ANTIGUA, WEST INDIES (February 24, 2017) – Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being the first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered. The 600-mile offshore race hosted a record number of competitors for its 2017 edition, with over 80 yachts hitting the waters off Antigua, but it was the battle between Bella Mente and rival Maxi 72 Proteus that took the spotlight. The yachts dueled up until the very end, with the lead switching hands on several occasions. After over two days at sea, Bella Mente ultimately prevailed, crossing the finish line on Wednesday, February 22 at 4:51 p.m. (AST), ahead of Proteus.
“This is such an important event for our campaign each year so it was just the best to be able to come back swinging,” said Fauth adding that this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 win was exceptionally sweet for the team, which came to the event last year hoping to defend its 2015 IRC Overall win, but were forced to retire halfway into racing due to keel troubles. “We’re looking forward to the rest of our 2017 season and ultimately the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championships in Sardinia. That is what the whole season is focused on from here.
“It was a very hard fought win. Over the course of the race, the team performed 85 sail changes and all but one were executed perfectly. The crew gave a 120 percent and we got a victory out of it – a crew and afterguard-driven victory.”
The Bella Mente Racing Team after winning IRC Overall at the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 (left) and Owner/Driver Hap Fauth accepting the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy (right)
(Photo Credit Left: RORC/Ted Martin / Photo Credit Right: RORC/ELWJ Photography)
The 600-mile race circumnavigates 11 Caribbean islands, starting its fleet off Fort Charlotte in Antigua and then taking it north up to Barbuda and around Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Barth and St. Martin before heading south for Guadeloupe. From there, the fleet returns to Barbuda and rounds Redonda before finishing back in Antigua.
“Our playbook was pretty extensive for this race with this being our fifth RORC Caribbean 600 racing Bella Mente, however it was based on the trade winds blowing as they normally do this time of year,” said the team’s offshore helmsman Mike Sanderson adding that though the RORC Caribbean 600 racecourse was the same as previous years, the fleet experienced a completely different wind direction, which changed the tactics and dynamic onboard. That, coupled with intense competition with Proteus, made for an extremely tough race. “This year the wind conditions did a 180 in comparison to previous years, which made for an entirely different race. For me, that was the best part of this year’s event. It’s always great to have a new challenge because it means we really have to do our homework to prepare for the race. When we got out there on the course, everything looked so different going around the track even though we were in familiar surroundings.”
Tactician Terry Hutchinson added, “It was an absolute battle all the way through. Proteus got the better of us in the pre-start and on the first leg up to Barbuda, but we did a good job of keeping it close, and one rain shower later we were bow-to-stern with the Maxi 72. For the next 450 miles we were tied to the hip. Proteus held the lead through to La Désirade (off Guadeloupe), but when we started on the 90-mile leg back to Barbuda, Bella Mente’s upwind speed shined and we were able to slip around Proteus and extend. From Barbuda to the finish we were constantly looking over our shoulder; our lead never felt big enough and we were preparing for one more parking lot with no breeze on the racecourse ahead. In true Bella Mente form, a couple of slick sail changes at the end of our 53 hours on the water got us across the finish line.”
When asked how he thought the team performed for their first event of the season, Hutchinson responded, “The team fared well, but we have a lot of work to do. The competition this season is very good, and so like in 2016 we need to apply a consistent process to our performance and development, and allow Bella Mente’s number one resource, our people, to perform.”
Bella Mente will compete in one more event in the Caribbean, Les Voiles de. St. Barth in April, before the yacht is shipped across the Atlantic to race in Mallorca, Spain for the Palma Vela in May. The team will then relocate to Corfu, Greece for the inaugural Corfu Challenge in July and return to Mallorca for the Copa del Rey MAPFRE later that month. The season culminates with its final and most significant event, the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy in September.
