Thrills and Spills
By mid-morning on day two, the RORC Caribbean 600 was very much living up to its billing as a high-speed thrilling race around the stunning Caribbean. The majority of the fleet is now heading for the top part of the course and should be around St.Maarten during the day. It has been an action packed start to the race.
George David's Maxi, Rambler 100, is setting an amazing pace and is only two hours from reaching the bottom west corner of Guadeloupe, 270 miles from the finish. The canting keel speed machine is expected to cross the finish line before day light tomorrow and is well on course to beat the monohull course record of 44hr 5m 14sec, set by Mike Slade's Maxi, ICAP Leopard, in 2009.
ICAP Leopard is 42 miles behind Rambler 100, screeching along at over 20 knots, on the long sleigh ride to the bottom of the course. Rambler 100 is the hot favourite to take line honours and is currently winning the race on corrected time but the outcome is by no means a forgone conclusion.
In IRC Zero Richard Oland's Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce, is the class leader, with 385 miles to go they are at the very top of the course and rounding St.Maarten. Peter Harrison's Farr 115 Sojana is having a great race, showing the magnificent yacht's pedigree in big breeze on this stunning race course. Brian Benjamin's Carbon Ocean 82, Aegir, is having a fine debut race at the RORC Caribbean 600. "The boat is really optimized for the Mediterranean and the solid Trades are giving us a bit more than that," commented the boat's builder Britt Colombo from on board. "Last night was pretty hard work with a lot of sail manoeuvres and shifty conditions around the back of St.Kitts but this is just fantastic sailing, it is great to be out here."
IRC One has Piet Vroon's Ker 46, is on the charge en route to St.Maarten with 405 miles to go. The crew on board is well-drilled and made short work of the chicane at the top of the course. Shortly they will be North of St Maarten and will be lining up for the long power reach to Guadeloupe, no doubt the crew will be able to get a rest from last night's excursions. Two extremely well sailed charter yachts are chasing after Tonnerre de Breskens. Andy Middleton's First 47.7, EH01, is currently second on handicap but they do have a secret weapon, Bill Blain, whose has won a string of RORC trophies in recent years. Philippe Falle's Beneteau 50, Hydrocarbon Logic, is third in class.
The Army Sailing Association's A 40, British Soldier, had a first class start and they have continued to lead their class on handicap, they have taken the most northerly line of any of the yachts after Saba. (John Burnie comments on this in his expert commentary on the RORC Caribbean 600 web site.)
Two yachts have retired from the RORC Caribbean 600. Gonzalo Botin's Class 40, Tales, has an injured crew member (badly swollen ankle). They are returning to Jolly Harbour, Antigua to seek medical attention. Bernie Evan-Wong's Mumm 36, High Tension, was dismasted just after dawn NW of Saba. No one was hurt in the incident and Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue coordinated with the Martinique Co-ordination centre to offer assistance. However none was required, the rig was recovered and Bernie and his team are motoring back to Antigua.