Sailors from at least 37 nations will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 12th edition of the spectacular race will start off Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Monday 24th February 2020. Over 70 teams, featuring close to 700 sailors are expected on the start line. The challenging 600-mile race, in tropical heat with ocean swell, is renowned for stunning vistas of the 11 Caribbean islands on the course.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has partnered with Rolex SA, adding the RORC Caribbean 600 to the leading Swiss watchmaker's prestigious roster of yachting events around the world.
The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition is due to have a new record entry of over 70 boats.
Commodore of RORC, Michael Boyd is delighted at the rapid development of the RORC Caribbean 600:
"Next year is the tenth anniversary of the RORC Caribbean 600 and with Rolex's support we fully expect to see up to 100 boats competing. This event is quickly becoming a priority on the international racing circuit and we look forward to its continued success for many years to come.
"The Royal Ocean Racing Club has had a strong relationship with Rolex for over 16 years, since 2001, as title sponsor of the Rolex Fastnet Race, which attracts some of the best boats and top sailors from all around the world," commented Boyd."
The 9th edition of the race starts in Antigua on 20th February 2017 at 1100.
For more information please go to the event minisite: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/
Latest Facts & Stats for media HERE
Entry List as at 23.1.17 HERE
© RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
The 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. Close to 900 sailors from 30 different nations competed in the 9th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's classic offshore race. Olympic medallists, America's Cup winners and round the world sailors competed alongside passionate corinthians on the same 600 mile race course around 11 Caribbean islands, starting and finishing in Antigua. The 2017 edition will be remembered for highly competitive racing throughout the fleet, with American yachts winning the major prizes. The race was affected by unusual weather conditions, with a low pressure system sending the wind direction spinning through 360º of the compass.
Epic win for Bella Mente
The All-American Maxi72 battle in the RORC Caribbean 600 lived up to expectation with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Proteus enjoying an epic match race. The lead in the Maxi72s changed hands on seven occasions during the race. Bella Mente counted 85 sail changes and at one point, both yachts were over canvassed, smoking along at 30 knots in a gigantic squall. Bella Mente crossed the finish line just 14 minutes ahead of Proteus to win IRC Zero and the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the best time after IRC correction for the fleet. It was the second time Bella Mente has won the race overall and was a sweet victory after retiring last year with keel problems.
Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente (USA), Overall winner of the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy © RORC/Ted Martin
"We are beat; there is nothing left as the whole team gave 120% or more...unbelievable!" smiled Hap Fauth. "We are just delighted to have prevailed. We had a match race for 500 miles with Proteus and that is a really well sailed boat. It was really, really good sailing. This is an iconic race that you cannot miss at all and Bella Mente will be back for the 10th edition."
Hector Velarde's Andrews 70 Runaway, representing Peru was third in IRC Zero behind Bella Mente and Proteus.
Maserati and Phaedo3 at the start © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70, Phaedo3 took Multihull Line Honours for the third year in a row. Phaedo3 held on to win the battle of the trimarans, just 12 minutes ahead of Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70, Maserati. The high-speed battle saw the lead change hands four times. There was high drama at Guadeloupe with vicious squalls and heroics from Maserati's crew diving into the water to free the boat from a fish trap.
"Maserati gave us a heck of a run and it was really tough to stay ahead of a foiling boat," commented Lloyd Thornburg. "Every year, I get reminded how insane a race this is and we have turned the insanity up again this year. Hanging on reaching at 36 knots, it is just incredible. All of our team had to dig so deep and we love Antigua and had an amazing reception."
Phaedo3 was also the winner after MOCRA time correction with Maserati in second place and Robert Szustkowski's HH66, R-SIX sailed by Robert Janecki in third.
Rambler 88 takes Monohull Line Honours
Monohull line honours for George David's Maxi, Rambler 88 (USA) © RORC/ELWJ Photography
George David's American Maxi, Rambler 88 took Monohull Line Honours for the race. It was George David's third line honours win in the RORC Caribbean 600. However, the record set by his previous boat, Rambler 100 in 2011 remains intact for another year.
"This year we had a full-on reach all the way from St. Barth to Guadeloupe," commented George David. "When you are at the helm and the boat is beautifully balanced and you are doing 20 knots with a poled out J1 and staysail for 150 miles, you can't help but smile. It is great to have taken line honours again, but we have only won this race overall one time. We will come back because it is such a great place to be; everything about the race is nice."
