Caffari leads all female crew on DB Schenker
10 Jan 2017 - 20:26
The women on new German entry DB Schenker have a unique challenge at EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2017. Their main aim is to inspire women from across the GCC to follow in their footsteps. Starting from February 14 in Muscat, Oman, the two-week exhilarating race challenge will see some of the most difficult routes yet with the longest offshore leg reaching Doha shores on February 24 before a thrilling in-port race at The Pearl on the following day. The final leg culminating the exciting race, will leave Qatar for UAE shores on February 26.
British sailing star Dee Caffari returns to the Tour for the fourth time as skipper of the all women crew and despite putting together a hotshot team, comprising 50% Omani sailors, her ambitions are geared more to making a difference than reaching the podium.
“We compete in EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour because it is extremely important to have a female team entered into an event in this region and to try and make a difference in how females are represented,” said Caffari, who skippered the first women’s entry in during the 2012 Tour and has more ocean racing miles under her belt than any other woman on the planet, having raced around the world five times - twice on her own, twice with crew and once two-handed.
For the 2017 edition, Caffari has selected four Omani sailors including Ibtisam Al Salmi, one of the Middle East’s first professional female sailors as well as Marwa Al Khaifi and Tamathir Al Balushi, both sailing instructors for Oman Sail, who competed in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour with Caffari last year.
In addition, three of Caffari’s team are making their debut in EFG SATT and they include a fourth Omani Hajer Al Balushi, a member of Oman Sail’s thriving Women’s Sailing Programme, and Hannah Diamond, a former member of the British Olympic sailing squad who campaigns a Nacra 17.
Libby Greenhalgh, one of the world’s finest meteorologists, also comes to the Tour for the first time with her experience of thousands of racing miles, including a Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 2014/15, set to inspire her crew and race fans.
She raced with Caffari on Team SCA in the VOR then joined Caffari’s Oman Sail Farr 30 for the Farr 30 Internationals in Sweden last August, which was used as a training platform for EFG SATT with Al Salmi, Al Khaifi and Al Balushi also honing their keelboat skills. Annemeike Bes, the Dutch sailor who doubles as a coach and mentor will be joining Caffari once again.
The DB Schenker team will be flying the flag for Oman Sail’s Women’s Sailing Programme that since it was established in 2011 has made great strides in changing perceptions of women in the Middle East.
In EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour, success will mean more than clocking up podium places. It will represent a step forward in breaking down barriers and changing perceptions, but there are other aspects of the race to look forward to, said Ibtisam Al Salmi.
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour is the only annual race of its type, with a mix of long offshore legs and intense in port racing, in the world and since it was first established in 2011, has become the most prestigious race in the Middle East with a reach and appeal that extends with each edition, among both recreational and professional sailors.