After almost six days of racing Phil Sharp and Corentin Douguet crossed the finish line of Leg 1 just 43 minutes and 40 seconds behind Pablo Santurde in the Spanish yacht Tales II. To claim an overall win Sharp will need to achieve the lowest combined race time of both Legs, and with the arrival of new and top co-skippers across the fleet, this will be no mean feat.
Typical of the Azores High, the forecast for today’s start predicts light winds with some big tactical decisions to make from the outset, Phil comments: “The current weather models show two possible routes that could work really well; one to the extreme north and one south of the rhumb line, so it will be really interesting to see which option most of the skippers take. We’ll aim to race with a clean, relatively low risk strategy, but it will be really important to anticipate any big changes in the forecast and adapt our tactics quickly.
“Over the past few days we have been making various boat repairs including replacing the wind vane for accurate data, and have solved the Code 5 sail configuration issues, which are essential for maximum performance in Leg 2. I am pleased to welcome on board Adrien for Leg 2, who raced with me on Imerys in last year’s Transat Quebec – St Malo, he is a great sailor and has won the Azores race in both Mini and Figaro. It will be an interesting Leg as I know he is strong on strategy and can push the boat to the maximum, but most of all, I know that he’s in it to win it!”
Fresh from a 2nd place in the recent Solitaire du Figaro, co-skipper for Leg 2 Adrien Hardy comments: “I am very happy to have the opportunity to sail with Phil again after last year’s Transat, and it’s great to be racing on a good Class 40. Tactics in this race are very interesting as there are a lot of options, unlike with a transat where often the strategy is simpler, following the trade winds. I think we make a strong team and we both want to win!”