Dee Caffari wins the Award for Inspirational at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards

Record breaking solo round the world yachtswoman, Dee Caffari, was delighted to accept the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration yesterday when she attended the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards.  Held at the David Beckham Academy in London, previous winners include Paula Radcliffe, Pippa Funnell, Kelly Holmes, Zara Phillips and Nicole Cooke. The event also recognises women at all levels of British sporting life including administrators working behind the scenes, and those coaches, students and PE teachers nurturing future talent.

As a former PE teacher herself, Caffari is well aware of the importance of grass roots sports development to encourage participation from an early age. On receiving the award Caffari said: “I am thrilled to have been acknowledged by the Sunday Times today and to have been there in person to collect the prestigious award.  I think it is fitting that the awards honour both the achievements of elite athletes and the invaluable support network behind the scenes. Whilst I have picked up this award for my solo sailing exploits, the credit will be shared with the fantastic team of people that have helped me circumnavigate the globe in both directions and my sponsor behind the double world record, Aviva.”

In her relatively short sailing career, Caffari has achieved a lot. In May 2006, she became the first woman to sail around the world non-stop against the prevailing winds and currents. In February 2009, Caffari secured a double world first by crossing the official finish line of the Vendée Globe yacht race after 99 days to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop both ways around the world. Just a few months later, Caffari led an all female crew to set a new speed record for sailing around Britain and Ireland – 6 days, 11 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds.

Aviva has supported Caffari since 2005 and announced a new partnership with Dee as the racing team’s founding partner. She is now actively searching for a new title sponsor to support her 2012 Vendée Globe campaign. This Sunday Caffari will be on the start line of the double handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Costa Rica.