Rambler 88 was also the winner in IRC Canting Keel after time correction. Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70, SFS II was second and Mike Slade's British Maxi Leopard 3, skippered by Chris Sherlock was third. Leopard 3 was also awarded a new trophy, the RORC Caribbean Series Trophy for the IRC Rated boat with the best combined score in the RORC Transatlantic Race and RORC Caribbean 600.
Shamanna, Swan 115 © RORC/Tim Wright Photoaction.com
Anders Nordquist's Swan 115, Shamanna, taking part in its debut offshore race, was the winner of the Superyacht Class.
"On the way down to Guadeloupe we had almost 20 knots of wind so we were really happy to experience the conditions that the boat was built for. The crew have been racing together since 2012 and they are a fantastic team. We know each other very well and the communication and atmosphere is great. It was an excellent race," said Anders Nordquist.
The majestic schooners, Eleonora and Adela were a wonderful sight at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Among the spectacular entries this year were two colossal schooners; Eleonora and Adela. Adela dates back to 1903 and at 182ft (55 metres) she is the largest yacht competing in the race, displacing 250 tons. Eleonora is an exact replica of the famous 1910 Herreshoff schooner Westward. Since her launch in 2000 she has followed Westward's heritage of racing. Displacing 213 tons with an overall length of 162ft (49.5 metres), Eleonora and Adela racing is a magnificent sight.
Battle Royal in the Class40s
Peter Harding's Class40, Phor-ty © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Throughout the race the battle in the Class40 division was intense with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course. Peter Harding's Phor-ty was leading at Redonda, just ahead of Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Campagne de France was in third. All three yachts started the beat to finish with a chance of victory. However, Eärendil's main halyard broke as the team hardened up for the beat and they were forced to reef and re-hoist. Phor-ty extended on the beat to take the gun and the class win by just 33 minutes. With Eärendil under-powered, Campagne de France closed the gap and overtook them just before the finish line to snatch second place by just under two minutes.
Bernie's Proudest Moment - IRC One
Bernie Evan-Wong's Reichel Pugh 37, Taz wins IRC One © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
In IRC One, Antigua's Bernie Evan Wong was tired but overjoyed to win the class racing his Antiguan RP37, Taz. Bernie has competed in all nine editions of the race and is proud to represent Antigua & Barbuda.
"Unbelievable, just amazing," smiled Bernie, full of emotion. "The team worked so hard, but was also a really happy bunch. I remember trying to take a rest but I couldn't sleep because there was so much laughter on the boat. We are the smallest boat in the race and to beat all of the big boats in our class is like a dream come true."
James Heald's British Swan 45, Nemesis, racing Two Handed with Ben Harris was the runner up in IRC One; a monumental effort for the short-handed team. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46, Pata Negra was third.
British Success in IRC Two
Ed Fishwick's Redshift on El Ocaso © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Ed Fishwick's J/122 Redshift on El Ocaso enjoyed an epic battle in IRC Two with two other British yachts. Redshift on El Ocaso won the class after time correction from reigning class champion, Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster. Ross Applebey managed to just pip Dominic Hurndall's British Grand Soleil 43, Jua Kali by venturing out of the current and into Cades Reef on the last leg to the finish.
"We have competed in this race with classic trade wind conditions, but this year we had a massive variety in weather on the course from big breeze in squalls, to fickle light winds. The guys did a fantastic job and we all agreed that this was the best '600 we have ever done. The whole crew was sensational," commented skipper, Ed Fishwick.
Sleeper and The Blue Peter celebrate in Antigua - IRC Three
Jonty and Vicki Layfield's Swan 48, Sleeper X win IRC Three © RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Jonty and Vicki Layfield's Swan 48, Sleeper X led for most of the race on corrected time to win the class with a crew containing Antiguan sailors such as notable Antigua Yacht Club coach, Shawn Malone and the youngest competitor in the race, 16 year old Antiguan Vincent Anfi.
"That was probably the hardest race I have ever done," explained Jonty Layfield. "I could not be more happy with the crew. They showed great tenacity to keep going, even in the very light winds and they were fully focused and motivated."
Mathew Barker's 1930 sloop, The Blue Peter was runner up in IRC Three, but Mathew was delighted to pick up the award for the Classic Class.
