Media Release: Phil Sharp secures new sailing record


THE World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) has officially ratified a new Cowes to Dinard monohull world record – for yachtsman, Phil Sharp, and his Class 40 ‘Imerys’.

The route distance of 138nm was covered on 24 November in 9 hours 03 minutes and 06 seconds at an average speed of 15.25 knots. Phil set a new record nearly that is nearly three hours faster than the previous time of 12 hours 01 minute and 31 seconds set on the 85ft ‘Adrien’ by J L Van Den Heede in November 2004.

The WSSRC has also confirmed an additional record for the ‘fastest single-handed Channel crossing of any yacht below 60ft’.

Phil commented: “It’s a great feeling to have an official world record under my belt, and this cross-Channel route, so close to home, had been beckoning for a while.

“It was an adrenaline-packed crossing and far from straightforward as I was faced with challenges right from the start.

“I had some serious issues with my autopilot, which refused to steer straight and strayed ‘Imerys’ off course when I left the helm to navigate and carry out sail changes.

“Also, shortly after the start, ‘Imerys’ ended up flattened by a heavy gust near the Needles, damaging the spinnaker. I was forced to helm for 95 per cent of the journey, so I could only get my hands on two power bars during the entire record. There was no time for tea and porridge!

“Imerys’ was on fire in these windy conditions. These latest Class 40’s are seriously optimised racing machines, averaging speeds of 15kts and surfing at over 20kts. It’s incredible what you get used to, 10kts quickly starts to feel very slow!

“It is still difficult to believe that Imerys managed to carve three hours off the previous time. Hopefully, this sets the bar high enough to hold on to the record for some time.

“All in all, it is a great way to round off a successful first year in Class 40 and this would have not been possible without the invaluable support of our partners, and tireless commitment from our team.”

Sharp has been supported by Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay over the past year during which he has also established a new record for sailing the ‘Length of Britain’ from Lands End to John O’Groats and enjoyed a successful first season competing in the Class 40 ocean racing championship.

Photo: Andy le Gresley


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