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Skandia ends up 6th


IN BRIEF:

* SKANDIA FINISHES IN 6TH PLACE AFTER CLOSE-FOUGHT BATTLE WITH MARC EMIG, 8 HOURS AFTER THE WINNER ERIC DROUGLAZET…

* AFTER 25 DAYS, 15 HOURS, 22 MINUTES AND 20 SECONDS SAM CROSSES FINISH LINE OFF CIENFUEGOS, CUBA AT 0430 BST, FINISHING HER LONGEST SOLO RACE OF HER CAREER…

* THIS RACE BOOSTS SAM’S CONFIDENCE HAVING KEPT PACE WITH THE LEADERS AND HOLDING 3RD PLACE AS THE FLEET REACHED THE CUBAN COAST…

* “IT WAS HARD TO LOSE PLACES LIKE THAT, BUT LOOKING BACK AT IT, I WAS STILL IN THE FRONT GROUP…”

IN DETAIL:

After 4,265 miles of solo racing from St Nazaire, France to the finish port of Cienfuegos, Cuba, Sam Davies skipper of SKANDIA crossed the finish line in 6th place after a close-fought battle with French skipper Marc Emig, TOTAL.

SKANDIA crossed the line at approximately 0430 BST in a time of 25 days, 15 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds completing the transatlantic race at an average speed of 6.93 knots. It proved to be a close finish for the front runners with SKANDIA finishing 8h, 11m, 31s after the overall winner Eric Drouglazet.

“I am SO glad to have finished the last miles were a real struggle, I was neck and neck with Marc, but he just beat me by roughly 1nm. The channel up to the finish was incredible, it was just like sailing into the land – you really had to trust your charts. Although it’s late in the evening here there were a few boats out – one with loads of Skandia flags! A great reception!”

The Trophee BPE has been the longest solo race of Sam’s career and although disappointed not to have retained a top 5 position, Sam’s performance on the ocean crossing stage of the race before the Cuban coast proved her ability to compete against the very best solo Figarists as she held her third position against Eric Drouglazet, Charles Caudrelier and Gildas Morvan. Sam held her own and is more than happy with her performance on this part of the race course. The main focus of the season remains La Solitaire du Figaro in August.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO WITH SAM (0830HRS)

How are you feeling about your finish?
“It was hard at the end, hard to lose places like that, but looking back at it, it wasn’t so bad in the end. I was still in the front group and that was good for where I imagined myself to be.”

What was it like yesterday, knowing how close you were to Marc Emig & as you approached the channel?
“I was really stressed yesterday morning when I saw that Marc had got past me offshore because there was more wind offshore. At the time I thought I was really slow, and that there must be something wrong. I thought everyone was going to over take me so I was really stressed out. But then it was good because I was with Marc and I thought to myself, now I’m just going to try and sail with him to the finish and then we’ll stay fast. That’s what I did – I stuck with him. It was quite shifty and we both stopped dead in front of a really big rainstorm. He was in front of me at the time and I stopped dead before him and he trickled one a bit. Then this rainstorm just picked me up, and I had just got my spinnaker up and suddenly it was blowing 30kts! I was really unprepared for that because it had only been blowing about 5kts before then! So I was hooning down straight towards Marc who was still in nothing and I ended up going within 2 boat lengths away from him, we were both completely out of control cause neither of us were expecting it! I called him up on the radio and I think that was when I got unstressed for the first time for the past couple of days. We were just laughing and talking so it was quite nice and quite laid back. From then on I just thought, well I’m right next to him and I actually don’t mind who finishes first. For me I’m still at the back of that front pack and that’s good. I wasn’t actually stressed, my only stress was not running in to him. We were close and the conditions were so wild. Then we sailed into this little river so it was quite funny. In the end we both got stuck in no wind and he trickled off before I did in to the river in front of me .”

Looking back, you spent the majority of the race sailing at the front of the fleet, that must have been a huge confidence boost for you?
“The more I think about it, the more of a confidence boost it is. All the other skippers I’ve seen, all the good guys who were there when I arrived, have come up to me and were saying ‘You’ve sailed such a good race, your line across the Atlantic was just perfect you’ve done so well!’ When I look back on it I know that I’m not as fast as they are in a straight line so I have to do clever things to keep up with them. It’s nice to have real genuine respect from guys like that who I used to dream about racing against and now I was actually in front of them on a racecourse! When you’re out there and you get in to a position like that, for me the disappointment was just horrendous when I lost that position because I had got too confident in myself I guess, and that was where it was really hard for me because I couldn’t accept a bit of defeat which I probably I need to deal!”

You sailed a great race, and it was only in the final 600 miles that things changed. Do you think there was there a place in the race where you made a mistake or a wrong decision?
“I know there was one place in particular where I made a mistake, I went offshore and I should have gone inshore. Charles said to me if I had gybed then I would have been in front of them, which would have meant I would have managed to stick with Charles and Gildas a little bit longer. I may not necessarily have stuck with them to the finish because they’re just too fast, but that was where I lost a big gap and that was where I lost to Mino (Dominic). When I look back at it, the reason I made that mistake was because I was so completely exhausted. I’d been in no wind for longer than anyone else and I’d been sailing with Gildas and Charles for a long time. I’d been pushing myself a lot further than I should have done, so I was really tired. When I get tired I don’t think straight. One of my strong points is being smart and thinking straight so if I lose that then I lose one of my major strong points.”

