Tough time ahead for Phil Sharp, Thompson records Atlantic finish and Lia Ditton faces rudder problems 13/11/06

While the steady stream of competitors continue to flow across the line at Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe for the finish of the Route du Rhum there are still some interesting battles taking place out on the racecourse.

British Class 40 sailor Phil Sharp sailing is currently winning his duel with Frenchman Gildas Morvan on Oyster Funds with a 58-mile lead but with 503 miles to go and a light wind finish predicted Sharp has a lot on his plate right now. He also has the added concern of no gennaker (having lost it overboard last week) and now his wake up alarm is no longer working which is quite serious because he can no longer manage his sleep.

According to Sharp his usual sleep pattern during a race is one and a half to two hours in 30 to 40 minute stints but lack of alarm resulted in a five hours over the weekend! Fortunately he didn’t lose any speed and even gained a mile. Despite his ‘glorious’ sleep Sharp says he’s now feeling more tired than ever commenting on the latest log: “?I had too much sleep. I feel drowsy. I got up and I am cooking myself a meal. I was already hungry last night but decided to get to sleep first and now I am unbelievably hungry and I’ll pull over if I don’t shoot something quickly in my stomach.”

The aim now for Sharp is to keep a careful cover on Morvan and prepare himself for the light winds ahead. As the current situation stands he and Morvan should arrive in Guardeloupe early on Wednesday morning.

Fellow British sailor in the IMOCA class Brian Thompson completed his first solo transatlantic race at 0534 GMT yesterday morning aboard his Open 60, Artemis.
Arriving in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe, Thompson commented: “It has been a great race, and I am really pleased with the boat’s performance. It was fantastic to get out into the open water of the Atlantic and we, at times, experienced some perfect weather for solo racing. It’s been a very interesting race, a very competitive fleet and some amazingly fast new boats on the water. This was my first solo race on board Artemis and so I am delighted to have arrived and to have shown that we are able to compete for the top positions. It’s been a steep learning curve but I am now looking forward to spending some time on dry land before my next challenge.”

Thompson in sixth position recorded a time of 13 days, 13 hours and 47 minutes finishing hot on the heels of Dominique Wavre onboard Temenos II. Seventh placed Anne Liardet on Roxy is still approximately two days away from finishing.

News from the Class 3 Monohull fleet shows the British sailor Lia Ditton (Dangerous when Wet) continuing to hunt down Michel Kleinjan on Roaring Forty despite a problem with spinnaker sheets wrapped around one of the rudders see Lia’s story here . Ditton who’s well out to the north 251 miles from the leader is now heading down towards the layline to free a clump of weed from the other rudder? more news when we have it.