At 08:24 UTC this morning Sharp crossed the start line for the record attempt off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes and completed the circumnavigation at 13:29 UTC. Subject to official ratification, the record will have been secured in 5 hours 5 minutes and 4 seconds, averaging a speed of 9.8 knots (18.1 kilometres per hour).
The time to break was established in 2017 at 6 hours 29 minutes 32 seconds averaging a speed of 7.7 knots (14.2 kilometres per hour) by Alex Alley aboard Class 40 Pixel Flyer. Sharp adds this to his two existing records, the crewed Around Great Britain and Ireland, and the single-handed Cowes-Dinard.
Sharp commented on his record breaking adventure: “It feels fantastic to now have three world records! Today was a very cold, fast, adrenaline packed sprint. My objective was to aim for 5 hours, which was always going to be tricky when dealing with gusty conditions solo and at times today the gusts really were quite severe, which kept me on my toes.
“Today’s record was about raising awareness for the need to accelerate clean energy innovation in the maritime sector. OceansLab is a platform demonstrating vital and scalable clean technologies like solar, battery, electric and fuel cell systems that can be embraced to decarbonise the sector. Industry targets need to be accelerated to better fall in line with climate change targets. We need to start introducing these technologies and replace fossil fuel systems in order to reduce harmful air pollutants. Inshore and commuting ferries would be a good start, and where levels of air pollution such as in Southampton are too high and hazardous to the health of local communities. Clean technologies exist now that can improve the quality of the air we breathe, change can and needs to happen now.”
Renowned specialist in low carbon shipping and Associate Professor at UCL Energy Institute Dr Tristan Smith commented: “Zero emission technology and fuel is an inevitable and rapidly approaching future for shipping. This voyage and this design effort is an excellent example of our need to put zero emission power and propulsion systems in ships and boats, so that experience can be gained about how to further optimise weight, space, safety and cost, and bring these solutions closer to implementation across all ship sizes.”
Sharp’s Around the Isle of Wight record is subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Official confirmation will be announced in the coming weeks.