British yachtswoman sails Roxy into fifth place in Artemis Transat

Samantha Davies has become the first Briton to finish The Artemis Transat 2008 solo race in Boston, USA. Samantha sailed her Open 60 Roxy across the finish line after 15 days, 10 hours, 00 minutes and 51 seconds. For the last 24 hours, Sam battled a biting and gusty 25 to 35 knot headwind, but crossed the line with a huge smile.

Out of the 13 IMOCA boats that started The Artemis Transat on Sunday, 11th May, only three Britons made the start line after Mike Golding, Brian Thompson and Jonny Malbon were forced, for different reasons, to withdraw from the race at the last minute. Samantha Davies, Dee Caffari (Aviva) and Steve White (Spirit of Weymouth) were the only competing British competitors.

Compared to the four IMOCA boats that have already completed the 2982-mile course, Davies was racing an older generation, if albeit famous, IMOCA boat. Roxy is the ex-PRB that won the last two editions of the solo Vendée Globe.

Davies started The Artemis Transat in daunting circumstances having lost the use of her radar on the first night. A trip up the mast on day 4 of the race confirmed there was no chance of repairing the radar as the waterproof sealant had decayed allowing water to corrode the elements, at that point Davies knew she would be ‘sailing blind’ unable to identify shipping or the threat of icebergs on the other side of the Atlantic. Undeterred Davies raced on handling the diverse weather conditions of the North Atlantic from frustrating patches of no wind to full-on 40 knots of wind, and working her way into 5th place behind the leading pack of the latest generation IMOCA 60s.

Loick Peyron won the race for the third time, despite rescuing Vincent Riou, who, in first place at the time, was forced to abondon his yacht after colliding with a whale.

See the full results here