The race is still little known in this country. In the European Class 40 scene, however, Les Sables – Horta – Les Sables is one of the most important long-distance regattas. The field is accordingly well occupied: 19 two-hand crews crossed the line last Sunday, including Phil Sharp, skipper of the "Imerys", who heads the current list of the best in the class and indicated his great potential last year. Also present, currently in fourth position, is the German Alexander Krause on "StellNova", who with co-skipper Antoine Carpentier has always been among the top five.
Today most of the crews celebrate the mountain festival on the 1250 nautical miles long course, which looks like a motorway, but is by no means that easy. Shortly after the start, a front passage in the Biskay with very weak wind at times caused a thrill and plenty of detours.
Top speed 24.95 knots: Phil Sharp on his Mach 40 "Imerys"
Since yesterday, however, and also for the next 20 hours, the leaders have been enjoying a good wind between 5 and 7 Beaufort, which ensures high Etmales. Phil Sharp and his co-skipper Corentin Douget, who know each other from the Mini-Transat, set a new record the day before with 24.95 knots with "Imerys", a Mach 40 designed by Sam Manuard from 2013. "Corentin just came on deck and said I should sail more slowly so that he could sleep," wrote Sharp yesterday in a noticeably good mood in an email from board. His mood was based not only on the fact that they had plowed their way to the top, but also on the fact that the communication system was working again. On the first night it had failed, which cost the "Imerys" crew the latest weather data. For a while, the duo could only "sail on instinct," wrote Phil Sharp, which apparently didn't hurt
Anyone who knows him knows that he will do everything in the coming hours to consolidate his leadership. The Briton who lives in Jersey is known as a "walker" who is better the harder it gets. This is all the more true as with "Tales II" an arch rival is only twelve miles astern and within striking distance. The rest of the leading group is at least 60 nautical miles away.
The finish will be exciting in any case - and could throw the field up again. Because from morning the wind turns from north to northwest and gradually weakens. By then at the latest, the thrill ride is over. The first boats are expected at the finish on Saturday.
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Les Sables – Horta – Les Sables: the stand this morning at 8:30 am - "Imerys" leads, "StellNova" on rank 4