire. It shows her leaving behind the tides and currents of the open sea and being introduced to staircase locks, winding holes and tunnels on the tranquil inland waterways of the UK.
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race
August 6, 2022
Shirley Robertson OBE joins Dee to take on this marathon 1800 nautical mile race onboard the Sun Fast 3300, RockIt. Only nine double handed boats have ever completed this race non-stop. A huge challenge for this new offshore team.
Rolex Swan Cup
September 8, 2022
Racing onboard Kallima, a Swan 80.
World Sailing Trust named Mets Dame Award beneficiary
November 7, 2022
Dee accepts the Mets Dame Award in her capacity as Chair of the World Sailing Trust.
Sunsail BVI Sailing Trip
December 5, 2022
Dee joins the crew values trip; aimed at appreciating staff that make the holiday magic happen by being those that care, take responsibility, exceed expectations and work above and beyond.