“ Willing the boat forward with everything he had, today Sharp realises his podium dream”
Today at 15:01:05 BST, British skipper Phil Sharp racing Imerys, beat the odds to finish The Transat bakerly 2016 on the Class40 podium in third.
During his 19 days, 31 minutes and five seconds at sea, Sharp has had his metal well and truly tested by the formidable Atlantic Ocean. Subject to time penalties, burst spinnakers, ripped sails, power outages, the boat taking on water and finally a giant gaping hole in his mainsail, the skipper dealt with every challenge the race had to throw at him - determined to make it to New York.
Leading the Class40 fleet away from Plymouth on May 2nd, Sharp crossed a TSS exclusion zone and on day five of racing was required to stop his boat for six hours as a penalty. Dropping through the fleet, within 24 hours Sharp was back in the top three where he remained for the duration of the race.
A beautiful battle then raged between Sharp, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus aboard Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep and Isabelle Joschke racing Generali Horizon Mixité, the three gutsy skippers never more than 100nm apart as they fought their way through violent storms and concrete waves to get to the Big Apple.
After Isabelle Joscke was forced to retire following structural damage, Louis Duc aboard Carac took her place in the great Atlantic Match Race to New York – eventually won by Vauchel-Camus.
Four days out from the finish line, Sharp reported a burst main sail. With too few materials aboard to repair the sail, the skipper lashed the torn edge together with no other choice but to work with the damaged sail.
With the sail in two halves, Sharp continued on this mission to New York - describing the it as a useless flag. Willing the boat forward with everything he had, today Sharp realises his podium dream - just one day, 11 hours, 48 minutes and nine seconds behind the Class40 winner.
During his time at sea, Sharp covered a total of 3798nm of the Atlantic, with an average speed of 8.32 knots.