Sam Davies retires from Vendee with keel damage


British skipper Sam Davies on Saturday was in port in Cape Town for repairs on her boat’s keel which has forced her to retire from the Vendee Globe.

Davies’ Imoca 60 monohull hit an unidentified floating object on Wednesday, the force of the collision sending her and the dinner she was eating at the time flying.

“It was as if I had run aground on a rock at the time,” the 46-year-old said.

She confirmed in a video with race organisers on Saturday that although officially now out of the race she hoped to continue her solo round the world odyssey ‘hors course’ (unclassified) after repairs to her boat.

The rules of the solo-round-the-world race prevent competitors seeking any outside assistance.

Davies is determined to continue back to the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne for her own personal satisfaction but also to continue raising awareness for her sponsor-charity supporting cardiac surgery for children.

“If I can fix the boat and go, I’m motivated to do it,” she said.

Reflecting on Wednesday’s accident she said: “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.”

Davies is not the only Vendee casualty in Cape Town, with Alex Thomson stepping ashore there on Friday after nursing his damaged Hugo Boss the 1,800 nautical miles to safety.

And Sebastien Simon is also taking refuge there after his race ended when he too hit a floating object, damaging his starboard foil.

In a drama-filled week at sea Kevin Escoffier had a narrow escape when he was rescued by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam after a giant wave folded his boat in two.

Sailing serenely at the head of the fleet is Charlie Dalin. At the helm of his new generation foil-equipped Apivia he was over 200nm clear of Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut.

France 24

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