Win a bottle of Black Art 5!


The yachtsmen competing in the Normany Channel Race have now been at sea for four days.  They will be exhausted, wet and cold. They will have had just short snatches of sleep and also be eating large amounts of horrible food in an attempt to give their bodies the energy to keep going.

They will also have experienced levels of exhilaration that only those of you who have spent time aboard big fast yachts will understand.  Because there is nothing like it.

We are great supporters of the Jersey-based ocean racer Phil Sharp in his attempt to win the Class 40 Championship.  Phil has the very experienced Pablo Santurde as crew this year and they are currently leading the fleet  aboard the PSRacing yacht  ‘IMERYS‘ – but there are around 120 miles of hard sailing ahead and some very fast boats with first class crews in hot pursuit.

This is the last update we received from Phil.  “Wow what stunning sailing conditions we have had since Fastnet. Downwind in 15-20 knots, planing conditions with the big spinnaker, and a chance to dry everything out following a very wet first few days. An incredible contrast.

“Whilst writing this at 0030 GMT, we have just sailed back past Land’s End and into the Channel, which is a great feeling indeed considering the distance we have managed to build up. Right now it is a very dark night and there is an incredible phosphorescence streaming behind the rudders. As we approach the northern shipping lane ships are passing us like distant ghosts.

“Despite having a strong lead, Pablo and I are continuing to push the boat as hard as possible. We have only recently managed to start getting into a bit of a routine and sleeping enough, as we were pretty fatigued from the first couple of days, particularly the leg down to Tuskar. It has not been warm either. I have been drinking copious amounts of tea to keep my core temperature up, and Pablo even resorted to wearing a survival suit for a couple of days. He looked ridiculous, but it was actually a good idea. I think he is a lot happier now he has managed to dry out his very sodden “dry socks”, which from my experience are always great until water gets inside, and then it’s game over.

“My freshly made porridge has given us a good boost to kick off the day. I am fairly sure Pablo likes this speciality of mine, although he does keep pouring in tea, so I’m not quite sure. It is great for lining the stomach though, re-energising, and feeling good is so important to making sound decisions and to sail fast.

“Next stop Guernsey, and we’re hoping to catch the tide at Alderney so keeping that pedal pushed and keeping an eye on the guys behind. Phil”


We are going to present a bottle of Black Art 5 to whoever comes closest to guessing the finishing time of the winner – whichever yacht that may be – because this race is far from over.

To give you a guide, in 2016 the winning time was four days, seventeen hours, forty one minues and 54 seconds.  That’s 4d 17h 41m 54sec.  Tweet us with your best guesstimate.  Only one entry per person.  The competition will close at 11.00pm in the UK (which is midnight in France – where the race will finish off Ouistreham near the city of Caen).

You may like to study the race geotracker to give yourself a better chance….

Best of luck everyone…

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