Vendee agony for Davies

Sam Davies has been forced to retire from the Vendee Globe
Sam Davies has been forced to retire from the Vendee Globe
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Sam Davies has suffered Vendee Globe heartache after being forced to pull out of the gruelling round-the-world race.

The Portsmouth sailor retired last night after the mast of her Open 60 Saveol came crashing down in rough seas north of Madeira in the Atlantic.

Davies was not expected to compete for the title but, nevertheless, pulling out of the prestigious event less than a week into the competition is a huge blow for the 38-year-old.

French skipper Louis Burton also announced his retirement following a collision with a French fishing trawler on Wednesday.

Both Davies and Burton were prevented by race rules from stopping at the nearest port to make repairs, with a return to Les Sables d’Olonnes the only option under the rules for a repair and continuation.

However, in both cases, their boats were too badly damaged to make the six-day journey back to France, forcing retirment.

Davies had left her 16-month-old son to compete in the Vendee Globe.

The former Portsmouth High School pupil finished fourth in the 2009 competition after completing the course in 95 days.