Phil Sharp takes on his next big challenge, the 3000nm Transat Quebec – St Malo starting today.
The 9th edition of the Transat Québec – St Malo will today see 19 Class 40 boats on the start line, with crews ranging in size from 3 to 5, aiming to arrive in France 11 to 15 days later. As the oldest and toughest crewed transatlantic race, the event is a must for any professional offshore sailor, Phil Sharp comments: “The Transat Quebec – St Malo is one of the highlights of the ocean racing calendar, and is very much the return transat, having come out in The Transat bakerly from Plymouth to New York, we’re now ready to take on the next big test of the year.
“It’s going to be a very interesting race, it takes place entirely in the North Atlantic and there are a lot of very demanding weather systems that will be constantly challenging us, and it’s expected to be very quick at under two weeks.”
Before taking on the demands of the North Atlantic, crews must first battle through hundreds of miles of hazards on the St Lawrence River, which has seen competitor boats go aground, Phil comments: “Settling into the race will be very demanding as we have to spend the first few days getting out of the St Lawrence River, which will be a major test of navigation, and sometimes luck. The river itself has incredibly strong currents, and variable winds, where it tends to be either upwind or directly downwind, forcing us to change direction a lot in a small space. There are a huge amount of obstacles lurking in the river such as debris from trees, and even picnic tables and lamp posts! So the night darkness will certainly bring some uneasiness to all crew…
“I’ll be very glad to get out into open water safely past the bottom of Newfoundland, to then sail for 7-8 days across the Atlantic in hopefully, superb ocean conditions. The route is usually very fast, where you can expect to latch on to and stay with a depression across the Atlantic.”
Phil will be competing against familiar faces from The Transat bakerly, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, Isabelle Joschke, and Louis Duc, Phil comments, “The competition here is incredible, all the best boats and crews have managed to make it here for this race, with a few sister ships of our Mach 40 boat. I expect it to be very close racing with crews pushing their boats to the limit, particularly coming out of the river. It’s going to be a tiring race, but also very fast and fun!”
Phil has teamed up with long-time rival Adrien Hardy, and experienced Mini sailor Milan Kolacek for the race.
The Transat Québec – St Malo starts today at 13:00 local time. Follow the team throughout the race with the Georacing live tracker, news updates, and social media, all accessed through the official website at www.philsharpracing.com.