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What do you need to sail solo around the world?

May 24, 2006 19:55 1 comment



What does it take to sail alone round the world – apart from the obvious ingredients of seamanship, experience and dogged determination? Dee Caffari’s log books and personal accounts have revealed some less obvious pieces of the jigsaw.

On a 29,227-mile circumnavigation with a massive surfeit of wind and water, it’s interesting to see how big a role fuel played: Aviva’s Northern Lights generator ran (trouble-free) for 1,471 hours – or the equivalent of 61 days. That makes a total of 2,293 litres of diesel used for a modern-day record.

The punishing regime of the single-hander is graphically illustrated in Dee’s log books. She wrote and initialled entries meticulously on the hour, every hour, rarely omitting an entry because she was asleep. Her specially modified saloon bunk was used only a few times, and not once in 89 days inthe Southern Ocean did she stretch out in it to sleep.

Despite that, Dee returned in good health. The only items used from her medical kit were one small pack of brufen and some latex gloves that went tocreate a makeshift autopilot hydraulic system breather pipe expansion balloon.

Among her tally of gifts to Neptune – accidental and deliberate – were a family photograph, some champagne, one winch handle and a waterproof floating torch (clamped in the mouth but lost when uttering some choice words to a furling drum).

Finally, what don’t you need during six months at sea? Money, for one thing. Dee plainly never had failure in mind: she sailed round the world without taking along a single penny.

Who is Andrew Roberts?

During 30 years in the marine industry, Andrew Roberts has been intimately involved in some of the most exciting and pioneering sailing and ocean yacht racing projects.

Andrew prepared seven successive race yachts for Chay Blyth between 1975 and 1984, including British Steel, the Whitbread racer Great Britain 2, trimarans Great Britain 3 and 4, and Brittany Ferries. In 1977, he worked with Naomi James to prepare Express Crusader for her solo round the world voyage.

He also prepared monohull and multihull race yachts for Rob James (Colt Cars), Mike Birch (Third Turtle, Olympus Photo and Formule TAG), Robin Knox-Johnston (Great Britain 2), Loïck Peyron (Lada Poch) Peter Phillips (Livery Dole), Adrian Thompson (Paragon) and Nigel Irens and Tony Bullimore (IT 82).

In 1989, he joined forces with Chay Blyth to form Challenge Business and create a ‘wrong way’ round the world race for amateurs. As Project Director he established the design principles behind two classes of steel yacht that are widely considered to be among the most seaworthy ever built.

Andrew and his team were involved in every element of the design, construction, preparation, race maintenance, refit and routine maintenance, as well as the event management and shore support for four successive round the world races. He also modified yachts and supported solo round the world records by Mike Golding in 1993/94, Samantha Brewster in 1995/96 and Dee Caffari in 2005/6, before leaving Challenge Business to pursue new projects.

Andrew’s record for safety is unrivalled. In all, Challenge yachts raced round the world 51 times, and over 600 crew have circumnavigated in complete safety.


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