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

Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 Ambiance (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

2013 marks the first edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s new clubhouse in the sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands. The event is organized by Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who have established close ties through organizing the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since the early 1980s.

A full fleet of Swan yachts, an alluring playground and four days of intense racing: all hallmarks of the upcoming Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Commencing today, Monday 11 March, the event will be held over the next 5 days at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s recently launched base on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Swan yachts ranging from 12.98 metres (42 foot) to 30.20m (100 ft) and representing countries including Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States make up the entry list. Competing Swans will be divided into two groups: Class A (Maxi), measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft; and, Class B, reserved for yachts measuring less than 18.29m.

Registration took place today, followed by the opening reception on the spectacular terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Competition on the water starts tomorrow, Tuesday 12 March, and the round Virgin Gorda race is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Ideal sailing conditions are forecast.

A range of Swans will grace the event: from historic Sparkman & Stephens models including Hokusai (FIN), Lianda (BEL) and Swan Lake (USA) through to more modern designs from German Frers including the Swan 90 Freya (USA) which is also taking part and was the 2,000th yacht to be built by Nautor in Finland.

Other Class A entries include Varsovie, the largest competing yacht, the Swan 80 Selene and Stark Raving Mad a Swan 601, whose crew has enjoyed a successful last twelve months. In Class B, the week’s smallest entrant – the Club Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) – is using the waters of the Caribbean to continue preparations for September’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.

Crews will need to marry sharp tactics and cohesive teamwork to prevail in a fleet renowned for sportsmanship and graceful sailing. The week’s standout performers will be rewarded at the final prizegiving, on Friday 15 March, where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy will be presented.

Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 Dockside (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The eagerly anticipated event marks a continuation of the long-standing relationship between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which commenced in 1984 with the first edition of the now biennial Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

James Blakeman’s Music day one (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi Borlenghi)

ENTRIES 2013

 
Boat Name L.O.A. Country Designer Builder Model
Arethusa 12,98mt USA   Nautor s Swan 42
Catch 22 14,85mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 48
Creuza de ma 19,80mt USA S & S Nautor s Swan 65
Eclipse 14,36mt FIN Frers Nautor s Swan 46
Fenix 18,85mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 60
Freya 25,90mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 90
Glisse 19,82mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 62
High Yield 13,83mt GER Frers Nautor s Swan 45
Hokusai 13,48mt FIN S & S Nautor s Swan 44
Island Water World 13,83mt NL Frers Nautor s Swan 45
Lianda 17,50mt BEL S & S Nautor s Swan 57
Music 16,48mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 53
Nai a 16,51mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 53
Northern Child 15,54mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 51
Olivia Lee 17,06mt   Frers Nautor s Swan 56
Selene 24,37mt BVI Frers Nautor s Swan 80
Stark Raving Mad 18,28mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 601
Swan Lake 18,00mt USA S & S Nautor s Swan 57
Tenacity 17,06mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 56
Varsovie 30,20mt CAY Frers Nautor s Swan 100
White Rhino 17,06mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 56
 
 
Rambler 100 , Skippered by Ken Read (Photo by Christophe Jouany  / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

Rambler 100 ,Skippered by Ken Read (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

The first day of racing at the 2nd edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth dawned with 25 knots of tropical tradewind breeze and showers sweeping over the picturesque French island located midway down the Caribbean chain. The regatta’s fleet of maxis, racing and cruising yachts, multi-hulls and classics – 48 confirmed on race day – set off on a race course around the nearby archipelago, and met with plenty of wind and bumpy seas, especially on the islands’ exposed eastern side.

You certainly couldn’t have asked for a prettier race course, which today sent fleets on jaunts of either 16-, 22-, or 25-nautical mile jaunts.  Most intriguing was the trip around the northern tip of St. Barth and through the nearby archipelago, which in a typically French way makes one ready for a meal with names such as Ile Chevreau (baby goat), Ile Fregate (bird), Ile le Boulanger (the baker), Ile Fourchue (fork), Grouper et Petite Groupers (fish), Le Boeuf (beef), and Le Pain du Sucre (sugarloaf).

Today’s later start at 1300 did nothing to diminish the wind and sea, as the first two classes off – Maxis and Multihulls – with eleven boats, started in 22 knots and encountered two meter seas and were sent on a 25-nautical mile course. George David’s Rambler 100 with Ken Read as skipper, got away at the pin end of the starting line and lead Hugo Stenbeck on Genuine Risk up into the outer harbor to an offset turning mark. Once around, Rambler set a huge asymmetric spinnaker and was on her way for the day.

Genuine Risk (Photo by Christophe Jouany  / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

Genuine Risk (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

On the eastern, and windward, side of the island the big boats reveled in the conditions which eventually topped out above 30 knots – Genuine Risk, with their combined crew Swedish/ American crew, recorded 30 knots of boat speed surfing downwind through the islands.

Also racing in the Maxi class was the 86’ CNB sloop Spiip, owned by Robin de Jong, who is making his way westward to Tahiti with the boat. Onboard Spiip is Bruno Trouble, well known for creating and overseeing the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series (for the America’s Cup) that originated in 1983. Trouble is racing at the regatta for the first time, and he said, “Les Voiles de St. Barth reminds me a lot of the early days of the Nioulargue with boats from all over the place taking part.  Things are going to really build and it is just great, it really reminds me of the first Nioulargue!”

In the Racing Class, the crew work aboard Jim Swartz’s Vesper looked well-honed as the team traded tacks with Peter Cunningham’s Farr 60 Venomous (CAY) up the first short beat. Back on the quay, Venomous’ tactician Tony Rey recounted the day, “We had some great sailing   – St. Barth’s is such an awesome place to sail, every time you turn around an island, or a piece of land, the view just gets better and better. It’s just that the race course is a minefield because the wind twists and turns up the corners and the crevices – but it’s a fascinating place to sail! We also had the added challenge that our instruments went down, so we were guessing on our wind speed and direction, and guessing at our boat speed for part of it too, which turned us into good seat-of-the-pants sailors.”

Vesper  (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

Vesper (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth )

Before scores were tabulated, though Rey suspects, “We think we were probably 2nd or 3rd, we’re pretty sure Vesper beat us handily, because downwind you just can’t stay with a boat like that.  We could have sailed better for sure, we left a few seconds on the race track, but generally we’re thrilled, it was a great day of sailing!”

In the 24-boat Racing Cruising class, the Swan 60 Fenix closely led Jereon Hin’s First 50 Black Hole (NED) after the first upwind beat. This class has a gamut of boats including two all-women entries, Annie O’Sullivan’s Diamonds Are Forever (UK), and Henneke Stegweg’s iLost (NED). As well, there are two Moorings 50.5 charter boats with two crews from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, headed up by Andre Beese and Patrick Festing. Both crews are comprised of friends and fellow Etchells sailors, who were originally headed to Antigua to race when a friend suggested they race at Les Voiles de St. Barth.

The Classics class, while low on numbers with just five boats, were high on style points with the 76’ W-class White Wings, the 80’ Fife yawl, Mariella, the 60’ dark-hulled gaff-rigged yawl Kate from St Kitt’s, and the 26’ Friendship sloop La Sirene, gracing the line.
Carlo Falcone, from Antigua, is a frequent competitor with Mariella in both classic and offshore races around the world, which he, more often than not, wins. He enjoys sailing in St. Barth because it has, he says, “more European style than other parts of the Caribbean.”

The yacht was designed by American naval architect Alfred Mylne, and built by Fife in Scotland in 1938. As Falcone says, “The beauty of this boat is the mix of the two. Mariella is well sailed and immaculately maintained, and Falcone says,  “I believe the more you use the boat the better it is. But it’s never-ending work – not buying the boat, but keeping it. They say, ‘the owners are just taking care of the boat until the next one.’” His regular crew is a mix of family and friends including his daughter Sylvia, his long-time navigator, 89-year old Henry Pepper (Marblehead, Mass), and crew from Italy, Australia and Dominica. Les Voiles de St.Barth is a way to prepare the boat for this summer’s classic yacht series in New England.

With a relatively new event, one may wonder what goes into the thinking for the course on day one. Following this morning’s skipper’s briefing, the, Les Voiles Race Committee Principal Race Officer, Jean Coadou offered some insight, “There were three main elements: the weather forecast, looking at the strength and direction of the wind around all of the islands. Also it was important with such a large fleet to avoid any boats crossing paths. And first and foremost, the enjoyment of sailing was a key factor. We try to ensure that the competitors encounter all the different points of sail, upwind, downwind and reaching. The idea is to come up with three hours of exciting racing each day; that is why the courses are around 30 miles in length for the fastest boats and 16 miles for the smaller craft.”
Key information: Les Voiles de St. Barth is being hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club

Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo by Les Voiles de Saint Barth)

Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo by Les Voiles de Saint Barth)

 

Entries

Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status

SOJANA
 GBR 115 FARR 115 Peter HARRISON /Marc FIDZGERALD  

HIGHLAND BREEZE
 888 SWAN 112 RS/GPR 112′ ALBERT KEULARTS
 
SPIIP
 FRA 8686 CNB 86 86′ ROBIN DE JONG 
 
RAMBLER 100  USA 25555   READ Ken
 
GENUINE RISK
 8390 DUBOIS/MC CONAUGHY 97′ HUGO STENBECK

ICARUS
  JONGERT 90′   
 

 
PANIC ATTACK
 750 OPEN 750 24′ JAN VANDEN EYNDE
 
TECHNOMARINE
 FRA 27917 Farr 36,7 DEREDEC Christian 
 
PUFFY
 USA 45454 Farr 45 DEMARCHELLIER Patrick
 
ANTILOPE
 GRB 1513L GRAND SOLEIL 43′ WILLEM WESTER
 
SPEEDY NEMO  SBH 26   MAGRAS Raymond

VESPER
  TP 52 54′ JAMES SWARTZ 
 
VENOMOUS
 GBR 60006 FARR DESIGN 60′ PETER CUNNINGHAM
 
MAE-LIA     MAGRAS Raphael

SOLANO  FRA 34625   

Classic
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
WHITE WINGS
 US2 W CLASS 76′ DONALD TOFIAS
 
KATE
 ES5 MYLNE 60′ Walwyn 
 
LA SIRÈNE
 3 FRIEND SHIP SLOOP R WILSON 26′ DAVID PERTEL  
 
MARIELLA
 464 YAWL/FIFE 80′ CARLO FALCONE Pre-entry
 
Racing Cruising
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
FENIX
 GBR 9660R SWAN  60′ MORITZ BURMESTER  
 
L’ESPERANCE
 123 Beneteau 45 VELASQUEZ Robert 
 
BLACK HOLE
 GER 150L FIRST 50 50′ JEROEN HIN  
 
COSTA MESA
 88 DUFOUR 425 GL 43′ REY PASCAL
 
ORMEAU
  FINOT BENETEAU 47.3 ALAIN CHARLOT 
 
MR. WALKER
 FRA 491 REQUIN 33 MELISSA RIMBAUD
 
LIL’E
 FRA 479 REQUIN 33 FOX MOWGLI
 
SUGAR CANE
  BERRET 50.5 ANDRE BEESE
 
MAE-LIA
  X-YACHT 34 MAGRAS Raphael
 
TRITON
  BERRET 50.5 PATRICK SMITH
 
SPEEDY NEMO
  DUFOUR  34′ RAYMOND MAGRAS
 
THULA
 51952 BALTIC 39 39′ MAX IMRIE  
 
TARA II
  SUN ODYSSEY 54 DS 54′ HENRY ALBERT
 
SPLENDIDO
 FRA37407 GRAND SOLEIL 40′ PHILIPPE HERVOUET
 
NIX
 IVB 612 X-YACHT 60′ NICO CORTLEVER
 
AFFINITY
 US 50007 SWAN  48′ JACK DESMOND 
 
SOLANO
 FRA 34625 LATINI 52 FELCI 52′ FREDERIC RIALLAND  
 
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
 GRB 1007L ELAN 37′ ANNIE O’SULLIVAN 
 
COYOTE 2
 GBR 9949 T FIRST 40.7 41′ KEN ACOTT 
 
iLOST
  HARMONY 42 42′ HANNEKE STEGWEG
 
SHAMROCK VII
 USA 1 J 95 31′ THOMAS MULLEN
 
WILD DEVIL ISLAND WATER WORLD
 NM 1993 KIWI 35 35′ BEN JELIC
 
TANGRA  413 REQUIN 35′ QUERE Pre-entry
 
Racing Multihull
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
PHAEDO
 399BC GUNBOAT 66′ PAUL HAND 
 
DAUPHIN TELECOM
  COULOMBEL 40′ ERICK CLEMENT 
 
BLANCA
  SEACART 30′ HERVE DE MARJOLIE
 
SPIRIT 
 GBR 565  40′ JASON GARD
 
BLUE CAT   VAN PETEGHEM 40′ CHAYER
 
CARIB CAT
CATAMARAN MY CAT 26′ CONSIDERE CLAUDE