"I have sailed thousands of miles in The Blue Peter and that was without doubt the toughest race I have competed in. The Blue Peter is a heavy displacement yacht and to keep her going through light winds takes a huge amount of concentration and all of the crew kept their energy levels up. I am sure we will be back to race again, hopefully with the big breeze that the boat just loves."
Nikola Popov's First 40.7, Blue Magic won the battle for third with Peter Hopps Sigma 38, Sam. Blue Magic was just 17 minutes ahead of Sam after well over four days at sea.
"Congratulations to all of the winners in the RORC Caribbean 600. Winning class in this race is proving more and more difficult as the quality of the competition increases each year. The weather was the biggest factor this year, but the persistence shown by every boat to complete this race is admirable. However, competitors enjoyed some of the best sailing conditions imaginable once the front had gone through. The combination of a challenging race, sunshine and warm water in beautiful surroundings makes this a totally unique offshore race," commented RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen.
The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start from Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Monday February 19th 2018.
In February there is no better offshore race in the world than the RORC Caribbean 600. Racing 600 miles non-stop around 11 tropical islands is a challenge, especially for the largely corinthian teams racing in IRC Two and IRC Three.
The ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. A southeasterly breeze, occasionally gusting up to 15 knots and a relatively calm sea state provided conditions for the perfect start with some close battles on the water.
"This fleet is awe inspiring because of the quality of the boats and you can see that by the competition at the start to get close to the cliffs. From the first gun, people were pushing hard to win the race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has grown, year after year and we just love it, it is the perfect playground for offshore racing," commented Eddie Warden Owen, RORC Chief Executive.
The MOD70 battle for multihull line honours has already kicked off. Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 pulled away from Giovanni Soldini's Maserati at the upwind start but as the two cracked sheets at Green Island, Maserati deployed their foil and took up the lead. Two hours into the race, the two flying trimarans were approaching the Barbuda mark touching 18 knots of boat speed.
George David's Rambler 88 got away to a terrific start and leads the monohull fleet on the water by almost three miles on approach to Barbuda. However, three hours into the race and after IRC time correction, George Sakellaris' Proteus is estimated to be leading overall with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente second and Rambler 88 third.
IRC Canting Keel and IRC Zero produced a thrilling start. Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70 SFS II came charging in on port, baring away behind the two Maxi72s to take a commanding position on the favoured left side of the course. Meanwhile Proteus was perilously close to the line at the start and boldly sailed Bella Mente towards the cliffs. You could hear Bella Mente calling for water from the cliff top and within less than a boat length of the rocky shoreline, Proteus tacked, leaving Bella Mente no option but to tack into their dirty air. It is likely that the two Maxi72s will be having a close quarters battle throughout the race. Proteus passed Green Island just 26 seconds ahead of Bella Mente. The two powerful yachts hoisted spinnakers, accelerating through the Caribbean swell and Proteus showed a better turn of speed opening a lead of several miles on the way to Barbuda.
Ed Fishwick's J/122 Redshift on El Ocaso nailed the pin end at the first start which saw the combined IRC Two & IRC 3 classes away clear. This year with softer winds predicted, perhaps one of these yachts will win the overall prize of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. Redshift on El Ocaso was leading on the water at Green Island but two hours into the race, Sailing Logic's First 40, Joanna of Cowes, skippered by James Sweetman, was estimated to be leading IRC Two after time correction. In IRC Three, Jonty Layfield's Swan 48 Sleeper X held a two mile lead on the American Swan 48, Isbjorn and was estimated to be leading on corrected time. However the entire class of nine yachts are all very close on the water.
The Class40 Division are enjoying incredibly close racing. Peter Harding's Ph-orty leads, Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Halvard Mabire's Campagne de France are both within one mile. The pack of Class40s have the magnificent sight of the 182ft twin-masted schooner Adela ahead of them. Cressida Robson reporting from Carl Wilcox's Nisida: "We have had everything from 15 knots gusting up to 30 and spotted a water spout on the way to Barbuda."
RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd was hoping to compete on Giles Redpath's Pata Negra, but due to business commitments had to watch the start from ashore this year. "It was almost as nerve racking to be up at Fort Charlotte as on the water, and of course we are all hurlers from the ditch telling them to get closer to the cliffs. It was a fascinating start from an amazing and historic vantage point to see these wonderful boats take off. Everything went very smoothly, which is a great tribute to our professional race management team and our volunteers. This was quite an emotional moment for me and we will of course be wishing them all well for the next few days and a safe return."
