With over a week sailed in the AG2R, British yachtsman leaps up four positions 28/4/08

After just one week into the AG2R double-handed, transatlantic race, rations appear to be low onboard. British yachtsman Phil Sharp and David Krizek have been reduced to eating any morsel that happens to land on deck!

With 1,700 miles sailed, most of the AG2R fleet have passed the island of Madeira and the majority of them are heading out to the west, waiting to dive south into the illustrious trade winds – with just four boats taking the southerly option. Phil Sharp had made the choice to go west before many and has been rewarded with a climb of 6 places in the ranking since last Friday’s (25 April) report. Phil Sharp writes from Atlantik:

“One week into the start of the Transat AG2R and the island of Madeira is now behind us! After a very slow couple of days going downwind in light airs, we took a more westerly course in order to give us better wind and a better angle to Madeira last night. We had Sopra Team (Antoine Koch) in visual just in front of us Saturday afternoon. But they soon gybed to leave us the furthest west.

This option paid off a treat, and Saturday night we had great breeze to notch up 201 miles over 24hrs, which doesn’t sound that spectacular but was the fastest in the race so far. We managed to leap up four positions to 12 place and top half at last.

We arrived at Porto Santo, the northeastern island of Madeira, just in front of ‘Lenze’ (Franck Le Gal), whom are still currently nipping at our heels as I´m writing this. We are now both heading on a westerly course out into the Atlantic, and after 1,500 miles of racing we are only 68 miles behind the leader. The weather systems in the Atlantic are currently quite unusual and with a depression travelling quite far south, there are no Trade Winds to speak of that are accessible enough to tempt us south as yet. Instead, it looks like a northerly route is best for us so we’ll see what this has in store for us over the next couple of days – rain most probably.”

“Life onboard has been pretty enjoyable. David and I are pretty upbeat about picking off some positions and are doing everything possible to help this continue. Last night was a good blast, fast conditions, in the pitch black, but we were both fairly well rested to be able to make the most of it.

This morning we had a choice for breakfast of squid or swallow to reward our efforts, both of which appeared on the deck this morning having sadly not made it through the night. The best news about passing Madeira is we can tuck into our second saucisson of the trip, one of France’s classic in fact and the best offshore sailing food – Le Baton Berger. You can’t go to sea without it, you can steer with one hand whilst simultaneously consuming vast quantities of food with the other, whilst keeping the boat at max speed. Talking of which I better get back out there and get on with the job of getting into this Top Ten!”