Dee Caffari

Inspirational Yachtswoman

Yachtswoman Dee Caffari has sailed into the record books – three times.  Dee became the first woman to circumnavigate the world solo ‘the wrong way:’ against the prevailing winds and currents in 2006.  (Only four men have ever managed to finish this gruelling route before: more people have walked on the moon.)

Not one to stay in her comfort zone, Dee announced that she wanted to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions. Dee entered the highly competitive international world of Open 60 racing in a race held every four years ‘the right way’ around the world.

After one of the most dramatic Vendée Globes ever known (2008/09) – it is not called The Everest of the Seas for nothing – Dee crossed the finish line in 2009 to international acclaim achieving that second world-first.  On completing the dual-handed Barcelona World Race in 2011, Dee became the only woman on earth to have sailed non-stop around the world on three occasions.

Dee has now circumnavigated the world five times.  Dee competed in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 with Team SCA, the only all-female team taking part in this iconic offshore round the world race.  In Leg 8, Team SCA re-wrote history: for the first time an all-female team achieved line honours, crossing the line first.

Dee was delighted to help secure the Round Britain and Ireland Speed Record for an all-female crewed mono-hull with Team SCA too.

Dee remains passionate about inspiring the next generation.  Dee returns to the Middle East in February 2016 to lead the only all female crew taking part in Sailing Arabia – The Tour (SATT) a competitive sailing regatta among the nations of the Gulf. In March 2016, Dee was delighted to be onboard a high profile charity sailing challenge for Sports Relief.  The Hell on High Seas crew, featured on the BBC’s The One Show, included a team of celebrity novice sailors and their voyage around part of the coast of Britain in difficult conditions raised over £1m for charity.

Dee has proven herself to be a yachtswoman of the highest calibre and many are amazed to learn that she only began her sailing career in 2000. A former secondary school teacher in physical education, Dee changed careers, setting her sights on the marine industry and seeing the 2000/01 Global Challenge fleet return home was the catalyst for Dee’s next goal.  By 2004, Dee had secured her place as the only female skipper in the fleet to compete in the next Global Challenge race.

Just four months after returning from leading a team around the world, Dee set off again on six-month voyage to become the only woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents.  The rest, as they say, is history. Dee is actively involved in a number of charities.  She 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 Sail4Cancer and St Mary’s Junior Sailing Club.  Dee was delighted to join celebrities onboard the Sport Relief Hell on High Seas challenge in March 2016.

This high profile sailing challenge that featured on the BBC One Show raised over £1 million for great causes. With a passion for sport and exercise, Dee’s keen interest in health and high performance stems from her roots as a teacher.  A strong desire to take on challenges has led Dee into adventures outside the sailing environment too.  Dee led an all-woman team over 6500km of rugged terrain in the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge using the four disciplines of trekking, running, cycling and kayaking.

Following her first world record, Dee was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Dee became an Honorary Commander in the British Royal Navy in recognition of her service to the sea, Britain’s maritime heritage and her work for charity. Without doubt, one of Britain’s most inspirational women, Dee is now an acclaimed international speaker.  She tells her highly motivational story with great humour and insight.  Her autobiography ‘Against the Flow’ is available in French, Italian and German.

To book leading motivational speaker, Dee Caffari, to make a personal appearance at your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When she’s at corporate events, Dee is known to cover the following topics:

  • Facing and Overcoming Adversity
  • World Record Setting
  • Performing Under Pressure
  • Resilience & Courage In Tough Times – Dealing With Risk
  • Passion & Self-Belief To Succeed
  • Good Communication & Teamwork
  • Embracing Change & Challenge
  • High Performance: An Insight Into What It Takes To Achieve 3 World-Firsts

Listen to a short video of Dee talking about her story, here:

See what people had to say about Dee, when she appeared at their corporate events:

“Fantastic!  A great story, a great speaker and a great inspiration.” – Skanska ID

“Many thanks for the fantastic session last week at our global business council. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and everyone was completely inspired and energised by your open, honest and refreshing style and of course the critical lessons around team work, motivation and leadership that apply to everyone of us in our executive roles. A truly impressive and humbling presentation that went down a storm. Thanks again for a wonderful session.” – Global Business Women Leaders Council

“Dee was engaging, down to earth and warm hearted. Her presentation was extremely well received by our clients. Her description of the extraordinary challenges and her way of dealing with them was a lesson in perspective for us all.” – Oracle

