YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year, 2009
The coveted YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year title has been won by female solo round the world yachtswoman Sam Davies.
The trophy was presented at a ceremony at Trinity House in London by three time winner of the title, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
The award was made in recognition of her abilities as one of the world’s most talented female offshore sailors which was highlighted in 2009 when, aboard her IMOCA 60 Roxy, she not only scored an impressive third overall in the grueling 27,420-mile, non-stop singlehanded round the world race – the Vendee Globe 2008/09 – from a total of 19 finishers but was also the first British competitor to cross the line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France after 95 days, 4 hours, 39 minutes and 1 second at sea.
During the race Sam, who is a member of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, endured plenty of excitement, most of which was recorded on her amusing and informative blogs. But one event that will certainly go down in the record books was her mission to help fellow competitor Yann Eliès who had suffered a broken leg. She diverted her course towards Elies aboard Generali but was able to return to the racetrack once the casualty had been transferred to the support vessel.
The finish of the Vendee Globe marked the start of a brand-new challenge for Sam with plans to team up with fellow IMOCA 60 sailor Dee Caffari aboard Aviva and embark upon a speed record attempt round Britain and Ireland with an all-female crew including Miranda Merron and Alex Sizer. Together they pulled it off and broke the record by 17 hours and 16 minutes, covering 2,500 nautical miles in a time of 6 days, 11 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds.
Sam rounded off a successful 2009, aboard the IMOCA 60 Artemis, by finishing second overall in class in the Rolex Fastnet Race, and competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre where she and her team mate Sidney Gavignet crossed the finish line in 10th place overall.