First to start the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600: CSA, IRC 2 and IRC 3 – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
IRC 1 and Class40 fleet at the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 Race – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
|The IRC Zero and IRC Canting Keel fleet made an impression at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 – Credit: RORC/Emma Louise Wyn Jones|
The magnificent three-masted schooner Adix at the start – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
Phaedo3 flying two hulls past Willoughby Bay, Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
Hundreds of spectators watched the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 from ashore and on the water Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
A spectacular start to the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua as IRC Zero and Canting Keel class, including George David’s Rambler 88 and John Elkann’s Volvo 70, Maserati cross the line ©Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
66 yachts started the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, with hundreds of race fans watching the impressive fleet from Fort Charlotte and Shirley Heights. Thousands more are now glued to the tracker and social media feeds. After a classic start in 15 knots of easterly trade winds, the fleet powered past the Pillars of Hercules, heading for Green Island where they will bear away and accelerate towards Barbuda, the only mark of the 600-mile course around 11 stunning Caribbean islands.
|Phaedo3, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 © Richard and Rachel/Team Phaedo|
Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo3, with Michel Desjoyeaux and Brian Thompson on board, had a conservative start with Petro Jonker’s cruising catamaran, Quality Time crossing the line first. Phaedo3 lit the blue touch paper at Green Island, blasting through the surf at well over 30 knots. The lime-green machine reached Barbuda in less than two hours, well ahead of record pace and eight miles ahead of Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63, Paradox.
In the second start, 19 yachts in IRC Two and Three started the 600-mile race. For most of the crews racing in the smaller yachts it will be three or four days before they complete the challenge. Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600, Redshift, skippered by Nick Cherry, got a great start at the pin-end with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, judging the inner distance mark to perfection. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 and Scarlet Oyster were the first yachts in IRC Two to reach Green Island and it is likely that these two will be neck-and-neck for the duration of the race. In IRC Three, Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35, Zarafa was leading on the water at Green Island. However the Two Handed team racing Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.10, Raging Bee was the leader in class after time correction.
Scarlet Oyster, Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 ©Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Jonathan Bamberger’s Canadian J/145, Spitfire and Joseph Robillard’s S&S 68, Black Watch got the best start in the 15 strong fleet racing in IRC One. However, Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72, Maximizer, revelled in the upwind start to lead on the water at Green Island. Oyster 625, Lady Mariposa, sailed by Daniel Hardy had a great leg to Green Island as did James Blakemore’s Swan 53, Music which was leading after time correction.
The penultimate start featured 21 yachts racing in IRC Zero and Canting Keel, arguably the best fleet of offshore sailing yachts that has ever been seen in the Caribbean. A highly competitive start saw Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4, win the pin, while Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer took the island shore route to perfection. Farr 100, Leopard sailed by Christopher Bake, also had a great start, controlling the boats to leeward heading for the Pillars of Hercules.
Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72, Bella Mente had a sensational first leg of the race, rounding Green Island first out of the IRC Zero class, but all eyes were on George David’s Rambler 88, as the powerful sled turned on the after burners. George David’s new speed-machine could well break his own monohull course record; at Barbuda Rambler 88 was almost five miles ahead of the ghost track of the record set by Rambler 100.
George David’s Rambler 88 ©Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Two of the world’s most magnificent schooners were the last class to start. Athos and Adela started their match race in the pre-start and there is no doubt that the battle of the titans will continue throughout the race. Athos won the pre-start in some style, chasing Adela downwind and away from the line, before rounding up onto the breeze and crossing the line over a boat length ahead of her rival. However, Adela was far better suited to the beat up to Green Island and led as the two schooners continued their rivalry towards Barbuda.
Note: Liquid, Pamala C Baldwin’s J/122 and Quality Time, Petro Jonker’s Du Toit 51 catamaran retired at the start following boat damage. All of the crew are well.
Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s ©Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
- RORC Caribbean 600 website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org
- The RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on Monday 23rd February 2015
- The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s
Past Results: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY – IRC OVERALL
- 2014 – George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA)
- 2013 – Ron O’Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA)
2012 – Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán (GBR)2011 – George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)2010 – Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
- 2009 – Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)
Unequalled in the Caribbean, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour Antigua is a hallowed place for sailors young and old. The remarkable streets and celebrated Georgian buildings chronicle over 300 years of maritime history.
The dockyard is a unique setting, which commands admiration and this January, a fitting yachting regatta will take place in these esteemed surroundings.A dazzling array of the world’s most prestigious sailing yachts will attend The Superyacht Challenge Antigua.
A rare occasion to celebrate sailing, for a truly impressive guest list, which is now fully committed to the event.
Adela –181’ Twin Masted Schooner incorporating every conceivable modern yacht system with a graceful and classic profile both on deck and throughout a sumptuous interior. A predecessor of the J-class America’s Cup, combining exceptional performance with the charm and elegance of a golden era.
Drumfire — 80’ Bermudan Sloop, which won the 2011 Superyacht Cup Palma. A classic design with exceptional performance both inshore and offshore. The smallest yacht at the regatta can punch well above its weight. Superb craftsmanship throughout with flush decks and the latest in sail control systems, offer exceptional sail-handling ability.
Marama — 100’ Ketch with a unique personality, starting life as an abandoned project before being transformed into a distinctive yacht of functional rather than fashionable design. The interior has the feel of a modern penthouse, the deck and rig lay out are honed for speed. A truly individual endeavour.
Marie – 180’ Ketch nominated for the 2011 Robb Report ‘Best of the Best’ custom megayachts, combining classic aesthetics and contemporary design. The hull and exterior styling is reminiscent of the Golden Age of Yachting, yet offering all the spacious comforts and amenities of a 21st century yacht, a real downwind flyer.
Rebecca – 140’ Ketch the largest ketch to be built at Pendennis to date and without doubt one of the finest looking, modern sailing yachts in the world. Stylish, eye-catching with power and grace under sail with a light and elegant interior including a sole made from antique Heart Pine salvaged from a mill built in 1711.
Sojana — 115’ Ketch holder of the Round Antigua Record and the Lord Nelson Trophy, the magnificent yacht is as luxurious cruising as it is speedy on the racecourse. Below decks, there is a wealth of dark mahogany paneling, with gold-plated fittings and lavish fabrics. The latest in hi-tech sails, push-button winches and sleek lines have made Sojana a highly successful racing yacht of unquestionable pedigree.
This Is Us – 141’ Twin Masted Schooner, a glorious creation with low freeboard and dramatic overhangs, designed to offer an exhilarating ride. Full of power and beauty, this head-turning yacht is a truly modern classic with a sumptuous interior. However, carbon spars and rigging deliver exceptional sailing performance. A contemporary yacht of immense character intended to deliver awe-inspiring Caribbean adventures.
Timoneer – 147’ Ketch offering complete comfort for ocean cruising. A classic profile with balanced overhangs and a sweet sheer. The beautifully designed award-winning interior boasts a wealth of hand-polished cherry wood, contributing to a relaxed and traditional atmosphere. An exceptional conception, offering passion, creativity and craftsmanship designed for remote seafaring adventures.
Virago – 100’ Sloop winner of the 2011 St. Barths Bucket Regatta. Built by Nautor’s Swan, as a high performance racer cruiser, Virago competes at grand prix sailing events the world over. The undoubtedly luxurious design is complimented by sophisticated engineering to provide an extraordinary power to weight ratio. Given the fine fayre of warm trade winds with an accompanying seas state, the yacht is capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots. In the right conditions, probably the fastest yacht at the regatta.
Windrose – 152’ Schooner made headlines around the world after breaking the Transatlantic crossing record twice. With low freeboards, dashing sheer and long sweet overhangs, Windrose is a favourite among classic connoisseurs. However, her traditional appearance belies hidden technological advancements. This magnificent schooner captures the spirit of the early 20th century’s Golden Age of Sail, whilst sacrificing little in the way of speed, sail handling and luxury.
