Most Intense – Normandy Channel Race
Returning to local waters Imerys took on the double-handed Normandy Channel Race, which saw the duo of Phil and Sam Manuard reach all offshore marks in 1st place and lead the fleet through the majority of the course. After four days the racing would close in and become nail biting for both skippers and viewers, as the final 24 hours would see Imerys neck to neck with Tales II. Pipped to the post Imerys crossed the finish line an unbelievable 169 seconds after 1st place.
Most Extreme – Channel Record
Finally, a new World Record for the English Channel was broken by an astronomical 3 hours. The World Sailing Speed Record Council officially ratified the Cowes to Dinard monohull World Record for Phil Sharp and Imerys setting a time of 9 hours 3 minutes and 6 seconds with an average speed of 15.25 knots. Also confirmed as a Guinness World Record, the route distance of 138 nm shattered the previous time of 12 hours 01 minute and 31 seconds set on 85 foot Adrien by J L Van Den Heede (FRA) in November 2004.
Phil commented on this highly successful 2016 season: “Entering a full year of Class 40 has been a real eye opener at how competitive the racing is with a range of professional skippers from different specialisms now competing in the Championship. This mixed with the growing internationalism and friendliness of the Class I think forms a solid backbone to a highly successful formula. This is why the Class 40 is the largest ocean racing fleet in the world.
“Over the season we have been tweaking the performance package with some newly designed sails and improved systems, which we aim to continue developing next year. The racing this year has thrown everything at us in terms of weather and oceanic states, from upwind sailing in the Saint Lawrence River in 3 knots of wind, to hurtling downwind mid-Atlantic in a Storm Force 10 with gusts of up to 60 knots.
“The 2016 Championship included some serious hardship, notably in The Transat bakerly, that took me through some of the most demanding conditions I have experienced offshore. These harsh environments allowed me to see just how far you can push your own personal boundaries in the face of adversity, but also that there are always several solutions to a problem, no matter how big.
“This year would have not been possible without the invaluable support from our partners and serious commitment from the PS Racing team. Next year we are looking ahead at a very exciting season including two major endurance races, the Transat Jacques Vabre from France to Brazil, and the France – Azores – France race. We are all eager to aim high for 2017 and go for the Championship title!”