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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Inspirational and Record-breaking Yachtswoman, Dee Caffari MBE, supports the BRIT Ambassador family

We are thrilled that Dee is part of our BRIT Ambassador family and championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

Dee has sailed around the world six times. She is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world a total of three times.

Dee Caffari MBE - Record-breaking Yachtswoman (Photo credited to The Volvo Ocean Race and James Blake)

In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

Dee led ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ – the first mixed gender youth team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18; with a strong sustainability message. Off the water, the issue of single use plastic in our oceans gained huge momentum and has inspired many people to take action in their day to day lives.

Dee Caffari MBE (Photo credited to Beau Outteridge)

“As a former teacher I am only too aware of the difficult stage in life the young adult years can be and am mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the mental health challenges that young adults and students face. It has also had a disproportionate impact on particular groups in society, particularly those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. We must do more now to support all young adults and students who need help to avoid long-term consequences on their mental health, fitness and wellbeing.

BRIT is continuing to succeed with its visionary and collaborative approach to improve young adult mental health and fitness through the delivery of the annual BRIT Challenge. BRIT are forging partnerships with mental health charities, education and sport governing bodies, university and college leadership teams and Students’ Unions, to invite students and staff to take part in this UK-wide feelgood February fundraiser to improve physical and mental health as well as raise vital funds.

I am delighted to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family to promote the BRIT Challenge, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I look forward to supporting Leeds Beckett University and the University of Southampton as they take on the BRIT Challenge.”

Dee Caffari MBE

Record-breaking Yachtswoman, Author, Ocean Advocate, Charity Ambassador and Chair of the World Sailing Trust

Dee Caffari MBE (Photograph credited to Charlie Clift)

After a career change, from being a secondary school teacher of Physical Education for five years, Dee secured her place as the only female skipper in the fleet to race in the Global Challenge race in 2004. A natural team leader, the crewed round the world race dealt with man management, conflict management and also the extreme highs and lows encountered with success and failure on a race lasting ten months. It was just four months later that Dee set off again to attempt her pioneering voyage – the Aviva Challenge, solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents.

Dee celebrating after completing the Aviva Challenge

In 2009 Dee completed the Vendée Globe – a solo, non-stop race around the world, making her the only woman to have sailed single-handed, non-stop around the world in both directions.

In April 2011, Dee successfully completed another circumnavigation. With completion of the Barcelona World Race, Dee became the only woman to have sailed three times around the world non-stop.

Dee joined Team SCA in 2014, the all-female entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. During training, the team successfully claimed the Round Britain and Ireland speed record for a female crewed monohull in 4 days 21 hours and 39 seconds.

Dee returned to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18, where she skippered Team Turn the Tide on Plastic. The campaign raised awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and inspired people to take action in their day to day lives. Dee continues to highlight the vital importance of reducing our dependence on plastics and improve ocean health.

Dee is actively involved in a number of charities. In 2018, Dee was invited to Chair the World Sailing Trust, a new global charity that will promote the health of oceans and grow participation of the sport to protect its future. Dee is on the advisory board of A Plastic Planet who’s single goal is to turn off the plastic tap by dramatically reducing the use of conventional plastic. In addition, Dee sits on the Operations Committee for the RNLI and is a patron for GAFIRS, an Independent Lifeboat station. Dee is also a patron for the charity Sail 4 Cancer and St Mary’s Junior Sailing Club. Dee is proud to be an ambassador for UKSA.

Dee has been a presenter and producer for a number of media channels, helping to support and promote female athletes, sport and environment.

Dee is also a world renowned motivational speaker. One of Britain’s most inspirational women, Dee’s warm delivery brings her story alive: the drama, the challenges and the lessons hard learnt during her world-record setting voyages circumnavigating the world. Messages and insights include:

  • Creating gender balanced teams

  • Staying motivated especially when it gets tough and over the long-haul

  • Assessing Risk

  • Solo Challenges – resilience, achieving under pressure, without sleep in tough environments

  • Team Success – encouraging high performance and self-belief in your team

  • Leadership

  • Facing the tough realities of change, challenge and competition

  • Sustainability

  • Diversity & Collaboration

For more information on Dee, please visit her website.

You can follow Dee on Twitter and Instagram.


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