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.
Seventy-eight yachts have entered the eleventh edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, where in excess of 700 sailors from six continents and yachts from over 20 nations will compete in the thrilling race around 11 Caribbean islands starting on Monday 18th February.
The 12th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 24th February 2020 from Antigua. Already the early entries are nudging towards an eclectic mix of 50 boats, with competition expected to be as red hot as ever. Previous overall and class winners are already committed to the thrilling 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.
For the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, 21 teams - racing yachts of 50ft (15.24m) or over - have already signed up for the 600-mile blast around 11 Caribbean Islands. The competition in all the classes will be as fierce as ever.
The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is likely to be the fastest and possibly toughest race in the ten year history of the Caribbean 600 mile classic.
The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 kicked off in spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua with the magnificent fleet starting the 600 mile non-stop offshore race in bright sunshine, full-on gusting tradewinds and two-metre high waves.
With just over a month before the start of the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, over 60 yachts have officially entered the Caribbean classic.
On the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 three yachts were still racing: RORC member, Peter Hopps, skipper of British Sigma 38, Sam was just five miles from completing his eighth RORC Caribbean 600. Aleksandra Jankowska's Polish team racing Dufour 40, Porfavor was 15miles from the finish and Girls For Sail's British First 40.7, Hot Stuff, skippered by Sophie O'Neill was 56 miles from the finish. The RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving will be held tonight and all of the class winners have now been decided.
In the early hours of Thursday 21 February, after two and a half days and nights of intense competition and over 600 miles of racing, it all came down to just a few minutes.
The RORC Caribbean 600 attracts the world's fastest racing yachts, magnificent superyachts and corinthian production cruisers. Gathered in Antigua for the start of the 600-mile blast around 11 Caribbean islands, the fleet is a phenomenal sight. Among the spectacular entries this year are two colossal schooners; Eleonora and Adela, with at least 12 classic-designed yachts joining them on the race course.
Adela dates back to 1903 and at 182ft (55 metres), she is the largest yacht competing in the race. Displacing 250 tons and capable of 17 knots of boat speed, the forces on board are off the charts; the mainsail alone can generate 50 tons of load. Adela has an extraordinary record in the race; coming in the top ten overall under IRC in all four races she has competed in, including third overall in 2013. Adela is unbeaten in the Spirit of Tradition Class and is likely to have 35 crew for this year's race. Since she last competed in 2015, the schooner has undergone major modifications to her rudder and keel. Changing a headsail on Adela requires crew out on her mighty bowsprit, a position for agile, strong and trustworthy crew.
"We are really starting from scratch in terms of how to sail Adela after the refit," commented crew boss Guy Salter. "There have also been a few changes to the crew, so we will be working on boat handling in the run up to the race. We still have ‘Shag’ on the helm and that is a good thing. Experienced guys from the Maxi era are the closest thing to experts on driving these sort of boats and when you have crew on the bowsprit, which is really just an extension of the foredeck, you need someone on the helm who knows how to drive a displacement yacht. He won't come up at a mark until it is safe to do so. Protecting the crew is the most important part of the race."
The crew of the 162ft Eleonora, the exact replica of the famous 1910 Herreshoff schooner Westward will include members of the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Ocean Racing Club © onEdition
Displacing 213 tons with an overall length of 162ft (49.5 metres), Eleonora is an exact replica of the famous 1910 Herreshoff schooner Westward. Since her launch in 2000 she has followed Westward’s heritage of racing, however, this will be Eleonora's first RORC Caribbean 600.
"It is an event that the crew have been looking forward to ever since it was decided to enter," explains Brendan McCoy, Captain of Eleonora. "Adela has shown formidable speed in the Caribbean 600 and she has an advantage over us in waterline length and sail area, so it will be against the odds to beat her over the water. On IRC rating, we just don't know how we will fair and the conditions will play a big part. However, it will be an achievement to sail Eleonora well around the course. There are so many manoeuvres; it will be a real challenge for the crew and that is what we are looking forward to. For the race, we will have members from the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Ocean Racing Club on board and we are keen to ensure they all have a memorable race."
