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
Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Today’s single race for each of 10 classes sailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth determined overall winners and marked the fourth and final day of the regatta. The event has been growing steadily since its inception in 2010 and hosted 70 boats in this sixth edition, all with their own brand of famous sailors aboard from around the world. Boats competing ranged from speedy multihulls such as Lloyd Thornburg’s Mod 70 Phaedo 3 to technologically sophisticated new-builds such as George David’s Rambler 88 and Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clarke’s Comanche (at 100 feet, one of the largest boats here) to the more traditional grand prix racers in the 50-70 foot range and smaller racing/cruising boats. There was even a one design class for Melges 24s (the smallest boats competing) that are as fun, physical and demanding in teamwork and skill as their larger counterparts.
While teams in six classes had clinched their overall victories yesterday (some did not have to sail today’s last race but chose to do so anyway), four classes went down to the wire in 15-20 knot winds that were stronger than yesterday’s but not as strong as on the first two days of racing (Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14-15).
“It was a very interesting race course,” said Lupa of London’s winning skipper Jeremy Pilkington (UK) about his Maxi 2 class’s 28 nautical mile course. It started off Gustavia and went in the opposite direction from days before, wrapping around the western end of St. Barth before using buoys, rocks and islands as waypoints and turning marks on an oblong windward-leeward course set in the Atlantic Ocean. “There was much more going on today than there was on the courses that were set earlier in the week, so it kept us busy. We had a few little challenges and a few ups and downs going around, but we were very pleased with how we did. We had to finish top-three and were assuming that Selene was going to win on handicap, and we did a little bit better than that.” (On corrected time, Selene indeed won, and Lupa of London placed second today to secure the class victory overall.)
In the Spinnaker 2 class, which sailed a shorter version (23 nautical mile) of the 28 miler, Ramanessin, chartered by Germany’s Christian Zugel, had to watch itself against El Ocaso and Ventarron, since they were all one point apart going into today.
“Today it was very tight. We started with one point up, so if we had finished second today we would not have won,” said Zugel. “Right at the start line we were lined up very nicely, but one boat came from the left on the port side and hit us, so you can see some pretty big scratches on the front of our boat but luckily no further damage. We decided to keep going and managed to win.” This is Zugel’s third time at the event, and he has chartered a different boat each time.  Like many others here, his crew is quite international so it’s hard to really say the boat is a German entrant. “I’m German but live in the U.S., and I am crewing with a team of Irish and English sailors who have sailed all over the world, so it is a great experience for us all to be here.”
Claude Granel’s Martinique entry Martinique Premiere-Credit Mutuel won today’s race in Spinnaker 4 (sailing a 17 nautical mile course) to secure overall class victory after going into today with a slim lead. His closest competitor from yesterday, Maelia, slipped to third in the overall standings while Zarafa wound up second. “It was a very tough race, and at the end we just won the race by one second,” said Granel. “What was very difficult was that two team members could not race today, so we went from seven to five onboard, and it was windy – much windier than we thought it would be – but it turned out to be a great race for us.”
James Blakemore’s South African entry Music, in Spinnaker 3, posted another first today to add to his three others from the three previous racing days. “The race was great today – good steady breeze between 16 to 20 knots and great sea conditions,” said Blakemore. “My guys sailed the boat really well; we got off to a really great start, and from the first weather mark, I don’t think we lost the lead in our class from then on. Every day has been good for us.  Yesterday the conditions were a bit tough because we were dealing with the squalls coming through and very light breezes, but fortunately we got through just in time, before the boats really came to a halt. We’ve really thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this week. It’s fantastic coming here; it’s a fantastic regatta.”
