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.
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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
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Comanche Sydney Hobart Line Honour 2015

Comanche take line honours in the 2015 Sydney Hobart Race.

Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s super maxi Comanche pulled off an incredible feat tonight, taking line honours in the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, winning the Illingworth trophy and a Rolex Yacht Master II timepiece. This was the first time in 17 years that the most coveted title in offshore yacht racing has been won by an American team since Larry Ellison’s Sayonara won in 1998.

Comanche’s official finish time for the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was 2 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds.

Designed to break records, the 100 foot maxi debuted in last year’s edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and since then has circled the globe, collecting the most prestigious titles in yachting – setting a new 24 hour monohull distance record, line honours in the New York Yacht Club Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race – Comanche’s performance this past year has been unlike anything ever seen in yacht racing. Returning to Australia, seeking the title that they so narrowly missed out on last year, was a Herculean effort, which has paid off nicely.

Despite facing retirement after having suffered significant damage (to a dagger board and rudder) on the first night, skipper Ken Read made the game-changing call to effect repairs and finish the race, saying: “I don’t care if we limp over the line!”

A true test of stamina and determination, the international crew of 21 included co-owner Kristy Hinze-Clark and fellow Australian, America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill. Commenting on her first Rolex Sydney Hobart, Hinze-Clark described her experience: “It was really gruelling. Pure terror at one stage. Excitement and now just total joy. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

The French-designed maxi managed to extend their lead this afternoon as they rounded Tasman Island and crossed Storm Bay towards the finish line, putting solid distance between fellow American competitor George David’s Rambler 88, which is expected to finish in the early Tuesday morning (AEDT). Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 is in close pursuit despite having severed their starboard dagger board overnight, crashing through the rough seas.

The 2015 edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has delivered some of the most grueling race conditions since 2004. Almost one third of the fleet of 108 retired in the first 48 hours – the litany of damage included rudders, dagger boards, masts and sails. The remaining teams have their sights set on the finish line in Hobart in hopes of a win on corrected time.

Most of the smaller yachts have only just passed the halfway mark in Bass Strait and as the breeze continues to lighten towards the Tasman coast the Tattersall’s Cup, for overall corrected time winner, is still in play.

 

Comanche before its record-breaking run at the 70th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race. Photo by: Randy Tankoos.

Comanche before its record-breaking run at the 70th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race. Photo by: Randy Tankoos.

The 70th edition of the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race yielded winners in ten classes – four IRC (including one for Double-hand), four PHRF, J/44 and Multihull – and a place in the record books for Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s new 100-foot Maxi Comanche. Fifty eight boats started the 185 nautical mile race (from Stamford Yacht Club in Connecticut, down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, R.I. and back to Stamford) on Friday afternoon (May 22) of Memorial Day Weekend, with Comanche finishing exactly one second after 2:50 a.m. the next morning, giving her an elapsed time of 11 hours 25 minutes and 01 second.

“Each year I ask the fastest boat in the fleet to give me a call when they are abeam of New Haven on the return,” said Event Chair Ray Redniss about Comanche’s call that came in at 0024 Saturday morning. “This was the earliest one yet, and a new record was established!”
Comanche before its record-breaking run at the 70th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race. Photo credit: Randy Tankoos. Available to download in high resolution by clicking the photo above

Redniss said that to be precise, this year’s race was one mile shorter than that on which the 90-foot Rambler’s 2013 record of 13 hours 15 minutes and 55 seconds was set. “After 15 years of being at the entrance to Stamford Harbor, the finish line was moved out to the The Cows (Red Bell “32”) in order to allow enough water depth for Comanche to compete; with a draft of 22 feet, only a high tide would allow her to finish in the harbor,” he said. In 2013,Rambler completed the 186 mile course with an average time of four minutes and 17 seconds per mile.  Comanche’s completion of the 185 mile course this year was with an average time of three minutes and 42 seconds per mile. “Speed-wise, this translates toComanche averaging 16.2 knots and Rambler averaging 14 knots.”

