A 13th place for Sam Davies in the final event of the Figaro season last weekend puts Sam Davies in 10th overall
At the beginning of the 2004 Figaro season, Sam Davies had already decided what her focus was – to position Skandia inside the top ten of the overall rankings in the Championnat de France de Course Au Large 2004 – and with the culmination of the final event of the Figaro season this weekend, she has done just that.
Sam is the first female Figaro sailor and English sailor to ever finish inside the top 10 in the history of the Championnat de France that began in 1990. The top 10 represents a roll call of the very best Figarists on the circuit today – Yann Elies, Jérémie Beyou, Charles Caudrelier-Benac (winner of the Solitaire), Eric Drouglazet and Kito de Pavant, to name a few.
Following her initiation into the tough world of solo Figaro racing last year when she impressed as a newcomer in the class, finishing the 2003 season as second-placed Rookie behind Marc Emig, Sam knew that to improve this year another goal would have to be set. “It helped me to have an overall focus throughout this season to push me harder when I needed it,” commented Sam. “The Championnat de France included the three solo events this year and I always had one eye on the event result and the other on my overall position, as did most of the other guys competing for a top ten slot.”
Sam’s overall improvement in the Figaro class has no doubt been enhanced by her winter training at the specialist sailing school at Port la Foret in France. “To be accepted into the training school was a huge boost to my confidence as the students are accepted on a case by case basis and it is also funded by the French government, so even to gain entry was a big result for me,” said Sam. “Training with many of the Figaro solo sailors has improved my overall sailing performance which meant this season I was always racing against the leaders at the front of the fleet instead mid-fleet like last year. Overall, I am really happy with my performance and, importantly, I know where my weaknesses lie and what I have to do to improve and help my racing next year so I can be more competitive.”
The final event of the season, the Course des Falaises, was a mix of both offshore and inshore races that also provided a mix of weather conditions. A number of races, including the offshore Cowes-Fecamp leg, were cancelled due to either to much wind or not enough! Yesterday’s final inshore race saw 20-knot winds and a 2m swell that severely challenged the Figaro fleet. Sam suffering from a damaged knee incurred earlier in the week, and flu was struggling to stay in the race.
She commented: “I wasn’t very happy with my final race – it is so hard sailing with only one leg working properly! The whole time I was scared of making it worse and hurting myself…having this at the back of my mind, really affected my sailing. My manoeuvres had to be much slower than normal – there were so many times when I forgot about my knee and found myself not being able to move across the boat as quick as I normally do. It was frustrating but it has been a long season and I am just glad I managed to hang in there till the end and all the effort has been worth it!”
With Skandia’s support, Sam entered the Figaro circuit for three years and the 2005 Figaro season will be her third year of racing. In the meantime, she will return to Port la Foret to continue her training before launching Skandia back into the 2005 Figaro racing circuit proudly displaying the number 10 of the Championnat de France on her mainsail.
Results (Course des Falaises after seven races)
1 Yann Elies, Groupe Generali Assurances 26points
2 Jérémie Beyou, Delta Dore 32 points
3 Charles Caudrelier, Bostik Findley 39 points
4 Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert 45 points
5 Erwan Tabarly, Thales 51 points
6 Frédéric Duthil, All Mer 73 points
7 Kito de Pavant, Boozy and the Kikouyous Navy Lest 75 points
8 Romain Attanasio, Port Trebeurden 75 points
9 Eric Drouglazet, Cafés Malongo Crédit Martitime-Brokerline Bretagne Sailing 80 points
10 Oliver Krauss, Espoir Credit Agricole 81 points
11 Benoit Petit, Défi Santé Voile 82 points
12 Jean Luc Neilias, Chauss-Europe 100 points
13 Sam Davies, Skandia 100 points
Overall standings (Championnat de France de Course Au Large 2004)
1 Yann Elies, Groupe Generali Assurances 21 points
2 Jérémie Beyou, Delta Dore 38 points
3 Charles Caudrelier, Bostik Findley 43 points
4 Erwan Tabarly, Thales 75 points
5 Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert 87 points
6 Eric Drouglazet, Cafés Malongo Crédit Martitime-Brokerline Bretagne Sailing 96 points
7 Kito de Pavant, Boozy and the Kikouyous Navy Lest 97 points
8 Jean Luc Neilias, Chauss-Europe 125 points
9 Benoit Petit, Défi Santé Voile 161 points
10 Sam Davies, Skandia 171 points