First hydrogen Imoca announced by Phil Sharp and OceansLab

First hydrogen Imoca announced by Phil Sharp and OceansLab

First hydrogen Imoca announced by Phil Sharp and OceansLab


28/01/2023 - 16:38

Platform to advance clean technologies for the ocean environment

Phil Sharp, one of Britain's most competitive and successful ocean racers, has today announced the build of a new zero emission Imoca ahead of the 2024 Vendée Globe. 

This new monohull designed by Manuard is currently under construction at Black Pepper Yachts, a specialist in the construction of high-performance boats. The build is using existing moulds that have been recycled and reworked.

Due to be launched in the summer, the yacht will compete in the Imoca Globe Series starting with the Transat Jacques Vabre in autumn, followed by a return qualifying race for the Vendée Globe 2024.

Managed by OceansLab, a sustainable sports management company, this new Imoca will see a unique and innovative ocean racing campaign with the clear aim of demonstrating scalable clean technologies within the maritime sector.

First hydrogen fuel cell race yacht

The OceansLab Imoca will also be the first to exclusively use hydrogen fuel cell technology, thanks to a 'Hydrogen Power Module', created and developed by the team at Genevos where Sharp, who has a passion for renewable energy innovation, is a co-founder.

"Imoca race boats are the most innovative and extreme of ocean-going vessels. They are an ideal platform to showcase vital clean technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells, and prove their durability in the harshest of ocean environments," says Sharp. 

Phil Sharp, skipper of Imoca OceansLab

OceansLab will be the first race boat to integrate a hydrogen-electric energy system, technology that is applicable to a vast range of commercial and recreational vessels. The Imoca's zero emission energy system will power all on board energy, in addition to propulsion outside of the races. 

"Replacing fossil fuel power with renewable energy solutions is an important step forward not only for our sport, but the entire maritime sector. Ultimately, I am sailing to win races, while also proving that by using the latest clean technologies, this can be done with zero emissions," states Sharp.  

As well as hydrogen fuel cell technology, OceansLab will also be demonstrating how other crucial clean innovations, such as recyclable composite materials and solar PV, can perform together to create an eco-efficient yacht.

"In order to meet climate change targets we need to start developing zero emission vessels across the entire maritime sector, today. This campaign will be an important benchmark in demonstrating that practical hydrogen solutions now exist that are ready to be embraced at scale," he concludes.

OceansLab will be competing in the Imoca Globe series grand slam events including transatlantic races, the Transat Jacques Vabre and Route Rhum, and major round-the-world races, the Vendée Globe and The Ocean Race.

Sharp has achieved over 25 podiums in transatlantic and coastal racing, as well as winning two offshore championships and breaking three World Sailing Speed Records.


NYYC American Magic, the Pensacola warhorse
Wet and wild on day 2 at Bacardi Winter Series 2 in Miami