The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) has officially ratified a new Cowes to Dinard monohull World Record for Phil Sharp and Class 40 yacht Imerys.

The route distance of 138nm was covered on 24 November in nine hours, three minutes and six seconds with an average speed of 15.25 knots.

Phil Sharp Channel World record. Credit: PS Racing

Phil Sharp achieves Channel record. Credit: PS Racing

Phil set a new record nearly three hours faster than the previous time of 12 hours, one minute and 31 seconds set on 85ft Adrien by Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in November 2004.

Alongside breaking the Outright Monohull Record, the WSSRC has also confirmed an additional record as the fastest single-handed Channel crossing of any yacht below 60ft.

Phil said: ‘It’s fantastic news and a great feeling to have an official World Record under my belt, and this cross-Channel route, so close to home, had been beckoning for a while… It was an adrenaline-packed crossing, but far from straightforward as I was faced with challenges right from the start.

‘I had some serious electronic issues with my autopilot, which refused to steer straight and strayed Imerys off course when I left the helm to navigate and carry out sail changes. This caused the boat to lose control several times, where shortly after the start, Imerys ended up flattened by a heavy gust near the Needles, damaging the spinnaker. I was forced to helm for 95% of the journey, so I could only get my hands on two power bars during the entire record. Sadly there was no time for tea and porridge!

Imerys was on fire in these windy conditions. These latest Class 40’s are seriously optimised racing machines, averaging speeds of 15kts and surfing at over 20kts. It’s incredible what you get used to, 10kts quickly starts to feel very slow! It is still difficult to believe that Imerys managed to carve 3 hours off the previous time. Hopefully this sets the bar high enough to hold on to the record for some time at least!

‘All in all it is a great way to round off a successful first year in Class 40 and this would have not been possible without the invaluable support of our partners, and tireless commitment from our team.’

Phil Sharp Channel World record

PBO contributor John Frankland said: ‘Jersey long distance sailor Phil is more used to round-the-world sailing and Trans-Atlantic events than what he calls a ‘day sail sprint’! None-the-less, boat preparation is just as important especially as he was looking for strong, favourable winds and – absolutely essential around the islands – some fair tides.

‘During the recent period of gales (hitting Force 12 in Guernsey and Jersey) the first problem was to get the boat across the channel from St Helier to Cowes. A window in the weather allowed Phil to sail Imerys into the Solent where he would try to catch the expected strong easterly winds that were forecast.

‘Well, the forecasters were correct and the gale force winds arrived with big seas and gusts of up to 50 knots! Phil admitted later that the wind was a little too strong by choice but he could not miss the chance of a fast trip. It was an early (0630) start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at Cowes making first for the Needles then towards the notorious Alderney Race. Phil encountered big seas as he crossed the shipping lanes in the Channel but he managed to keep Imerys sailing fast and always in control.

‘Through the Alderney Race with a fair tide gave him 20 knots over the ground and with the wind with the tide, again all was well. The route then took Phil down the Big Russel between Guernsey and Sark, down the west coast of Jersey to Corbiere Lighthouse. It then seemed like no time at all to those watching the AIS track, before Phil was past the dangerous Les Minquiers plateau and heading in to the Bas Sablons marina opposite Dinard, to be welcomed by his Jersey colleagues who gave him the news of his record-breaking time.

‘Whilst Phil was having his day sail at an average speed of 15.3 knots, most boatowners in Jersey, Alderney and Guernsey were frantically checking their moorings and adjusting their fenders! Congratulations Phil Sharp.’

Phil Sharp sailing Imerys

Phil Sharp sailing Imerys

The WSSRC has confirmed the establishment of a new World Record:

  • Record: Cowes to Dinard. Outright Monohull and Singlehanded up to 60ft
  • Yacht: Imerys. 40ft Monohull
  • Name: Phil Sharp (GBR)
  • Date: 24 November 2016.
  • Start time: 06;38;27 UTC on 24/11/16
  • Finish time: 15;41;33 UTC on 24/11/16
  • Elapsed time: Nine hours, three minutes and six seconds
  • Distance: 138 NM
  • Average speed: 15.25 kts
  • Previous record: Adrien J L Van Den Heede (FRA). Nov 2004. 12 hours, one minute and 31 seconds