Seventh into Caen

Phil Sharp on his impressive Solitaire du Figaro opener
This morning Phil Sharp has just emerged from 16 hours of sleep, many of which were on his boat, moored up in downtown Caen, until he emerged at 2am as some of the tailenders were pitching up from the first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro and he was sentient enough to find out where his gear was and where he was staying... The end of the first leg of the effective world championship of singlehanded offshore racing ended in Ouistreham on the Normandy coast, but then the skippers had to pass through a giant lock (where the Yacht Club in Ouistreham kindly laid on food for the skippers) before spending 1.5 hours motoring up the canal to their berths for the remainder of this week in the centre of Caen. As one might imagine this was the last straw for the skippers, exhausted after 48 hours at sea with virtually no sleep. “It was quite stupid of me to do that, because I was on the boat going along at 6 knots, surrounded by a lot of other boats,” admits Sharp. “You get to the finish and my body just shuts down on me. You do those last few miles and then you have all that excitement once you’ve passed the finish line – but it was just game over...” Part of the problem is that Sharp’s budget for La Solitaire du Figaro doesn’t run to having his own shore crew following him from stopover to stopover over the course of this month-long race and the Artemis Offshore Academy, while they have helped Sharp a great deal in getting him to the start line, don’t have enough resource following the race to include him in this. One can’t help feeling, given his seventh place finish, 15 minutes and 4 seconds adrift