Spinnaker 0’s winner Vesper (Jim Swartz, U.S.) finished the regatta with all first-place finishes in the five races it sailed over the four days of racing. “You go into these regattas where you’re in good shape going into the last day, but there is only one way to sail these boats and that is at 100 percent,” said Vesper‘s tactician Gavin Brady about the fact his team didn’t need to sail today in order to win. “Today we pushed as hard as every other day, which is the best thing for the boat and the best thing for the team.”
It was a different sort of day on the left side of the island, because more time was spent negotiating wind shifts in flat waves, making it more tactical than on the right-hand side where the fleets had sailed for the previous three race days.
Lloyd Thornburg’s U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3, spent its regatta leaving the seven other Multihull class entries in its wake and won again today for a fourth time over four races. “It was a great event,” said Thornburg, who on Wednesday established the Multihull record for a newly introduced 43-mile course that will be repeated here each year. (Comanche and Odin established the records for Maxi 1 and Maxi 2 classes, respectively) “Today the wind came back, which was nice, whereas yesterday was a little bit light for us. For our boat, this was the most challenging course, so it was a lot of fun.”
Not so much fun was Gunboat G4 Timbalero III’s dramatic capsize today. No one was injured, and the brand-new foiling catamaran was righted within two hours.
Puerto Rican entrant Lazy Dog, skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, also added another victory to his score line of all firsts to win Spinnaker 1 class. “Racing was a lot of fun today, and the start was incredibly critical. There were four classes (on the line), around 40 boats, so it was probably the hairiest start I’ve ever done. The first start was a general recall; the second start, our main competitor (Hamachi) was hit, so it was pretty dramatic. But we had a great time, and the conditions suited us. It was beautiful like usual. We’ll be back next year; great racing and hands down the best organization we’ve ever seen.”
Bobby Velasquez (St. Martin), winner of Non-Spinnaker class  in L’esperance, agreed: It’s wonderful here in St. Barth, and it’s a wonderful organization. We’ll definitely be back for the regatta again next year.” L’esperance had nothing but bullets in its score line.In Melges 24s, the St. Martin team of Budget Marine GILL topped the leaderboard. Skipper Andrea Scarabelli said, “This is one of the events we love the most. Racing in one-design is always nice because you are racing at a similar pace. The goal is to keep building the Melges 24 class. This year we were only four boats, but we hope to get more.”
The event’s largest, fastest boats sailed in Maxi 1 class, and it was George David’s Rambler 88 that won the four-race series there. All eyes had been on Rambler 88 and the larger Comanche during the first two race days, since no one had yet seen the two boats sail against each other. The powerful Comanche showed blazingly fast speed, taking line honors in every race. It was Rambler 88, however, that prevailed with corrected-time performances that gave the team three first-place finishes in a row. By today, when Rambler 88 took second to Hap Fauth’s U.S. entry Bella Mente, the focus had returned to who was doing the best on ratings. Rambler 88 maintained its place at the top of the scoreboard, but Bella Mente was able to replace Lucky as runnerup. Bella Mente, Lucky and Comanche had all shared the same point score after today’s race, but Bella Mente’s performance handed the tiebreaker to their team.
“I’m very happy,” said David. “I think we sailed very well to rating, and we are just a click off Comanche. Of course, they have the big-boat edge and get in front, and that tends to help a little bit, but I am impressed by how fast we are. In fact, I’m very impressed. This boat is wicked quick and I think we’ll do even better in the future. I don’t count us out for records, including the Transatlantic Race 2015 this summer, which we hold already (with Rambler 100).”
At the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who also was the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.FULL RESULTS: https://app.regattaguru.com/lesvoiles/100085/results 
2015 Entry List: www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

