Unstoppable, unshakable duo Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella sailed into the record books this morning when their Owen Clarke designed IMOCA Open 60 GAES Centros Auditivos broke the finish line of the Barcelona World Race in sixth place, stopping the clock at 07.17.18hrs UTC for an elapsed time of 102 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds.
They were totally united in their joy as they crossed the finish line on the bow of Caffari’s boat which had already taken her once around the world in 2008-9.
The morning was chill with dark grey clouds hanging low over the Barcelona skyline as the GAES Chicas sailed their final miles upwind, but their smiles radiated their sheer happiness from several miles before the line: “We were unable to sleep last night because of the nerves and emotions.” Confessed Anna Corbella this morning, jubilant to have completed the Barcelona World Race.
Corbella becomes the first Spanish woman ever to sail and race non stop around the world, while the unstoppable Caffari maintains her remarkable record in the extreme discipline of short-handed and solo ocean racing, by completing her fourth circumnavigation since she first went all the way around the globe in 2004-5. No other sailor in the world has sailed around the world more often in the last six years!
Dee Caffari extends her world record to become the only woman ever to have completed four circumnavigations, adding a second non-stop eastabouts racing passage to her sixth place in the epic 2008-9 Vendée Globe. And she returns to Barcelona a much more balanced individual having sailed twice westabouts, upwind against the prevailing winds and current, and now twice ‘ the right way’ eastbouts – Cape of Good Hope to Cape Leeuwin to Cape Horn and back to Barcelona. And Caffari has her sights absolutely set on a fifth, as she targets the 2012-13 Vendée Globe.
On completing the Barcelona World Race, Dee commented: “I’m very happy and very proud of what we achieved. Four boats didn’t make it and we did make it, and we did it non-stop which is what we wanted to do. And we had other challenges to overcome, and we did all of that. I think overall performance-wise we’ve got to be happy, we’ve achieved something that’s quite special and we can’t forget that not everybody gets to sail around the world non-stop. But it’s still in me, I’ve still got to get a top five place!”
Anna Corbella spoke of their partnership, saying “We really developed a really special relationship. I thought at the beginning that living together was going to be the most difficult experience in this sailing round the world. But you know, you haven’t got any other chance, so you depend on each other, you have to help each other, and that develops a very special relationship, and in fact I was surprised. We had a very, very good time, no arguments, same objectives, always pursuing the same goal, so it was great.”
Since her 2004-5 Global Challenge race, Caffari’s record has been incredible especially considering she made a quick transition to the IMOCA Open 60 only in 2007, a complete culture change from her 178 days solo against the winds and current record of 2005-6.
GAES Centros Auditivos crossed the finish line to complete their Barcelona World Race at 07.17.18hrs UTC on Monday April 13th. Their elapsed time for the course was 102 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds, an average speed for the course of 10.219kts for the 25,200 miles theoretical course. They sailed an actual course of 28,653 miles, at an average 11.61 knots.
From the boat after finishing
Dee Caffari:“I’m very good. Very happy and very proud of what we’ve achieved, it’s great to be in Barcelona with a welcome like this so early in the morning, I’m really impressed. It’s been a long time but it feels great to be finished. We were ready for the finish – we were ready for some fresh food and a hot shower.
“Each race is really different, and they’re all special in their own way. To have raced two-handed is very different, and means that you’ve got someone to enjoy it with the whole time, and this finish was just spectacular for both of us so it’s been really nice.
“I had a request from Anna that she wanted to round Cape Horn while she could still see it so she could get a photo and we just scraped in before it got too dark, and at that time we actually crossed gybes with Hugo Boss and overtook them as well so it was very memorable. A special place to pass anyway, and then to move up the rankings – I think overnight we gained two places so we were good.”
You’ve now done two eastabout and two westabout round the world:
“I’m even now – I’m even both ways. I’m getting better at it! And I think believe it or not there’s probably a few more round the worlds left in me! And I still consider myself relatively sane!”
“For me, I had the opportunity to be the first to sail the wrong way, and then the first to go both ways, and now to be a contributing factor to Anna having such a successful story today is brilliant, and she deserves it. She’s been really good and I think there’s a lot more left in her as well.”
Anna, will you do three or four more round the worlds?
