I Was Away at Sea So Long, I Wasn't Mum Any More

December 2020

Hi there
I hope this finds you well. Until this month, I was at Sunday Times Style for 15 years and I’d love to pitch an interview to you.

It’s about a sportswoman – the round-the-world sailor Sam Davies who is 22 days into the 70-day, solo race, the Vendee Globe – but it’s not a sports story. It’s an emotional human interest piece about how it is to leave your 9-year-old son behind for three months at a time – and over Christmas, too (she’s also racing against her partner in the Vendee – their son, Ruben, stays with his grandparents on, yup, their sailing boat in Brittany).

I already have the interview. We spoke about the guilt of leaving her son behind (“guilty for not having missed him”); how, on long trips away, she lets her child lead the contact, but no Skype – far better to have pre-recorded videos that don’t suddenly cut out and make her disappear; how she deals with others’ judgment; on the value of grandparental influence (“he is always so well-behaved and well-mannered when we return”), how she compensates for her absences on her return, and the difficulty of re-establishing the relationship etc, etc. It’s a candid interview that will provide good fodder for debate around what is best for the child versus what is best for the mother. Hers is a perspective that we don’t usually get to hear.

Sam is one of only three Brits left in the race, all of whom, incidentally, are women – and is currently in 11th place (out of 31, since two boats have left) – she was on the Today programme this morning, at 2 hr.30min. Her PR says that no other newspaper/magazine interviews are expected with her, though if she continues to do well, I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about her.

Please do let me know if you might be interested.