Talking to the skipper aboard 'Imerys'

Rebecca Linder, Marketing and Communications director at Phil Sharp Racing, talks to the skipper aboard 'Imerys' in the North Atlantic as the yacht enters the final stages of the Transat Quebec-St Malo.  Phil Sharp and his crew of Adrien Hardy and Milan Kolacek had a good first half of the race and were sailing in second place to the Spanish Class 40 'Tales 2' skippered by Gonzales Botin when their big spinnaker shredded.  They have slipped back to sixth place - around sixty miles behind the leader.

Rebecca: "When you think the opportunity will come to catch up?"  - Phil:  We have steady, fast reaching conditions now, but when we arrive in the English Channel, north of Brittany, there will be very, very light winds. There will inevitably be some big compression in the fleet and this will give us a great opportunity to catch up and pass some boats.

Rebecca: "Your thoughts on the drop in position? Phil: The drop in position is immensely frustrating, but has been down solely to our large spinnaker damage and there is very little you can do to make up boat speed in these situations. Aside from this we are confident from our performance earlier in the race that we can be faster than all the other boats, apart from perhaps the Spanish, who seem to have a slight edge in performance over everyone. Anyhow we are looking forward now, not back, and confident we can work our way up to a podium place again.

Rebecca: "How is your big spinnaker holding up?"  Phil: We have only just finished the third round of major repairs, which has taken a long time, and so we haven't had the opportunity to hoist it yet. In fact we are waiting for the right conditions to do so as now the wind is too strong so we are using are small spinnaker. I can tell you, all are nerves will be on end when we hoist it as we can't be sure whether the repair will hold, so it will be a tense moment! With such light winds near the end of the race, the spinnaker will be crucial for then, so we don't want to hoist it too early in too much wind, and risk further damage.

Rebecca: "You will be looking forward to reaching port!"  Phil: It will be just incredible to reach St Malo, close to home, after a fortnight of such intense ocean racing. Particularly as this is where The Transat started in late April, so to do a full circle after 2 wildly different transatlantic adventures will be very special indeed. I'm really looking forward to seeing family and friends also who can make it down to see us come in. I'm sure it will be a great welcoming! "

The ETA of the yacht in St Malo 2pm - 5pm on Fri afternoon, 22nd July.

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