Sam Davies, lying 4th in Vendee, pays tribute to victor

“Call him ‘Mich the Machine'”

After 84 days of sailing solo and non-stop around the world, French sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux has won the Vendee Globe for the second time. The first person in history to ever do so.

Still lying in 4th position and 2,600 nautical miles from the finish, British sailor Sam Davies has commented on ‘her hero’s’ achievement:

“Every time I have been asked who my sailing hero is, I answered Mich (as everybody calls him) Desjoyeaux. I now think that many more people will understand why. He was always my favourite to win the race so I felt sad for him three months ago when straight away after the start he had to turn back for repairs. But I always knew that it wouldn’t be enough to stop ‘Mich the machine’!

Roxy and I have a special connection with him because my old lady is no other than the boat he won the race in for the first time eight years ago. Mich and I have been communicating by email through the race and it has been very important for me. In hard times, a little message from his Foncia would come to Roxy and encourage me and give me motivation. He has inspired me and I always try my best in his wake. Mich has just showed again what the sailing world already knew, he is one of the world’s best sailors of all time.”

Desjoyeaux’s own comments on his return to Les Sables d’Olonne:
” The Mayor promised me a great welcome and for once a politician kept his word.
 ” Now I’d like to take advantage of life ashore, as I’ve been taking advantage of life at sea.”

On the race
I suffered a lot less this year. Maybe because I’m older, maybe because I have experience, so I was more at ease. I feel a lot of emotions tonight.  For 3 months life has gone by at a crazy pace.   There’s the satisfaction of being the first boat back here.  I managed to take care of the boat.  There are a few little problems.  I almost lost my bowsprit and rudders and some stanchions.

“The boats are tougher than a lot of people think.  They should see what we put these boats through, as that would shut them up.

In early December, I saw a whale coming straight towards me.  I thought that was it. That it would get my rudders or damage the hull. And then at the last moment it dived.  It must have said “He looks a tough sort of guy.  We’ll let him go and win”

“I learned I was in the lead, because someone had been dismasted. (He was told about Golding’s dismasting on the radio Vacs)  That wasn’t something to be happy about.  My climb back up the rankings was over.  I’d got what I was looking for.  It was very strange, because it was hard to find out like that.” 

” Yesterday my rudder got hit for example in the Bay of Biscay.  It was just a pallet, but could easily have been a container.  Until you cross that line, you have to hold on to your hat.”