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Displaying items by tag: Phil Sharp

Subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, Phil Sharp has set a new record for single-handed monohull up to 40 foot for the Around Isle of Wight aboard Class 40 race boat OceansLab.

At 08:24 UTC yesterday morning Sharp crossed the start line for the record attempt off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes and completed the circumnavigation at 13:29 UTC. Subject to official ratification, the record will have been secured in 5 hours 5 minutes and 4 seconds, averaging a speed of 9.8 knots (18.1 kilometres per hour).

The time to break was established in 2017 at 6 hours 29 minutes 32 seconds averaging a speed of 7.7 knots (14.2 kilometres per hour) by Alex Alley aboard Class 40 Pixel Flyer. Sharp adds this to his two existing records, the crewed Around Great Britain and Ireland, and the single-handed Cowes-Dinard.

Sharp commented on his record-breaking adventure: "It feels fantastic to now have three world records! Today was a very cold, fast, adrenaline-packed sprint. My objective was to aim for 5 hours, which was always going to be tricky when dealing with gusty conditions solo and at times today the gusts really were quite severe, which kept me on my toes.

"Today's record was about raising awareness for the need to accelerate clean energy innovation in the maritime sector. OceansLab is a platform demonstrating vital and scalable clean technologies like solar, battery, electric and fuel cell systems that can be embraced to decarbonise the sector. Industry targets need to be accelerated to better fall in line with climate change targets. We need to start introducing these technologies and replace fossil fuel systems in order to reduce harmful air pollutants. Inshore and commuting ferries would be a good start, and where levels of air pollution such as in Southampton are too high and hazardous to the health of local communities. Clean technologies exist now that can improve the quality of the air we breathe, change can and needs to happen now."

Published in Offshore
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British offshore sailor Phil Sharp is on standby to attempt the outright monohull Sailing Speed Record for the English Channel.

At a time where the winter gales start to relentlessly beat up the shores of the British Isles, and boat-owners are putting their vessels firmly to bed, Phil Sharp, sailing Class 40 race yacht Imerys is now on Code Red Standby to attempt one of the fastest of the World Record-breaking routes, the cross-Channel Sailing Record.

After establishing last December’s Length of Britain Record with extreme adventurer Sean Conway, PS Racing have their sights set on the Channel Record route, one of the most established routes in offshore sailing. Launched in 1905 by King Edward VII, the ‘Cowes-Dinard’ has since taken place as an annual race and is ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council as the Official Cross-Channel route for Sailing Speed Records.

A total distance of 140 miles, Phil will be attempting to break the outright monohull record of 12 hours 1 minute and 31 seconds. This is currently held by offshore skipper Jean Luc Van Den Heede (VDH), who set the record back in 2004 in Adrien, a boat over twice the size of Imerys, with a length of 85 feet.

Skipper Phil Sharp comments: “This is a fast and exciting record that I have always wanted to take on, but it will be tricky to beat as our Class 40 Imerys, at just 40 foot, is less than half the length of the current record setter Adrien. This means we will have to wait for some very strong winds from the North and ensure that the boat is pushed right to its limit throughout the crossing.

“Imerys will need to average at least 12 knots over the entire 140 mile route, and timing will be key for the attempt. There are extremely strong tides on this route, passing through the Alderney Race which can see currents of up to 10 knots, so the departure time will be critical to try and make the most of the best wind and the strongest south-going tide.”

PS Racing’s experienced meteorologist, Jure Jerman is keeping a close eye on the longer range forecast in order to identify a precise weather window, Jure comments; “At the moment we are on standby in a Code Red situation until we see a clear weather opportunity for Phil’s attempt. There is a possible window that might open up towards the end of next week, with some very strong NE winds, and early next week we will have a much clearer idea on whether this looks probable.”

Phil will be delivering Imerys to Cowes this weekend where final preparations will be made ahead of a potential record attempt over the coming weeks.

Published in Offshore

Phil Sharp and crew will soon make their turn for the 'final corner' at Cape Wrath, the very north western corner of the UK, heading towards the finish line of their Length of Britain Challenge, setting the first benchmark reference for sailing from Land's End to John O'Groats.

After a slow night, during which they more or less stopped for more than half an hour in a complete calm, Sharp, adventurer Sean Conway, and round the world sailor Alex Alley, were making decent speeds again this morning as they closed the notorious Cape Wrath which should mark the start of their final 12 hours sailing. Sharp's best estimate at 0700hrs this morning is for a finish at John O'Groats this evening around 2000hrs to 2130hrs.

Between Cape Wrath and the finish line the winds will be easterly and so the trio will have to tack against the wind, seeing their net speed towards the finish drop to between 5 and 6kts.

