Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Hap Fauth and his team on Maxi 72 Bella Mente competing in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Hap Fauth and his team on Maxi 72 Bella Mente competing in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

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.

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 Hap (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 Hap
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

“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.

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

“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.”


Maxi 72s Bella Mente and Proteus battling it out on the racecourse in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

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.”


The Bella Mente Racing Team celebrates dockside in Antigua after their 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 win
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

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.

For more information, visit http://bellamenteracing.com/. Follow Bella Mente Racing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Left to right: Paul Meilhat and Gwenolé Gahinet celebrate their win at the end of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale from Concarneau to St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean.(Photo by Copyright ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Left to right: Paul Meilhat and Gwenolé Gahinet celebrate their win at the end of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale from Concarneau to St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean. (Photo by Copyright:ALEXIS COURCOUX)

 

Gwénolé Gahinet and Paul Meilhat crossed the finish line in St Barts on Monday at 1917hrs and 59 secs (French time) to win the 12th edition of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale. After 22 days, 6 hours, 17 minutes and 59 seconds of perfectly controlled racing at an average speed of 8.74 knots on the 4,670-miles of the actual racecourse between Concarneau and St Barts, the crew of Safran-Guy Cotten claimed victory ahead of Skipper Macif.

m2365_crop11014_1000x1000_proportional_139843357French skippers Gwenole Gahinet and Paul Meilhat are training off Lorient on their Figaro SAFRAN - GUY COTTEN prior to the AG2R transat on March 06, 2014 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI6C60C

French skippers Gwenole Gahinet and Paul Meilhat are training off Lorient on their Figaro SAFRAN – GUY COTTEN prior to the AG2R transat on March 06, 2014 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI

Gahinet and Meilhat, heroes of the day
Under a blazing sun in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, the bow of the Figaro Safran-Guy Cotten finally appeared. Shortly after noon in St Barts, hundreds of locals came to greet the two men of the moment. After 22 days going head to head on the ocean, Gahinet and Meilhat savoured their victory. It was the best possible reward for Gahinet, the young skipper of Safran-Guy Cotten, who was making his debut on the Figaro circuit.

“It’s great, I’m really happy with this finish because it was a great race,” Gahinet said on arrival. “Add to that there are lots of people and a paradise island…We believed from the start, but you still have to do it. It’s a close-fought victory and that is what makes so magic. I am particularly happy because this project is the work of a great team and that is reflected in this victory.”

“Congratulations to Paul and Gwénolé for this fantastic victory on board Safran-Guy Cotten,” Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of Safran, said. “Thanks to this great race, Safran’s 67,000 employees have just experienced 22 days of high emotion. We are proud to have, alongside our partner Guy Cotten, trusted two young sailing talents and to have given them the means to achieve their full potential. The success of Gwénolé is an example for all the young people who have joined Safran in recent years. This is a beautiful symbol for the Group which provides them with a working environment and the trust that should allow everyone to express their talent.”

In St Barts, Nadine Bertholom, President of Guy Cotten, enjoyed a great moment of sport and emotion alongside Gahinet and Meilhat: “Congratulations to Paul and Gwénolé for a race that was exciting until the very end,” Bertholom said. “They brilliantly confirmed the decision that we made to back a young rookie on the Figaro Bénéteaucircuit. You could not dream for more: they performed a masterstroke at the first attempt. Congratulations to Paul who confirmed the qualities of a skipper that we knew he had. Congratulations especially to Gwénolé, who on his first race on the 6.50 circuit had already won the Mini Transat. Today he repeated the feat with another victory in his first Transat AG2R La Mondiale. We are proud that he has worn the colours of Guy Cotten and Safran and we are pleased that we will be with him for the next two seasons on the Figaro Bénéteau.”