Anna Corbella: “I’m not sure, but for sure I’m not going the wrong way round, 100 per cent sure, because I hate going upwind!”
From the dock:
Dee Caffari: “It’s crazy, I’m really impressed. I didn’t expect it to be quite this big, especially so early in the morning but Anna’s local heroine now so it’s deserved that she has a welcome like this.”
How do you feel about your result?
“If I’m completely honest a little mixed, I was really hoping for a top five, but four boats didn’t make it and we did make it, and we did it non-stop which is what we wanted to do. And we had other challenges to overcome, and we did all of that. I think overall performance-wise we’ve got to be happy, we’ve achieved something that’s quite special and we can’t forget that not everybody gets to sail around the world non-stop. But it’s still in me, I’ve still got to get a top five place!
“Four really good skippers with really good boats had problems and that’s the nature of a round the world race, you have these issues and you either overcome them and keep going, or it beats you. We had a structural issue that I’ve never had to deal with before and I’ve had to test my boat building skills which I haven’t had to do before, so I’ve learnt loads. But for me strategy and tactically with the weather I feel as if we’ve really stepped forwards, which was key for me as I did try and work quite hard on that. And I’m pleased with the decision-making process, now I’ve just got to work on pushing a little bit more consistency.
What drives you to keep going round the world?
“There’s nothing wrong with my relationship or my life at home, honest! I love it. And the fact that I keep improving encourages me to keep going back out there. I don’t find it a hardship, I actually find it enjoyable. Even the good and the bad, because you overcome a challenge and you feel quite good about life. I think because I’m still improving it encourages me to keep going out there. And, you sail with some of these amazing names and I’m feeling more confident being amongst them know, you know four laps of the planet and I think I deserve my place!
Dee Caffari: “We had an awesome start, that was a very memorable day, we were very happy. And in the Mediterranean we just worked really hard, all the boats were really close, the weather was a lot of transitions, a lot of work, and some boats really suffered and some boats gained. We were doing really well, and then we had our first big challenge of the race and we got caught in a fishing net.”
In the South your strategy was quite conservative then pushed hard in the Atlantic on the way back up?
Dee Caffari:“In hindsight maybe we should have pushed a little harder. But we kept the boat in one piece and all the sails in one piece. We had a few challenges along the way, we’ve got a few stanchions missing from a little wipe-out. But we overcame all of them, we lived in the cold – and Anna was very brave in the cold, she was very happy when we turned the corner into that Atlantic. And that was our time then to chase the boys!”
Tell us about the relationship between you, will you be good friends after this?
Anna Corbella:“Sure, we really developed a really special relationship. I thought at the beginning that living together was going to be the most difficult experience in this sailing round the world. But you know, you haven’t got any other chance, so you depend on each other, you have to help each other, and that develops a very special relationship, and in fact I was surprised. We had a very, very good time, no arguments, same objectives, always pursuing the same goal, so it was great.”
Dee Caffari:“Well Anna’s very British now, she’s on time ALL the time. It worked really well, for me having an extra pair of hands was an added security. It made me very confident knowing that Anna was on the lookout for me. It builds your confidence and we got on really well. We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed it, and I think a lot of people noticed that most of the time in our videos and photos that we were generally smiling. Even if one of us was having a bad day the other one could bounce the other back. So we didn’t have any issues which I was surprised at because it’s something I was nervous about. I think twice we admitted to each other we may be grumpy because we were tired, and both of us were in a similar situation so it was all good.
Dee, final thoughts on the race and whether you’d do it again?
Dee Caffari:“It’s awesome. The dynamic of having two people on board but the challenge of sailing around the world non-stop is still there regardless. We all face different challenges and we all had to overcome them. Being successful this time gives you more confidence, and I hope in four years time I’ll be at the third edition.”
Anna Corbella:“After the Mini Transat this is something very different. It’s not very much the same at all. But we’ve had such good fun, a lot of laughing. We also we had some hard times, but right now I’m thinking about my immediate future, which is a shower, sleeping and eating, and then we’ll see about the opportunities but I’m very enthusiastic and I’m ready to do it again.”
Photo Credit: Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella © Jorge Andreu / Barcelona World Race
More details: www.barcelonaworldrace.org
– PR –