Phil Sharp (Mechanical Engineering 2003) is a record-breaking sailor and one of Britain's most successful offshore sailor in recent years. Phil is a specialist in high performance composite structural design and has headed up the engineering of a 43m wind turbine, and more recently a 30m carbon-fibre boom, designed for what is the largest yacht in the world – the ‘White Pearl’. You can check out Phil's endeavours on his website. We caught up with Phil to hear about his time at Imperial and his sailing adventures...

What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?

"I think I learnt what real work is - or at least how far one can push themselves to meet big deadlines!  Importantly I learn how to apply myself to solve real life problems."

Who did you find inspiring at Imperial and why?

"I have to say I found that a lot of the students around me inspiring as it is the competition that motivates me."

What is your favourite place at Imperial and why?

"The Union Bar, without a doubt.  Many a fun night was had there - it was always a great place to let off steam!"

Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.

"Over the last couple of years I have been building a race team in the Class 40 Championship, one of the most competitive classes in ocean racing. We also have a strong innovation arm, developing a cutting-edge hydrogen fuel cell prototype energy system for the marine industry. We have had involvement from the Energy Futures Lab for some of the research for this system, so it is great to still be actively involved with the College."

What does a typical day look like for you now?

"I don't have a typical day - each is wildly different which is the exciting bit of my job.  One day I might be meeting sponsors in London, the next I might be testing new sails out on the water in Brittany. There are generally more days in the office though than on the water unfortunately!"

What have been your career highlights and lowlights?

"I have followed a joint career between engineering and offshore sailing. One of the most exciting ventures I was involved in was designing a 43m wind turbine blade from scratch together with another Imperial Alumni, David Whiley. Also more recently I did the engineering of 3 massive booms for the largest sailing yacht in the world. Last year was one of the most difficult in my career, trying to kick start an offshore racing business, putting in very long hours and surviving off very little, but things at last have come to fruition and the business, PS Racing, is moving forward really well."

What are you most proud of in your life?

"Completing our first full season and finishing 3rd in the Class 40 World Championship, has been a story I have been very proud to be a big part of, and it will be very exciting to move forward from here."

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

"Obstacles are what you see when you take your mind off the goal."

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

"Only to emphasise that I am very proud to have gone to Imperial and it is fantastic to still be involved with the College and have the chance to meet so many interesting and driven people."