"It will feel good to be at the corner I am sure." Said Sharp this morning, "It has been quite a tough 24 hours to now, slow at times through the night, but we have worked hard and I am content that we really have made the most of the conditions and have been pushing hard all the time."

"This last bit will be difficult. I did not anticipate quite as tough a finish. We are now just focused on getting to the finish line, getting the job completed. Meanwhile Alex is just stacking the gear on the windward side as we get ready for the upwind. It's not going to be pretty but we will get there."

"I think we are going to see E'ly winds of 10-14kts to start with and that will build to closer to 20kts by the finish . The tides across the top of Scotland are very strong but fortunately at the finish, and from about 2030hrs this evening they should be with us."

Whatever the time is for their 90 miles from Cape Wrath to the finish line, they will be able to reflect just how hard these miles were for their red haired crewman Sean 'The Beard' Conway who swam from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2013, finishing in the cold of November when he was swimming in the strong tides, 20 foot waves and an air temperature of 1 degree.

Published in Offshore

Jersey based British sailor Phil Sharp and crew finally cast off their docklines from Falmouth’s Port Pendennis Marina setting off into a nasty, dirty December night to make the seven hour passage around to Land’s End where they will start their bid to set an inaugural benchmark for sailing from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Their weather window is not ideal. They will start in strong winds and big, leftover seas for fast passage to the east of Ireland and now face a transition zone of light winds Saturday off Scotland’s west coast which may slow them before they head round Cape Wrath, expecting to finish at John O’Groats early Monday morning.

After being on hold since last Friday waiting for big winds to clear the trio will still be seeking to outrun the next big Atlantic winter storm which will hit the top of Scotland Monday and Tuesday. But, for the trio, this evening the hours of waiting and continually prepping the Akilaria RC2 Class 40 yacht came to an end. Perhaps the most nervous of the trio is the intrepid Sean ‘The Beard’ Conway.

Conway, instantly identifiable by his unruly flame red beard and mop of flyway hair, is bidding to add a fourth end-to-end of Great Britain adventure. He has already run and had already cycled from Britain’s south westernmost tip to the most north easterly tip. In freezing temperatures in November 2013 he finished an incredible 135 days swimming from end to end.

Now Conway aims to add a fourth end to end: sailing. Ironically his sailing experience is limited to living on an RAF gunboat in Worcester and three long months surviving aboard a tiny 25 ft 11in South Coast One Design – which he bought sight unseen off E-Bay for £4000 – which became his support vessel and his home during his epic Land’s End to John O’Groats swim. But even then the tiny sailing yacht was his bed each night and he never sailed. One thing Conway is sure of is he suffers acute seasickness!

Phil Sharp is using the passage as a chance for a few days of training for the Vendée Globe solo non-stop race around the world which starts November 6th next year. While he awaits final details of his IMOCA 60 yacht to be completed, he sails this Class 40 with Conway and English round the world racer Alex Alley.

“We are itching to get away. It is exiting to be getting under way finally. I wanted to do something just a little bit extreme, to do some extreme sailing this winter and to start some Vendée Globe training.” Said Sharp who won his class in the solo Route du Rhum transatlantic race from St Malo to Guadeloupe in 2006. He has no qualms about taking Conway who has limited sailing experience. In 2006 he raised money for his Route du Rhum challenge by taking six paying corporate guests round Britain on a similar Class40 yacht.

“We are 11 months from the Vendée Globe start. But I woke up one morning with this idea and now it is a good course which I hope will create some interest in the Vendée Globe. And it is a nice course because in theory, it should mostly be downwind. And it an iconic route that everyone knows but no one has ever set down a record time for. And when I get the IMOCA 60 footer for the Vendée Globe hopefully I’d like to come back and do the course solo next year.” Says Sharp. “And Sean will be great for keeping us positive and focused. He will find it tough I’m sure but will find his sea legs by Saturday we hope.”

Conway smiled:
“I will just be doing what I am told for the next four days. I will be trying to help out where I can making the teas and coffees and food and being ballast where required. Phil is a great sailor and I have been briefed what to expect. I am expecting to be sick for 60 hours and so anything better than that is a bonus. I am looking forwards to it. My biggest concern is the seasickness. I will be gutted if I am put to bed for all of it. It is two years now since I finished swimming Britain. Knowing what I know now, and the issues I had swimming around Cape Wrath for example in 20 ft waves, December now, big storms coming it can be nasty. And the difference with this is that my previous adventures have been solo, success or failure is down to me. But I am trusting and Phil is a good sailor.”

All things being equal, fair winds and all that, they should pass Islay – home of whisky sponsors Bruichladdich – very late on Saturday evening.

Published in Offshore
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