Flying the flag

British yachtsman Phil Sharp, 25, has won the Route du Rhum, in his Open 40,after 18 days 10 hours 21 minutes. He averaged 8.01 knots. Phil follows in the footsteps of Dame Ellen MacArthur as she was the first English entry to win the famous Transatlantic race in 1998 on an Open 50 when she was 22 years old.

On November 6th, a few days after he broke from his opponents to pick up a north-westerly route which led him high in the north Atlantic and facing the most violent low pressure system of the race. Phil crossed the line in front of his father and grandmother, an emotional moment. Phil’s next sailing milestone will be the Vendee Globe 2008.

Another British sailor Ian Munslow, 32, in his Open 40 Bolands Mill  has taken 3rd place in the Open 40 class of the Route du Rhum after a gruelling 21 days, 9 hours, 45 minutes at an average speed of 6.89 knots.

Over 90 boats compete in Le Route du Rhum 2006, some are still out on the ocean, with the Classe 40 Race the most competitive class. Out of a predominantly French class only 2 were from the UK. Both UK sailors were placed, with Ian Munslow 3rd and Phil Sharp taking 1st place.


The boat: The boat ‘Bolands Mill’ was designed by naval architects Owen Clarke Design. ‘Bolands Mill’ was built at Jaz Marine in Cape Town and is one of the 1st UK designed Class 40 racing yachts built outside of France. The boat is partly sponsored by Raymarine. It is owned by Bolands Mills Development Company.

La Route du Rhum is a single-handed, gruelling, transatlantic yacht race, sailed every four years that attracts the world’s best sailors. It started on Sunday 29th October 2006 in St Malo France, and ends at Pointe à Pitre Guadaloupe, covering around 3500 miles. Ian and his fellow competitors have faced the roughest conditions the Atlantic and its weather systems can offer. It is an unforgiving race and Ian faced many challenges including equipment damage towards the start of the race due to appalling weather conditions.


The skipper : Ian Munslow has extensive ocean racing experience and has competed globally with Tony Bullimore as well as clocking up over 70,000 sailing miles of which 18,000 have been solo. Ian has twice competed in the Mini Transat – once in a self built Owen Clarke Design.


‘Bolands Mill’ is also supporting the male cancer charity Orchid – Orchid funds research into the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of male cancers – prostate and testicular, as well as raising awareness of these neglected diseases.