Phil Sharp and crew have set off to sail from Land's End to John O'Groats to create a new sailing record route and to set the first record

Jersey-based offhsore sailor Phil Sharp, who won his class in the Solo Route du Rhum race in 2006, has set off from Falmouth today aiming to set a benchmark sailing record from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The 620-mile passage will take Phil and his two crew on their Class40 racing yacht up the Celtic Sea and North Channel, east of Ireland, passing west of the Mull of Kintyre, Jura and Islay before passing inside the Outer Hebrides, turning right at Cape Wrath before the  challenging section along the north coast of Scotland and the notorious Pentland Firth. Sharp believes they will take around 50 to 60 hours, aiming to finish early on Sunday.

‘This is a great opportunity to set a nice record and get some good ‘bite-sized’ training for the Vendée Globe. In a year’s time I should be racing in the Southern Ocean but in the meantime December’s weather on Britain’s exposed Atlantic coast will be extremely challenging,’ said Sharp.

‘We are all excited to be taking on a new record, not to say a little daunted at the prospect. It is fantastic for me to have the support of Henri Lloyd as a supporter going forwards from here. The next few days will be a great test for me and the clothing, I look forwards to being warm and dry whatever the weather throws at us.’

Sharp is being joined by boat owner Alex Alley, an experienced ocean racer, and Sean ‘The Beard’ Conway who has already walked, run and swum from one end of Britain to the other and now aims to add an end-to-end sail to his achievements.

The record attempt is being supported by Bruichladdich distillery and sailing clothing maker Henri Lloyd.

Phil is raising funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity

Follow Phil’s progress via live tracking which is updated every 15 minutes from when the boat leaves the dock until arrival in Scrabster and via Twitter @Phil_Sharp_