World record breaking sailor Phil Sharp is embarking on the next challenge of his career, returning to the Figaro 3 circuit.
Sharp, who is supported by global real estate advisors Colliers International, last November broke the world speed record for the Around the Isle of Wight in a Class 40 raceboat, is now starting a new challenge on a new OceansLab boat at The Solo Maitre Coq which starts on Thursday 25 June, after a three month postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He will be one of 30 skippers in the race, which starts off from Les Sables d'Olonne. The course will take the skippers on a 340-mile solo journey around Belle-île, Île d'Yeu and Île de Ré.
“It is fantastic that the season is about to kick off after the recent delays and uncertainty, and I now feel hungrier than ever to get racing,” said Sharp. “With such strong competition, I will be happy with a top-half finish in what will be my first Figaro race in six years. Regardless, it will be a great learning opportunity for me, benchmarking myself against some of the best in solo offshore racing.”
The OceansLab project aims to accelerate clean energy innovations in the maritime sector by reducing emissions and improving the health of the oceans. Sharp’s latest adventure is beginning in the week that the UK Government announced funding for ten research projects around green energy in motor vehicles. The Lab is close to completion of a marinised hydrogen fuel-cell that can help decarbonise the maritime sector. His Figaro 3 uniquely uses a 100% biocide-free antifouling. The innovation consists of a silicone-based protective film bonded to the hull of the boat to preserve performance offering an optimal antifouling solution.
The forecast for the two-night course shows light and variable winds, of which tactical choices and shifty conditions will no doubt intensify this challenging race.
“I am used to long ocean races with long-term strategies,” said Sharp. “This circuit is based on shorter, more intense coastal courses where fleet tactics, land effects and tides come heavily into play.”
Andres Guzman, head of sustainability at Colliers International added: “Following the recent global pandemic more people are sitting up and paying attention to environmental sustainability in the workplace as well as greener transport solutions like Phil’s. We welcome the UK Government’s funding of research and development of cutting-edge technologies including hydrogen fuel cells with Jaguar Land Rover, and expect innovation like these will have a significant impact on the trajectory to a low-carbon future.
“Colliers is proud to support Phil and OceansLab and wish him the best of luck in the first race of the season.”