Comanche, which won her IRC 4 class, took home the Governors Race West Trophy for best elapsed time in the IRC Fleet; the William Tripp, Jr. Memorial Trophy for best corrected time in the IRC Fleet; and the self-explanatory Harvey Conover Memorial Overall Trophy.

“If I could have drawn the weather map, I think it is what I would have drawn,” said Comanche’s Navigator Stan Honey. The favorable conditions included winds of 15-27 knots and outgoing/incoming tides at all the right times, especially at “The Race” and “Plum Gut,” two notoriously difficult passage choices for exiting and re-entering Long Island Sound.

For Greg Gigliotti (Stamford, Conn.), owner of the 62-foot Gunboat Tribe, which won the first-ever multihull class, nothing could have been more perfect than averaging 20 knots of boat speed and reaching in flat water from The Race to Block Island in a short six hours, then fetching the finish line after returning through Plum Gut. “Everything tipped in our favor; it was a big part of getting a good time (finishing as the second boat, three and three-quarter hours behind Comanche). We had eight adults and three Opti sailors, all sons of fathers onboard. It was their first overnight, so we spent most of the race explaining that most races aren’t like this; normally you are on the rail and normally you’re not moving along at 18-20 knots. They were very lucky to be part of something special.”

Repeating its PHRF class (3) victory from last year was American Yacht Club’s J/105 Young American, another entry with junior sailors, but in this case, the kids were the majority onboard with Peter Becker serving as the team’s single adult safety officer and coach. “Last year, we won our class and finished third overall, which was a huge moment,” said Becker. “This year, we were first in PHRF division and first overall in PHRF, so we bested our performance by a big margin. The kids are on fire; they love it!”

The Young American team was pressured up at the start for their spinnaker run in 25 knots. When the tack of their chute blew out, they switched to a spare and were surfing down Long Island Sound at 15 knots.  “We were all hiking off the stern and hanging with the big boats and double-handed boats.  They started the double-hands, then small to large classes in order, so Comanche was the last start. It was really cool when it went whizzing by us doing 18-20 knots.”

Had Comanche not competed, Andrew and Linda Weiss’s (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) Sydney 43Christopher Dragon would have won overall. The team started ahead of Comanche in the third-to-last start (for IRC 3) and finished the race in a little under 23 hours.  “It’s the fastest race I’ve ever done, and I’ve been competing in this since the mid-1970s,” said Andrew Weiss.  “We got to 1BI in nine hours and were the second monohull around Block Island behind Comanche. Then, coming up the Sound, Snow Lion and Temptation passed us. They normally pass us before Block Island.  We’ve never won overall before; this was the closest we’ve ever come, but Comanche…it’s a different kind of boat, so we still feel like we won!”

Chairman Redniss said this was a tough year for getting boats prepared for the Block Island Race, which was a week earlier than usual. “It was quite cold and harbors were frozen; yards were simply weeks behind.  Overall, we had 68 entries; however eight notified us before race day that they weren’t going to make it, and another two did not make the start. Conditions for the race were near perfect, but of course, another 10 or 12 degrees warmer would have been nice!  We were cold on the Committee Boat overnight; I can imagine there was a lot of shivering on the rail!”

The Block Island Race was first held in 1946 and is a qualifier for the North Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), and the Gulf Stream Series (IRC). The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola, and Windigo trophies awarded by the YRA of Long Island Sound and the ‘Tuna” Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).This year’s Tuna Trophy was won by Christopher Dragon with first place finishes in both events.

Storm Trysail Club 70th Block Island Race
May 22, 2015 – Top-Three Finishes
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IRC 1 DH (IRC – 8 Boats)
1. Mireille, J 120, Hewitt Gaynor , Fairfield, CT, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Alibi, J 120, Gardner Grant , Westport, CT, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Pegasus, Beneteau First 36.7, Hartmut Ludwig , West Windsor, NJ, USA – 3 ; 3

IRC 2 (IRC – 8 Boats)
1. Carina, Custom 48, Rives Potts , Westbrook, CT, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Talisman, Farr 395, John Bailey , Darien, CT, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Red Sky, J 122, John Pearson , Setauket , NY, USA – 3 ; 3

