• The last opportunity for skippers to test single-handed set-up in race mode ahead of November’s solo transatlantic Route du Rhum race from St Malo – Guadeloupe;
  • 29 Class 40s expected on Monday’s 10am start line in La Trinite for the Drheam Cup;
  • 736 miles routing from La Trinite and rounding Fastnet Rock before finishing in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin.

After last month’s incredible 6 second win in the 1,000 mile Normandy Channel Race, skipper of Imerys Clean Energy Phil Sharp has proven his competitiveness against the latest design race boats, and despite the launch of a further three new boats, his excitement and determination for a top result has not been dampened.

“This is our only chance to get all the favourites and hot competition for the Route du Rhum together in one race and in single-handed mode. It’s going to be especially exciting because there are 10 new and fast boats racing, so we can only expect the front field to be even more pressured than before, and I will do my utmost to be a contender in this intense fight.” Commented Phil.

Racing down to the wire stresses the importance of every second, and in single-handed sailing preparation is key in avoiding time and distance lost on water. Over the past few months the team have focussed their efforts on improving reliability and performance of both skipper and boat.

“The previous races have really taught us about the importance of marginal gains. If you add together even all the smallest of split-second improvements through time saved, this can add up to a significant gain resulting in a make or break chance of a podium position.

“We’ve been developing the race diet and I’ve been practicing random naps during the day in the hope for a faster shift into an offshore sailing routine that can help keep energy levels and mental focus high for those all-important strategic decisions.

“Whilst we can’t prepare for unforeseen breakages or unreliable forecasts, we have ensured that the boat is configured well for efficiency and durability. It’s been a seriously busy time changing the boat’s systems from crewed to single-handed set-up, and with two new sails designed for the conditions expected in the Atlantic later in the year, I am eager to get out there and experience these improvements.” Phil continued.

As the first real test in a fleet geared up for the Route du Rhum what better opportunity than to head up to Ireland where the conditions are typically variable and windy – Phil’s favourite kind of sailing.

“Our main objective for this race is to test performance, firstly by checking the boat is configured well in single-handed mode, and secondly we want to know how we, man and boat, compare against the remainder of the fleet by identifying why others could be faster or slower. I hope that the age of Imerys Clean Energy makes less difference in solo mode and that it’s more about personal management and pushing the boat to the limit, which I will most definitely be doing!” Phil commented.


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Race website: www.drheam-cup.com
Race start: Monday 23 July, 10:00 UTC+2 (French local time)
ETA: Thursday-Friday


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