 

 

Phaedo 3 (Photo  © Jouany Christophe)

Phaedo 3 (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Les Voiles de St. Barth: Starting off Just Right With winds whipping briskly at 15-20 knots, it was a lively show on the water for opening day of Les Voiles de St. Barth. After an equally lively opening party held on the Quay General de Gaulle last night, 70 teams in 10 classes were raring to begin what they really came here for: hard core racing. The regatta organizers, knowing their audience, took no prisoners, sending Spinnaker 1,2,3 and 4 plus Non Spinnaker and the Melges 24 classes on a 23-mile course that started off Gustavia Harbor and led counter-clockwise and three quarters of the way around the eight-square-mile island of St. Barth before rounding a buoy off St. Jean and heading back in a clockwise direction. For the Multihulls and the larger monohulls sailing in Maxi 1, 2 and Spinnaker 0 classes, a similar course added an extension on the far side of the island to incorporate a total of 39 miles.

 

“Today was typical St. Barth conditions–20 knots of wind, big waves and a lot of reaching legs, so it was a lot of fun being on a boat like a TP52 and surfing downwind in big waves,” said Gavin Brady, tactician aboard Vesper, which was today’s winner in the six-boat Spinnaker 0 class. “We had a good day, starting the regatta off with a win. We have large spinnakers on the boat for this event…so it worked out really well. We hope these conditions last for the rest of the week.”

Vesper had a scare yesterday when one of its side stays, made of carbon, gave way.  Luckily, a rigging shop in St. Martin was able to provide a rod-rigging replacement overnight.  “Carbon rigging is fine for the big boats like Comanche and Rambler where they have bigger safety margins for going out in the ocean, but with a little TP52 blasting around St. Barth or doing the Med Series, it’s another story,” said Brady.

Vesper is sailing against two other TP52s (Sorcha and Team Varg, which finished second and fourth, respectively), but third-place Spookie poses a threat, too. “We are in a class with TP52s, which in every handicap system seem to be the sweetheart boats,” saidSpookie’s Strategist Peter Holmberg. “We know we just need to sail out of our league to beat them.”

The Mod 70 Phaedo 3 handily won the seven-boat Multihull class, which was the last of the 10 classes to start. The foiling G4 Timbalero III’s successful attempt to port-tack the fleet at the start looked swift, but it wasn’t swift enough to hold off the giant green trimaran, which started slightly late at the windward end of the line but came screaming in with all the power of a giant eagle swooping in for its prey. While Timbalero III continued on starboard tack out to sea, Phaedo 3 continued on port tack to shore, no doubt giving sunbathers at Shell Beach a shock as she flew by on one hull, then tacked up the shoreline for a horizon job done not only on the other multihulls but also the entire fleet.

 

Phaedo 3 finished the long course in just over two hours and 25 minutes, approximately 34 minutes ahead of the next fastest boat in the fleet, Comanche, whose long-awaited battle with Rambler 88 yielded some answers today. Though Comanche beat Rambler by ten minutes in real time, which pleased her crew, Rambler had to be satisfied with beating Comanche on corrected time (5:04:48 compared to Comanche’s 5:11:30), even with a spinnaker problem that forced them to change headsails and cost them several minutes.

sans_titre_260

Taking second in Maxi 1 class, where they are grouped with Rambler 88, Comanche and Bella Mente, was Lucky, with Mark Watson standing in as driver for owner Bryon Ehrhart (who will arrive to drive tomorrow). “We sailed a good race; we really didn’t have any big mistakes at all,” said Watson. “When you think about it, normally the team that wins is the team that has the fewest mistakes. A happy boat is a quiet boat, so everybody was pretty dialed in together, and the boat was immaculately prepared, so I couldn’t ask for more.”

Bella Mente, a favorite here, unfortunately was unable to race today because of an equipment failure that occurred only a few minutes before the start. “We had a hiccup today, but you can bet we’ll be out there and ready to race tomorrow,” said owner/driver Hap Fauth.

In the Maxi 2 class, Lupa of London led the way today, while in the Spinnaker 1 class,Lazy Dog won. VentarronMusic and Martinique Premiere-Credit won the Spinnaker 2, 3 and 4 classes, respectively. L’esperance took Non-Spinnaker class, while GFA Caraibes won the Melges 24 class.

Fleet (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Fleet (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

sans_titre_258

 

Right here, right now. This is it. Seventy teams have finished practice and final preparations for Les Voiles de St. Barth and will start racing tomorrow (Tuesday, April 13th) in what promises to be this year’s most provocative regatta in the Caribbean, if not the entire yacht racing world.

