HRH The Princess Royal will greet Dee Caffari when she arrives at Southampton on Sunday 19/5/06
Solo yachtswoman Dee Caffari, 33, will step off her yacht Aviva this Sunday 21 May 2006 for the first time in almost six months to celebrate becoming the first woman to sail round the world non-stop against the prevailing winds and currents.
HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the Global Challenge, will congratulate the solo sailor when she brings her yacht Aviva alongside at Ocean Village, Southampton. In 1971, HRH was on the quayside to welcome home Caffari’s mentor, Sir Chay Blyth, when he became the first person to achieve this “impossible voyage”.
Caffari has battled against extreme isolation and often-horrendous conditions for a total of 178 days, 3 hours, 6 minutes and 15 seconds sailing 29,227 miles.
HRH The Princess Royal will discuss the voyage with Caffari aboard Aviva and take a tour of the yacht during the celebrations and long-awaited re-unions with Caffari’s family and friends.
On her way home Caffari said: “I can’t describe how happy I am. There were a few moments during the voyage when I really didn’t think this day would come so this is a very special feeling. I feel exhausted but completing the circumnavigation means everything to me and coming back home will be just unbelievable.
“The journey was one of extremes and while there were times when it got so tough I didn’t think I could carry on, I was also privileged to experience some magic moments with the ocean all to myself. One thing that always gave me a massive lift was reading the messages of support everyone sent me. Every day they arrived from all over the world and it’s great to think that my voyage has inspired other people to take on their own challenges.
“It will be very strange and a bit sad to see Aviva tied to the pontoon, but I’m glad that we made it and couldn’t have possibly done it without my shore team. Throughout the voyage there was always a sense of uncertainty – at any point the voyage could have been brought to an early end by any number of problems but they were always able to guide me to a solution and this achievement is in no small part down to their amazing skill and patience with me!”
Sir Chay Blyth, Caffari’s mentor and the first person to complete the voyage in 1971, commented: “The homecoming planned for Dee will be a fitting way to mark her hugely successful circumnavigation. She has inspired the imagination of a worldwide audience, and has joined only four other men who have achieved this feat to become the first woman to complete a solo and non-stop westabout circumnavigation. Others may follow but she will always remain the first.”