Tune in to this weeks Podcast with the Pro as Shirley Robertson talks all things offshore with celebrated British offshore adventurer Sam Davies.
With a submarine commander as one grandfather and a boat builder as the other, it should be no surprise that Cambridge engineering graduate Sam Davies pursued a career that now sees her racing around the planet. However she reveals in this illuminating chat that offshore sailing’s loss was very nearly synchronised swimming’s gain, after an early passion for life in the pool almost saw her follow a very different career path.
An early career spent racing with trail blazer Tracy Edwards soon saw Sam craving a life out at sea, and it was in those early days, chasing the illusive Jules Verne Trophy that Sam glimpsed her potential and was inspired by the pro-active spirit and determination of Tracy Edwards, as she realised that if she really dug in, anything could be possible.
As her career took off, an early deviation towards the Olympic arena saw her team up with the podcast’s very own Shirley Robertson back when she was campaigning for Athens 2004 in the technical keel boat, the Yngling. Robertson was drawn to the can-do professionalism of the young bowman, but it was a collaboration that wouldn’t go the distance. The pair here laugh over the early campaign days as Sam began to realise that the monotony of Olympic campaigning really wasn’t for her – that her sailing life lay further out to sea.
And so began her march to the forefront of Britain’s considerable offshore sailing elite. Her career took the inevitable turn towards the solo marathon the Vendee Globe, and in 2008 she crossed the start line in one of the most recognisable boats the race has ever seen. It was a performance that would rocket her to household name status in France, as she resolutely sailed Roxy nonstop around the planet in just over ninety five days, one of just eleven finishers from a field of thirty. It was a remarkable achievement.
Davies does reveal though the cost of her disappointment in the following Vendee, after a hard fought campaign to get to the start line lasted just five days out on the race course. But very quickly, she was back at the helm, the Vendee forgotten, as she took on a very different role skippering the all female Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Sam is currently looking forward to her third Vendee Globe campaign, this time as skipper of the inspirational Initiative Coeur – a campaign actively saving the lives of disadvantaged children around the world – it’s an innovative approach to raising money, that Sam passionately explains, whereby the effect of her sponsors’ donations, achieved through Sam’s interaction with her fan base, reveals very tangible results.
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[Podcast with the pro: Sam Davies offshore Adventurer]