Two previous competitors have been quick off the mark to confirm their participation in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) 2014 Caribbean 600 race, but it was five-times race veteran, Bernie Evan-Wong who got there first.
Carrying the flag for host country Antigua and intent on at least a class win, Bernie Evan-Wong had chartered Peter Rutter's Grand Soleil 43, Trustmarque Quokka 8 within an hour of docking his Mumm 36, High Tension after the finish of the 2013 race earlier this year:
"I decided I would look for a bigger boat for the next race and realised Quokka - who was docked next to me in Falmouth Harbour - was the best choice for my purposes, so I made a commitment there and then. Signing up early shows my serious commitment to the race and my crew," said Evan-Wong who has competed in all five editions, achieving two podium positions with High Tension.
The 6th edition of this classic offshore race will start on Monday 24th February 2014 from Antigua. If you would like to register a boat availbale to charter for the race or an expression of interest in competing in the race, please
Packed with competitors, friends and family, Antigua Yacht Club was filled beyond capacity as close to a thousand revellers gathered for the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving.
Royal Ocean Racing Club CEO, Eddie Warden Owen, opened proceedings and welcomed the Honourable Winston Williams, Minister of Sport for Antigua and Barbuda. In a rousing speech, the crowd joined the Minister in hailing the 5th RORC Caribbean 600 as a tremendous success.
The Minister for Sport was joined by a host of VIP guests including: Eleston Adams and Gerry Daniel representing the Ministry of Tourism, Colin James CEO Tourism Authority. Claude Anthony and Anne Marie Martin from National Parks and the Royal Police Force Deputy Commissioner, Henry Christian.
At 0900 on day five, four yachts are still racing after a surge of arrivals last night and early this morning. With all of the class winners now decided, there will be a fantastic atmosphere at tonight's RORC Caribbean 600 Prize Giving, which will start at 1800 at Antigua Yacht Club.
In IRC Two, Scarlet Logic was the clear winner. Ross Applebey & Tim Thubron's British Oyster 48 took line honours and the class title for the second year running by over three hours.
Dockside at English Harbour, Ross Applebey was quick to praise his co-skipper. "I have complete confidence in Tim and that means a hell of a lot. Basically, one of us was always on deck allowing the other to rest and that trust kept both of us alert for a good period of the race. Many of the crew has sailed with Sailing Logic in the past and they were magnificent. I couldn't have asked more of them" said Ross "Probably the low point in the race was getting stuck for four hours behind Guadeloupe and watching Triple Lindy close a massive gap, but we picked ourselves up and got away well." Asked about the high points in the race? "Well that would have to be trucking along at 17 knots at night with the kite up heading for Nevis. That is the kind of sailing you can dream about all your life."
With eight Swan yachts in this year's race, competition was intense for the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy which was won in 2012 by Wendy Schmidt, owner of Swan 80 Selene. The prestigious Swan Challenge Trophy goes to the first Swan to finish on corrected time under IRC and will be presented to Anders Nordqvist, owner of Swan 90 Nefertiti.
Nefertiti completed the 600 mile course in just two days, seven hours and 57 minutes, finishing 5th in IRC overall on corrected time. This was the second year Nefertiti has competed in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Swedish team showed a marked improvement on their 2012 results.
At 1300 on Day Four 20 yachts are still racing with the majority of them expected to finish the race later today or in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Antigua Yacht Club has been open all hours, providing a safe haven for tired crews. Every boat is met by volunteers eager to greet tired sailors, day and night with warm hearts and cold beer. Over half the fleet is now accounted for, however there are some weary teams still battling it out. The tough conditions over the last three days have abated a little but the big seas remain, making progress difficult for the yachts still racing. Spare a thought for the three Figaro II teams; just four up in a 33ft boat, tired, wet and hungry. For them above all, the RORC Caribbean 600 is a labour of love. Arthur Prat leads the Figaro Class by a slender 3 miles from Baptiste Maillet. Both yachts are expected to arrive in Antigua early this evening.
Just after dusk at 19:34:34 Ron O'Hanley's American Cookson 50, Privateer, came through the finish line off English Harbour, Antigua. The 12 crew were tired and hungry but most of all thirsty for knowledge. The team from Newport, Rhode Island, USA knew it was close...too close to call. They had sailed their socks off and knew they were in with a chance of winning the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
The RORC Race Team gave Ron O'Hanley the good news that his Cookson 50, Privateer, had beaten Hap Fauth's American JV72, Bella Mente, by just over 22 minutes on corrected time to top the leaderboard for IRC Overall. At 0700 this morning only Adrian Lower's vintage Swan 44, Selene, has a mathematical probability of eclipsing Privateer's corrected time, but Selene needs to cover 200 miles in 10 hours, which is highly unlikely.