Fresh from his Route du Rhum Class 40 win Phil Sharp chatted to 17/11/06

British sailor Phil Sharp, chatted to this morning about his feelings having won Route du Rhum Class 40.

Sharp, who crossed the finish line just after midnight last night recording a time of 18 Days 10 hours and 21 minutes was, not surprisingly, in good spirits this morning commenting: “I don’t think it’s really properly sunk in yet. It was a really special feeling to have beaten everyone and I feel honoured to have experienced such a fantastic welcome in Guadeloupe. I’ve not had much sleep yet because the phone’s been ringing all night. I’m on a big high and enjoying every moment of it.”

Chatting about the final stretch to the finish Sharp admits he did feel slightly threatened despite still having 150-mile lead, commenting: “Yes I did feel slightly concerned because I’d lost about 30 or 40 miles and I think he [second-placed Gildas Morvan] was doing 8 kts for a while when I was doing nothing in the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. He took 30 miles on me in four hours. I also had the Roland Joudain and Jean Le Cam’s finish in my mind and the fact that it came down to the wire after a huge gap. Fortunately for me everything started picking up near the bottom of Guadeloupe and I had a decent breeze to the finish. It went from no wind in a couple of hundred metres to 28kts of wind around the headland, it went from one extreme to the other, then it died down a bit towards the finish but I still planned through the finish line under main and jib.”

But now, having beaten the 25-strong fleet Sharp is reveling in his well deserved victory. And as if he hasn’t had enough fun and games Sharp reckons he’s off to do a spot of jet skiing this morning commenting. “I’m itching to get out on the water again – on a jetski ¬- and I’m hoping to clock up a few more knots than I have been doing over the last few days.”

Chatting about his son’s fantastic achievement John Sharp (Phil’s father who was in Guadeloupe for the finish) said: “It’s the end of a very long story. Phil has always been very, very determined to win, but I don’t think we had any idea this could have happened, especially considering his boat was quite old and his equipment was moderate he’s done incredibly well and I am an immensely proud father.”

With such an amazing achievement under his belt Sharp is already looking ahead and planning his next move in his sailing career, although he was keen to point out that although the Route du Rhum win is obviously a route to do something else, maybe the Vendee, it’s really great personal achievement. “Yes I’d really like to get into the Open 60s and do the Transat Jacques Vabres next year as a steep learning curve in learning how to sail Open 60s. But I do realize that to do that properly I would definitely need a sponsor. Hopefully the Route du Rhum has put me in good stead for that.”