Zero emissions vessel attempts to beat the Around Isle of Wight world sailing speed record

28 11 19 Phil sharp

Colliers International is official supporter of the pioneering OceansLab vessel.


Newly electrified zero emissions vessel OceansLab is to attempt to beat the current world sailing speed record time of 6h 29m 32s Around Isle of Wight, raising awareness of the urgent action required to reduce maritime air pollution along the UK coastline, and in busy ports such as Southampton. 

Two-times world record holder Phil Sharp is on standby to single-handedly undertake the challenge on his newly modified vessel, which international property advisor Colliers International supports. Phil will be attempting to break the existing record time set by skipper Alex Alley in 2017. 

“In order that oceanic transportation is made sustainable, we need demonstration projects like OceansLab to show what is possible. Coastal regions near shipping zones are the worst hit and as the ocean is my working environment, I want to demonstrate that zero emissions transport is possible,” skipper Phil said. 

OceansLab aims to raise awareness of the scalable solutions that can be embraced to decarbonise the sector and to help drive innovation forward. 

Andres Guzman, Head of Sustainability at Colliers International, said: “Phil’s dedication towards cleaning up the maritime industry is impressive. The way he’s experimenting and testing new technology provides many opportunities for cross-industry learning, such as the way buildings can maximise the use of renewables through batteries and ultimately be designed to be completely off grid, as well as how materials and building processes can be made more efficient and long-lasting. 

“We wish him the best of luck in his latest record attempt.” 

OceansLab is a Class 40 race boat which is currently fitted with an electric propulsion system, battery storage, solar PV and a hydro-turbine. In parallel, a hydrogen fuel cell prototype is being installed on the boat, which has been recognised by the Global Maritime Forum as a vital scalable technology for the introduction of zero emissions vessels. It will also enable carbon emissions to be reduced to zero by 2050, in line with climate change targets. 

According to the United Nations, around 90 per cent of world trade is transported on our oceans, accounting for 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to aviation at 2 per cent. 

The Around Isle of Wight record routes through the UK’s second busiest shipping zone where toxic emissions from ships (cruise liner and cargo) are a significant cause for health and environmental concerns. Research has shown that 30 per cent of the pollution in UK port towns can come from ships, and that long-term exposure to the nitrogen and sulphur oxides released has been linked to the deaths of around 40,000 people in the UK annually. 

“The positive news is that the shipping industry now has regulation to significantly reduce the sulphur emission of ships from 2020, and there are some key players in the sector trying to accelerate change,” said Phil. “However, this doesn’t limit continued high levels of NOx and CO2 emissions close to the coast and particularly in port, when ships are burning several tonnes of fossil fuels every hour, just to power their onboard systems. Effectively they are like mini floating cities.” 

The record attempt is on standby, in Code Red status until a suitable weather window has been identified, at which point OceansLab will move to Code Amber and finally Code Green to declare an estimated start time. This record follows on from Phil’s successful Round Britain and Ireland World Record that was set last year, and from his single-handed Cross-Channel outright monohull World Record set in 2016. 

OceansLab will arrive at Southampton’s Ocean Village this week where final preparations will be made ahead of the record attempt. 

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Andres Guzman

Head of Sustainability

London - West End

Andres joined Colliers International in September 2016 as an Associate Director. With over a decade of industry experience across different sectors he leads the Colliers sustainability offer in the UK & Ireland which focuses on improving Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) performance at asset and portfolio level for a range of occupier and investor clients. Andres is responsible for guiding the integration of sustainability into core service lines and provides strategic advice to the business on use of sensor-driven data, energy management & compliance (MEES, ESOS, SECR), non-financial reporting (GRESB, UNPRI, CDP) and workplace wellbeing trends.

Prior to working at Colliers, Andres worked in the Energy & Sustainability team at Cushman & Wakefield EMEA where he focused on developing and implementing comprehensive Responsible Property Investment (RPI) strategies for key fund management clients and embedding sustainable practices in property management. Andres sat and chaired various RPI committees helping set and achieve ESG targets across the EMEA region. Prior to this, Andres worked in Upstream Sustainability Services at JLL developing and overseeing carbon reporting and compliance services supporting more than 30 major landlords and boosting his team’s productivity.

Andres is a regular presenter on sustainability topics and represents Colliers on various industry groups.

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

London - West End

I have joined Colliers International after working for five years in local authority in-house communications roles, leading media and marketing in the environmental, licensing, regeneration and planning sectors. 

Prior to joining local authorities I worked for eight years' experience in journalism in north London reporting on a wide range of subjects including politics, crime, health and housing. For three and a half years I managed the team of reporters to produce nine weekly newspapers, a  monthly supplement and the newspapers' social media platforms.

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