Sam Davies on the Vendee Globe

Saveol in happier days
Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee Globe
Saveol in happier days
On the dismasting and on MACIF and Banque Populaire fight for the front
After she came home an impressive fourth in the 2008-9 Vendee Globe sailing a 2000 generation boat, there were high hopes for Britain’s Sam Davies in this year’s race, even though she was once again sailing an older generation boat. Sadly this was not to be when on 15 November, while negotiating a depression to the northwest of Madeira, the rotating wingmast rig on Saveol came crashing down. At present Sam is still in the dark as to why the dismasting occurred. The wind was around 30 knots at the time but it was the wave conditions that were horrible thanks to the sudden change in wind direction due to her close proximity to the depression. As she says: “I was sailing ever so carefully. It wasn’t because I had to much sail up. I couldn’t have taken any more care of my boat.” Sam admits it took a while to pluck up the courage to go out on deck. While the tube fell sideways to leeward, taking out the stanchions on the way down, the bottom panel of the mast popped back upright (along with the bottom of the mainsail) thanks to the tension still on it from the halyards and other control lines. “I was scared - half of the mainsail was still in the air in 30 knots of wind and there is no way I could get anywhere near it. With every wave, bits of mast were wanging around. But you don’t have a choice. I have always wondered how do people deal with it when their mast comes down. I remember a couple of my friends who did the Volvo saying to me 'when our rig came down there were 11 of us to deal with it...'” The dismasting occurred at dusk and Sam initially planned to wait for