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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Solo sailor over finishing line
Dee Caffari
Ms Caffari has sailed 29,000 miles since she set off in November
Yachtswoman Dee Caffari has become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe solo and non-stop the "wrong way".

Caffari, 33, a former teacher from Gosport, Hampshire, crossed the finish line off Cornwall on Thursday.

The 29,000-mile voyage westwards around the world against the prevailing winds and currents took Caffari 178 days.

"It is mind blowing, it is a strange concept to get my head around that I am about to enter the history books. It has been a struggle," she said.

"I am really excited. I am looking forward to interacting with people and seeing facial expressions again, rather than just communicating by e-mail and telephone.

"I am also looking forward to eating some fresh food - I am tired of eating from packets - and having a bubble bath.

It has been difficult to keep motivated, I have had to look for some inner strength
Dee Caffari

"It has been a constant challenge but Aviva and I have faced it, she is beautiful, she has been absolutely wonderful.

"It has been difficult to keep motivated, I have had to look for some inner strength.

"It's all slightly unreal and the marathon behind me now seems almost like a blur."

Caffari was forced to sail an extra 4,600 miles as a result of tacking - or zig-zagging - upwind and dodging storms in the Southern Ocean.

She slept for an average of four hours a day but no more than an hour and a half at a time.

And she was plagued by technical problems, including the breakdown of her automatic steering device, forcing her to helm manually for long periods.

Sir Chay Blyth, Caffari's mentor and the first person to complete the same voyage in 1971, said Caffari's feat was inspirational.

"Dee has demonstrated an astonishing range of skills and attributes to complete this remarkable voyage," said Blyth.

"Her determination is second to none and she has inspired people all over the world to take on their own challenges."

After crossing the finish line, Ms Caffari will make her way with a crew to Southampton on Aviva, where she will set foot on land for the first time on Sunday and see family, friends and supporters.

See Dee Caffari arriving in Southampton

Solo sailor facing new problems
17 May 06 |  Hampshire
Solo sailor 1,000 miles from home
11 May 06 |  Hampshire
Wrong way sailor on home stretch
04 Apr 06 |  Hampshire
Solo sailor leaves Southern Ocean
27 Mar 06 |  Hampshire

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