J/44 (IRC – 4 Boats)
1. Kincsem, Joerg Esdorn , Katonah, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Vamp, Leonard Sitar , Holmdel, NJ, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Kenai, Chris Lewis , Houston, TX, USA – 3 ; 3

IRC 3 (IRC – 10 Boats)
1. Christopher Dragon, Sydney 43, Andrew & Linda Weiss , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Soulmates, Custom Goetz 40, Adam Loory , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Warrior Won, Xp 44, Christopher Sheehan , Larchmont, NY, USA – 3 ; 3

IRC 4 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Comanche, Maxi 100, Jim Clark/Kristy Hinze Clark , Newport, RI, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Temptation – Oakcliff, Custom Ker 50, Arthur Santry , Newport, RI, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Snow Lion, Ker 50, Lawrence Huntington , New York, NY, USA – 3 ; 3

PHRF 1 DH (PHRF_ToT – 4 Boats)
1. Weegie, Columbia 32, Richard Fleischman , Setauket, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Six Brothers, C-32, Chris Kramer , Rye, NY, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Max, Pogo 10.5, Moritz Hilf , New York, NY, USA – 3 ; 3

PHRF 2 (PHRF_ToT – 6 Boats)
1. Argo, Catalina 400, Boris Keselman , Brooklyn, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Inisharon, F&C 44, Jim Murphy , Rye, NY, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Audacious, Frers 33, Robert Farnum , Oxford, CT, USA – 3 ; 3

PHRF 3 (PHRF_ToT – 11 Boats)
1. Young American, J 105, AYC Jr. Big Boat Team – Becker , Rye, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. That’s Ridiculous, Beneteau First 36.7, Francis Nilsen , Sound Beach, NY, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Milky Way, Dufour 40, Alexander Natanzon , Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA – 3 ; 3

PHRF 4 (PHRF_ToT – 2 Boats)
1. Sundari, Farr 400, Barry Gold / Scott Florio , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Brigand, Custom 50, Sean Saslo , Branford, CT, USA – 2 ; 2

Multihull (NEMA) (ToT – 3 Boats)
1. Tribe, Gunboat 62, Greg Gigliotti , Stamford, CT, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Fault Tolerant, GB 60, Robert Alexander , Rye, NY, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Infidel, Dragonfly 32, Daniel Galyon , Binghamton, NY, USA – 3 ; 3

OVERALL TROPHIES

GEORGE LAUDER TROPHY – Best performance by a Vintage boat (25 years old +): Kincsem,   Joerg Esdorn

COMMODORE’S GRAIL TROPHY – Best corrected time by a Multihull: Tribe,Greg Gigliotti

GOVERNORS RACE WEST TROPHY – Best elapsed time in the IRC Fleet: Comanche,Jim Clark/Kristy Hinze Clark

WILLIAM TRIPP, JR MEMORIAL TROPHY– Best corrected time in the IRC Fleet: Comanche, Jim Clark/Kristy Hinze Clark

 TERRAPIN TROPHY– Best corrected time in PHRF: Young American, AYC Jr. Big Boat Team

 GOVERNORS RACE EAST TROPHY – Best elapsed time – PHRF: Sundari,               Barry Gold

GEROLD ABELS – Best Performance Double-Handed: Mireille, Hewitt Gaynor

 RODDIE WILLIAMS TEAM RACE TROPHY: Storm Trysail White, Carina/Sundari/Talisman

 TUNA TROPHY – Best IRC combined scores in the Edlu (40%) and the BI Race (60%): Christopher Dragon, Andrew & Linda Weiss

 COMMODORE’S TROPHY – To the boat that has won a handicap class by the smallest margin of time over the 2nd and 3rd place boats: Carina, Rives Potts

 HARVEY CONOVER MEMORIAL OVERALL TROPHY – Awarded to the boat that has won her class and, in the judgment of the Flag Officers and Race Committee, had the best overall performance: Comanche, Jim Clark/ Kristy Hinze Clark