Left to right: Paul Meilhat and Gwenolé Gahinet celebrate their win at the end of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale from Concarneau to St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean.Copyright ALEXIS COURCOUX

Left to right: Paul Meilhat and Gwenolé Gahinet celebrate their win at the end of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale from Concarneau to St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean.Copyright ALEXIS COURCOUX

Magnificent schooners Athos & Adela - (Photo by RORC/Tim Wright/photoaction.com)

60 yachts from 11 different countries, with 682 crew from all over the world, took part in the 6th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 and enjoyed spectacular conditions and intense competition.

The last start of the day produced the hair-raising sight of two enormous schooners match racing each other in the last few minutes to the start, bearing down towards the Pillars of Hercules at full speed, only a boat length apart. The 182ft Adela called for water from 203ft Athos, which duly obliged, putting in a smart tack and all 300 tons of her went through the wind. The spritely 200 ton Adela smoked through the line with height and pace to effectively win the start – magnificent!The start gun sounded at Fort Charlotte, high above the Pillars of Hercules and the magnificent international fleet of yachts enjoyed a sparkling send-off with warm trade winds, Caribbean swell and brilliant sunshine.

The breath-taking course around 11 Caribbean islands provided a thrilling race track, with close racing right through the fleet, especially the battle for line honours.

Shockwave by RORC/Tim Wright/

Shockwave by RORC/Tim Wright/

2014 WINNER: SHOCKWAVE 

The closest finish for line honours in the six year history of the RORC Caribbean 600 played out on the last leg of the course. Hap Fauth’s JV72, Bella Mente, George David’s RP90, Rambler and George Sakellaris’ RP72, Shockwave were approaching Redonda – the last island of the course – in fighter formation, readying themselves for a battle royale. The adrenalin levels of the crew were peaking, but a cold beat on the rail awaited them back to the finish in Antigua. After an incredibly demanding 40 hours of non-stop action, the teams were exhausted, but digging deep to summon the energy for a last push to victory.

 

Bella Mente crossed the finish line to take Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 48 hours, 5 minutes, 44 seconds. 10 minutes later, Rambler crossed the finish line in second place, swiftly followed by Shockwave which finished third on the water, just over two minutes later. On corrected time, Shockwave were eventually given the overall win and lifted the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.

 

“That is what ocean racing should be all about,” commented Shockwave tactician, Robbie Doyle. “Beautiful racing between three very tough competitors, all fighting it out the whole way. A heavy-weight battle without a doubt – no question. I have had great moments in sail boats, but that was as much fun as I can remember. For 600 miles we were always in touch with each other, either up a few minutes or down a few minutes, and it all came down to the last beat to finish. It was like an epic tennis match.”

 

TOUGH RACE FOR MULTIHULL WINNER 

Erick Clement’s Open 40 trimaran, Dauphin Telecom – Johnny Be Good had just three crew and the team from St.Martin had a gruelling race to take line honours and the Multihull class win; the crew had virtually no sleep, a diet of cold pasta and were drenched throughout the 600 mile course: “It was a tough race, especially at night when we really felt the cold. Just finishing the race was our goal, but we are delighted to take line honours; every racing multihull in the Caribbean should do this race and we would love to take on boats from overseas as well,” commented Erick Clement.

 

2013 OVERALL WINNER TAKES CANTING KEEL CLASS

Last year’s overall winner, Ron O’Hanley’s American Cookson 50, Privateer, won the Canting Keel Class. “This is just a great race; the RORC does a superb job organising it, of making us feel loved. That’s why it’s my favourite and why I keep coming back. It is my fourth time here and we hope to be back next year.”

