IT is a time for family, tradition and a bit too much food and drink.

But this Christmas there will be no mince pies, crackers or roast turkey for two Hampshire yachtswomen.

Instead, Dee Caffari and Sam Davies will spend Christmas Day bobbing about alone in the middle of the Southern Ocean 9,000 miles from home.

The two solo sailors are currently halfway through the most gruelling yacht race in the world – the 24,000-mile Vendée Globe.

For Dee, the first woman to sail singlehanded the ‘wrong’ way round the world, it will be her third Christmas at sea in five years.

But despite their isolation, the two sailors have found some time for festivities, with Dee enjoying a freeze-dried Christmas dinner and Sam writing a Christmas list and even putting up a Christmas tree.

Former teacher Dee, of Titchfield, said: “I found a surprise freeze-dried Christmas dinner that someone obviously went to some effort to find for me. God knows what it will taste like.

“There are also a lot of random presents to open which I’m sure will be very entertaining.

“In the past five years I have spent three Christmas Days at sea so it’s starting to become normal.

Sam added: “I have a confession to make. My mum made me a lovely Christmas cake but I gave in to temptation and ate a piece a day early. Sorry!”

The 34-year-old from Hamble also penned a letter to Father Christmas.

Items on her festive wish list include a Goretex balaclava, a hairdryer, a nail file, fruit – and a new sail.

At the last position report Sam was the leading British boat in the race in eighth place. Lymington’s Brian Thompson was in tenth, Dee was in 12th and Southampton’s Jonny Malbon was in 14th. Alex Thomson and Mike Golding have both been forced to retire.