Sam Davies

Sam was born on 23 August 1974 in Portsmouth, England, to a family of sailors. Her grandfather was a submarine captain and she learnt to walk on her parents’ boat. An engineering graduate who studied at Cambridge university, Sam began her career in competitive sailing at 24 with her 1st crewed round the world (Jules Verne Trophy 1998).

An engineering graduate who studied at Cambridge university, Sam began her career in competitive sailing at 24 with her 1st crewed round the world (Jules Verne Trophy 1998).

It was in France that she chose to settle in order to live out her passion. She learned her craft on the Mini 6.50 and then the Figaro circuit. However, Sam really made a name for herself in the Vendée Globe 2008, securing a brilliant 4th place on the IMOCA ROXY. Her experience and her positive attitude earned her a place as skipper for Team SCA during the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

After two Transat Jacques Vabres alongside Tanguy de Lamotte, Sam was chosen in 2018 to take over the helm of the IMOCA Initiatives-Cœur, based in Lorient.

With a cheerful disposition and totally at one with the sea, she loves sharing her passion with the public, as evidenced by the funny and at times crazy videos she sends during each race. An accomplished athlete, Sam swims, cycles and does yoga and Pilates.

Within her project, Sam plays an active part in the technical developments on the boat Initiatives-Coeur. A perfectionist and persevering, she’s a speed demon and gives her all in competition. Making no secret of her competitive ambitions, Sam Davies, who is also the mother of a little boy, doesn’t forget the raison d’être of the Initiatives Cœur project. The boat sports the colours of the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, a Foundation based in France, which enables children with heart malformations but no access to treatment in their own countries, to be operated on in France. She lives in Tregunc in southern Finistère with her son and her partner, sailor Romain Attanasio.

An inclusive boat

Initiatives-Cœur was born from an encounter: between Initiatives, an SME based in Le Mans, sponsor to Tanguy de Lamotte and the Fondation Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. In 2012, Tanguy took the start of the Vendée Globe on an old boat prepared for the race in a matter of months. It was a revelation. The following year, Initiatives continued its adventure, in association with K.Line, a Vendée-based sponsor. They acquired a more modern IMOCA, which Tanguy sailed the Vendée Globe 2016 aboard. His misfortunes didn’t shake the commitment of his sponsors, who went on to buy Maître CoQ, 3rd in the race. The VINCI ENERGIES group also joined the adventure in 2017 and gave the project the means to fulfil future sporting challenges. Skippered from then on by Sam Davies, the IMOCA would undergo a major revamp in 2018 and in 2019 she was equipped with latest-generation Verdier design foils.

On November 8, 2020, the Initiatives-Cœur project started its 3rd Vendée Globe campaign, which was also Sam Davies' third. After a start that lived up to her abilities, the British skipper was forced to retire on December 5 off Cape Town, following a collision with a UFO that caused structural damage around the keel of her boat. However, Sam did not give up and chose instead to finish her circumnavigation of the globe, outside the race ranking. As such, it was full of motivation that she launched out in this new challenge, which was a very far cry from the original one. She completed the race on 28 February, 2021, securing a personal victory, but also a victory for the Heart Surgery Sponsorship cause she supports, since her voyage raised enough money to save 102 children. 

Sailing Highlights

2021 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 5th
Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération - 6th
Rolex Fastnet Race - 5th
2020-21 :
Vendée Globe - Finishes out of the race
2020 : Défi Azimut - 2nd
Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne - 4th
2019 : Défi Azimut - 7th
Rolex Fastnet Race - 5th
Bermudes 1000 Race - 4th 
2018 : Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - Retired
Drheam Cup - 1st 
Bermudes 1000 Race - 2nd 
2017 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 6th with Initiatives Coeur/Tanguy de Lamotte
2015 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 5th with Initiatives Coeur/Tanguy de Lamotte
2014-15 : Team SCA skipper - Volvo Ocean Race
2011-12 : Vendée Globe - Retired on dismasting.
2011 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 10th with Sidney Gavignet
2010 : Transat Ag2r - 4th with Romain Attanasio
2008-09 : Vendée Globe - 4th on board ROXY
2006 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 10th with Jeanne Grégoire
2004 : BPE Trophy - 5th 
2003 : Transat Ag2r - 5th 
2002 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 6th with Nick Moloney