EPIC BATTLE OF THE SCHOONERS

The magnificent schooners Adela and Athos enjoyed an epic battle. The match racing was incessant with the lead changing hands six times during the race. Adela and Athos were literally metres apart at Redonda where the two leviathans of the race hauled in sheets for the beat to finish. Tack-for-tack and toe-to-toe, the battle raged on to the finish. Ultimately Adela won the last leg to take line honours for the Superyacht Class and the win on corrected time. The friendly rivalry was evident on the dock as Adela deployed their loud-hailing system to broadcast three cheers for Athos, which replied with three blasts from their deafening horns.Greg Perkins, skipper of Adela, was full of praise for his crew and Athos: “An amazing race; Athos is quicker off the wind than us but we’re quicker upwind, so we passed each other at each mark. Going round Redonda, they were within two boat lengths of us and then we managed to pull away on the last leg. Hats off to Athos, they are getting faster and faster and I don’t know if we can keep up with them in the future. I think they sailed really well which made it an amazing experience – two schooners match racing around 600 miles in the Caribbean – you can’t ask for much more than that. I’m very proud of the boys who did a fantastic job; the crew work was flawless. I’ve had this team together for quite some time, which makes such a difference. The important thing when manoeuvring a boat like Adela with two headsails, two mainsails and runners on each of the masts is coordination; it’s such a powerful beast.”

 

PERFECT RACE FOR VROON IN IRC ONE

Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, took line honours and the win in IRC One. Piet is extremely agile for a man in his eighties, and nimbly jumped over the transom of Tonnerre to enjoy a beer with the meet and greet volunteer team in the small hours of the morning. “After the North Sea it was warm and fantastic,” commented Piet Vroon. “There are very few months where it is actually nice to sail back home so this is perfect, even at night. Tonnerre could hardly have done better; good company, no damage, other than the cooking gas running out – it was a perfect race.”

SWAN CHALLENGE TROPHY

Nine yachts from Nautor’s Swan competed in this year’s race, another record for the RORC Caribbean 600. The prestigious Swan Challenge Trophy is awarded to the first Swan to finish on corrected time under IRC and was presented to Anders Nordqvist, owner of Swan 90, Nefertiti.

 

CLASSIC WIN FOR MARIELLA

Carlo Falcone’s 79ft Yawl Mariella, designed in 1936 by Alfred Mylne, entered the race for the first time and decided to put up the Mariella Cup for classic yachts that enter the race. The Italian skipper, flying the Antiguan flag, duly won his own trophy which was received by the owner’s daughter, Shirley Falcone.

 

CLASS40 RECORD

For the second year in a row, the Class40 record for the RORC Caribbean 600 was bettered. Gonzalo Botin’s Tales II showed amazing speed around the course, breaking the 2013 course record set by Peter Harding and Hannah Jenner’s 40 Degrees. The Spanish entry was over three hours quicker than the previous record, finishing the 600 mile race in an elapsed time of 2 days, 16 hours 37 minutes 52 seconds.

 

FIRST LINE HONOURS FOR ANTIGUA

Antiguan dentist, Bernie Evan-Wong said he would be back for his 6th RORC Caribbean 600 with a bigger, faster boat and the Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8 delivered, taking line honours in IRC Two. It is the first time in the six year history of the race that an Antiguan-skippered yacht has taken line honours in any class. However, Peter Sowrey’s First 40, Lancelot II, with Vendee Globe sailor Alex Thomson on board, put in a gutsy performance to win IRC Two after time correction. “It is a long time since I have raced a boat like Lancelot and this race is hard work; definitely more knackering than an Open 60 and the crew were amazing. A great bunch with talent and enthusiasm,” commented Alex Thomson dockside.

 

DORADE SHOWS CLASS WIN

In IRC Three, Yuri Fadeev’s Reflex 38, Intuition was the first yacht to finish. However, after time correction, Matt Brooks’ Classic Dorade was the winner. Hannah Jenner blogged about the experience on board the S&S 52 yawl:

 

“Although this may sound bizarre, it takes a while to get used to the quiet down below. Most of us come from carbon boat backgrounds and are used to the cacophony of noise that reverberates around the hull as you race. Whilst this may not sound pleasant, once you are used to it, the noise lets you know exactly what is happening with the boat. On Dorade there is no chattering over waves, no highly loaded winches screeching as lines are eased and no slamming on trade wind driven seas. Instead there is the creaking sound of the wooden interior as it twists with the motion of the boat and a gentle sound of water rushing by. Sleep therefore is deep.”

 

INSPIRING RACE FOR PACE

TP52, Pace, was third overall and its owner/driver, Johnny Vincent, was taking part in his first RORC Caribbean 600. “Wow, what an awesome race,” commented Johnny. “RORC have invented a truly outstanding event and I firmly believe it will be regarded as one of the ‘must do’ classic races very soon, perhaps it already is. It’s like a giant Cowes Week course; effectively round the cans but on a grand scale in the sunshine, with warming Antiguan hospitality and many smiling faces. All this in the best sailing waters in the world; surely a formula for success.

 

I have taken part in many regattas and events and I have tried to maintain a very simple philosophy; to sail with a great team of people who create that all-important team spirit aboard and to try to win the event we are participating in. The RORC Caribbean 600 has changed something in me. This race is so completely inspiring that I found the thrill of taking part enough. Testament I think to the race’s pedigree. I have no doubt this event will go from strength to strength. From all of us in Team Pace, ‘thank you’ RORC for a memorable experience.”

 

RORC CEO SUMS IT UP

RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen, summed up his thoughts for the RORC Caribbean 600. “This race has grown in stature and it is not just the boats but the number of professional sailors that are here. This gives you an idea of how important it is to win this race. However we’ve now got more local boats, more boats crossing the Atlantic from Europe and yachts coming down from America. 60 yachts starting the RORC Caribbean 600 – that’s pretty impressive for a race that’s only six years old.”

The RORC Caribbean 600 started from Antigua on Monday 24th February 2014

  • 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
  • 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)
  • Records:
    Multihull record holder – Region Guadeloupe in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs (2009)
    Monohull record held by Rambler 100 in 40 hours 20 mins 02 secs (2011)
  • Class40 race record: Gonzalo Botin’s Tales II (2014), 2 days, 16 hours 37 minutes 52 seconds
  • Organisers:
    • The Royal Ocean Racing Club also called RORC was established in 1925 and has premises in London and Cowes, Isle of Wight. The RORC organises offshore and inshore yacht races in the UK and all over the world, including the Rolex Fastnet Race, The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, The Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup, The inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race and The RORC Caribbean 600
    • In co-operation with the French offshore racing club, UNCL, RORC is responsible for IRC, the principal international handicap system for yacht racing worldwide.The Spinlock IRC rating rule is administered jointly by the RORC Rating Office in Lymington, UK and UNCL Centre de Calcul in Paris, France. The RORC Rating Office is the technical hub of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and recognised globally as a centre of excellence for measurement. For Spinlock IRC rating information in the UK please see: www.rorcrating.com

Feature by: Louay Habib

Shockwave at Redonda - Photo by Tim Wright/photoaction.com

Shockwave at Redonda – Photo by RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

With all 60 yachts accounted for, the Royal Ocean Racing Club announces that the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the best yacht, overall in IRC on corrected time, is George Sakellaris’ RP72, Shockwave. The trophy was presented to the Shockwave crew at the Prize Giving held at the Antigua Yacht Club.

“I have a great crew and it was an excellent race, lots of wind and the racing was very close,” commented Shockwave’s owner/driver George Sakellaris, shortly after finishing the race. “I have done many offshore races but this is the first time I have raced this one and it was against tough opposition. I think the winds were favourable to us and the Shockwave team used that to our advantage. At the end of the day, winning yacht races is all about the team performance more than anything else.”

Winner of the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600: Shockwave - Photo by RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Winner of the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600: Shockwave – Photo by RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

“That is what ocean racing should be all about,” commented Shockwave tactician, Robbie Doyle. “Beautiful racing between three very tough competitors, all fighting it out the whole way. A heavy-weight battle without a doubt – no question. I have had great moments in sail boats, but that was as much fun as I can remember. For 600 miles we were always in touch with each other, either up a few minutes or down a few minutes, and it all came down to the last beat to finish. It was like an epic tennis match. Every sail change was race critical. Bella Mente is a magic bullet when power reaching; we knew that before the start, so we set about minimising the time lost.”

Robbie Doyle continued, “Bella Mente did a nice job getting through the lee of Guadeloupe by going inshore and at that time she had her time on us. All we tried to do was to stay in touch with her because we knew the race wasn’t over.  The critical point in the race happened just after Barbuda when Bella Mente got under a cloud and literally stopped and we sailed right up to them. After that we knew that if we just stayed in touch, the win would go to Shockwave – that’s yacht racing for you, but what a fantastic experience.”

“With all of the yachts now accounted for, the racing team can join the competitors at tonight’s Prize Giving for a memorable occasion,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. “There have been some retirements, but we are delighted that there has been only minor damage to yachts. Apart from the expected knocks and bruises for a 600 mile race, everyone is safely ashore and looking forward to a great party.”

The Prize Giving was  Antigua Yacht Club . Winners were  presented with their trophies and medallions. Every competing yacht  received a decanter of English Harbour Rum inscribed with their yacht’s name.

Shockwave crew dockside after the race. Credit: Kevin Johnson/kevinjohnsonphotography.com

Shockwave Crew:Richard Bouzaid (NZL), Jason Carr (GBR), Reginald Cole (USA), Robert Doyle (USA), Jim Gibson (USA), Scott Gregory (CAN), Peter Kingsbury (PRI), Sam Loughborough (USA), Brian McInnis (CAN), Mark McTeigue (AUS), Andy Meiklejohn (NZL), Mark Mendelblatt (USA), Eduardo Natucci (ITA), Liam Newman (SWE), Silas Nolan (AUS), George Sakellaris (USA), Guy Standbridge (GBR), Adrian Stead (GBR), David Swete (NZL), Andrea Visintini (ITA)

A full list of the finishers can be viewed on the RORC Caribbean minisite –http://caribbean600.rorc.org/blog/race-information/results/index.html

Race Report by Louay Habib

 RACE WEBSITE: http://caribbean600.rorc.org

SOCIAL MEDIA: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub

Twitter: Follow @offshoreone ‘#rorcrc600’

TRACK THE FLEET:

http://caribbean600.rorc.org/blog/race-information/tracking/index.html

VIRTUAL REGATTA:

Click HERE

SLEEPER. A great first offshore race for Jonty Layfield's brand new Azuree 46, Sleeper, with Sean Malone on board. Second in IRC One, pipped to the post by RORC Yacht of the Year, Tonnerre de Bresken 3 from the Netherlands Credit: Tim Wright/photoaction.com

SLEEPER. A great first offshore race for Jonty Layfield’s brand new Azuree 46, Sleeper, with Sean Malone on board. Second in IRC One, pipped to the post by RORC Yacht of the Year, Tonnerre de Bresken 3 from the Netherlands
Photo by RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

 

George David's Rambler 90 - Credit: RORC Caribbean 600/Tim Wright/photoaction.com

George David’s Rambler 90 – Photo by RORC Caribbean 600/Tim Wright/photoaction.com

..

At 0700 local time, on Day Two of the RORC Caribbean 600, George David’s RP90, Rambler, had opened up a four mile lead on the water from Hap Fauth’s JV72, Bella MenteRamblers water-line length is a big advantage on the longest reaching leg of the course and the American Maxi is expected to extend that advantage during the day, on the water at least.

Overnight, Bella Mente had stretched six miles ahead of George Sakellaris’ RP72, Shockwave, to lead IRC Zero on corrected time by 15 minutes. Johnny Vincent’s Pace was in a solid third place in class and will be hoping that the lead boats will run out of breeze at some stage of the race so that the British TP52 can press home their rating advantage.

During the first night, squalls were ripping through the race course at regular intervals, bringing cold rain and erratic wind; both in speed and direction, testing the mettle of the 60 strong fleet. One of the smallest yachts in the race, Hot Stuff, crewed by Girls 4 Sail, was approaching St.Kitts. The rest of the fleet, barRambler, Bella Mente and Shockwave, were negotiating the chicane at the top of the course, weaving through the stunning islands that make the RORC Caribbean 600 one of the most beautiful offshore races in the world.

The twin masted schooners, Adela and Athos, have covered over 230 miles in just 20 hours. Athos is just a mile ahead of Adela on the water but, after time correction, Adela leads the Superyacht Class. The two largest yachts in the race are about to enter the narrow confines of the Anguilla Channel and a tacking duel of epic proportions is the likely outcome.

In IRC One, Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, has covered over 200 miles of the course in just 20 hours and continues to lead the class, both on the water and on corrected time. Behind Tonnerreare two displacement Swans: Colin Buffin’s Uxorious IV, and Todd Stuart’s White Rhino. Taking into account time correction, the beat through the Anguilla Channel and the reach down to Guadeloupe may favour the two heavyweight competitors, especially as the current wind speed is sub 15 knots which is too little for the light displacement Tonnerre to use her planing ability.

In IRC Two, all 12 yachts have averaged close to eight knots since the start, providing a highly competitive fleet. Peter Sowrey’s First 40, Lancelot II, has been punching above her weight, no doubt aided by the talents of solo round the world sailor, Alex Thomson. On the water, Global Yacht Racing’s First 47.7,EH01, and Bernie Evan Wong’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, are having an intense battle for line honours in the class, with Lt Col Paul Macro’s Royal Armoured Corps team on Southern Child, just a mile behind the on-the-water leaders.

Adrian Lower's Swan 44, Selene: Photo by RORC Caribbean 600/Tim Wright/photoaction.com

Adrian Lower’s Swan 44, Selene: Photo by RORC Caribbean 600/Tim Wright/photoaction.com

In IRC Three, Classic S&S 52, Dorade, has stretched out a five mile lead on the water and leads the class after time correction. Adrian Lower’s Swan 44, Selene, has taken an absolutely flier. After rounding Saba,Selene tacked and bore away to take up an extreme offshore position, looking to lay St.Barths in one tack: Banging the Corner. Presumably, Selene feel that this tactic will pay off but it is quite a gamble.
Race Report by Louay Habib

Start and 1st leg highlights

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUNEkmVFy8E

 

RACE WEBSITE: Follow the race web site http://caribbean600.rorc.org

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Follow the race on: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub

Twitter: Follow @offshoreone ‘#rorcrc600’

TRACK THE FLEET:

Every yacht is fitted with a Yellowbrick Tracker and their progress can be followed on the race website:

http://caribbean600.rorc.org/blog/race-information/tracking/index.html

 

VIRTUAL REGATTA:

Click HERE to play the virtual race

 

Rambler At Voiles de Saint Barths 2010 ( Photo by  Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)

Voiles de Saint Barths ( Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)

When the third annual Les Voiles des St. Barth gets underway this April 2-7, there will be more that meets the eye than the simply stunning panoramic views of the colorful French West Indies island that hosts the event and the expansive blue Caribbean ocean that surrounds it. Competitive sailors and, for that matter, local residents and visitors alike will have the privilege of also indulging in the indelible impressions left by the aesthetically unmatched designs of some of the world’s finest yachts participating as well as the passion of their owners.

Among the 60+ entrants registered to date is what many call the world’s most famous yacht of all time: the 52’ (15.8 metre) yawl Dorade. Purchased in 2010 by Matt Brooks (San Francisco, Calif.), Dorade was designed by the late Olin Stephens and originally launched in 1930. She influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades and was hugely successful in distance racing, taking overall victory in the 1931 Transatlantic race and the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races, among others. Now, Brooks, who has spent the last year overseeing a refit and major restoration of Dorade, is utilizing Les Voiles de St. Barth as a platform for both yacht and crew preparation, with the goal of entering Dorade in her first major modern ocean race this summer: the Newport to Bermuda Race, in which she finished second in both 1930 and 1932.

