by Nicky Moore
Vendée Globe 2012-13 - British yachtswoman Samantha Davies announced her intention to compete in next years event, at the Nautic de Paris Boat Show today. Her lead sponsor for the race will be Brittany-based firm Savéol, France's biggest tomato producer.
Sam Davies finishes the 2009 Vendee Globe onboard Roxy
Following a fourth place finish in the 2008/09 Vendée Globe, the heroine of the most recent edition of the solo round the world race is the first woman to confirm her presence on the starting line at Sables d’Olonne on November 10th 2012. At 37, Sam, who recently became a mother, is preparing for another circumnavigation of the globe with backing from Savéol.
For this Brittany firm, which grows and sells high quality fruit and vegetables, the partnership with Samantha Davies is seen as a natural progression. Sam won over her audience at Savéol's general meeting in 2009, then sailed under the Plougastel-based company's colours in the recent Ag2r transatlantic race, alongside her partner Romain Attanasio, an experienced Figaro sailor. Convinced by Sam's personality and plans, the firm, which is keen to internationalize its business, took the plunge and seized the opportunity to support an ambitious project and a yachtswoman who is admired by her peers and popular with the public.
Around Savéol, Sam's Vendée Globe plans have become a multi-partnership enterprise with a constellation of companies lining up to join her adventure. On her return from the 2008 Vendée, Sam and her project manager Xavier David set up their offshore racing team My Samantha Company, aimed at attracting dynamic businesses around a major sports sponsorship programme. To date, the team's sponsors include official partners Mât de Misaine (sportswear) and Ridorev (mobile homes); a partners club including pioneering companies with the Oséo Excellence label and SMEs from the Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie area – a strong base of support for Sam - and also technical partners whose expertise will be crucial for optimizing the boat, whose identity Sam finally revealed at Nautic.
Sam and her team have opted for the former Véolia as the boat of choice. It's the same 60 footer that Roland Jourdain sailed to victory in the 2006 Route du Rhum and in which he entered the 2008 Vendée Globe, eventually being forced to abandon his challenge when lying in second place. In the same monohull, the pairing of Boris Herman and Ryan Breymaier took fifth spot in the 2010 Barcelona World Race. Reliable and fast, the boat has already competed with the Jourdain teams. Optimized for the 2012 Vendée Globe, she'll be ready to carry Sam to a podium finish!
Sam Davies: 'I’m so happy… I have been waiting three years for this day! I found a fantastic sponsor and also a whole family of co-sponsors to support my project. I can’t wait to get back out on the water and share this adventure with everyone. I’ll do everything I can to make my sponsors proud of me.'
Philippe Daré, Président de Savéol: 'Savéol and Sam have a lot in common: dynamism and a strong taste for the adventure. Sam is the best ambassador to carry Savéol’s colours, values and variety of products.'
Vendée Globe website