While Michel Desjoyeaux might have won the Vendee Globe, Sam Davies and Roxy have dominated the marketing, public relations and communications race throughout this year’s event. The 34 year old British sailor crossed the finish line at Sable d’Olonne, France this morning at 00:41 (GMT) after 96 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes and 1 second at sea.
Sam’s boat Roxy, which as PRB won the last two Vendée Globe races, will give Roxy’s parent company Quiksilver the best return on investment of any Vendee Globe campaign. We understand that the backing by the global surf and snow apparel company was nowhere near the level spent by teams with a high profile before the event. Sam Davies has managed to beat the likes of Hugo Boss, Aviva, Ecover and Pindar – both on the water and in the media battle for exposure, hearts and minds.
Comparisons have already been made between the tone of communications from Sam and Ellen MacArthur, who at age 24, seemed to have a harder time with the gruelling solo race. Even at the end of the race Sam kept the same light-hearted optimism she displayed in the Southern Ocean. When asked about her approach to the race, she said:
It really was all such fun. Maybe as well that is just my way of getting through the hard moments, trying to find the positive side of everything and use that energy to battle through the tough times, but, no I enjoyed every single day of this race, and I surprised myself even, I knew I would enjoy it, but I did not realise I would enjoy it this much and it is an amazing way to do the race.
Asked if she had any bad days, Sam’s response was:
“No! Because it’s an amazing opportunity. I always said to myself that if everything started feeling hard I’d remind myself that I was lucky Roxy had given me myself the opportunity to do this race and that three months is actually very short and you need to make the most of every day. I knew at the end I’d be sad if I had any regrets.”
Hopefully, Sam’s achievement will put sailing back in the eye of mass media in the UK and around the world. Unfortunately, BBC world decided this morning, that David Beckham going back to play soccer in Los Angeles was a more worthy story. The BBC sport homepage at 15:22 (GMT) on Saturday has no mention of the result. Similarly, the Times Online Sport Homepage has no mention of the story.