The folksy star of the Vendee Globe


Vendee Globe sailor Sam Davies is blonde, but not dumb. The 33-year-old ocean racer has emerged as the star, nay the star turn, of the world’s toughest race. Her daily missives have included shots of her pretending to sunbathe in a bikini, drying out her socks, or describing her cockpit as a washing machine.

Such faux concerns have endeared her to the great unwashed of global yachting chat rooms where she has been hailed as the ‘lovely Sam’,and ‘Sam the magnificent’ or where she has been cheered on: ‘Go for it Sam,’ by people who have never met her nor ever will.

There is something of Princess Diana, about her: complete strangers want her to succeed, worry about her safety, and want to somehow join in with her life or bathe in the reflected glory of her triumph.

But her chatty cyber reports are the chaff of pre-organised publicity and reveal nothing of her serious intellectual capability. For the professional racing sailor, who has been on the circuit for over a decade, is a Cambridge engineering graduate.

However the company which are sponsoring the campaign behind her £1 million circumnavigation is a £400 million ‘lifestyle brand’, which hopes to continue selling young women anything from handbags to wetsuits. And they would not have wanted a lot of technical clap-trap about rig-tension, water ballasting and canting keels – even ones that have remained attached.

Some of us might have liked to read what a former Oxbridge graduate had to say about such things, but we can read the book.

Anyway – as one of those unwashed cyberites myself – I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for Sam’s cheeky chipmunk grin and online charm and I feverishly stab at my computer buttons every morning at my work station to make sure she’s still sailing up the fleet.

Go for it lovely, magnificent Sam!