Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails NZL -  Performance

Vendee Globe - Samantha Davies ready for second participation

by Romain Delaume on 6 Nov 2012
Samantha Davies, Saveol - 2012 Vendee Globe Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe ©
The 2012 Vendee Globe is set to get underway in just over four days and Sam Davies, Savéol skipper, will bring her charming smile to this year’s edition. This brave young mother is also a true sea lover. For her second participation, Sam seems quite calm and confident in her project. She tells us more about it.

Hello Sam, how are you feeling?

I’m impatient, I can’t wait to go. I’m a bit overawed by all the public even if I did the Vendée four years ago. I can’t remember this many people. There are little differences because I’m the only girl doing the race and there is quite a lot of attention around my project. It’s nice to see everyone is here to support me and encourage me. Sometimes is quite tiring because everyone wants a photo or an autograph. Making my way to the boat can take a long time…

How does it feel to be the only woman to compete?

It’s just for here. When you are on the water, there is no difference. There is no category, no division like skiing. During the last Vendée Globe I did keep quite pleasant contact with the other girls and I won’t have any girlfriend on this race to send her girls jokes (laugh).

You are going for your second Vendée Globe, after your fourth place in 2008, what are your expectations for this edition?

It’s very hard to have too many expectations because you can’t expect it to be the same as last time. I’m not waiting for something to happen but in terms of performance I’d really like to do better than last time. But it’s going to be hard when you see all the competitors I’ll line up against. I think the level gets higher and higher. My Savéol is a great boat even if she is a little bit older than some of the favorites. On paper we don’t go as fast as they do, so I’m just going to do my race. I hope everyone will be proud of me at the finish.

What steps did you take to make sure you’re ready?

I am part of the training centre in Port-la-Forêt. We’ve done quite a lot of training with the other competitors on the water, both offshore and inshore. I also do gym work when I can, especially on core stability. I did some weather study in Port-La-Forêt. I have a lot of sponsors and partners on this project so I’ve done also a lot of sailing to show them the boat.

'I was left far behind'

During your training sessions in Port-la-Forêt, who won the races?

Sometimes Armel Le Cléac’h, sometimes François Gabart, sometimes Jean-Pierre Dick, sometimes Vincent Riou. In every training session I was left far behind...

Can you tell us about your boat?

I think my Savéol knows the race quite well because she was Veolia last time and had a very good master before me (note: Roland Jourdain). I’m getting to know her this year but I still have a lot of things to learn because I’ve only been sailing since March. I’ve leant a lot but I know there is much more I can learn about her and make her go faster and faster. I’ve worked hard in the past few weeks to maximise what I’ll have to do for the race.

Romain Attanasio said you might not have the fastest boat, but it could be an advantage. Do you agree?

I am quite happy going into the race with a boat that knows the route. The boat has been very well tried, tested and broken. It’s good to break because we can find all the weak points. My boat has seen a lot of little refits. The last race around the world she did, she finished, and did pretty well. It was a double-handed race and they really push hard on the boat. She quite loves hard conditions.

Do you have any fears for this coming Vendée Globe?

No. I think if I had fears I wouldn’t be here. I’m not afraid of being afraid. I know I will be afraid at some point in the race but I also know I’ll do everything I can to manage each situation that can be difficult or scary. This is why the training preparation is so important, to be confident in your sailing.


'I have a bit of sea water in my veins'


Can you describe the race in your own words?

It’s just an amazing race and I am really happy to be able to do it for the second time.

Are there some places you cannot wait to see again?

A lot of places, but especially the southern oceans, because it’s somewhere we don’t go often. I have great souvenirs of the last Vendée Globe and the very strong, windy and fast conditions that we had in the southern oceans. Despite the cold, I really enjoyed that. So the southern oceans and also the Cape Horn I can’t wait to see.

Everyone says that you are a true sea lover; can you tell us more about that?

I am really happy when I am at sea. It’s part of my life and I can’t live without being on the sea or around the sea. I was born in a sailing family and I think I have a bit of sea water in my veins. It makes me happy when I’m on the ocean, whatever the conditions are. I like being out there and sometimes it’s hard to come home.


'If you enjoy life, you get the most out of it'

Was it easy for you to tell your parents you were going to be a professional sailor?

They are really proud of me and they never pushed me. What is great about my parents is that they always say 'you only live once and you have to enjoy your life'. If you enjoy life, you get the most out of it. It’s a great thing they taught me, and I’m going to teach my son as well.

Roger Capitaine, the CEO of Savéol, said you were part of the Savéol Family. Do you feel the same?

It’s quite like that. Even if I’ve only been sailing with Savéol since March, it’s something that started during the last Vendée Globe when I took some Savéol tomatoes with me. That’s how I met them and Romain met them. He was sponsored for two years. For me it really is a family because I was the skipper wife and I met a lot of producers and people who work with Savéol. It’s a relationship that is very good because when it developed it wasn’t sponsor – skipper. I think what they do is amazing, not just the fruits but also the biological production. All the producers are good friends and welcome me very nicely wherever I go. We have many things in common like the weather and climate analysis. We all spend a lot of time looking at the sky. I hope they’ll be proud of me in the next three months.

You are a young mother now, how are going to deal with the distance between you and your child?

His father is going to take care of him. It’s very important for a young child to see his parents happy. And to have his parents happy, his mum has to go sailing (She laughs). It’s great Romain is giving up himself for the next three months and he will look after Ruben. That’s better than any Christmas present anyone can hope for. I’m very proud, I have a great partner and Ruben has a great dad to look after him. I'm not worried or stressed about that. Probably in twenty years’ time we’ll be here and he’ll be going. I never experience this during a race…

One particular thing about the Vendée Globe is that you race solo and you are going to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve by yourself. How will it feel like?

Last time it was one of the best Christmases I ever had because I had more presents than I normally do. Everyone was like: 'she is going to be on her own, I have to give her a present, to send her a message'. It was really amazing and it’s only once every four years.

Do you need to communicate a lot with the land when you are at sea?

It’s nice to communicate but not too much by phone, more by messages. It’s nice to receive them, even from people I don’t know. It helps me a lot but it’s nice to choose when. Even more now, we are always connected and it’s going to be quite a good break for the twenty of Vendee Globe website

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignPantaenius - Worldwide SupportZhik NZ - Isotak