by Clare Mahon
For 2020 year greetings, Southern Wind has decided to support Sam Davies – the yachtswoman skippering the Vendée Globe IMOCA yacht “Initiatives-Coeur” – with her mission to raise funds for children with heart defects. A mission that “goes beyond pure sailing”.
When Sam Davies hit a submerged object in the Southern Ocean she thought that her boat Initiatives Coeur was done for. While her latest bid for the Vendée Globe 2020 had to end there, with plunk, determination and a little help from some new friends she was soon back on the water. Read on to find out more about Initiatives Coeur’s silver lining.
SWS Technical Manager, Yann Dabbadie, met her at the Southern Wind shipyard in Cape Town and had the nice opportunity to listen to her extraordinary story: “I was in the Southern Ocean about 42 degrees south in a difficult sea state,” Davies says. “I hit something and the boat stopped dead. I went flying, my dinner went flying and I hit my ribs on a bulkhead. But the worst part was a massive cracking sound and the boat stopping dead. I knew that I had a major problem.”
Alone in the middle of the ocean, Davies wrote up a damage report and contacted her team to see if it would be safe for her to sail slowly to Cape Town. When she had their Ok she contacted local friends to ask who could do the repair work on her state-of–the-art, full-carbon hull. “They said straight away to get in touch with Southern Wind,” Davies recounts. “So I discovered this amazing shipyard.”
We were more than happy to donate our time, materials and know-how working night and day to get Davies back on the water because in her and in Initiatives Coeur, we discovered more than a true friend, we found a worthy cause. When Sam arrived in Cape Town the RP-Nauta 100 Morgana was on our docks, just about to set off on her maiden voyage. “When you see a yacht like that you think: Ok, I think we have the right people here on the job,” Davies jokes. The list of work to be done on Initiatives Coeur was extensive but some of the necessary pieces were already in the works thanks to plans that had been sent ahead. “The bulkheads were completely destroyed,” says Davies. “But there were pieces that could be made whilst I was on my way to Cape Town to reduce my down time.”
On top of being a world-class sailor, Davies is a mechanical engineer by training so she followed the work carefully and was pleased to see that it was being done quickly. During a visit to the shipyard she said: “It’s great to see my boat being rebuilt, probably stronger than ever, I’m really happy with how this has been going.”
A sportsman to the core, Davies was as eager to get back on the water as we were happy to get her there. “When you fall off the boat you have to get back on,” she said. “It’s important to me to finish this trip, but it’s also important to the charity,” Davies said. Because she is racing for much more than the Vendée Globe 2020, she’s racing to save the lives of children from disadvantaged countries who need heart surgeries. For each new like, share or follower on Initiatives-Cœur’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, the boat’s sponsoring partners (Initiatives, K-Line and VINCI Énergies) have pledged to pay €1 to the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque association, to help children from disadvantaged countries who suffer from severe heart defects. Each operation costs about €12,000 and 37 children have already been saved thanks to the initiative called 1 click = 1 heart.
“I have to race, I have to go fast and I have to do well because the better I do and the more I share the more people will be aware of the charity,” Davies says.
Before she set off again on her newly repaired boat, Davies offered: “A massive thank you to the whole Southern Wind shipyard team for how quickly you reacted to this emergency call and for the support you have given to help me get back out there and finish my adventure. It’s a contribution that goes way beyond the sailing and the Vendee Globe, you’re now part of our Initiatives Coeur family.”
Sam continues her passage under the watchful eye of the Vendée Globe race direction. Since she is outside the race, Initiatives-Coeur will be visible on the Vendée Globe 2020 tracking in “ghost” mode, but we invite you to stay up to date on the project’s internet page, www.initiatives-coeur.fr, and to follow Sam on Facebook or Instagram. By clicking or sharing these pages, you will contribute to the 1 click = 1 heart project that motivates this formidable sailor.
Thank you Sam for bringing your undaunted sportsmanship and ready smile to Southern Wind and for ending our 2020 on a bright note of hope and thank you at all who support Initiatives-Coeur, the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque association and 1 click = 1 heart.