Sam Davies has gone back to school to boost her latest bid for the Vendee Globe race, the Everest of single-handed sailing.
The solo racing star is back at Figaro school in Port La Foret, Brittany, after a four-year gap.
It was here the 36 year-old Portsmouth-born racer cut her teeth in the most demanding single-handed training academy, whose alumni include all the stars of French sailing.
Now she is back for several weeks of intensive on-and-off-the-water training, all the while maintaining her hunt for a sponsor for next year’s Vendee.
Davies was an inspirational fourth last time – despite racing an ageing Open 60 – a result she matched in last year’s Transat AG2R two-hander.
For the time being, however, as she reveals in her latest blog, Figaro school is challenge enough.
‘For me these days on the water are rich in learning and totally exhausting,’ she writes.
‘I struggle to eat and drink enough to replenish the energy spent in the training!
‘Dried fruit and nuts to hand at all times and I drink at least two litres – one litre of water and one litre of energy drink – while I am out sailing.
‘Stretching is compulsory at the end of each day but despite my best efforts I have stiff and sore muscles all week – sometimes so sore the pain wakes me up in my sleep.
‘So far I am managing to stay in the middle of the group and not embarrass myself too much. I have discovered sailing a Figaro is mostly like riding a bike and I have not struggled too much to re-find my automatisms for the manoeuvres.
‘The hardest part for me is re-finding the “feeling” and perfecting the fine tune quickly in changing conditions to stay at 100-per-cent target speed all the time.
‘Last week we even did a small “night sail”.
‘It was great to be out there for a beautiful sunset and to rediscover the sensations of sailing in the pitch dark – all the more fun in a 15-boat one-design single-handed fleet.’