Dee Caffari Named Skipper of Oman Sail Female Crew in Sailing Arabia

Oman Sail are delighted to announce that British offshore sailor Dee Caffari – the first woman to sail single-handed non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times – as skipper of their all female crew in Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2012 (SATT).

Image Credit: Lloyd Images/Oman Sail

Established in early 2011 by Oman Sail, SATT is the first international sailing regatta to join together the nations of the Gulf to race competitively around the region, as a regional alternative to Le Tour France a a Voile. Oman Sail’s first ever all female crew will be training hard over the winter months as the 2012 edition is expected to attract intense competition from teams across the Gulf as well as Europe.

The entry of an all female crewed boat into SATT will be one of the first major milestones in Oman Sail’s Women’s Programme, an initiative that was officially launched in October this year. The programme aims to develop Oman’s first professional female sailors and SATT will be the first competitive event in which the selected women will compete.

By the end of 2011, four Omani women will have been chosen to join Caffari, along with other international sailors, who are yet to be announced.  The chosen four will be selected from an initial group of seventy energetic women who were welcomed into Oman Sail’s sailing centres at Mussanah and Marina Bandar Al Rowdha back in July. Thirty of these women were then selected to begin a six month course of professional training, aiming to qualify them as sailing instructors. Seven were selected to undertake their first offshore passage, crossing the 350km from Khasab to Mussanah, in Oman and it is from these seven exceptional women that the final four will be chosen to represent Oman in the challenging SATT alongside Caffari.

Caffari, who will head up the all female crew, is an extraordinary example of the amazing opportunities sailing can offer women, having only begun her sailing career in 2000. By 2006 she had broken her first world record, as the first woman to sail solo non-stop the ‘wrong way’ around the world. She battled against prevailing winds and currents to complete her challenge and was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her achievement.

Her amazing determination shone through again when she came sixth out of an original line up of thirty in the 2008/09 Vendée Globe, a non-stop round the world race known within the sailing arena as the pinnacle offshore event. This feat meant Caffari became the first woman to sail single-handed non-stop around the world in both directions, making her a double world record holder. Most recently Caffari completed her third non-stop circumnavigation, the Barcelona World Race, making her the only woman to have sailed non-stop round the world three times.

Caffari commented:
“I am delighted to have been chosen to skipper Al Thuraya Bank Muscat in SATT as part of the Oman Sail Women’s Programme and am looking forward to spending the winter months training in Oman as we prepare for the Tour.  It is a fantastic opportunity for the women who have taken part in the selection process to date and I am sure that the four final crew chosen will be really pushing their boundaries during SATT. I believe that we can do more than we think we can and hope that I can facilitate all the crew of Al Thuraya Bank Muscat to realize their potential.”

With Caffari as their skipper the graduates from the Women’s Sailing Programme can expect an exciting first race sailing on board the Farr 30 racing yacht, Al Thuraya Bank Muscat. Caffari has already had record-breaking success with an all-female crew in 2009, when she lead the team that broke the mono-hull speed record for sailing around Britain and Ireland in just six days. The intent for SATT is to lead the Omani crew and ensure they meet their full potential.