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16 November 2005, 02:49 pm
Aviva Officially Named In Portsmouth As CAFFARI's Final Preparations Continue
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WSSRC Record Attempt

The Aviva Challenge gathered pace today as Aviva was officially named in a traditional ceremony at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Great Britain, ahead of her departure on Sunday 20 November, when Dee CAFFARI (GBR) will attempt to become the first women to complete a Westabout Solo Round The World voyage.

Aviva, was named after the international savings, investments and insurance group which is the sponsor of CAFFARI's quest to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents.

The boat was named by eight year old Amelia HACKETT from Plymouth, who is one of CAFFARI's keenest fans and ardently followed her exploits as a skipper in the last Global Challenge round the world race. She was chosen to name Aviva because she represents the young generation of people that CAFFARI is hoping to inspire with her record breaking attempt.

Amelia was joined at the naming ceremony by Sir Chay BLYTH, CAFFARI's mentor for this voyage and the first person to sail this route 34 years ago, and Patrick SNOWBALL, executive director of Aviva.

During The Aviva Challenge, former schoolteacher CAFFARI will be sailing the 72 foot yacht which she skippered, with a crew of 18, in the last Global Challenge race. The yacht has been modified to enable her to sail it single-hande and her circumnavigation is expected to last between 120 and 170 days, of which approximately 80 days will be spent in the treacherous Southern Ocean. The current Round the World, non stop, westabout, single-handed record stands at 122 days, 14 hours, 3 minutes and 49 seconds at an average speed of 7.43 knots set by Jean Luc VAN DEN HEEDE (FRA) on Adrien from November 2003-March 2004.

Throughout The Aviva Challenge CAFFARI will face, alone, some of the toughest physical challenges in the sport, including punishing 40 foot waves, extremes of temperature and severe lack of sleep.

CAFFARI has spent the last few weeks familiarizing herself with the yacht's modifications including the new furling gears and the powerful three speed pedestal drive winch installed in the centre cockpit, which make the sails easier to manoeuvre single-handedly. CAFFARI has also tested other alterations such as the auto pilot system and active radar transponder, which have been fitted for additional safety.

The naming ceremony marks the closing phase of this familiarization period and her last days before setting sail will be spent carrying out final sea trials, organizing provisions and planning with her shore team.

CAFFARI said, 'The official naming of Aviva is one of the final formalities before I set off and I'm now completely focused and ready for the forthcoming challenges. The last few weeks have been really busy but I can't wait to set out on this voyage. My main aim is to achieve that last 'first' which is still out there for a female yachtswoman. I've got an excellent team supporting me and I'm in the best possible shape to succeed.'

Sir Chay BLYTH commented, 'I believe Dee has the right character to be successful in her mission to complete this circumnavigation. It takes a particular type of person to want to take on such a challenge and I know Dee will relish the various tests. She is sailing in a yacht that she knows very well and has already completed the same route before, and is backed up by an excellent shore team who will provide her with plenty of support. I am as excited about this project as I was when I set out on my own voyage 34 years ago'.

SNOWBALL, executive director of Aviva plc, said, 'Dee epitomizes the spirit of Aviva's new marketing campaign - 'Forward thinking' - which celebrates the benefits of thinking and behaving in a progressive way. The Aviva Challenge came about because we identified with Dee's desire to push the boundaries and become a leader in her own field. Above all, Dee's passion and commitment to The Aviva Challenge reflect our belief that, with drive, energy and vision, people can achieve extraordinary things.'

With only a few days until CAFFARI sets sail, the full Aviva Challenge website has now been launched at www.avivachallenge.com.

Aviva (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Aviva during sea trials:© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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