Vendée Globe - Samantha Davies' qualifying phase underway

Samantha Davies qualifying course - Vendée Globe 2012
© Vincent Curutchet / Saveol
The Vendée Globe 2012-2013 gets underway from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, 2012. With less than 150 days to go before the race starts, skippers are busy preparing for the race. In order to be officially authorized to be at the start, they have to validate their registration through a qualifying phase.

Samantha Davies (Savéol) left on Friday for a triangular 1,500-nautical mile route: 'I’m going to sail north-northwest first, for about 500 miles, and then I’ll head south for 500 more miles, which should take me to the Portuguese west coast. Then I’ll sail right back to Port-la-Forêt.' That sailing session should get the yachtswoman the last validation stamp she needed to be allowed to start the Vendée Globe.

The qualifying process depends on each skipper’s experience and previous races over the past few years. The yachtsmen who recently got a new boat have to go through a 1,500-mile journey on the monohull with which they will compete in the next Vendée Globe. That is the case for Samantha Davies who was at the helm of Roxy in 2008-2009 and is now sailing on board Savéol. 'Mine will be a quick qualifying sailing because, even though I did finish the last Vendée Globe, that was not on Savéol so I have to qualify again with my new boat. But Savéol already proved herself by finishing the Barcelona Race when she was called Neutrogena, which is why I don’t have to sail more than 1,500 milles.'

The British skipper still has some constraints to face: 'Send my route and my logbook. I also have to show him (editor’s note: Race director Denis Horeau) the waypoints so he can make sure I actually sailed 1,500 miles.' The yachtswoman should be done in about six days in changing conditions. 'I think I’ll have to sail in all kinds of conditions because after the initial depression and strong winds, it will be much calmer. I’ll get to try all my sails. It’s good to know things will be quieter at one point so I can test other things regarding life on board, like checking that the stove works and that I can cook with it, make sure I can send videos, etc. I have a long to-do list.’

Vendée Globe website