Sam Davies starts an intensive race programme this weekend with the Transat AG2R in her second season competing in this highly-competitive Figaro class

Sam Davies, one of the Skandia Set Sail sailing team, starts an intensive race programme this weekend with the Transat AG2R in her second season competing in this highly-competitive Figaro class.

The AG2R is a 3,760-mile transatlantic race from Lorient in France to St Bartholomew in the Caribbean. Davies will be co-skippering the only all-female entry in the 31-boat fleet. Her co-skipper is 27-year old Jeanne Gregoire from France who competed in the same event last year. Commenting on the event Davies said: “This is a great opportunity for me to sail in a very competitive field. This event is packed with winners of Figaro class racing. It is the longest ever one-design race that I have done, therefore it is bound to be more intense as there are no differences between the boats. Jeanne and I have competed against each other a lot but this is the first time that we have sailed together so it will be good to be on the same side.”

Davies and Gregoire will be sailing the Figaro Beneteau 2 Trophee BPE Saint-Nazaire-Cuba. The race starts on Saturday 17 April and the first leg of 1,130 miles will take the fleet to Funchal in Madeira. After a 72-hour stopover the teams will then race the final 2,630 miles to St Batholomew, arriving on about 10 May. Davies added:

“Looking at the weather conditions, the first four days out of Lorient are going to be tough, especially getting round Cape Finisterre and down the coast of Portugal. The end of the leg into Madeira is also a bit of a lottery as the Trade Winds could mean that you literally park for four miles off the finish line, which is tough if you have been in the lead. This is definitely one of those races that is not over until it is over! The second leg is slightly easier as you are sailing with the Trade Winds.

“Our boat is now completely ready. All our food and water is on board so we are just concentrating on looking at the route and all our options.”

Davies, an enginnering graduate from Cambridge University, begain sailing almost before she could walk. She was part of Tracey Edwards’ team on Royal and Sun Alliance. As she clocked up the ocean miles, Davies began to think of saling solo and she raced in the Mini Transat on Aberdeen Asset Management and then rejoined Edwards on the record-breaking Maiden 2, which still currently holds the 24-hour and Cross Channel records. Last year, Davies competed in her first Figaro season backed by Skandia – scoring an impressive result on the newcomer scoreboard.

In the Solitaire du Figaro, the main solo event of the Figaro season, Davies finished as second newcomer overall, and 19th out of 45 racers including some of the very best solo sailors, such as, Michael Desjoyeaux and Alain Gautier. In January, Davies was selected to train at the elite offshore traning school – Port le Foret in France – and has officially become part of the sailing squad for this year combining both training and racing.

Davies joined the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team headed up by Ellen MacArthur 18 months ago and quickly secured backing from Skandia as one of their Skandia Set Sail athletes, alongside other Offshore Challenges teammate Nick Moloney, Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell.