The RORC Caribbean 600 fleet on the windward side of Antigua - Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

The RORC Caribbean 600 fleet on the windward side of Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

 

The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style with the record 70 yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua. Under the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent collection of yachts started the 600 nmile race in a sublime 14 knot south-easterly breeze with brilliant sunshine. The conditions were enough to have the fleet fully ramped up and a not insignificant swell added to the excitement. Five highly competitive starts thrilled hundreds of spectators lining the cliffs at Shirley Heights and Fort Charlotte. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.
CSA, IRC 2 & IRC 3 Start
24 yachts engaged in a pre-start peloton resulting in a tremendous battle for the line. The all-girl Sirens’ Tigress; IRC 2 champion, Scarlet Oyster and Polish team, Por Favor executed text book starts. However, winning the pin was American Swan 48, Isbjorn. Jua Kali also got away well which was marvellous for the British team who badly damaged their rig in the Atlantic en route to the start.
First to start the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600: CSA, IRC 2 and IRC 3 – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
IRC 1 & CLASS40
17 yachts started the race with American Sydney 43, Christopher Dragon winning the pin ahead of Canadian Farr 45, Spitfire. Spanish Tales II was the first Class40 to cross the line with Antiguan entry Taz also starting well. Belladonna, skippered by RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine had a great start controlling the favoured coastal side of the course.
IRC 1 and Class40 fleet at the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 Race  – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
IRC Zero & IRC Canting Keel
The most impressive start in the eight-year history of the race featured 23 head-turning yachts. 115ft Baltic, Nikata tried to use her might to win the pin but encountered severe congestion, forcing the superyacht to round the wrong side of the pin. Lithuanian Volvo 60, Ambersail were overeager and with no room to bear away, sailed around the pin end buoy. Irish Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners was adjudged OCS and had to restart. Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 with octogenarian owner Piet Vroon on board had a cracking start, as did Hap Fauth’s Maxi72, Bella Mente going for speed and heading for the lift off the cliffs. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark’s, 100ft Maxi had a slightly conservative run-up to the line before the big winches growled in a dial-down and Comanche powered up, accelerating into the lead.
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
Superyacht
The penultimate start featured two of the largest yachts competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Southernwind 102 Farfalla executed a textbook start to begin the 600-nmile race, assisted by a crew including Steve Hayles as navigator, winner of the race with Niklas Zennstrom’s RAN in 2012. The magnificent sight of 178ft schooner Adix crossing the line under full sail drew gasps from the crowd ashore. Adix is the first three-masted schooner to take part in the race.
The magnificent three-masted schooner Adix at the start – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
MOCRA Multihull
Six Multihulls including MOD70s Phaedo3 & Concise 10 lined up for the last start of the day. Phaedo3 and Concise 10 locked horns in the pre-start as expected, with Phaedo3 co-skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson gaining a small but significant advantage at the start. Concise 10 had to tack offshore to escape bad air and ploughed through several spectator boats that had gathered close to the exclusion zone. The two MOD70s are expected to have a titanic battle over the next two days. Belgian Zed 6 reported a broken daggerboard before the start but managed a repair in time to begin the race.
With a south-easterly breeze the fleet took a long starboard tack to Green Island where they bore away for Barbuda hoisting downwind sails. The sleigh ride has already begun for Comanche, Phaedo3 and Concise 10 with the YB tracker already showing the trio hitting close to 30 knots of boat speed. The wind is expected to return to the east before morning and freshen to a possible 20 knots when many more of this magnificent fleet will be enjoying the magic carpet ride of strong trade winds.
Phaedo3 flying two hulls past Willoughby Bay, Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
Watching the start from the cliffs at Shirley Heights was RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen who could not help but marvel at the quality of the fleet: “This is an amazing collection of boats sailed by the best offshore sailors in the world and was shown by the intensity of the start. Each fleet battled for the outer favoured end of the line, caused by the wind being south of its normal easterly direction. No one held back,” said Warden Owen “And I am surprised we only had one boat over the line at the start. The lighter wind increasing as the week goes on, could favour a small boat for an overall win under the IRC rating rule. It will be fun to watch, but I’d much prefer to be out there racing.”
Hundreds of spectators watched the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 from ashore and on the water Credit: RORC/Tim Wright
For more information visit the RORC Caribbean 600 mini-site: www.caribbean600.rorc.org
High resolution images will be available from the race for editorial use and requests for specific interviews/photographs/video should be made to: press@rorc.org
RACE MINISITE: Follow the race on the minisite: http://caribbean600.rorc.org
Keep up to date with all the news. There will be blogs from the boats themselves on the race course, images, video and daily race reports. Follow the action as it unfolds on the RORC Caribbean 600 website.
SOCIAL MEDIA:
Facebook. Follow the race on: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub
Twitter: #rorcrc600  – Follow @rorcracing
TRACK THE FLEET:
Every yacht is fitted with a race tracker and their progress can be followed on the race website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/Tracking/2016-fleet-tracking.html
Join the Virtual Regatta HERE: http://click.virtualregatta.com/?li=4559
Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2013 (Photo by Tim Wright)

