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Samantha Davies' ultimate odyssey

Updated: November 10, 2012, 11:08 AM ET
By Bonnie D. Ford

LES SABLES D'OLONNE, France -- The hardest sailing race of all time has the simplest directions and the most straightforward rules. Samantha Davies, the lone woman skipper who on Saturday will start the three-month solo round-the-world test of skill, technology, fortitude and luck known as the Vendée Globe, knows them by heart. She's been this way before.

Leave Les Sables d'Olonne, heading south.

Keep Africa's Cape of Good Hope to port.

Keep western ...

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