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Female sailor earns top honors

JAN 11 -- A British sailor, who became the first woman sail non-stop and single-handed around the world against the prevailing winds and currents was given the Raymarine/YJA Yachtsman of the Year at a ceremony held Monday in London.

Dee Caffari, who is 33, was presented the crystal and silver trophy by Lady Pippa Blake, widow of murdered yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, according to a press release. The award recognizes British sporting excellence in power or sail.

Caffari set off Nov. 20, 2005, from her homeport of Portsmouth, England, aboard her Challenge 72-foot Class yacht, Aviva. The former physical education teacher spent 178 days alone at sea and covered 29,000 miles before returning home in May 2006.

“My main aim is to achieve that last ‘first,’ which is still out there for the female yachtswoman,” Caffari wrote on the expedition’s Web site before setting off.

Katie Miller, who is now 19, was given the Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year award Jan. 6 at the London Boat Show, according to the release. Earlier this year she completed a three-month single-handed circumnavigation of the United Kingdom aboard her boat, Elektra. Her journey helped raise money for the Ellen MacArthur Trust, which helps children with cancer to go sailing.

Jason Fell