ISLAND sailor Phil Sharp has today relaunched his bid to become the first person to complete the Vendée Globe round-the-world race in a boat that runs exclusively on zero-carbon fuel technologies.
The former Class 40 world champion has climbed a class to IMOCA-60 level in preparation for a four-year programme that includes the 2024 Vendée – viewed by many as the toughest sporting challenge in the world.
Sharp had been targeting the 2016 Vendée but his advanced plans were scuppered at the 11th hour, after a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to buy an IMOCA vessel, worth over £1 million, was gazumped by a Japanese crew.
The Jerseyman’s ‘clean technology’ project, running under the name OceanLab, has continued to build momentum since then and his new 60ft vessel is currently under construction by high-performance boat experts Black Pepper Yachts.
‘Replacing fossil fuel power with renewable energy solutions is an important step forward, not only for our sport, but the entire maritime sector,’ said Sharp, who holds three world sailing speed records.
‘Ultimately, I am sailing to win races, while also proving that by using the latest clean technologies, this can be done with zero emissions.
‘In order to meet climate change targets we need to start developing zero emission vessels, today. This campaign will be an important benchmark in demonstrating that practical hydrogen solutions now exist that are ready to be embraced at scale.’
OceanLab is being lined up for the IMOCA Globe series grand slam which, alongside the single-handed Vendée, includes the Ocean Race (a team round-the-world race), the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Route du Rhum.