Get Ready to Rumble
With just four days before the start of the 5th RORC Caribbean 600, yacht crews from all over the world are arriving in Antigua to prepare for the 600-mile offshore race around 11 stunning Caribbean islands.
Over 500 sailors from 31 different countries will be racing in arguably the world's finest sailing grounds. Falmouth Harbour is a hive of activity with several late entries, including four Figaros from Guadeloupe, swelling the record entry to 54 yachts.
Peter Harding's 40 Degrees is one of five yachts competing in a Class40 division. On board 40 Degrees will be two young British protégés, Sam Goodchild and Hannah Jenner. "We will be out sail testing today, we have a couple of new sails to look at and with a new rig, we will be making a few judgements," commented Hannah. "Today is also the first real day where we can look at a reliable weather forecast and decide which sails we will be taking. I am pretty sure we will be leaving the light sails on the dock, it is looking like a fast race."
"This is definitely unfinished business," commented 40 Degrees owner, Peter Harding. "Last year we had to retire with gear failure after being in a strong position, so we are even more determined this year. The course is designed for a variety of yachts, but it is just perfect for our class with some exhilarating downwind sailing, punctuated with some tough legs to windward and a significant number of energy-sapping sail changes. We would love to see more Class40s taking part but with a fleet of five, we should have a real battle on our hands."
Rory Munro from Burnham on Crouch, Essex, competed in his first RORC Caribbean 600 race last year on board RP 78, Idea. This year Rory will be racing on First 40, Lancelot II, skippered by RORC member, Niall Dowling. "Straight after I finished racing last year, I put this year's date in the diary," admitted Rory. "As a merchant seaman, I managed to get the time away from duty, so I guess this is a busman's holiday for me, but I am so glad to be back here in Antigua again and I am really looking forward to the race."
Gunboat 66 Slim, skippered by South African Travis McGarry, will be taking part in their first ever offshore race. "To be honest, we had a torrid time building the boat, but the light at the end of the tunnel that kept us all going, was to compete in this race. We had a fantastic delivery trip up from Cape Town, with 25 days of perfect sailing and now we are here in Antigua, we feel like this is the beginning of another great adventure. I have heard about the great atmosphere for this race and now we can feel it, it really is something special."
The RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 18th February at 1100 local time (GMT -4).
Article by Louay Habib