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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Wrong-way sailor back on UK soil
Dee Caffari arriving in Ocean Village on Sunday
The sailed in to Ocean Village at lunchtime on Sunday
The first solo yachtswoman to circumnavigate the globe the "wrong way" and non-stop has stepped back on UK soil after nearly six months at sea.

Dee Caffari, 33, a former teacher from Gosport, Hampshire, was greeted by her mother and the Princess Royal when she arrived in Ocean Village, Southampton.

Ms Caffari was overcome as her mother presented her with a medal for her record-breaking achievement.

Despite the rain, hundreds of fans had also turned out to welcome her back.

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

She has inspired the imagination of a worldwide audience
Sir Chay Blyth

She set off last November and crossed the finish line off Cornwall on Thursday.

After landing at Southampton Ms Caffari told a news conference that one of the most gruelling stages was in the Southern Ocean, where she faced icebergs and storm after storm.

She said: "It was very relentless, it was very wearing. It's wearing emotionally and physically - you're working very hard.

"When you're constantly taking that kind of beating all the time, it's very hard then to mentally pick yourself up, bounce back and get ready for the next one.

"The words 'secondary low' became one of those death words that you didn't want to hear after a while."

Speaking earlier on her way to the city, she said: "There were a few moments during the voyage when I really didn't think this day would come so this is a very special feeling.

Dee Caffari and the Princess Royal
Dee Caffari was greeted by the Princess Royal when she arrived

"The journey was one of extremes and while there were times when it got so tough I didn't think I could carry on, I was also privileged to experience some magic moments with the ocean all to myself.

"One thing that always gave me a massive lift was reading the messages of support everyone sent me.

"Every day they arrived from all over the world and it's great to think that my voyage has inspired other people to take on their own challenges."

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

He said: "She has inspired the imagination of a worldwide audience and has joined only four other men who have achieved this feat to become the first woman to complete a solo and non-stop west-about circumnavigation.

"Others may follow but she will always remain the first."

Dee Caffari talks about her achievement

Solo sailor over finishing line
18 May 06 |  Hampshire
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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