Phil Sharp, Class40 skipper of Imerys Clean Energy aims for a second consecutive win in the Route du Rhum.
It has been 12 years since Phil’s victorious race win in 2006, when he finished a whole day ahead of Gildas Morvan, noted as one of France’s top sailors.
This year the competition has doubled with 53 entries set to challenge him in this infamous transatlantic race.
The team have notched up some 25,000 miles aboard Imerys Clean Energy, equivalent to a round-world circumnavigation and including three transatlantic races.
Over the years reliability and performance have been a core focal point for preparation, which Phil, shortlisted as ‘Pro Sailor of the Year’, is confident will limit the chance of system failure during this transat.
This year the front runners in the Class40 fleet are expected to reach the finish line in Guadeloupe after approximately 16 days, but before they can even think about stepping on to white Caribbean sands first they must battle through over 3,553 miles of harsh oceanic conditions, starting with a storm.
Jure Jerman, team meteorologist explains, “the fleet will feel the storm for approximately five days with winds between 35 and 40 knots and swell that will range between 7 and 12 metres from Monday.”
Sharp commented – “With the high level of new-boat competition I can’t afford to make even the smallest of error. I will have to sail a very clean race and push for top speeds 24/7.”
“Imerys Clean Energy is quick in heavy downwind conditions so I’m hoping for a fast run in the trade winds!”
The St Malo race start is Sunday 4 November, at 14:00 local time.