What are you going to do for the rest of the day?!
“Go to bed! I’ve been in for a little while now and I’ve had one beer which was really nice, and a lobster which his really nice. I haven’t eaten for 2 days because I was too stressed and too tired and too hot!”

Listen to the full audio from Sam at Audio/Video section of website.

Communications thanks to BT Broadband

PROVISIONAL RESULTS
(boat name / race duration / average speed/ time behind leader)

1st CREDIT MARITIME-ZEROTWO, Eric Drouglazet 25d 7h 10m 49s, av speed 7.02kts
2nd BOSTIK, Charles Caudrelier 25d 11h 48m, av speed 6.97kts, +4h 37m 11s
3rd CERCLE VERT, Gildas Morvan 25d 12h 44m 15s, av speed 6.96kts, +5h 33m 26s
4th ATAO AUDIO SYSTEM, Dominic Vittet 23d 14h 11m 1s, av speed 6.94kts, +7h 12s
5th TOTAL, Marc Emig 25d 15h 5m 56s, av speed 6.93kts, +7h 55m 7s
6th SKANDIA, Sam Davies 25d 15h 22m 20s, av speed 6.93kts, +8 11m 31s
7th BANQUE POPULAIRE, Jeanne Gregoire 25d 18h 40m 35s, av speed 6.89kts, +11h 29m 46s
8th AQUARELLE.COM, Yannick Bestaven 25d 19h 1m 10s, av speed 6.89kts, +11h 50m 21s
9th GEDIMAT, Armel Tripon 25d 19h 31m 7s, av speed 6.88kts, +12h 20m 18s
10th COUTOT ROEHRIG, David Raison 25d 19h 54m 46s, av speed 6.88kts, + 12h 43m 57s

Click here for full positions report

Official race website: http://www.trophee-bpe2005.com (French only)

RACE SUMMARY – SKANDIA’S TROPHEE BPE 2005

Day 1 – 4
SKANDIA in steady 5th place in this ultra competitive fleet – unusually gentle start to transatlantic race, exiting the Bay of Biscay in 6th place. Sam’s co-skipper from last year’s two-handed transat Jeanne Gregoire leads the fleet.

Day 5 –8 (7th-6th-8th-5th positions)
Cold, cold northeast winds up to 30 knots blast the fleet along at great speeds, up to 16kts boatspeed. BOSTIK hits the front with an impressive 20nm lead. SKANDIA 70nm behind, decides to sail slightly more southern route looking for more stable downwind conditions further down the fleet. Sam misses one 3am position report and ends up sailing slightly too much further south than required not making the gain she had hoped for.

Day 9 – 12 (7th-5th-5th-4th)
Sailing though the Azores, Sam sees her parents and their yacht, not so close as Sam is on a charge – 2nm behind 5th TOTAL. Sam takes the southern highway again, and as the boats in the north expect lighter winds. For 4 days SKANDIA is one of the fastest 3 boats in the fleet. Sam revels in the heavy downwind conditions – ‘sending’ it down waves. Ends up Day 12 in 5th place having made up 28nm in one 12hr period.

Day 13 – 15 (4th-3rd-3rd)
SKANDIA now 4th 27nm to leader, as conditions begin to change to lighter airs, and temperatures finally rise. First flying fish hits the deck for the first time – real sign of changing latitudes. Asymmetric spinnaker damaged luckily conditions change and allow sufficient time to make repair. Day 15, SKANDIA takes 3rd place, 33nm to leader CREDIT MARITIME-ZEROTWO.

Day 16 –18 (SKANDIA holds 3rd)
Big change in conditions, warm enough for first ‘shower’ on deck…water warm enough not to make Sam scream, 1500nm to finish. Important weather front to negotiate meaning Sam must helm all night waiting for cold front, which when it comes, the conditions change very quickly – upwind on port, followed 1 hour later by reaching under repaired asymmetric spinnaker at 17kts boatspeed. Argos Tracking Beacon malfunctions, meaning Sam must manually report position.

Day 19 – 21 (3rd-3rd-4th)
Long-range forecast is for light airs, the fleet gybes downwind looking for extra pressure. The Fleet makes landfall in the Turks islands. The Atlantic part of this race is over with SKANDIA in 3rd place – the remaining 600nm of coastal racing is forecast is for very light winds, and becomes a mental race as the fleet compress.

Day 22 – 25 (4th-4th-4th-5th)
2nd, 3rd, 4th place all within sight, as coastal race becomes frustrating and unpredictable. Fleet closes up. Sam decides to risk sailing further offshore looking for more breeze – looses touch with BOSTIK and CERCLE VERT, and ATAO AUDIO SYSTEM creeps in – risk of losing 5th place to Marc Emig (TOTAL). Handle falls off toolbox, so to reduce stress it was fashioned into an ejector seat handle above chart table!

Day 26 – 27
Fleet is becalmed again, whole fleet averaging just 2kts for 4hrs, 100nm to go and TOTAL slips though. Sam races neck and neck with TOTAL, with final top 5 position at stake. On Day 27, after a close-fought battle to the finish, SKANDIA crosses finish line in 6th place in a time of 25 days, 15 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds, 8 hours behind leader Eric Drouglazet.

2005 FIGARO PROGRAMME
3 April: Trophée BPE 2005 (St.Nazaire – Cienfuegos, Cuba)
6-25 June: La Generali Solo 2005
1-28 August: La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2005

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