Yachtsman Phil Sharp has successfully qualified for the solo ‘ Transat ’ bakerly race with a five-day 1,000 mile voyage. He sailed 300 miles out into the Atlantic, and then up into the Celtic Sea, before heading south past Land’s End and back to the ‘Warm Up’ race town of St Malo.
On the second night, Sharp found himself in the centre of a difficult weather system, which the forecasts had failed to spot. “It was a serious test for me and the boat” said Sharp. “The models I was using predicted a maximum of 25 knots, but I soon found myself sailing in over 35 knots, and was forced to change to a storm jib. The wind kept climbing, gusting to 45 knots, and we were slamming very hard into short, steep waves. I have to say it was pretty unnerving for my first time offshore in this boat. However, the Mach Class 40 held up well and the low eventually headed east, which was a great relief.”
After four uncomfortable nights, Phil reached St Malo at dawn sporting a black eye – having been knocked face-first into one of the winches. “It was a painful reminder of just how quickly the weather can deteriorate in the North Atlantic and how large and powerful the seas can be out there. This will definitely help with our preparations for the heavy weather sailing ahead.”
The Transat starts from Plymouth on 2nd May. We previously helped Phil as he set a benchmark for the new #LengthofBritain sailing record back in December of last year. We will be helping with communications again this time so hope to bring you news of the build-up and then follow his progress as he races to New York – a journey which is expected to take around 18 days.