British skipper Phil Sharp racing Imerys, beat the odds to finish The Transat bakerly 2016 on the Class40 podium in third. Sharp covered a total of 3798nm of the Atlantic, with an average speed of 8.32 knots to finish third in the Class40 division. During his 19 days, 31 minutes and five seconds at sea, Sharp was subject to time penalties, burst spinnakers, ripped sails, power loss, the boat taking on more and more water, and finally a giant gaping hole in his mainsail, but the skipper dealt with every challenge the race had to throw at him – determined to make it to New York he took a well deserved podium.
On the dock he reflected on a tenacious performance and an experience that, he said, had changed him. “The race was always going to be tough, but I didn’t know it was going to be that tough,” he said. “The Transat has a history of extreme weather conditions, but we went through the worst conditions I’ve ever experienced and I think the Class40 fleet got hit the worst.
“The boat was quite new to me. I didn’t have long to prepare and I always knew it was going to be tough and I would have some issues, but I wasn’t expecting to have quite so many issues. I had a lot of problems with the sails and the weather out there was absolutely relentless. We got a hammering.
“I’m just so happy to be here in New York. There were a lot of things trying to stop us getting here, and even after the mainsail exploded I had power issues and the forestay became detached, so there was quite a lot going on to stop me. The fact I’m standing here right now and I’m on the podium, I’m very happy about indeed. It’s a good as result as I could have ever expected given the preparation time I had.”
Sharp added: “I feel in some ways that I’ve been to hell and back, but I’m a better person for it. It was a crazy race, but amazing and it’s made it that much more special to be standing here in New York.”