Vendée Globe: Davies retires but seeks to continue

Published on December 5th, 2020

(December 5, 2020; Day 28) – Following a violent collision on December 2, British Vendée Globe skipper Sam Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) sustained significant damage to the framework supporting the keel of her IMOCA. In consultation with her team, she made the decision to stop in Cape Town (South Africa).

This morning as she arrived in Cape Town she confirmed by video at 0900hrs UTC that she is officially retiring from the race. But she says she is determined to return – after making repairs with her team and experts – to complete the race course as ‘hors course’, unclassified on the solo race which forbids any kind of outside assistance.

Sam hopes to complete the round the world voyage outside of the context of the race for her own benefit and for the children concerned by the 1 click=1 heart campaign. Twenty-eight children have so far been saved since the start of the Vendée Globe.

“It’s too dangerous to enter the Southern Ocean with all these things wrong with the boat,” said Davies. “You really have to inspect everything. I think that is also the magic of the Vendée Globe: the race stops but I hope the adventure does not end here.

“I’ve always said my mission is to sail around the world on this boat. For me, but also for Initiatives-Cœur, to support cardiac surgery for the kids. If I can fix the boat and go, I’m motivated to do it.

“This is the positive side of the story, I still have a mast, I still have my keel! I have all the pieces, I have a great team. It will probably take time, it’s a big job but I’m very positive to give it a go as Isabelle Autissier did. I think hers is a really good example, to try to keep going anyway.

“If the boat is repairable, I am determined to go again. It’s my philosophy and that of the team. The Vendée Globe is a huge adventure. I’ve always had a lot of respect for those who ended up out of the race. Isabelle Autisier, but also Enda (editor’s note O’Coineen), I think he was the last person to do that, long after Nick Moloney had his accident.

“I have a lot of respect for that, I think it’s part of the adventure. If I can be one of those adventurers, I want to be, although it’s not easy because I’m a competitor with a great boat. But I am also an adventurer, passionate about the sea and the oceans, and I want to save children with Initiatives-Cœur.

“Everyone knows from the start that this kind of thing can happen. And then I have already dismasted in a Vendée Globe. However, three days ago when this happened to me, I thought I was going to die but once I got through the crisis I thought I was going to stop sailing. I thought to myself: ‘This is stupid, this is nonsense to stop sailing, I don’t want to do that’.”

“These are the ups and downs of the race, it’s adventure. If I can manage to set off again and continue with this great project anyway. In my opinion, I’m not going to go very fast but I need to go back to rebuild myself after something like this.

“I’m not the only one to arrive in Cape Town, I’m in contact with Seb Simon, I think we’ll shed some tears into our beer. I have a big thought for him giving up for the same problem. Bad luck, he had a great race.

“And a second thought for Isa Joschke. When I hit my UFO I was at a standstill, stationary, I had collision alarms sounding it was Isa Joschke who was coming right at me right on me, that was a second fright, I was afraid she wouldn’t see me. I had a little stressed conversation with her about avoiding me!

“I’m super happy for her because she’s having a really good race. We were really close to each other, she did a nice comeback, I’m happy because she’s normally one of my regatta colleagues. Come on Isa, I’m fully behind you!”

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The Vendée Globe is the only sailing race round the world that’s solo, non-stop, and without assistance, and it was all systems go for the 9th edition on November 8. Beginning in 1989 with 13 entries, the start line in 2020 had 33 skippers taking off from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

The development of the IMOCA Class toward foiling will see these boats hurl themselves around the world, teetering on carbon skates through inhospitable regions, chasing the record set in 2016-17 by Armel le Cléac’h of 74:03:35:46.

2020-21 Attrition
Nov. 16, 2020 – Nicolas TROUSSEL, CORUM L’EPARGNE – dismasted
Nov. 28, 2020 – Alex THOMSON, HUGO BOSS – rudder damage (collision)
Nov. 30, 2020 – Kevin ESCOFFIER, PRB – hull damage (structural, sunk)
Dec. 4, 2020 – Sébastien SIMON, ARKEA PAPREC – foil damage (collision)
Dec. 5, 2020 – Sam DAVIES, Initiatives-Cœur – keel damage (collision)

Participation history:
1989-90: 13 boats at the start
1992-93: 15 boats
1996-97: 15 boats
2000-01: 24 boats
2004-05: 20 boats
2008-2009: 30 boats
2012-2013: 20 boats
2016-2017: 29 boats
2020-2021: 33 boats

2020-21 Entries
Fabrice AMEDEO: NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES
Romain ATTANASIO: PURE – BEST WESTERN
Alexia BARRIER: TSE – 4MYPLANET
Yannick BESTAVEN: MAÎTRE COQ IV
Jérémie BEYOU: CHARAL
Arnaud BOISSIÈRES: LA MIE CÂLINE – ARTISANS ARTIPÔLE
Louis BURTON: BUREAU VALLÉE 2
Didac COSTA: ONE PLANET ONE OCEAN
Manuel COUSIN: GROUPE SÉTIN
Clarisse CREMER: BANQUE POPULAIRE X
Charlie DALIN: APIVIA
Samantha DAVIES: INITIATIVES-CŒUR
Sébastien DESTREMAU: MERCI
Benjamin DUTREUX: OMIA – WATER FAMILY
Kevin ESCOFFIER: PRB
Clément GIRAUD: COMPAGNIE DU LIT / JILITI
Pip HARE: MEDALLIA
Boris HERRMANN: SEA EXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO
Ari HUUSELA: STARK
Isabelle JOSCHKE: MACSF
Jean LE CAM: YES WE CAM !
Stéphane LE DIRAISON: TIME FOR OCEANS
Miranda MERRON: CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE
Giancarlo PEDOTE: PRYSMIAN GROUP
Alan ROURA: LA FABRIQUE
Thomas RUYANT: LINKEDOUT
Damien SEGUIN: GROUPE APICIL
Kojiro SHIRAISHI: DMG MORI
Sébastien SIMON: ARKEA – PAPREC
Maxime SOREL: V AND B – MAYENNE
Alex THOMSON: HUGO BOSS
Armel TRIPON: L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE
Nicolas TROUSSEL: CORUM L’ÉPARGNE

Source: Vendée Globe

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