Shirley Robertson and Dee Caffari team up for double-handed offshore campaign

Shirley Robertson and Dee Caffari are teaming up for a double-handed offshore campaign in 2022, preparing for this year’s 1,800-mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Two of Britain’s most successful sailors, Shirley Robertson and Dee Caffari, have teamed up for a double-handed offshore campaign in 2022, leading up to this year’s 1,800-mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Dee Caffari and Shirley Robertson will race together on a new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300, supplied by SeaVentures UK, having competed separately on boats of the same design last season.

The pair needs little introduction. Caffari completed no less than six circumnavigations, including three solo, two upside down, to the east.

She skippered a team in the Volvo Ocean Race and a participation in the Global Challenge, completed a Vendée Globe single-handed and a Barcelona World Race double-handed. Last season she was racing with 22-year-old James Harayda, winning the National RORC Doubles Championship.

Shirley Robertson is one of the most successful female Olympic athletes in sailing, having won two Olympic gold medals in Sydney and Athens. She then skippered an entry into the Extreme Sailing Series and regularly competes on the superyacht circuit.

Robertson has recently found a new love of offshore racing with the burgeoning double-handed offshore scene, which has been bolstered by hopes that a new Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore event could be selected for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Last season she campaigned with the Volvo Ocean Race and Figaro sailor Henry Bomby, with the duo finishing 2nd in the highly competitive Double-handed division of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

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Shirley Robertson and Dee Caffari have teamed up for a doubles offshore campaign. All photos: Tim Butt/Vertigo Films

Robertson said: “The offshore double-handed scene has grown tremendously here in the UK, and although relatively new to me, the last two seasons have been great races. I’m really looking forward to sailing with Dee for 2022, sailing with such an accomplished offshore athlete is very exciting.

1,800 double mile

Prior to teaming up for this campaign, Caffari and Robertson had never sailed together, although they clashed regularly last season. They will participate in seven offshore races on the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300, before the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, which will start on August 7, 2022.

The grueling race will be, as Robertson notes, “a great challenge” in a 33-footer. The course is three times longer than the Rolex Fastnet Race and sends competitors to the northernmost tip of the British Isles, bypassing Muckle Flugga.

Dee Caffari added: “With our collective experience, we have a complementary skill set, so really hope to have an edge on the water. I know from competing against her last season that Shirley knows how to sail a fast boat, so I’m delighted that we’re joining forces for the coming season.

Shirley recently interviewed Dee in an excellent Podcast, which is a fascinating discussion of life as a professional offshore sailor. We can’t wait to hear more from the pair in the coming season.

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