Dee Caffari

Sunsail ambassador

Career / Achievements

  • 2000 - Dee changed careers from being a secondary school teacher to a professional sailor, by re training at UKSA. Dee started her career working for Mike Golding on his Corporate Challenge Yacht.
  • 2002 - Dee worked for Formula 1 Sailing, first as a skipper and then as the manager of their fleet of Farr65s in the UK and the Caribbean
  • 2004 - Only female skipper in the fleet to race in the 10-month Global Challenge race (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 team ended up on the podium
  • 2006 - Dee became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world “the wrong way” in 178 days, setting a world record, against the prevailing winds and currents.
  • 2007 - Dee was named on her Majesty’s Birthday Honours list and was awarded an MBE for her solo round the world record achievement
  • 2009 - Dee completes the 2008/09 Vendee Globe – a race around the world, non-stop and alone, known as the Everest of sailing. She finished 6th out of 30 entrants.
  • 2009 - Dee and co-skipper, Brian Thompson, secured 8th place in the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race.
  • 2011 - Dee and her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella, formed the only female team in the non-stop double handed race around the globe, finishing in 6th place
  • 2011 - Dee competed onboard the MOD 70, Race for Water, in the Rolex Fastnet Race, finishing inside the course record within 34 hours. Dee also became an Honorary Commander RNR
  • 2012 - Dee and her all female crew claim 4th place in Sail Arabia The Tour onboard the Oman Sail Team. For two of the crew, they became the first Arab women to sail offshore.
  • 2013 - Races on Oman Air, MOD 70, in the Fastnet and wins the MOCRA Class
  • 2014 - Dee joins Team SCA and set a new speed record for a female crew, circumnavigating Britain and Ireland in 4 days, 21 hours and 39 seconds, beating her previous record.
  • 2014 - Awarded the ‘Ladies Day trophy’ at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for her outstanding contribution, commitment, or achievement of women in sailing
  • 2015 - Dee as part of Team SCA was the first all-female team to complete the Volvo Ocean Race 14-15
  • 2016 - Dee competes in the Three Peaks Yacht Race for Sail 4 Cancer, a charity she is the patron for. Dee coaches on board the Open 60 Artemis in a program called Vendee 2020 Vision aiming to help British sailing talent get closer to achieving their goal to compete in the Vendee Globe Race. This involves some training camps, some RORC Races and the Volvo Round Ireland Race. 

Getting to know Dee

  • Best Moment out at Sea - In the Aviva Challenge I sailed out of the field of Icebergs I had spent three days in and it was magical. It was a glorious sunset and the sea temperature finally rose and for the first time in 72 hours I no longer saw any icebergs ahead of me.
  • Favourite Quote - “If it was easy then everyone would be doing it” Sir Peter Blake
  • Best piece of advice - Concentrate on the things you can do something about and do not spend energy on those beyond your control.
  • Regrets - I try not to have any.
  • Eureka Moment - Sports psychology does make a huge difference in performance.
  • Favourite boat - Tamberini – my father’s motor boat. We used it as a caravan and in school holidays we took our holidays everywhere from Germany, Holland, Belgium and France down to the Loire Valley. We even had to buy my school uniform in Ramsgate on the way home to be ready for the new term in September.
  • Best Restaurant - I have been very lucky to have been invited to and eaten at some amazing places from Michelin star restaurants to lobsters on the beach in Anegada, thanks to Sunsail Holidays. But my favourite restaurant is dinner at home with friends.
  • Best Destination - Somewhere where the water is warm, the wind blows and the sun shines.
  • Celebrity Crush - So many to choose from, but I guess my guilty pleasure would be Stephen Amell, just watch an episode of ‘The Arrow’ to understand.
  • New Year’s Resolution - Best one I ever made was to stop biting my nails, that was on day one of the Barcelona World Race and it worked.
  • Advice on how best to get into sailing - Ask everyone you know, and ask at all local clubs. Keep asking, experience is absolutely the key to getting ahead. Sail with as many different people on as many different boats as possible.
  • Why / How did you get into sailing? - I left my teaching job and went to UKSA. After getting my qualifications I went about getting experience and took my first job with British sailor Mike Golding.
  • Favourite Beach - Hill Head with my dog or a deserted beach with blue water and a palm tree.
  • Best Luxury Item at sea - Non spill thermal mug, I can’t live without a cup of tea.
  • Karaoke Song Choice - “Total Eclipse of the Heart” Bonnie Tyler, just ask those that worked with me at Harrow House International College.
  • Favourite TV Program - Growing up “Fame” or “Gladiators”
  • Best thing about coming home after months at sea - A hot shower and a warm hug from my boyfriend
  • First Album ever bought - It was so long ago I don’t remember, but music has always been important in my family. I have a truly eclectic mix on my iPod.
  • Your Hero - Sir Peter Blake.
  • The last book you read - My guilty pleasure is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books. Ebooks have revolutionised taking books offshore.
  • Fantasy dinner party guests, from history or modern day? - Rebel Wilson, Sir Richard Attenborough, Margaret Thatcher, Daley Thompson, Claudia Winkleman and Sir Richard Branson. That way I can enjoy a good laugh with inspiring chat, educational discussion and some entertainment. Not sure they would work all together but I would enjoy it.

Dee Caffari's Sunsail challenge

Can a racing professional relax on a sailing holiday? We challenged Dee to a holiday in the BVI. 

Choose Sunsail

Stunning Sailing Destinations 
Flotilla routes
Types of yachts
44 yrs
Creating holidays
4 hr
Service commitment
Consumer protection