Classic yachts have always been a part of the RORC Caribbean 600. Competing this year is the 78ft Maxi Kialoa III, best remembered for victory in the 1975 Sydney Hobart, with the race record lasting for 21 years. The 70ft mahogany ketch, El Oro which was originally owned by the founder of Bic pens has been sailed from Australia to compete. Mat Barker's 65ft sloop, The Blue Peter has unfinished business after retiring from last year's race. The Blue Peter is a true classic, almost unchanged since being launched in 1929.
Nine majestic yachts, built by Nautor's Swan will also be competing this year, including three classics designed by Sparkman & Stephens; Swan 48s, Isbjorn and Sleeper, a Swan 44 Freebird. Other classic designed sloops in the RORC Caribbean 600 include the 88ft Dutch Frers, Tulip, Irish C.N.B Briand 76ft, Lilla and Hound, a 60ft Nielsen Custom from the United States.
The 9th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start from Antigua on February 20th 2017 and in excess of 70 yachts are expected, with over 900 sailors from 24 different countries taking part.
NEWSFLASH: Jim & Kristy Hinze Clark's VPLP-Verdier 100 Comanche, crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 on Wednesday 24 February at 04 13 02. Taking monohull line honours for the race in an elapsed time of 40hours 53mins 02seconds.
The All-American Maxi72 battle in the RORC Caribbean 600 lived up to expectations with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Proteus enjoying an epic match race. The lead in the Maxi72s changed hands on seven occasions during the race. Bella Mente counted 85 sail changes and at one point, both yachts were way-over canvassed, smoking along at 30 knots in a gigantic squall. Bella Mente crossed the finish line just 14 minutes ahead of Proteus to set the bar for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy which will be awarded at the Prize Giving to the yacht scoring the best time under the IRC Rating Rule.
Hap Fauth was delighted to have won the match race with Proteus and full of praise for the event, the competition and above all, his team.
"We are beat; there is nothing left as the whole team gave 120% or more...unbelievable! We are just delighted to have prevailed. We had a match race for 500 miles with Proteus and that is a really well sailed boat. It was really, really good sailing. This is an iconic race that you cannot miss at all.
"The RORC should be congratulated for organising another great race. This was an interesting course because with the conditions it was totally new and fresh. We expected a maximum wind speed of 15 knots and at one point we were doing 25 knots of boat speed, just ripping, so it was terrific. Not until we got to Barbuda for the second time did we really establish ourselves. We had a tacking duel with maybe 15 tacks and extended out by four miles, we just kept our lead. A really good race and it doesn't get any better.
"Last year we didn’t finish the race and we had to put the old girl back together. Bella Mente is the oldest Maxi 72 on the circuit and I am the oldest helmsman, but if I am still out of the ground next year, I will be back. This crew is the best in the world. I just stay at the back and get all of the applause."
Bella Mente tactician, Terry Hutchinson, explained some of the key aspects in the battle with Proteus:
"If you haven't done this race you have to come and do it, even with the unusual conditions it was really good. Way more exciting than we thought it would be. What surprised me was we finished the race a lot earlier than we thought, but the battle with Proteus was just as we expected. We passed each other seven times during the race! Getting that extra gust of wind and different sail combinations were big factors. Proteus was quick on a reach and Bella Mente had a slight edge upwind and downwind. At Guadeloupe, we had set a spinnaker first at Iles des Saintes, but we couldn't make the corner and then couldn't get our spinnaker down either, so we were on the back foot going around La Desirade. For the 90 mile beat, Bella Mente was going about as good as ever and we were a mile behind, but by Barbuda we were two miles ahead. It will be interesting to hear if something wasn't quite right on their boat. We got ahead when it counted, but massive kudos to the Proteus team, they sailed a great race."
George Sakellaris' Maxi 72, Proteus © RORC/ELWJ Photography
Last year's overall winner, George Sakellaris racing Proteus described the race as one of the best ever despite losing out to Bella Mente.
"We had everything in this race; it was an epic battle but something went wrong with the boat on the beat to Barbuda. We even backed up the boat to try to shake off some weed or whatever it was slowing us down. Up until then it was a great race, one of the best I have ever done. We had close company all the way and not just Bella Mente, we had Leopard and SFS to contend with as well. The team is fantastic and it was very exciting. At one point we were sailing with the A1 (largest spinnaker) in 37 knots of wind and the boat was doing 30 knots. That is why I go racing, that is what I live for."
Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 © RORC/ELWJ Photography
Mike Slade's Maxi Leopard 3 finished the RORC Caribbean 600 in second place on the water behind George David's Rambler 88 to claim third in class. "Leopard has not been beaten on the water by a Maxi 72 or a Volvo 70 in this race and that still stands," commented Leopard 3 Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock. Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70 finished the race just under two hours behind Leopard 3 and after time correction is runner up to Rambler 88 in IRC Canting Keel. "It was a great pleasure to race along side two Maxi72s and our target was be ahead of the other Volvo 70s and we achieved this with a good result. We had great sailing and a good fight all along but it was a hard race."
Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70 SFS © RORC/ELWJ Photography
On the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, over 50 yachts are still racing. Bernie Evan-Wong's Antiguan RP37, Taz is leading in IRC One. Ed Fishwick's British J/122, Redshift on El Ocaso is leading in IRC Two and Jonty Layfield's British Swan 48, Sleeper X is leading IRC Three. Peter Harding's British Class40 Ph-orty is back in the lead for the Class40 Division.
Even if the wind gods are not playing, the fleet races round 11 Caribbean islands, competitors are rewarded with sightings of amazing wildlife. Whales spotted off Redonda by the media team in the helicopter
© RORC/ELWJ Photography
In the early hours of the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 a fantastic battle came to a dramatic conclusion.
After three nights and four days of competition out on the 600nm race course, the first boats have arrived back on the docks in Antigua. Interviews with some of the early arrivals, including Multihull and Monohull Line Honours winners, and provisional class champions in the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
Over 40 yachts have officially entered the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, starting from Antigua on 19th February 2018.
With 87 yachts already entered and more expected, the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will have another record fleet.
Greg Slyngstad's American Bieker 53 multihull Fujin has capsized during the RORC Caribbean 600. All eight crew are safe.
The 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 18 February 1100 local time (1500 UTC).
With less than two weeks until the start of the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, boats and crew are beginning to arrive in Antigua. The marinas in Falmouth and English Harbour are starting to buzz with activity as sailors from all over the world arrive to prepare their yachts for the 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands. Around 70 teams will be taking part with well over 700 sailors competing.
The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style with the record 70-yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua. Under the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent collection of yachts started the 600 mile race around 11 Caribbean islands. Five highly competitive starts thrilled hundreds of spectators lining the cliffs at Shirley Heights and Fort Charlotte. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.
The strong conditions experienced at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 continued through the first night.
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.
High winds and mighty seas continued for the third day of the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600. Eight teams have finished the race and 34 yachts have now officially retired, with 40 teams still racing.
On Monday 18th February, all eyes will be on Antigua as around 80 boats from over 20 countries will start the challenging and tactical 600 nautical mile race around 11 Caribbean islands in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Caribbean 600.
An unprecedented fleet featuring the world's most spectacular yachts and crews are gathering in Antigua for the start of the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600. The race starts on Monday 22 February.
To keep up with all the news and to follow the fleet, please see full details below.
RECORD FLEET - WORLD'S MOST SPECTACULAR RACING YACHTS
The Race Team from the Royal Ocean Racing Club, based at Antigua Yacht Club is busy preparing for the start of the 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 on Monday 22 February. Since 2009, the only offshore race in the Caribbean has grown in popularity and this year a record fleet of 70 yachts from around the world will compete.
The 12th edition of the ever-popular 600-mile dash around 11 Caribbean islands - the RORC Caribbean 600 - will set off from Antigua on Monday 24th February.
The 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 attracted 76 teams from 21 countries and crews from six continents. The highly diverse fleet were challenged by the tough conditions and captivated by the beauty of a stunning race course. The non-stop 600 mile race around 11 Caribbean islands is unique and very much on the bucket-list of any offshore sailor.
“All the classes had amazing competition and many finished the race just minutes apart, especially in the battle between Maserati and Argo, and the Class40s,” commented RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen. “There were a lot of new boats and faces at this edition and the quality of the fleet and sailors continues to impress every year. The weather served up classic trade wind conditions which makes the race a challenge, but also a fast and exciting one.”
For the 2019 edition, David and Peter Askew's Wizard (USA) is the first Volvo 70 to win the race and the eighth team from the USA to lift the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. “Awesome,” commented David Askew. “This is the first time we have done this race and to win it overall is beyond our wildest possible dreams. I really can't believe it.”
