Two months before the start of the race 50 teams have thrown down the gauntlet; over 10% more than the same time prior to the record entry of 88 yachts in 2018.
The RORC Caribbean 600 has grown up to become a ‘must do’ offshore classic. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands is on the bucket list of any serious offshore sailor. This year, any remanence of its stature as a Caribbean cruise was totally extinguished. 25 knots of solid trade winds with gusty squalls and a confused sea state delivered a challenge to over 800 sailors from six different continents. The 2018 edition of the race was the coming of age of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The importance of the race to Antigua & Barbuda was recognised at the prize giving where guests of honour included: The Governor General Deputy, Sir Clair Roberts and his wife, The Hon E.P. Chet Greene, Minister for Sports; Shirlene Nibbs, Consultant to the Ministry of Tourism; Shamoy Richards, Cruise Marketing Manager for the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority; Admiral of Antigua Yacht Club, Sir Hugh Bailey, and Commodore of Antigua Yacht Club, Franklyn Braithwaite GOH. The RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine, RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen were both in attendance along with most of the RORC Committee. RORC Commodore Steven Anderson, who took part in the race with his family on board Gemervescence, was quick to praise the army of volunteers and the race committee for their hard work, as well as all the competitors - pointing out that the vast majority were passionate corinthians, the heart and soul of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Andrew Eddy's British Oyster 48 Gaia was the last boat home and received huge applause on arrival at Antigua Yacht Club Marina after completing the race over three days after the race winner, Rambler 88. Gaia completed the race in an elapsed time of 4 days 19 hours 23 minutes 33 seconds on Saturday 24th February at 06 23 33 AST.
“The crew never gave up and never mentioned the night club as we passed St.Barths, or the chance to visit the frigate bird colony of Barbuda! We came here to finish the race and that is exactly what we have done!” exclaimed an emotional Andrew Eddy who was competing with his young crew: his daughter Aleatha, son Edward and their friends, all in their twenties.
Crew: Andrew Eddy, Edward Eddy (27), Flic (27), Lottie (27), Lottie (26), Rory Hawker (27), Ed Chichester (27), Aleatha Rous (Daughter) (33)
George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 has won the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, scoring the best corrected time under IRC.
Rambler 88 revelled in the heavy airs race, setting a new monohull race record and by winning IRC Zero, completed a hatrick of trophies. Rambler 88 scorched around the track in an elapsed time of 37 hours 41 minutes and 45 seconds, beating the record set by George David's Rambler 100 in 2011 by nearly three hours.
The Club House Bar & Restaurant was buzzing until dawn for the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, with stories flowing about an epic race around 11 Caribbean islands. Ossie Stewart and Ross Applebey's British Dufour 45 Scarlet Island Girl, corrected out to win IRC Two, and Conor Fogerty's Howth YC team was the winner of IRC Three racing the Irish Sun Fast 3600 Bam!
In IRC Two, Ossie Stewart’s Scarlet Island Girl crossed the finish line after over three days and nights of hard racing to win the class. Andrew Allner's Swan 53 Ballytrim was second ahead of Susan Glenny's First 40 Olympia's Tigress, skippered by Chris Preston.
In the early hours on the third day of the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600, Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner's American 63' Trimaran crossed the finish line in Antigua completing the 600-mile race in an elapsed time of 1 day, 13 hours 5 minutes and 16 seconds taking Multihull Line Honours. George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 crossed the finish line just under half an hour later to take Monohull Line Honours and to set a new monohull race record of 1 day 13 hours 41 minutes and 45 seconds. Rambler 88 eclipsed the time set by Rambler 100 in 2011 by nearly two and a half hours.
"It was a hard race with good strong trades; 20-25 knots the whole way around the track. The whole boat was loaded up and we had to take extreme care," commented Rambler 88 owner George David. "We sailed a good race and didn't leave much out there. Nobody got hurt and we didn't break anything, all of which is good. Why did we beat the record? I think it might come down to evolution in design. Six years ago the conditions were similar, yet we are two and a half hours ahead of a 100ft boat. Boats just go faster; we made some modifications over the winter to Rambler 88. We draw 7 metres now and we took a ton and a half of displacement out of the boat. Its lighter and livelier and gets up and going quick. I want to thank the RORC and the people locally who are extremely welcoming. It is a nice place to come."
AUDIO Interview dockside with George David, Rambler: https://soundcloud.com/louay-habib/2018-rorc-caribbean-600-george-david-rambler-88 - Photo: © RORC/Arthur Daniel
"The ride down from Tintamarre to Guadeloupe was at night, very fast, very wet and very intense," commented Paradox owner, Peter Aschenbrenner. "All-in-all, the conditions were just perfect for Paradox she loved it. This is what we dream about doing in the boat, and the combination of cruising the boat for two weeks before the race gives that great juxtaposition (hence the name Paradox). The conditions we had in those big reaches was intense; the wave state was really big and there was a lot of wind. When you hit the wave crest with the cross-beam at 30 knots, it makes a kind-of explosive sound; the boat is moving around a lot and there is spray everywhere. Eleven is a great fleet of multihulls, and this is a great place to race them; you are going to be wet and it might as well be warm. It is a combination of great wind and great scenery, it is a wonderful course."
AUDIO Interview with Peter Aschenbrenner, Paradox: https://soundcloud.com/louay-habib/2018-rorc-caribbean-600-peter-aschenbrenner-paradox - Photo: © RORC/Arthur Daniel
After taking Multihull Line Honours; celebrations on board Paradox © RORC/Arthur Daniel
The USMMA Sailing Foundation's American Volvo 70 Warrior, skippered by Steve Murray, finished the race shortly after dawn, just four hours after Rambler 88. "Mr. Toad's wild ride! A lot of fun and what the boat was made for. It's a great boat, but an incredible team. We have been sailing together since our first race, the Antigua to Bermuda Race and we have really jelled as a team, anticipating each other's moves. Good boat handling on this boat is impressive to watch."
Audio interview with Steve Murray, Warrior: https://soundcloud.com/louay-habib/2018-rorc-caribbean-600-steve-murray-warrior - Photo: RORC/Arthur Daniel
The USMMA Sailing Foundation's American Volvo 70 Warrior arriving on the dock at Antigua Yacht Club Marina © RORC/Mags Hudgell
George David's Rambler 88 is the provisional race leader after IRC time correction. a full fleet report will follow later today.
For more information and to follow the race, please go to: http://caribbean600.rorc.org