Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur (IMOCA) abandons the race: “I can see my boat bending under my feet”

Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur (IMOCA) abandons the race: “I can see my boat bending under my feet”

As she faced very rough seas in the depression sweeping the Bay of Biscay yesterday, Sam Davies diagnosed a delamination of the bottom of the hull of her 60ft monohull,Initiatives-Cœur. Given the expected weather conditions off the Iberian Peninsula in the next few days and the nature of the damage, the option of a stopover in La Coruna to try and make a repair has been ruled out. It has been impossible to conceive of a scenario where Davies could consider her boat in a satisfactory and safe enough condition to re-start.  It is with enormous sadness that Davies has decided to give up her first Route du Rhum. The difficult decision was made to abandon the race and head back to the Initiatives-Cœur team base. The damaged monohull is expected in Lorient tomorrow afternoon.

© Initiatives-Cœur
AUDIO – Sam Davies talking today during the race’s official broadcast session – in English from 05:49 (click HERE to download)

VIDEO (in French) – Sam Davies on the damage and disillusionment
(click HERE to download)
© Initiatives-Cœur

“I discovered the structural problems yesterday. The first thing I noticed was that the skin of my ballast had delaminated. As I was making a tack, I was mopping up water in my living area and I heard the same noise as the one from the ballast, a creaking that came from the hull around the longitudinal reinforcement. Whenever that was slammed, I heard a creak. I looked everywhere, there was no sign of a leak. I assessed with my team that I could continue.

Once I regained some speed, I found myself on starboard tack and so I was leaning on the damaged port side. Whenever the boat slammed, I could see the hull bending under my feet, with folds appearing on the inner skin – that’s a little scary. I contacted the team to make an analysis with the boatbuilders. I was not feeling that relaxed. The problem is that we still had four days of these conditions, with a lot of wind and four days upwind, that’s a long time…I wasn’t very keen on attempting it, especially as the damaged area is in my living area, not far from the batteries. If there is any kind of tear in these conditions, I will find myself without battery power, communications and energy. So, I decided to turn around and head back to Lorient while the wind was pushing me in the right direction. I’m hoping to be able to protect the damaged area in the time it takes to get to Lorient. We went pretty well last night, there were still 50 knots and huge seas.”

Now it is the other goal of this project that Davies will solely focus on. The solidarity adventure continues, with the €162 000 that have been raised so far enough to save 13 children (The successful Initiatives-Cœur campaign supports the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque charity, which enables children around the world to undergo cardiac surgery).
The meter is still running, and with each new follower and share of the Initiatives-CœurFacebook page or Instagram, the sponsors-patrons, Initiatives and K-LINE, will donate €1 to the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque association, with the goal still to save 20 children.

Photo Gallery

The numbers

· 609 000 Facebook fans on the Initiatives-Coeur page
· 3,510 Miles between St. Malo and Point-à-Pitre
· 155 children saved since the launch of the campaign “1 click=1 heart” in 2012
· 123 Entries
· 109 “new blood”, the boat number
· 89 skippers to have completed a Vendée Globe, including Tanguy de Lamotte (in 2012) and Samantha Davies (in 2008)
· 4 fixed cameras on board
· 1st Route du Rhum for Sam

Initiatives-Cœur datasheet

Former names: Foncia, Banque Populaire, Maitre Coq
Home port: Lorient
Design: VPLP – Verdier
LOA: 18,28m Width: 5,80m
Draught: 4,50m
Mast height: 29m
Empty weight: 7,8 tonnes
Upwind sail area: 300m2
Downwind sail area: 660m2
Foils added: 2016


Initiatives-Cœur competes in major offshore races to save children. Each race is the occasion of a large-scale awareness campaign during which the main sponsors of the boat (Initiatives, K-LINE and VINCI Energies) fund via their donations the surgical operations of children suffering from serious heart defects. How? Patron sponsors K-LINE and INITIATIVES donate €1 to Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque for each new Facebook and Instagram follower. VINCI-Energies mobilises its teams to rase funds to go towards Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. 155 children have been cared for and saved since 2012.

For more than 20 years, the company INITIATIVES, based in Le Mans, has been enabling schools and associations to finance their educational, cultural and sporting projects (such as lessons about the sea, language holidays, procurement of materials and equipment…) with solidarity sales (flowers, calendars, chocolates, raffles…)

The leading French manufacturer of aluminium fittings and joinery, K-LINE designs, manufactures and sells sliding windows and custom-made entrance doors for all types of architectural buildings, both new and renovated. Since its creation in 1997, K-LINE has become a reference thanks to a new window concept that concentrates high thermal insulation and design in a minimum of material. A winning performance which has become its signature. K-LINE is part of Groupe LIEBOT, a family group based in the Vendée, windows and facades leader in France.

Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque
Allows children with congenital heart defects and from disadvantaged countries to undergo surgery in France when this is impossible in their home countries for lack of technical or financial means. Taken in by volunteer host families and operated on in twelve hospitals in France (Angers, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Tours), nearly 3,000 children have already been cared for since the association was created in 1996 by Professor Francine Leca and Patrice Roynette.

VINCI Energies
Connection, performance, energy efficiency, data: in a constantly changing world, VINCI Energies is accelerating the deployment of new technologies to implement two major changes: digital transformation and energy transition. Regionally based and organised in an agile way, VINCI Energies companies make energy, transport and communication infrastructures, factories and buildings more reliable, safer and more efficient every day.
2017: 10.8 billion euros (turnover) // 69,400 employees // 1,600 companies // 53 countries

Written by Initiatives-Coeur

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