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Dee Caffari : " It will give the opportunities for less experienced sailors to collaborate with more experienced sailors "

© PKC Media

Round the world British yachtswomen Dee Caffari - 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 - is one sailor who says the Transat Paprec has piqued her interest.

What do you think about the introduction of mixed male/female double-handed crews for the Transat Paprec?

While I am aware we all want to be selected as crew on merit and ability rather than gender, it is a fact that female sailors struggle to find the same opportunities as their male counterparts. An introduction of a rule forces the issue and gives many more female sailors the opportunity. Once we get past a critical mass we will no longer face the barriers that are all to often presented such as we lack experience, or we have not done the race before, or we cannot fulfil the role as well as a stronger male sailor.

Do you think these type of initiatives are necessary to feed more women into the sport?

I have seen it work and do realise that we are a long way off gender parity happening naturally, so we do need to help facilitate it. I would also say that the younger generation of sailors are much more open minded to mixed crew sailing. They do not mind who sits next to them so long as they are good at what they do and this outlook is refreshing and gives me hope for the future of our sport. If we can see it, we can be it and female sailors need to see what can be possible. We have some great role models in our sport and we need to encourage more to follow.

What is your current focus in sailing? 

I am currently racing in the double handed fleet in the UK and have a focus on the RORC Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race this summer double handed. It is a long way to go in a small boat but it is a fiercely competitive fleet and some really intense fun racing that really tests our skills.

Would you consider competing in the Transat Paprec as part of your 2023 calendar? 

This event has really piqued my interest. It is a great race and we all know how competitive the Figaro fleet is. A race of this length would be amazing to be part of. It will give the opportunities for less experienced sailors to collaborate with more experienced sailors and fast track their learning. A mixed format offers a team to showcase complimentary sailing skills that can result is some fabulous, intense racing and I would love to be part of that. So if anyone needs a partner for the race please drop me a line !