Dee has sailed around the world five times and is the first woman to have sailed single-handed, non-stop around the world in both directions and to have sailed non-stop around the world three times.
As she shares the exciting news that she is the only female skipper for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, we catch up with Dee about how her time at UKSA shaped her future after a decision to make a career-change…
“Before going to UKSA, I was a secondary school teacher, teaching PE and Maths. I had stopped my full-time teaching position in the summer and had been doing supply teaching until November when I started at UKSA. I did the Professional Instructor Training (PIT) course, followed by Pro Crew and Skipper Training (PCST) course. I started in November of 1999 and graduated in May of 2000.
My favourite experience at UKSA has to be my time in Barbados – it was a very special few months. Windsurfing and surfing every day in near perfect conditions with all the equipment at our fingertips to play with was amazing. Closer to home during the PIT course, I remember having a sense of humour failure at rudderless sailing until I got it and then loving the surfing in kayaks in near freezing conditions. During the PCST course I loved pushing Albatross hard and nagging non-stop until eventually we were allowed to put the spinnaker up and sailing until we arrived in Benodet for a breakfast of croissants.
The most important thing I learnt at UKSA was to be patient to others and identify people’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, that qualifications are your ticket to start learning in the real world. After graduating, I worked as a deck hand for Mike Golding on his Challenge 67 yacht for three months in the Solent. Then I took over as the skipper of the yacht and started racing in the RORC series, completing the Fastnet Race and the ARC.
I have sailed around the world a total of five time and secured three world records during my sailing career since graduating from UKSA. My highlight has to be completing the Vendee Globe. I continue to be a professional sailor and work as an author and motivational speaker.
If you are about to start your training at UKSA, I would say that this is your building block from which you can grow and develop. You never stop learning and accept you continue to develop.”