John Burnie has been racing and cruising the Caribbean for decades. A long-standing RORC member, John was on board ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe, which flew around the course in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs in 2009 to set the multihull course record, which has stood to this day. There are few people who know the course as well as John especially as he was one of the creators of the first and only Caribbean 600-mile offshore race.
This year, John will be competing on Peter Harrison's Sojana. However John is so enthusiastic about the race that he could not resist offering up some precious tips and tricks about the course:
"An early look at the weather and it looks like we are going to get normal trade wind conditions with a wind direction just slightly north of east, classic '600 conditions provided the weather pattern holds as it is."
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn't a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world - Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström's JV72, Rán, and George David's RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
Watch the video of Ross Applebey, skipper of Scarlet Oyster the Oyster 48, walking the course for the RORC Caribbean 600.
After a highly successful inshore regatta at Key West, winning eight straight races, Niklas Zennström's JV 72, Rán has arrived in Antigua. A delivery crew of seven sailed the Mini-Maxi from Florida. The powerful racer made the 1450-mile ocean passage to Antigua under sail in just six days.
On arrival, the shore crew set up preparing for the big race. Delivery skipper and shore team manager, Brendan Darrer, also races on board Rán and besides working in the pit, Brendan does most of the cooking on board during offshore races.
Win a week's holiday for 2 at the exclusive Inn at English Harbour
The RORC Caribbean 600 is a challenging race starting on 20 February in Antigua, but the Inn at English Harbour are offering an even greater incentive for those competing in classes IRC 1, 2 or 3 to sail fast around the 11 Islands and 600nm race course
The prize of a week's holiday for two at this luxurious resort on the south coast of Antigua is up for grabs for the first IRC 1, 2 or 3 class boat on corrected time! Around half of the 40-strong fleet will be eligible to take part in this fantastic competition offered by the sponsor.
Fabio Giorgi, the General Manager of The Inn at English Harbour is delighted to be associated with the race: "We have watched the race grow over the last few years and feel that it is the right time to become involved," said Fabio. "We know that the race offers a unique and exciting challenge and we feel that our hotel offers unique level of comfort and relaxation that the competitors can enjoy when they visit Antigua."
The RORC Caribbean 600 is a truly international affair, with well over 500 hundred competitors from at least 24 different nations taking part. More than 30 impressive yachts are expected to take part in a high-speed, action-packed yacht race around 11 Caribbean islands. There can be few sporting events that can boast such a worldwide appeal with sailors taking part from all over the world including:
Antigua, Australia, Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey and the United States of America.
This astounding diversity of nationalities is matched only by the astonishing array of yachts and personalities. The largest yacht competing this year is the magnificent Hetairos with a waterline length of 200'. Hetairos is the world's largest carbon composite sailing yacht. The 29 crew on board is composed of many Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and Jules Verne around the world veterans. Hetairos is among the favourites to take line honours, but there are several other yachts more than capable of finishing in front.
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600 Race looks set to stage a David versus Goliath battle in just over two months with a number of superyachts keen to do battle with each other whilst circumnavigating 11 Caribbean Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua.
Entries have now started coming in for the 2012 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 after the entry system opened last week. All entries and expressions of interest can be seen by clicking on the "Entries & Interest" tab.
The RORC will be hosting a RORC Caribbean 600 evening at the Clubhouse, 20 St James's Place, London, on Tuesday 18th October starting at 1900. Please come along to chat to members of the race team and competitors who have competed in the race before. There will be information on the race as well as companies offering whole boats or crew places for charter.
Online entry for the 4th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Caribbean 600 is now open.
Offshore in the Caribbean
The RORC Caribbean 600, run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with Antigua Yacht Club, is the only offshore race of the Caribbean series and since its conception in 2009, has become a firm favourite with offshore racers seeking a tactical challenge in warm Caribbean conditions. The 2012 edition will witness an impressive line-up of yachts starting from Antigua on Monday 20th February.
The fleet will battle the 600nm course which circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heading north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth's. Perfect racing in perfect conditions.