“We are assembling and training a crew with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race Dorade and win,” said Brooks, who is a world champion in the Six Meter class as well as an accomplished mountain climber and world record-holding jet pilot. “We also are toughening up Dorade herself, readying her for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an 80-year-old lady.”

Dorade will sail in the Classics division against such other standouts as Kate, an Intel 60 (18.2 metre); Cruinneag III, a 63’ (19.4 metre) ketch, and Marie Des Isles, a Gran Shpountz 65 (20 metre). Among Dorade’s crew will be John Burnham, an IOD World Champion and Shields ClassNational Champion; legendary Bermudian sailor Buddy Rego; Jesse Sweeney, Dorade’s navigator and a member of the Camper Emirates Team New Zealand’s meteorology team for the Volvo Ocean Race; and Jamie Hilton, a two-time 12 Meter World and North American Champion, who also was a member of Brooks’s team when it won the 2011 Six Meter World Cup.

Voiles de Saint Barths 2010( Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)

Voiles de Saint Barths 2010( Photo by Christophe Jouany/Voiles de Saint Barths)

“St. Barth is a legendary destination and a beautiful place to sail, and we are expecting great wind, great camaraderie among the competitors, and a good test of the new and improved Dorade,” said Brooks.

Another remarkable yacht that will be seen in St. Barth is the Hoek 115’ (35.2 metre) Firefly, the recently launched prototype for the new one-design F Class. The superyacht was designed to hold her own against larger (130’/39.7 metre) J Class yachts and sports some similarities such as a towering rig and long bow and stern overhangs to those massive yachts, which were built in the 1930s and have experienced a rebirth.

According to her designers, Firefly is a perfect mix of classic lines and retro-design details, optimizing her for the Spirit of Tradition classes hosted by some regattas, but at Les Voiles de St. Barth she will depend on her high-performance racing characteristics to prevail against eight other yachts thus far signed up in Maxi class (yachts 75’/22.86 metres and longer).

“The concept is to have a beautiful, classic-looking boat with a modern underbody, using the latest technologies in deck gear and rigging solely for use as a racing boat and/or daysailer,” said Mark van Gelderen, who supervised Fireflys nine-month building process and has been the captain since she splashed in June of 2011. Having headed straight to the Med to compete in a handful of maxi events, Firefly was further optimized to improve performance before heading to the Caribbean.

“We have a relatively young crew combined of professional sailors, very good amateurs and friends of the owner,” added van Gelderen, who will be skippering and driving together with the owner. “Within the crew we have Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race, big boat and dinghy experienced sailors a great combination of very motivated guys!”

Van Gelderen also explained that St. Barth will offer a great place for guests and crew to be entertained when not participating in racing. “There are beaches, great restaurants, shopping and peace and tranquility, all within close proximity,” van Gelderen said. “It’s the perfect combination.”

While three other Maxi Class boats — the 112’/34 metre Baltic Nilaya, the 112’/34 metre Swan Highland Breeze, and the 115’/35 metre Farr Sojana — are nicely matched size-wise to Firefly, no one is quite sure how they or five smaller Maxis in the class are going to compare speed-wise. Certainly all eyes will be on the 90′ (27.4 metre) Reichel/Pugh Rambler, which won the inaugural Les Voiles de St. Barth and has been brought out of retirement by its owner George David (Hartford, Conn.) after its successor, Rambler 100 (which won last years Les Voiles de St. Barth with David steering) lost its keel and capsized in the 2011 Fastnet.

“These races invariably start a mile or two off Gustavia (the main harbor and capital of St. Barth), which means in any kind of a northeasterly trade it is a shifty first leg to a weather mark just outside the harbor,” said David, who most recently finished second overall and second in class with Rambler at the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600. “Then there are a couple of miles reaching either way across the south side of the island, so it’s a parade after that first weather mark, and you don’t want to get there second. Our ride last year, Rambler 100, got us there first every time with boat lengths to spare. It wont be so easy in the 90 footer.”