 

Headlining as a first-time matchup between the marine industry’s newest break-through speed creations are Comanche and Rambler. A balance of eight other Maxis between 63 and 90 feet in length with highly recognizable names such as Bella Mente, Lucky, Odin, Lupa of London, Selene and Aragon makes this the most formidable Maxi Division that has shown up here since the regatta’s inception six years ago. Extremely tight competition also will be found in five Spinnaker Division classes as well as in classes for Racing Multihull, Non-Spinnaker and Melges 24 one-designs. Forerunners in these classes will no doubt distinguish themselves before the Lay Day on Thursday (April 16), if not sooner. (The second half of racing for Les Voiles de St. Barth resumes on Friday and Saturday, April 17th and 18th, for a total of four racing days.)

Onboard Comanche (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Onboard Comanche (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Comanche and Rambler will sail in the Maxi 1 class with Bella Mente and Lucky but will start on the same line as the other Maxis, which will be sailing in Maxi 2 class. Scores will be tallied separately for each class; however, a combined score for all Maxi Division entries at the regatta’s conclusion will determine the winner of the Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch. (Richard Mille is the principal sponsor of the event.)

The two Maxi classes and five Spinnaker classes are sailing under the CSA rating, as defined by the Caribbean Sailing Association, and have been split into their classes according to rating bands. “We have defined the classes with a true sense of equity,” said Les Voiles’ General Commissioner Luc Poupon. “The idea is to create groups that are as homogeneous as possible so that the battle on the waves is as tight and exciting as possible.”

As for how that rating will play out in the Rambler vs. Comanche battle, no one yet knows, but all are curious. Optimizing for ratings was not a priority in the design or building of either boat, as both were conceived for straight-line speed, specifically to break distance records. (Rambler, at 88 feet, is 12 feet shorter than Comanche.)

“We’re not here for rating honors,” said Comanche’s helmsman Ken Read. “Our goal is to be first to finish (over the line), and clearly it will be a lot of fun lining up against Rambler, a very similar boat, for the first time. They’d like to beat us boat-for-boat, and we’d like to beat them boat-for-boat, so I think the sailing world is excited to see this. We’re excited to see this.”

For any of the 27 different course choices with distances ranging from 10 to 42 miles, the start and finish lines will be set near Pain de Sucre and Gouverneur Beach, on the southwest side of the island. Something new this year for the smaller boats: two inflatable buoys in the colors of Richard Mille—the first in the bay of Saint Jean and the second in front of Gouverneur—will be placed so that the public can see the boats sail closer to the shore. Also new, the Race Committee has planned for one day, weather depending, to start the fastest big boats on course number 27 (a loop between St. Barth and the island of Tintamarre, to the east of Saint Martin) in order to give all reaching-optimized boats an opportunity to show their speed and establish a speed record for Les Voiles de St. Barth.

“We have to race the courses as fast as we possibly can, and they (Comanche and Rambler) will be great gauges for what is happening in front of us with the wind,” said Terry Hutchinson, who will serve as Bella Mente’s tactician in the Maxi 2 class. “We have to be smart in the pre-start, because they can have a pretty big impact to our race early on. Once they’re out in front and away from us, then it’s simply a matter of sailing the boat as well as we possibly can and executing the sail handling maneuvers as well as we possibly can, because things happen very quickly on this course. I think this plays into our favor, because Comanche and Rambler are just going faster all the time, so everything is very condensed for them. If we have ten minutes on a leg, they have five. “

While the shorter races will be better for Bella Mente and the 42-mile race will be better for Comanche and Rambler, Hutchinson said it will be interesting to see how they all match up in the 25-mile race. “They have very good sailors on their boats and we have good sailors too, so when they take a race off us they will have sailed well, and when we take a race off them, we will have sailed well.” Last year Bella Mente was leading when its mast broke on day three. “We feel like we let ourselves down a bit when that happened, so we want to come back and redeem ourselves this year.”

At tonight’s opening ceremonies Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivity of St. Barth, shared the stage with Les Voiles de St. Barth officials, including the event’s honorary ambassador and French sailing legend Loick Peyron. A minute of clapping (rather than a moment of silence) was observed to honor the inspired life of French offshore sailor Florence Arthaud, who recently died in a helicopter crash

Fleet in practice (Photo  © © Jouany Christophe)

Fleet in practice (Photo © © Jouany Christophe)

 

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