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2013 (Photo by Tim Wright)

With winter storms continuing to batter the coast of Europe, the Caribbean sailing season is already well underway in the warmth of the trade winds with the first regattas taking place in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada. Many of the regular competitors have been joined by newcomers, who have decided to get a taste for themselves of the atmosphere and the exceptional sailing conditions in the Caribbean. They are all already thinking about the major date on the calendar: Les Voiles de Saint Barth, from 14th to 19th April. We look at the state of play…

LVSB Poster

Les Voiles de Saint Barth marking the pinnacle of the Caribbean season
Joan Navarro from Barcelona is the skipper in charge of the IRC 52 Balearia, a Botin and Carkeek designed boat, which crossed the Atlantic last November from Las Palmas in the Canaries, with ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). Her first Caribbean outing was a success, as she won the Mount Gay Rum Barbados Race. The RORC classic, the Caribbean 600 and then the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will allow the beginners on board to learn more from Joan Navarro about how to sail this fast one-design boat. “This will be our first attempt at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth, which is undoubtedly one of the most attractive events in the Caribbean,” declared Navarro. “We know that the competition is likely to be very tough, but that the races will be extremely well-organised with an exceptional atmosphere ashore. We would like to continue on the same lines after our wins in the preparatory races. We often sail with crews made up of people from the business community, who are there to push back their limits, while at the same time enjoying these unique sailing conditions with the breeze and warmth from the trade winds.”Sailing in the Caribbean, a very special pleasure
Also arriving here within the framework of the ARC late last year, Aronax (X 482), skippered by Alain Charlot, and the Dutch crew on the X 602 Nix, skippered by Nico Cortlever a regular at Les Voiles de Saint Barth, having already competed three times, have already registered in the Spinnaker and non Spinnaker classes. They will be doing battle against the Swede, Rikard Roth, who is also busy preparing for the event with his X50 Xar, and who after completing the ARC, has just discovered the amazing delights and pleasures of the Caribbean. “Antigua Sailing Week and LesVoiles de Saint-Barth represent the major goals for the start of the year in the sunshine,” explained Rikard Roth. “We really enjoy sailing in steady winds. It’s truly a very special pleasure to be sailing here. Even if all the manoeuvres seem to be easy, we need to remain focused and not get distracted by the beauty of the backdrop. It is also very enjoyable to be racing in such a warm atmosphere. Our crew is made up of a clever mixture of friends from Sweden and local sailors, who will teach us about all the subtleties of these waters…”

New challenges…
Arco van Nieuland is the happy co-owner with his fellow Dutchman Andries Verder of the Maxi Aragon, a 72-foot Marten-designed boat. Specialising in maxi racing in the Mediterranean, the Dutch are also here for the first time to discover the delights of fashionable yachting around St. Barth. They share with Frank Noël and his lads on the Swiss-registered IRC 52 Near Miss the same appetite for discovering a different atmosphere and new challenges in what is a paradise location, but which will nevertheless require them to find out more about the sea and coastal conditions. “We’re looking for a different sort of contest after competing for three years at all the major events in the Mediterranean,” explained Arco van Nieuland. “Sailing in St. Barth is a real challenge. We hope to be able to reach the standard that is required and improve racing alongside competitors from all over the world in what is for us a totally new environment…”

With two months to go to the big event, 56 boats have already registered, including eight maxis, three IRC 52s, and today’s finest cruising racers, Swans, Grand Soleil and X Yachts…

PRE-REGISTRATIONS FOR 2014

MAXI
1 – ARAGON
Design: MARTEN / 72′ / Owner: Verder Van Nieuwland
2 – CAOL ILA R
Design: MILLS / 68′ / Owner: Alex SCHAERER
3 – BELLA MENTE
Design: Judel/Vrolijk Mini Maxi / 72′ / Owner: Hap FAUTH
4 – RAMBLER
Design: Reichel-Pugh / 90′ / Owner: George DAVID
5 – SELENE
Design: SWAN 80   / Owner: Wendy SCHMIDT
6 – MAXIMISER
Design: FARR / 73′ / Owner: Jose DIEGO-AROZAMENA
7 – OCEAN PHOENIX
Design: Humphreys 77′ / Skipper: Juan Luis Serra LALAURIE
8 – HIGHLAND BREEZE
Design: SWAN 112 / Owner: Ben KOLFF 