David noted that 15 of Ramblers crew sailing in the Les Voiles de St. Barth were present at the now-famous Fastnet incident, and a majority of them have sailed in the last two runnings of this regatta.

In addition to the Classic and Maxi classes at Les Voiles de St. Barth, there will also be a Racing Class with divisions for Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, 52-Footers, and Multihulls. Other notable entries include the Tripp 75 Blackbird, the Carkeek 40 Decision, the X 65 Karuba 5, and the Irens 63 trimaran Paradox.

With a Tuesday (April 3) through Saturday (April 7) schedule that includes four days of intense racing and a lay day on Thursday (April 5), the regatta kicks off on Monday, April 2, with opening ceremonies and cocktails at the festive Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle overlooking Gustavia Harbor, where the event is headquartered. Lay day events planned for Nikki Beach include lunch and a surprise sporting challenge for all crews. Evening activities include off-site parties as well as post-racing bands and entertainment in the Race Village.

Official Poster
Organizers unveiled the official limited edition Les Voiles de St. Barth 2012 poster by well-known St. Barth artist Antoine Heckly. Only 300 posters will be printed, with the original artwork to be auctioned off during the crew party –hosted by the real estate agency, Sibarth — at Shell Beach on Wednesday, April 4. Proceeds from this auction will be donated to FEMUR (Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment) to fund the purchase of a CT scanner to be installed in the new Radiation Center in the island’s Hopital de Bruyn.

 

Yachts in St Barths (Photo courtesy of Laurent BENOIT / Les Voiles de Saint Barth )

Yachts in St Barths (Photo courtesy of Laurent BENOIT / Les Voiles de Saint Barth )

Rambler 100 Reacing in Waves In The RORC Caribbean 600, 2011 (Photo by Tim Wright)

Rambler 100 Reaching in Waves In The RORC Caribbean 600, 2011 (Photo by Tim Wright)

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
HERE

Rambler 100 Launches off a wave (Photo by Tim Wright)

Rambler 100 Launches off a wave (Photo by Tim Wright)

St Barth's Bucket (Photo By Cory Silken)

St Barth's Bucket (Photo By Cory Silken)

The wind gods served up a magnificent 15 knot ENE sailing breeze for the first days race of the 14th Annual St Barths Bucket Regatta Yesterday.  A record 34 yachts sailed the 25 mile course, counter-clockwise around the island.  This was a spectacular day of sailing, enhanced by a “yellow alert” warning for heavy seas and swells that left the fleet sailing against the backdrop of huge breaking seas against the rock promotories that create the turning marks for the course.  The photographers were really happy (and a little soaked) at the end of the day!

The big winner of the day was METEOR, the 51M Dykstra design Schooner by the Royal Huisman Shipyard.  Finishing 23 seconds later in second place was SHAMOUN the 33M Classic sloop by Holland Jachtbouw, with GANESHA, the new Dubois design 39M performance sloop, finishing 40 seconds later in Third Place.

Among LES GAZELLES DES MERS (racing division), GANESHA finished first, KALIKOBASS II the 32M Trehard sloop was second and  P2, the new Perini Navi  high performance 38m sloop by design, was third.  Among LES GRANDES DAMES DES MERS (Cruising Division), METEORr was first, SHAMOUN second and PERSEUS, the 50M Perini Navi was third.

The large surge and swell created some excitement alongside as well, and unfortunately made it impossible for most of the fleet to come alongside for the evening in the turbulent harbor seas.  This put a serious damper on the scheduled “Fleet Open House” which is typically the high point of each Bucket Regatta.  Fortunately, four of the largest (and most hospitable yachts) were able to tie up safely, and invite the other sailing crews aboard for a great night of celebration of the first day of racing!

Race #2 of the St. Barths Bucket Regatta was sailed today on the 20 mile “Wiggley Course” around and between the Islands north and east of St. Barths