After becoming the first women to sail non-stop, solo, westabout around the world, CAFFARI is launching an Open 60 racing campaign which is planned to culminate with her entry into the 2008-09 Vendée Globe. This race, contested by ocean racing's elite, is regarded as one of the world's most gruelling sailing races.
Only seven months ago, in May 2006, 33 year old CAFFARI completed the Aviva Challenge, becoming the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents. In doing this, she proved herself to be a yachtswoman of the highest calibre - CAFFARI now aims to prove that she can be fast, as well as tough.
CAFFARI's campaign will include a series of IMOCA (Monohull Open Class International Association) Open 60 races throughout 2007-08 in preparation for her entry into the 2008-09 Vendée Globe. In the first phase of the campaign she will use a training boat, Aviva, formerly known as Hellomoto. The preparation of a new purpose built race boat for the 2008 Vendée Globe entry will also start immediately. CAFFARI and her team have selected the highly experienced Merfyn OWEN of Owen Clarke Designs to design the new boat.
Her transition to Open 60 racing will see CAFFARI move up into one of the most highly competitive and spectacular sailing classes. For CAFFARI, whose previous experience has been skippering boats designed to sail against prevailing winds and currents, this will be a major challenge and require an accelerated learning curve in downwind race sailing.
To guide her on this journey, CAFFARI will draw from the experience of a team of experts from a variety of sailing disciplines. The aim is to put her in a position to compete for one of the top places in the Vendée Globe 2008-09. Her core team is decided but other experts will be announced in the coming months.
The Aviva Ocean Racing Team will be supported by campaign director Andrew ROBERTS and Harry SPEDDING as campaign manager. Both helped CAFFARI to success in her round the world solo challenge in 2006.
New to her team is project manager Joff BROWN. BROWN has been instrumental in a number of top class Open 60 campaigns including the preparation of boats for Mike GOLDING (GBR), Conrad HUMPHREYS and Alex THOMSON (GBR).
CAFFARI said, 'I already know I'm mentally tough, but now I've got to focus on developing my technical skills so that I can successfully go from 0 to Open 60 in under two years!
'What more could I ask for my next challenge? Sailing events don't come any tougher than the Vendée Globe - the world's best sailors, competing in the world's best boats, in the biggest fleet, making it the most challenging sailing event for the next few years.'
Announcing Aviva's sponsorship, executive director Patrick SNOWBALL said, 'Dee's successful completion of the Aviva Challenge last year was a master class in skill, guts and determination. Dee is an extraordinary woman who is determined to push back the boundaries of her sport and inspires others to do the same in their own lives. Aviva is immensely proud of its partnership with Dee CAFFARI. We believe she epitomizes the spirit of our 'Forward thinking' campaign and we're really excited about the prospect of her new international Aviva Ocean Racing campaign which will test her sailing skills even further.'
For all the news on the 2008 Vendée Globe CLICK HERE.