A significant number of highly prestigious yachts have strongly expressed their interest to take up the invitation to compete including; Elena, Hyperion, Nefertiti, P2 and Thalima.
The Superyacht Challenge Antigua will strive to deliver an exceedingly enjoyable occasion for all of the participants. Promoting fair sailing, good companionship and life-long memories.
In time-honoured tradition, the victor will simply receive a keg of rum and the kind-hearted admiration from an astonishing selection of yacht owners and their crew.
George David’s maxi yacht, Rambler 100, crossed the finish line in Antigua in the early hours of Wednesday morning in an elapsed time of 1 day 16 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.
Subject to official confirmation, Rambler 100 has broken the monohull race record set by race rival, Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard by nearly four hours.
Two of the world’s most impressive racing yachts have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The Rambler crew contained the entire compliment of the Puma Ocean Racing team which will be competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, tired but elated, Puma skipper, Kenny Read commented dockside in Antigua:
“That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while, you do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this, because there is no time to take any sleep, you’re taking so many corners and turns but it is also a gorgeous course, it’s a dream come true type of event. I am glad we came and that George invited me. Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St. Maarten, big breeze and massive breaking waves, it was huge fun and really cool, we came out of their doing 26 knots, it has been a real adventure and a this course and Rambler 100 is a whole new dimension for sailing.”
Rambler 100’s George David, an avid sailor and member of the New York Yacht Club, has been sailing with Kenny Read for 17 years.
“Rambler 100 is quite a handful, it’s like a Volvo 70 on steroids and this is a big fast race, which favours us,” commented David. “It is part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been a great race as part of that series. We never took this win for granted, we have carried out some optimisation towards the IRC rating and we really didn’t know how we would perform, as this is the first time that the boat has been raced to be IRC competitive. Leopard is a powerful boat and they are a good team that has been sailing together for a number of years.
Thank you to the RORC and the Antigua Yacht Club, a lot of people have put a great deal of effort into making this a great race, I think this race is going to attract a lot of competitors, we have a record fleet this year and I can only seeing it growing, I think we will be back next year.”
IRC Overall Provisional Results
1. USA25555 Rambler 100 JK 100 George David
2. CAN84248 Vela Veloce Southern Cross 52 Richard Oland
3. GBR115L Sojana Farr 115 Peter Harrison
4. AUS5299 Jazz Cookson 50 Chris Bull
5. GBR1R ICAP Leopard Farr 100 Mike Slade Mike Slade/Clarke Murphy
6. IRL5005 Lee Overlay Partners Cookson 50 Adrian Lee
7. GBR22N Aegir Carbon Ocean 82 Brian Benjamin
8. GBR4321R Oystercatcher XXVIII Humphreys 54 Richard Matthews
9. NED46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Ker 46 Piet Vroon
10. LTU1000 Ambersail VO 60 Simonas Steponavicius
11. US60006 Venomous Carroll Marine 60 Derek Saunders
12. USA60271 Ocean’s Seven² Fauroux 104′ OSML Ltd JP Chomette
13. NED001 Windrose Of Amsterdam Dijkstra 40m Schooner Andrew McIrvine
Follow the rest of the fleet as they complete the race on the Carribbean 600 race tracker brought to you by Yellowbrick
Although several boat are still racing, Richard Bamford’s Swan 38 Dolfijn retired this morning which means that at tonight’s prize giving Karl Kwok’s Farr 80, Beau Geste, will be awarded the RORC Caribbean 600 trophy for best yacht overall under IRC, the line honours trophy for monohulls and Class trophy for IRC Super Zero.
