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
Superyacht Cup Palma 2015 Fleet (Photo  ©www.clairematches.com)

Superyacht Cup Palma 2015 Fleet (Photo ©www.clairematches.com)

Last night’s disco-themed dock party proved epic with the entire crew of the mighty Marie wearing orange wigs, pink sunglasses, glitter, gold and green satin suits; these clear winners went all out and so, not surprisingly, took the best-dressed-in-disco prize: VIP tickets to Pacha‘s after party and a bottle of bubbly to boot. Also team Tulip, colorfully kitted out in, well, ‘Tulips’, scored tickets, as well as own it on the dance floor for most of the night; think slick break-dance moves and a spirited ‘polonaise’. DJ Eazy Michael kept those feet on the dance floor which was followed by Bilonda’s soulful tunes. All in all last night’s fun was a perfect ending to a great day out on the water..

This morning saw the SYC race village bustling with the owners, sailors, friends and guests of the 21 spectacular superyachts charged to get the second day of sailing underway. And while some of the world’s most talented sailors were ardently discussing today’s tactics, the scene was set for today’s second day of racing.

Today’s menu served up a blazing sun, cloudless blue sky and the sea breeze getting it’s foot in the door a little earlier than yesterday. While on our first race day the breeze actually built more than expected, becoming moderate to fresh for much of the afternoon, today was predicted to be even beefier with 12-14 knots around midday and 14-18 in the afternoon.
The fleet headed out at 11 to make their way to the start line and racing got underway at 13.00. It was yesterday’s Class C winner Clan VIII who got off the start line first. The 45m Perini got off to a cracking start but unfortunately at 14.00, as the yachts were on their first run to Bahia 2,  the race got abandoned and the fleet had to return to the start line. Racing commenced again at 14.50 with the race committee opting for a shorter 18.7nm course. This time it was the ferociously green hulled,Vitters built Inouï and Nautor’s Highland Breeze who boasted best starts.

The first upwind Sech mark saw first timer, the 25m Maegan, round ahead of the fleet, pursued closely by new-boat-on-the-block Guardian Angel and the 26m Tulip. Maegan flew at full bore towards Bahia 2 but was chased hard by Kiboko Dos who managed to hunt her down and jibe around the mark first.
In the mean time in Class C both Highland Breeze and Clan VIII were not having a good day at the office. Highland Breeze stayed close to the shore which made her lose her 7th position and Clan VIII tacked later than her competitors who then started to reel her in one by one. The 28m Southern Wind Kiboko Dos however got seriously into gear and held her front running position rounding the fourth Illetas mark first, after which she gunned it towards the finish line crossing 3.27 minutes ahead of speed machine Open Season and 4.16 minutes before the stylish Swan 90 Odin.”For tomorrow we would like to continue doing a good job, in fact we did a good job yesterday. I think that we have to keep pushing and try our best. The team works together really well and we are very happy” commented a beaming Raimon Pascó, captain on board Kiboko Dos.

Today’s Class B winner, the 28m Southern Wind Kiboko Dos. © www.clairematches.com

Possibly the many sailors with local knowledge on board were the secret behind Kiboko Dos’ success today as she pulled out her impressive class win in Class B.

In Class A the Vitters built classic ketch Marie showed again she was on top form by winning her second bullet while newbie boat Maegan’s potent performance secured the team with a victory in Class C. On the new ORCsy rule Maegan’s navigator and CEO of Oyster David Tydeman said: ” The new superyacht rule is working. Oyster’s built 35 boats over 80 feet and with the previous handicap system it wasn’t worth coming to these events but it is now and we’re having a great time and I’m going to be encouraging Oysters to come regularly”. Regatta regular P2 took second after Marie. “The owner was super happy, he said we couldn’t have gotten any more out of the boat and the crew couldn’t have done a better job, so we felt we left nothing on the table and the results after day 2 sort of show that” smiled Captain Jonathan Kline.

A happy crew on board Kiboko Dos today. ©www.clairematches.com

As crew make a post-debrief lay line for the Regatta Bar sponsored by North Sails, the owners and their guests head for the unique St. Regis Mardavall. A stunning resort framed by the Tramuntana mountains, the luxurious marina of Puerto Portals and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. With one group on the southwest coast of the island and the other in Superyacht Cup central we’re certain in both places all talk will feature the final day of sailing tomorrow, as everything will come down to the crunch in Saturday’s ultimate showdown.

Connect with us through Twitter #SYC15 and Facebook (The Superyacht Cup) for real time updates of all the action on and off the race course and/or follow the race live via Trac Trac.

2015 Entry List

Boat Size Design Shipyard
Blue Too 34m Ron Holland Alloy Yachts
Clan VIII 45m Ron Holland Perini Navi
Gaia 30.6m Spirit Yachts Spirit Yachts
Ganesha 46m Dubois Naval Architects Vitters Shipyard
Guardian Angel 26m Humphreys Yacht Design Oyster Yachts
Heartbeat 24m Hoek Yacht Design Claasen Shipyards
Highland Breeze 34m Frers Yacht Design Nautor Swan
Inoui 33m Briand Yacht Design Vitters Shipyard
Kiboko Dos 28m Reichel/Pugh Southern Wind Shipyard
Maegan 25m Humphreys Yacht Design Oyster Yachts
Maria Cattiva 40m Bruce King Royal Huisman
Marie 55m Hoek Yacht Design Vitters Shipyard
Odin 27.7m Frers Yacht Design Nautor Swan
Open Season 30.4m Judel/Vrolijk Wally Yachts
P2 38m Briand Yacht Design Perini Navi
Perseus ^3 60m Ron Holland Perini Navi
Saudade 45m Tripp Design Wally Yachts
Tilakkhana 24m Wally Yachts Wally Yachts
Tulip 26m Frers Yacht Design K&M Yacht Builders
Visione 45m Reichel/Pugh Baltic Yachts
Win Win 33m Javier Jaudenes Baltic Yachts