“It was an absolute pleasure working with Dee. There was a real buzz around her appearing at our conference, and whilst she was on stage there was a Twitter storm raging in the background. She was extremely professional arriving early on-site for her briefing and her presentation was delivered with vigour and real passion – a rarity amongst speakers. The videos impacted her achievements and left our audience with a sense of awe and empowerment. We would definitely look to book her again in the future.” – Citywire Holdings

“We were privileged to have Dee speak to a group of Telstra staff recently. Dee is a wonderful presenter and her practical can-do approach to tackling and succeeding in a world-class challenge was truly inspiring! The audience was spellbound. I don’t believe we have ever had so many people ask so many questions after a presentation, but Dee took it all in her stride and graciously answered each one with good humour and wit.” – Telstra, Australia

“Inspiring, motivating, engaging, clear.  Very powerful indeed.  Many people approached Dee both after the conference and at the evening event to congratulate her and to say how inspired they had been.  It exceeded our already high expectations. It delivered an impact that left people motivated and upbeat.  The ‘wow’ factor of the conference!” – Reckitt Benckiser

‘The top-line stats for Dee were great – I was really pleased and she went down a treat with the audience.  From the evaluation forms we received 94% rated her excellent, and the other 6% good. Dee was highlighted as the highlight of the conference by many people too. She was great and very engaging.  Overall, really chuffed and a good recommendation – much appreciated.” – Halton Strategic Partnership

“Everyone was just completely silent, listening with their jaws dropped: her talk was funny, interesting, relevant and the audience were captivated.  Dee was quite happy to do question/answers completely unprepared and she engaged the audience in her talk.” – Mace Group

“Dee’s presentation was a wonderful and highly effective way to engage and inspire our employees about Aviva’s values of Teamwork, Integrity, Progressiveness, and Performance.  Dee related her sailing adventures and communication skills to every day life and we could all learn from her experiences.” Aviva Canada Inc

‘A stunning success all round. Dee was amazing.’ – Birmingham Law Society

‘Excellent! Dee is very human and engaging. She really brought the challenges she faced on her voyage to life.  All the people I spoke to were very impressed.  In the plenary session one of the delegates said: “I looked at the programme and thought what in the world is a yachtswoman doing on the programme – what relevance does she have for me?  I was wrong as she was really inspiring!”  Ten out of ten for content, relevance, style and entertainment.’ – The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health

‘We were privileged to have Dee as the host for this year’s Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team awards dinner, which, in such a landmark year for British sport, was a high profile occasion for all of our sailors, support team and key sponsors.  She completely understood the tone we wished for from the evening, and took it all in her stride – she was entertaining, engaging and had a great rapport with our guests.  I’d have no hesitation in considering Dee again for similar events.’ – RYA: GBR British Sailing

‘Dee’s presentation is so relevant to today’s business environment. A fantastic lady!  A very down-to-earth pragmatic person who has overcome a huge personal challenge to achieve the impossible: her passion is tangible.  The Q&A session was particularly good.’ – Royal Bank of Scotland

‘I have to say – Dee was TOTALLY brilliant.  She gave an engaging and inspirational talk followed by lots of questions and answers.  Our feedback forms rated Dee VERY highly indeed, in fact several of the delegates who presented on the following day made several references to Dee’s “wonderful talk”.   I’m VERY happy – thanks a million.’ – Allen Carr Easyway

‘Dee is a natural presenter and what comes over so strongly is her enthusiasm, excitement and her ability to articulate her story so well and to engage with an audience.  No arrogance, a good sense of humour and great style.’ – Nationwide

‘Dee was an absolute star!  Not only did she speak without a note but she kept her audience spellbound by the tales of her exploits.  You could have heard a pin drop!  In short she contributed to a very special evening.’ – Palace Street Investments

‘Absolutely fantastic, loved it from start to finish!. Thank you for a wonderful presentation! It is so nice to listen to someone who has so much passion and drive about the subject matter.  It was a wonderful evening. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your inspirational talk.  It was an amazing insight on just what CAN be achieved if you put your mind to it!’ – Responses to Dee’s Public Talks

Dee’s presentation resonated strongly as she gave the highs and lows of her story – the emotional journey.  There were strong parallels with the business world that I could relate to – how I can overcome challenges, for example.  Her personality is warm, open, honest. The video was very powerful.’ – John Lewis

‘The aspects of Dee’s presentation that resonated most strongly for me – her goal-setting approach and giving herself rewards for achievements.  A really interesting speaker.’ – Barclays

‘Dee was great – our guests thoroughly enjoyed her motivational speech. Our guests thought she was very down to earth – a great speaker!’ – Allianz Insurance plc