“I have never cleaned up as well before so it feels really good,” smiled Karl Kwok upon hearing the news. “There may have been a lack of wind but we kept on going all the time and when the wind was with us we had flat water and some fantastic sailing. Beau Geste has a great spirit, I have been friends with Gavin Brady for two decades and we sit down and decide who we will have on board. Friendship is very important to me, we choose the best sailors but also the right people. I have to say a big thank you to Gavin Brady and the two watch captains, Jonno Swain and David Endean but all of the crew did a great job.
Beau Geste races all over the world and I would like to invite all of the competitors we come across to do this race. The sailing is as good as can be and I have enjoyed it immensely.”
Winner overall of the CSA division and second place overall under IRC is Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce.
“We had a close battle with Privateer who beat us by less than a minute in our last encounter, so beating them this time was a bit of payback,” admitted Richard Oland, skipper of Vela Veloce. “Privateer are good sports and I am sure we will share a beer with them tonight. Although I have done a lot of cruising here, this is the first time I have raced in the Caribbean since the 60s. The boat comes from New Brunswick, Canada and it amazes me why people don’t come down here and enjoy these water.
Winner of IRC Super Zero Canting keel, third overall under IRC and second under CSA was Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 52, Privateer.
“We have never raced against another Cookson 50 which we were really looking forward to but Privateer is a newer boat with some differences and we weren’t really racing close to Lee Overlay Partners. We had a really good fight with Vela Veloce. This is the first time we have competed in a RORC race and I would like to give a big thank you to the organisers; this has been a very well run event.” Commented Vela Veloce boat captain Scott Innes-Jones.
Third overall under CSA and fourth overall under IRC was Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners. Dockside Adrian Lee was still full of admiration for the race. “Very different to last year but we have enjoyed it just the same, this was as much a challenge but for different reasons, keeping the boat going and concentrating the whole time were so important. The last few miles were agonizingly slow but we kept cool under pressure and to be honest, we were delighted just to finish. Congratulations to Beau Geste on an excellent performance.”
Only one boat, AAG Big One has finished since Lee Overlay Partners came in last night. The breeze virtually shut down, right across the racecourse, causing many yachts to retire. ‘H’ one of the BLESMA crew describes the scene on board as Spirit of Juno made the decision to stop racing. “The skipper went to every guy and asked him for his view, everybody had their say but when he turned the engine on, it was a sickening feeling. We just ran out of time and needed to get back for flights home. We have developed as a team and really got to grips with the physical side of things but we need to work more on the tactical side, we will be back for sure. The RORC Caribbean 600 is unfinished business.”
Antigua is usually blessed with easterly Trade Winds and the unusual weather is extremely rare. However, the competitors in the RORC Caribbean 600 did have the sensation of surfing through the Caribbean sea in sublime conditions, at least some of the time.
Update as of Sunday
Willy Bissainte and Benoit Reffe’s Class 40, Tradition Guadeloupe were rightly proud as they crossed the finish line in the early hours of Sunday morning, having spent five nights at sea. A large contingent greeted Tradition Guadeloupe including Elizabeth Jordan, Commodore of the Antigua Yacht Club and Ian Loffhagen, RORC Racing manager. Every yacht competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 was welcomed back to Antigua, regardless of the time. Jonathon Cornelius and his ABSAR team was on call day and night through out the race and piloted every yacht into Falmouth Bay.
“We were never going to retire,” said Willy Bissainte dockside. “The RORC Caribbean 600 is a big part of my training for the Route de Rhum, which I will be racing solo, later in the year. We always had at least a little wind, we kept going all of the time. It was great to have such a reception from the Antigua Yacht Club and the RORC. We will only be staying for a short while though, we must go back to work in Guadeloupe in just a few hours.”
Willy Bissainte and his co-skipper Benoit Reffe picked up the Concise Trophy for the best Class 40 and the class trophy for IRC Zero. After a quick shower, the two sailors who defied the unusual weather, set sail for home.
The last yacht in the 2010 RORC Caribbean 600 was finally accounted for.