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Dee will be in Les Sables d'Olonne for a different view

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Record breaking yachtswoman Dee Caffari more or less started her campaign to return and compete in her second Vendée Globe as soon as she was back home after the first one. Her first one was very much a learning experience, finding out how to really push herself in the Southern Ocean, building steadily in confidence.

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FINISH FOR DEE CAFFARI (UK) / AVIVA
© OLIVIER BLANCHET / DPPI / Vendée Globe

Sadly finding the funding to go again eluded Caffari. She promises herself to be back in the future, but she admits she expects that watching the start on 10th November in Les Sables d’Olonne will bring back some very unique and special memories, but it will be an emotional time when she waves off the skippers.

So how close did you get to finding funding for a second Vendée Globe?
In the end it is disappointing that I was not really very close at all. There were a couple of glimmers of interest which did not really materialise into anything much at all. And more me it has been down purely to the economic climate of cant make people redundant and then sponsor something which looks very ostentatious and has this image of being an elite sport. My two close calls were short lived. I kept positive and then tried to stay realistic.

It must be hard to know the race is getting closer and the excitement is building but you wont be on the start line. But you wanted to do it ‘properly’ or not at all?
For sure one of the reasons I did the Barcelona World Race was to keep the momentum going. And to keep building so that I felt I would be improving on last time and building towards a podium. I did not really need to do ‘just another lap’ and so in all honesty it needed to have been the right campaign to know I could deliver at a higher level. The reality is that even if there was an option to get there to be on the start line, even if you had gone past your self imposed deadline, it is really hard to stick to your guns and go ‘that is not the project I want to do.’ I knew in my heart of hearts the deadline had gone, there is that little ray of hope, thinking it might work out somehow.

So I am pleased that the reality is that if it wasn’t what I was aiming to do it is better not to do it at all and be there to support everyone else doing it.

So who will you be cheering loudest for?
My loyalties go with Samantha for sure. I have to go with the girl. I would be mad to back anyone else at all. With three British skippers there is less than in the last edition, but I support the home teams. I have my little gift pack ready for Sam, I cant possibly say what’s in it, but we have been corresponding as she gets prepared. The gifts will be very light.

You know her well, how can she do?
I think Samantha is interviewing really well, delivering a consistent message. She does not have anew boat and in fact has a package which is similar to last time. So she is very confident in the boat, very confident in her own skills, and she is going to be wanting to get back to Romain and Rueben, so she going to be going fast. The boys were surprised last time and I think they will have to watch out this time.

And what have you been doing, there has been some talk of you getting involved in a Volvo Ocean Race programme?
I have been keeping myself busy, staying out of trouble and staying positive. I had some good sailing with Toe in the Water on the Farr 52, I sailed on the MOD70 Oman Sail and then I will go back to work in Oman for the women’s sailing project at Oman Sail. We did really well in February in Sailin Arabia The Tour. The girls have been doing bits and pieces there. The one focus there is to get more girls on to the offshore keelboat programme. So there are now seven girls on that. We are going to do an event in November and then do some training December/January. And then have a team this time with a higher proportion of Omani girls for Sailing Arabia The Tour this time and that will keep me pretty busy through this winter. And in the sunshine. I like the training. It has been good to be sailing in smaller boats, close one design racing where the boats are right next to you, and turning corners in close company which has been a good progression for my sailing, other than big ocean sailing looking at weather patterns. Doing more one design and round the cans racing has been good, I still feel I am progressing in my skills. I am not missing out by not doing a big event.

I cant deny that the change to one design of the Volvo Ocean Race makes it a much more viable proposition for girls to get back involved. And I think that would be great if that happens. For me I could not find a couple of million for a Vendée Globe and so it is big stretch to then ask for a lot more millions. But you never say never, and they estimate it is around €15m for a Volvo programme. But for a girls team it is important that they have the time on the water. And so for me to do that properly would involve being on the water with the team a year ahead of the race start so you know you can put in a credible challenge against the guys. It is an amazing event. It is definitely on my bucket list.

On an ongoing basis

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