Skip to main content

A Girl Against the Odds Page 2

The Mount Everest of Sailing. The most grueling race a sailor can enter. An outrageous challenge and an epic adventure. The Vendee Globe race is all of these. Saying it’s a tough race to win is hyperbole; it’s a tough race to merely compete in. Every year, world-class sailors in state-of-the-art boats are forced to abandon the race for a variety of reasons. In 1992, British sailor Nigel

Home sweet, Roxy

Sam relishes her one-chocolate-bar-a-day routine, but last week she began to feel that her chocolate-to-fibrous greenery ratio was becoming skewed in the chocolate direction. So she planted beans. Yes, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Sam Davies began to grow beans. She’s hoping they will rebalance her diet but—never fear—she still plans to consume one Cadbury Dairy Milk bar a day until the finish line. (This routine was threatened at the International Date Line when Sam had an eight-day week with only seven chocolate bars. She solved the problem and survived, but just barely.)

When she’s not craving chocolate, says Sam, she’s craving a nail file. Keeping her girly demeanor at sea has been a challenge, but she’s found ways to make it work. She wears a specially designed sports bra with pockets for warmers, an invention she adopted after the old warmers slid out of her bra and down her drysuit, burning her bum. At the beginning of the race, Sam washed her hair daily with a lathering Kerastase shampoo. But as her body grew weaker, she had to limit her showers to conserve energy. Now she keeps her blonde locks in braids and proudly reports that, “so far I haven’t gotten itchy-head syndrome.” During the cold weeks, she bundled up in “a feather puffa jacket and moonboots.” During the sunny weeks, she ditched the down for her favorite Roxy bikini, excited to let the sun kiss her freckles again.

Sam’s proud of her temporary home and takes measures to make it her own. The pink sails and polka-dotted hulls of Roxy are neither sexy nor sleek, like those of its competitors, but what it lacks in style, Roxy makes up for in personality. Belowdeck, Sam sleeps with pink beanbag pillows. Photos and cards from home frame her nav station and her good luck charms Lucky the flamingo and Foxy the duck look over her chart table. Where most sailors might keep a commemorative map to chart their progress, Sam charts hers with a permanent marker on the surface of an inflatable globe.

Related

05-DSC_0638

Charter: Lake Tahoe

A sail on Lake Tahoe has been on my bucket list since the day I first laid eyes on it, and come hell or high water, I decided I was going to someday charter a boat there. North America’s largest and deepest alpine lake, Tahoe sits at 6,225ft above sea level and straddles the ...read more

East-River-Rapids

Escape from New York Part 1

I was never supposed to take my boat through New York City. After getting sucked backward through the Cape Cod Canal on my way south from Maine, when the speed of the current exceeded the maximum speed of my little electric auxiliary, I wanted nothing to do with Hell Gate and ...read more

LEAD-Celeste-in-the-Tuamotu

A Watermaker Upgrade

As a classic-boat sailor, I’ve long held that simpler is the better. I still think this is true: a simpler boat is cheaper, she has less gadgets to break down and there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re able to handle a bit of discomfort. Thus, for a long time, I sailed ...read more

01-LEAD-IDECsport_180919_032

Sailing Speed Records

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built ...read more

BVIFeetup

Chartering with Non-sailors

Three tips on managing the madness First-time charterers and first-time sailors aren’t at all the same thing. One group may struggle with beginner chartering issues, like sailing a multihull, catching a mooring or dealing with base personnel. For the other group, though, ...read more

AdobeStock_455372159

A Gulf Stream Crossing at Night

Even the dome of light glowing above the city behind us had disappeared as if swallowed in a gulp by Noah’s whale. The moon was absent. Not a star twinkled overhead. The night was so dark we could have been floating in a pot of black ink. The only artificial lights to be seen ...read more

00-Lead-549215sJL2uLEa

Summer Sailing Programs

Every year, countless parents find themselves navigating the do’s and don’ts of enrolling their children in a summer learn-to-sail program for the first time. While the prospect of getting your kid on the water is exciting, as a sailing camp program director, there are a lot of ...read more

ntm

Notice to Mariners: U.S.A! U.S.A! (Well, sorta…)

Some thoughts on a couple of recent developments on the U.S. racing scene that are more than a little at odds. To start with, congratulations to the US Sailing Team (USST) and its outstanding showing at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyeres, France, with not one but ...read more