Transat Update from Phil Sharp

Reporting from his Class40 yacht Imerys, Phil Sharp comments on a difficult 24 hours following problems with his spinnaker and looks to ride the top of a gusty depression:

 

After yesterday's dramatic experience aboard Imerys when the spinnaker halyard failed at high speeds, breaking the sail free and washing under the boat, Phil has been left exhausted. His immediate response to urgently fetch the sail just in time before it began to sink to the bottom of the North Atlantic was a rescue that has saved him the race. This breakage has pulled Phil back into 2nd place whilst the repairs are being made to both the spinnaker sock and the halyard, which must be retrieved from the top of the mast.


"The halyard failure completely exhausted me, it added to the multiple other job list of small scale breakages. I have fixed the sock, but the halyard is still at the top of the mast. The waves have been building since entering the North Atlantic, it just hasn't been safe to climb the mast and bring the halyard down. I am hoping to go up in the calm before the storm that's on its way, but it looks like this will be in the middle for the night, which will make things tricky." reported Phil.


Tomorrow morning the fearsome challenge of The Transat bakerly will begin to reveal itself as the fleet head deeper into the North Atlantic. The IMOCA's and Multi50's are headed straight for the centre of the depression and will be faced with serious head winds and monstrous waves. The smaller Class 40's have chosen to ride the top of the storm, avoiding the headwinds and allowing them to speed downwind, reducing the risk of potential damage and taking advantage of the system to carry them forward. Phil is expected to face a 6-12 hour storm of 7 metre waves, with winds expected at between 40-45 knots, gusting 50.


"I am pretty nervous about taking on this system. I will be riding the top of the depression, so I am in the best position possible, but it really is going to be alarmingly windy. I'm planning to reach the transition zone of low wind tomorrow, falling into the system on the east side to await the full brunt of the storm on Friday night through to Saturday. I haven't lost sight of the fact that this is an endurance sport, I've just got to get through the storm and out the other side. Every Transat usually has at least one big storm, this is it."


Just four days into the race there have been three retirements, an IMOCA, a Multi50, and a Class 40. Phil too has faced multiple other difficulties on board with a hole in his water system, various lashings failing on pulleys, and of course his halyard failure, which his engineering skills enable him to fix. A valuable knowledge asset few skippers have.

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