First up, in 28th position, we have Sam Davies onboard Initiatives Cœur. Sam has been a name in offshore racing for many years and has three Vendée Globes, a Volvo Ocean Race and a Jules Verne Trophy attempt behind her. Initiatives Cœur is a unique team working to raise money for children in need of heart surgery – the sponsors behind the program donate €1 for every ‘Like’ or new Instagram follow the team gets during the race.
Sam has been a part of Initiatives Cœur since 2015 and took on the skipper role in 2017. This year saw the launch of her new boat, which is a sistership to Louis Burton’s Bureau Vallèe. Until Monday, Sam was having a fantastic race and keeping up with the leaders, sitting in 15th position. Unfortunately, she has been caught in an extensive band of low wind since then and has made little progress. She currently sits in 28th position, but it doesn’t look like the wind will pick up for her soon.
Next, we have James Harayda onboard Gentoo Sailing Team. James is just 24 and competing in not only his first solo race but also his first transatlantic race too. James may be young, but he’s not inexperienced, being a double British Double Handed National Champion alongside record-breaking sailor Dee Caffari. This race is important for James and the Gentoo team, as it is a step towards the Vendée Globe start line – he aims to build his skills in the 2024 edition and return in 2028 with a competitive campaign.
James is sailing onboard my old boat, HUGO BOSS 2. Built in the UK and designed by Finot Conq, Gentoo has been heavily updated in recent years and now sports a more protective cockpit and foils. I think James will be extremely happy with how his race is going; he’s in a group of boats of a similar generation and seems to be loving every minute.
The leading Brit is the ever-popular Pip Hare onboard Medallia in 12th position. Pip was one of the stand-out sailors in the 2020 Vendée Globe, pushing the second oldest boat in the fleet to an incredible 19th place, ahead of 5 newer boats.
Almost as soon as the 2020 Vendée Globe finished, Pip’s sponsor Medallia decided to put the money up to buy a newer, faster boat for 2024. Medallia 2 is the boat that Louis Burton sailed to third in the last Vendée and the one that Armel Le C’leach won on in 2016 – clearly a boat with some speed behind it. Currently one of the most northerly boats, Pip took a route through the middle of the Azores and westwards. Over the next day or so she will have a band of light wind to contend with, but hopefully, it won’t slow her down too much!