IRC 52
9 – SCARLET RUNNER
Design: Reichel Pugh-52 / Owner: Robert DATE
10 – BALEARIA
Design: Botin Carkeek / Owner: Jascha BACH
11 – NEAR MISS
Design: Reichel Pugh 52 / Owner: Frank NOEL

SPINNAKER
12 – TRUE
Design: KERNAN / 47′ / Owner: Leo van den Thillart/Jono SWAIN
13 – HIGH TENSION
Design: MUMM 36 / Owner: Bernie EVAN-WONG
14 – LAZY DOG
Design: MELGES 32 / Owner: Sergio SAGRAMOSO
15 – SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE
Design: VOLVO 60 / Owner: Derek HATFIELD
16 – TEAM BOSTON
Design: FIRST 40 / Owner: Chris JACKSON
17 – AFFINITY
Design: SWAN 48CR / Owner: Jack DESMOND
18 – XAR
Design: X 50 / Owner: Rikard ROTH
19 – J-BOSS
Design: J 111 / 36′ / Owner: Eddy CHALONO
20 – STARK RAVING MAD IV
Design: J 125 / 41′ / Owner: Jim MADDEN
21 – OTRA VEZ
Design: KER 43 / Owner: William COATES
22 – VISIOOPTIK
Design: FIRST 40.7 / Owner: Claude ROTH
23 – ALBACORE 5
Design: GRAND SOLEIL 39 / Owner: J L PEZIN
24 – RED BARON
Design: D Peterson / 43′ / Owner: Pamala Baldwin-Bernie Evans-Wong
25 – St BARTH SAIL RACING
Design: A 40 / Owner: Ronan DELACOU
26 – FISER
Design: B 28 / Owner: Jean Michel FIGUERRES
27 – SMILE and WAVE
Design: Melges 32 / Owner: Jaime TORRES
28 – JOLT 2
Design: BALTIC 45 / Owner: Peter HARRISON
29 – SELENE
Design: Swan 44 / Owner: Adrian LOWER
30 – PUFFY
Design: Swan / 53′ / Owner: Patrick DEMARCHELIER- Skipper: Karl Spijker
31 – RAMANESSIN
Design: Grand Soleil 43 / Skipper: Eamonn ROHAN
32 – VOILES au FEMININ
Design: J 109 / 35′ / Skipper: Sophie OLIVAUD
33 – ARONAX
Design: X 482 / 48′ / Skipper: Alain CHARLOT
34 – MAELIA
Design: X 34 / Skipper: Raphael MAGRAS
35 – CUBA LIBRE
Design: Volvo Ocean 60 / Skipper: Johannes SCHWARZ
36 – SPEEDY NEMO
Design: DUFOUR 34 / Skipper: Raymond MAGRAS
37 – BALLYTRIM
Design: SWAN / 46′ / Owner: Andrew ALLNER Skipper: Geoff Ford
38 – ORMEAU
Design: Beneteau 47 / Skipper: Alain CHARLOT
39 – OPTIQUE BEAUMONT
Design: First 310 S  / Skipper: Jean-Charles BAUMONT
40 – BOOST’N SAIL
Design: MELGES 24 / Skipper: Mowgli FOX
41 – NO-LIMIT
Design: MELGES 24 / Skipper: Lucas DAUNAR
42 – TEAM ISLAND WATER WORLD
Design: MELGES 24 / Skipper: Frits BUS
43 – LEFORT CLIM
Design: MELGES 24 / Skipper: Antoine LEFORT
44 – BUDGET MARINE
Design: MELGES 24 / Skipper: Andrea SCARABELLI

NON SPINNAKER
45 – NIX
Design: X-612 / Skipper: Nico CORTLEVER
46 – ALPHA CENTAURI
Design: SWAN 57 / Skipper: Bruno CHARDON
47 – GROIX
Design: HARMONY 47 / Skipper: Greg PAINE
48 – ST MAARTEN SAILING SCHOOL
Design: FIRST 300 / Skipper: Garth STEYN

RACING MULTIHULL
49 – ZENYATTA
Design: GUNBOAT 62 / Skipper: Nils ERICKSON
50 – TEAM ALL STARS
Design: SeaCart 26 / Skipper: Calle HENNIX
51 – ELVIS
Design: GUNBOAT 63 / Skipper: Jason CARROLL
52 – HALLUCINE
Design: TS 50 / Skipper: Alexis GUILLAUME
53 – PAMPERO
Design: TS 50 / Skipper: BdB Sailing
54 – DAUPHIN TELECOM
Trimaran 50′ / Skipper: Erik CLEMENT
55 – FILDOU
Design: LOMBARD 40 / Skipper: Stephane CATTONI
56 – SANEM
Design: KL28 / Skipper: SANTONI Cedric

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2013 - race day 4 (Photo by TIm Wright)

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2013 – race day 4 (Photo by TIm Wright)