No need to prove she can bash upwind


Dee Caffari is bored of going upwind. The woman who set a solo record round the world westabout last year has been looking forward to racing downwind in an Open 60 – but she has yet to experience it.

The difference now is her new Aviva likes an upwind bashing even less than she does. This morning, sail damage to Aviva caused Dee Caffari to pull out of the Rolex Fastnet Race and she’s heading back to Portsmouth.

Two lines of holes were chafed through as the weight of water trapped in the reefed bunt of the sail pushed it against the guardwire. Caffari patched those this morning, then found another large L-shaped tear had ripped on the boom arms.

“With these tears we couldn’t hoist the full mainsail so were not going to get to the Fastnet before this ferocious front with 45 knots came in. It was a case of ‘do I want to risk my main or get it sorted and do other things?’. So now, we’re really enjoying reaching along the other way!”

She is upbeat about the decision to retire, and comments: “I’ve learned loads. And in a way I feel I’ve made a big step. I’m joining those who are big enough to make that decision. Before I might have felt I couldn’t bottle out, and I had to show I could do it. I feel bigger than that now.”

The picture above is one Dee sent me late this morning of her looking damp but cheery on the charge back from Land’s End. Downwind at last!