with her tailor-made boat, Samantha Davies wants to shine –


The most French of the English, Samantha Davies, took the controls on Saturday of a boat (Initiatives-Coeur) designed especially for her with an artistic touch signed Titouan Lamazou, to take her to the Vendée Globe 2024.

The most French of the English, Samantha Davies, took the controls on Saturday of a boat (Initiatives-Coeur) designed especially for her with an artistic touch signed Titouan Lamazou, to take her to the Vendée Globe 2024.

This is a first for Sam Davies. She had never had a sailboat made to her measure, including all her experience accumulated over the water with three Vendée Globe campaigns, the legendary race around the world alone which takes place every four years.

In the port of Lorient, his new Imoca (18.28 m monohull exclusive to the Vendée Globe) was launched. The red boat with white hearts is the work of naval architect Samuel Manuard, a specialist in very fashionable rounded and spatulated bows (front of the boat), known as the « scow » type.

English sailor Samantha Davies tests a prototype hammock aboard her « Initiatives-Coeur » monohull on May 29, 2020 off Lorient, before taking part in the Vendée Globe (November 8)

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« I was able to personalize this boat with my experience. It’s great. I have enough confidence in what I’ve been through to say: that’s perfect, but in reality when I’m at sea with five meters hollows and a lot of wind, that’s not what will make the difference », explains the sailor to AFP.

– Fourth in 2009 –

« I want to be simpler, more versatile. Sometimes when you get asked by architects or engineers to do the most perfect thing on flat seas, it’s also good to say that you’re designing a boat for the Vendée Globe, not for the waves on the Azimut challenge (race off Lorient) », she continues.

English sailor Samantha Davies, aboard her monohull « Initiatives-Coeur », on November 5, 2021 in the port of Le Havre, two days before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre

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The skipper, who finished fourth in her first Vendée Globe in 2009 before abandoning her next two (2012 and 2020), had always been waiting for a new, high-performance boat to be on equal terms with the competition.

Davies also sails to support the association Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, which allows seriously ill children from underprivileged countries to be operated on.

It is the face of one of these children, Naylah, that Titouan Lamazou, sailor and painter, has drawn on the mainsail.

The winner of the very first Vendée Globe in 1989/1990 (in 109 days) and co-founder of the Jules-Verne Trophy (crewed round-the-world record) is delighted that Naylah’s smile « now illuminates the design of the grand- sail ».

« I have always been charmed by Samantha’s sympathy and her great courage. I also share her social empathy and her respect for diversity and otherness, » said Lamazou.

– « It’s going to be violent! » –

Davies is eager to return to sailing after a winter and a spring that she used to spend a lot of time with her ten-year-old son Ruben, whom she accompanied on his optimist (small dinghy) regattas. But also to accentuate his physical preparation, coached by Anne Beaudart.

English sailor Samantha Davies maneuvers aboard her monohull « Initiatives-Coeur », on May 29, 2020 off Lorient, before participating in the Vendée Globe (November 8)

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« A priori on this type of boat, it’s going to be violent! I did more work on the legs to withstand the violence of life on a boat like that. My legs are my shock absorbers », notes the 47-year-old Briton. year.

Davies had to retire during the last Vendée Globe after a violent and traumatic impact with an UFO (unidentified floating object). But she still wanted to finish the world tour, in off-race mode.

English sailor Samantha Davies, aboard her « Initiatives-Coeur » monohull, on May 29, 2020 off Lorient, before taking part in the Vendée Globe (November 8)

LOIC VENANCE – AFP/Archives

« What I went through was very hard. But now I’m better armed, this experience has brought me a lot, I’ve learned to manage these situations better, not to collapse with the same emotions, the same galleys », confides Davies, who is looking towards the Route du Rhum (departure on November 6), a solo transatlantic race in which she has only participated once, in 2018, and which she had completed by an abandonment.

By Sabine COLPART / Paris (AFP) / © 2022 AFP

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