The RORC Race Team, based at Antigua Yacht Club are busy preparing for the start of the record-breaking 6th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The start takes place on Monday 24th February off Fort Charlotte and spectators will witness over 60 boats from around the world gather on the start line ready for their 600 mile race non-stop around 11 islands.
It will be hard to miss the two largest yachts in the fleet: 182ft Adela and the mighty 203ft Athos, but there is a highly competitive fleet in the smaller classes too. With 32 different makes of yacht, flying the flags of 11 countries, competing yachts will be crewed by passionate amateurs and world famous sailors.
With 65 entries, a record entry for the sixth RORC Caribbean 600 is a certainty and right through the fleet the quality and character of the yachts and sailors is strong and deep. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was founded to encourage long distance yacht racing across a broad spectrum and the RORC Caribbean 600 is a fine example of that ethos. 32 different makes of yacht, flying the flags of 11 different countries, will be crewed by passionate amateurs and world famous sailors.
Battle for Line Honours
George David's Maxi, Rambler 90, is the main contender to take the first gun at Fort Charlotte. Rambler 90 is well designed for the twists and turns around the course and very fast at every point of sail. Rambler's crew is exceptionally talented and includes Peter Isler, Jerry and Rome Kirby, Brad Jackson and Jan Dekker - and this is just mentioning the winners of the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race! All of the crew have amazing talent and Rambler has two powerhouses in the shape of Joe Fanelli and Nathan Hislop, two of sailing's strongest men.
Bertrand De Broc's IMOCA 60, VNAM, is another hot contender for line honours. Last year, De Broc competed in both the Vendée Globe (9th) and Transat Jacques Vabre (6th). The French skipper has also excelled in shorter offshore races with 13 Solitaire du Figaro and 8 Tour de France à la Voile, winning the race around France twice. VNAM will be surfing off the wind in big breeze - the light displacement 2007 Finot Conq design is capable of demolishing the course and the opposition.
For the third year running, the exclusive Inn at English Harbour, Antigua, is offering an even greater incentive for competitors in classes IRC One, Two and Three to sail fast around the 11-island course in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 600 n mile race - the RORC Caribbean 600.
Holiday for two in Antiguan Splendour
The challenging race starts from Antigua on Monday 24 February and The Inn at English Harbour is awarding a prize to the overall winner on corrected time in IRC One, Two or Three: two nights free accommodation, including breakfast, for two guests in a deluxe suite at this elegant hotel and exclusive resort. The prize is subject to dates available in agreement with the hotel.
Class40 Tradition Guadeloupe, skippered by Willy Bissainte, was the 60th yacht to enter the 6th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Tradition Guadeloupe's sail number is also 6 so this may be a lucky entry for those with a superstitious nature!
In 2010, Willy Bissainte steered Tradition Guadeloupe through the finish line after the prizegiving. It was a slow race for all, but the tenacious Guadeloupian skipper had refused to give up and was the last boat to finish. In contrast this year the trade winds have been blowing almost continuously in Antigua since early December and the long term forecast for the 2014 edition of the race is for the strong easterly winds to continue.
The 6th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is proving irresistible to yacht racing teams from all over the world. An international fleet of over 40 yachts has now entered the race and around 50 are expected on the start line on Monday 24th February.
The northern hemisphere is currently experiencing some of the worst winter weather on record but well over 500 sailors are rubbing their hands together, relishing the prospect of racing around 11 Caribbean islands against highly competitive opposition.
The Caribbean is, without doubt, one of yacht racing's most exhilarating playgrounds as warm trade winds and Caribbean swell provide superb sailing conditions. The RORC Caribbean 600 course, starting and finishing in Antigua, is designed to provide a challenging, high speed racetrack and its popularity has grown, year on year, since 2009.
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."