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.
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.
In the wake of Storm Angus reaping havoc over the UK, Phil, together with meteorologist Jure Jerman have been undertaking a statistical forecast analysis in the hunt for an ideal weather window to attempt the outright monohull World Record for the English Channel.
Jure commented: “The winds are due to shift NE tomorrow and from there they will build providing a window to leave from early Thursday or Friday. Currently Thursday is looking a lot windier, forecasting a constant gale force 8 and gusting over 40 knots, which would be right on the upper limit for a clean attempt. The conditions will be slightly less extreme on Friday, but the direction is not as favourable and this may provide a slower end to the passage.”
Phil commented: “There is no doubt that Thursday is looking seriously full-on as the Channel will be absolutely howling, potentially leading to some very rough conditions in the Alderney Race, but it would be a very fast passage, ideal for setting a new Record. It will really be a fine balance between performance and risk.
“A final decision will be made tomorrow morning based on an analysis of the latest weather files, when we will hopefully be able to push the button on an exact start time and switch to Code Green.”
Track Phil on social media @PhilSharpRacing and through the official website as he attempts a new cross-Channel World Record. A tracker will be available once Code Green is announced.