The plucky Vendee skipper can smell land

Popular Vendee Globe skipper Sam Davies can see, and smell land, but hopes not to touch it until the finish line is crossed!

Here is her latest missive:

‘ Today has been a full-on, fun day on the water! The wind gradually built all day and we had 35 knots by the afternoon. The waves have become very difficult as Roxy and I have been passing over various banks and shelves around the Azores islands.

By the end of the afternoon, we were being attacked by giant breaking waves coming from different directions, coupled with wind reaching 40 knots. This resulted in a few wipeouts, caused by the breakers, plus several ‘fill-ups’ of the cockpit. The waves also managed to open a spinlock clutch, and very nearly tore away my lifebuoy!

The front is now passing over us, with frequent 45 knot squalls, so for a while we sailed under a 3 reefed main alone! I have gybed and Roxy is sneaking past just a few miles to the South of Terceira. I can see the lights of the towns on the island, and I can smell the land. It is the first time I have seen civilization since leaving Les Sables d’Olonne three months ago! I have to keep going back on deck to have another look, but then I see the huge scary waves in the moonlight and decide I’m better off inside!

Hopefully the sea state and wind will calm down soon so that I can put a bit more sail up and speed up a bit. For now though, it is very much “sail safe” mode onboard Roxy!’

At 1100 UK time, Sam Davies aboard Roxy was in 3rd position, 1,055 miles from the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France

More here