Dee Caffari: Lack of sailors in UK is scary
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 10/01/19 2:35pm
British round-the-world sailor Dee Caffari says it is "scary" that more people are not getting involved in sailing.
A recent survey by holiday company Sunsail showed that 94 per cent of British adults would not consider taking up the sport despite Great Britain being the most decorated Olympic nation in sailing.
Caffari, who has sailed around the world six times and is the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions, says she is surprised there is not more interest.
"I think the harsh reality is that it is the fear of the unknown, the challenge," Caffari told Sky Sports News.
"But also sailing has a reputation in this country that it's inaccessible and unachievable by the average person and that's simply not right.
"There are so many ways to get into sailing. We are an island nation with a long coastline. We've got great accessibility and if you want to go somewhere warmer it's just as easy.
"It's scary that as an island nation we don't have many people willing to take the plunge and step on to a boat.
"If we can get the younger generation seeing it as a fun activity that generally will encourage the adults to come too.
"I think people underestimate that it is possible even if you have zero experience, so I think people should take the plunge and give it a try."
Caffari skippered "Turn the Tide on Plastic" in the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race as part of the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign and she has been encouraged by the growing awareness of the damage pollution is doing to the world's oceans.
"With Sky Ocean Rescue I really saw the impact of pollution on our oceans," she added.
"I'm very confident and inspired by how many people are growing in awareness.
"I think the timing was great and we had a fantastic year putting that message home, showing the harsh realities of what was out there on the water.
"I think this responsibility is growing from individuals, but also companies are looking to get on board with this and make changes and question their supply chain and really answer the demand from the people.
"The more we demand it as consumers the more effect it is, hopefully, going to have at a higher level of manufacture, supply chain and legislation."