Is Phil Sharp's Route du Rhum performance giving us a taste of a future solo hero?
This might be the first time you’ve heard the name Phil Sharp, but mark it down for future reference because a few hundred miles west of Guadeloupe, Britain’s newest solo racing star is being born. The 25-year-old from Jersey, a mechanical engineer by training, is leading the intensely competitive Class 40 fleet in the Route du Rhum. This is the biggest class and it’s crammed with French talent.
Phil has led most of the way and it was only yesterday, a couple of days from the finish, that he was overtaken by the leading Open 50. Now, unfortunately, he has hit a light winds transition, and his imposing lead is being whittled away. Fingers crossed with 500-odd miles to go that he can stay ahead.
Either way, this Route du Rhum has established Phil as a chap to watch. This is a significant step towards his goal of racing in the Vendée Globe — to be precise, his fireball ambition to be the first Briton to win the solo round the world race. “It’s brilliant,” Phil told me excitedly this morning. “It’s the best possible thing to help line up a sponsor, and I’ve really enjoyed the race. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t win, but I hate light winds finishes. It’s going to be a game of luck.”