“Wizard planing at 25 knots - that is what makes this race so great and there is always something going on around these beautiful islands. This is the first time I have been to Antigua and the welcome has been phenomenal,” added Peter Askew.
Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze Clark's American VPLP-Verdier 100 Comanche crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 at 03.45 on Wednesday morning with an elapsed time of 40 Hours 53 Minutes 2 Seconds taking monohull line honours for the race, and only 33 minutes outside the record time set by George David's Rambler 100 in 2011.
Sparkling conditions prevailed for the start of the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Line honours victory and Multihull race record for Phaedo3, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 co-skippered by Brian Thompson, completing the 600nm RORC Caribbean 600 at 19:39:04 AST on Tuesday 23 February. Phaedo3 beat their existing 2015 record of 33hours, 35mins, 30 secs by 1hour 34minutes 26seconds. New Record: 31hours, 59mins, 04seconds.
Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze Clark's American Maxi Comanche arrived in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua on Saturday afternoon, 20th February. Having taken line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 100ft Canting keel Maxi left Sydney by ship on 6th January bound for Charleston, USA, 9,272 nautical miles via The Panama Canal. Comanche then sailed 1,500 nautical miles in less than four days from Charleston to Antigua.
David & Peter Askew (USA) racing their Volvo 70 Wizard have taken Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Caribbean 600 crossing the finish line on Wednesday 20 February at 07:08:44 AST in an elapsed time of 1d 19h 38m 44s. Wizard has set the bar for the overall win under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
With under four months until the start of the 8th race, the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600 has already attracted an astounding collection of the world's finest offshore racing yachts. The strength of the fleet suggests that there will be intense competition for overall honours as well as record attempts for both monohull and multihull race records.
Shipping straight to the Caribbean from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race will be Comanche, Jim & Kristy Hinze Clark's American 100ft VPLP/Verdier designed Maxi, which rightly claims to be the fastest monohull in the world for her 24-hour record run (2015 Transatlantic Race, 618.01 nm, averaging 25.75 knots). Comanche races with as many as 29 crew, led by Kenny Read, who was on board George David's Rambler 100 to set the RORC Caribbean 600 course record in 2011 (40 hours 20 mins 02 secs). Given the right conditions, Comancheis very capable of breaking Rambler 100's record.
Maserati Multi 70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini (ITA) crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 at 20:49:00 AST on Tuesday 19 February 2019 in an elapsed time of 1 day, 06 hours 49 minutes and 00 seconds, taking Multihull Line honours and setting a new Multihull Race Record in the 11th edition of the race; beating the previous record by just over one hour.
Maserati Multi 70 crew: Giovanni Solidni (ITA), Vittorio Bissaro (IT), Guido Broggi (IT), Carlos Hernandez Robayna (ESP), Oliver Herrera Perez (ESP), Nico Malingri (IT), Matteo Soldini (IT) Claude Thélier (FRA).
The extraordinary events surrounding the battle for Multihull Line Honours will be remembered for years to come. Just 48 hours before the start of the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600, Jason Carroll's MOD 70 Argo (USA) capsized at high speed in training. It seemed impossible that Argo would be racing, but after a monumental effort by the sailing community in Antigua, Argo's crew and shore team, Argo miraculously made the impossible a reality.
George Sakellaris’ Maxi72, Proteus (USA) has been declared the overall winner of the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600. Whilst several yachts are still racing, by the afternoon of Thursday 25 February the remaining teams will be unable to better Proteus’ corrected time under IRC. Sakellaris was awarded the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the best corrected time under the IRC Rating rule.
While the multihull race record was not broken this year, Phaedo3 and Maserati had an incredible 600 mile high-speed duel.
Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70, Phaedo3 finished the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Tuesday 21 February 2017 at 21 hrs 20 mins 46 secs AST, taking Multihull Line Honours.
The winning crew were:- Lloyd Thornburg (Skipper), Brian Thompson (Co-skipper), Paul Allen, Peter Cumming, Michel Desjoyeaux, Robert Greenhalgh, Damian Foxall and Miles Seddon.
Phaedo3 held on to win the battle of the trimarans, just 12 minutes ahead of Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70, Maserati. The high-speed battle saw the lead change hands at least four times during the race. The experimental semi-foiling Maserati showed incredible speed on a reach and it took a momentous effort from Phaedo3's well established team to hold off the challenge. There was high drama at Guadeloupe with vicious squalls and heroics from Maserati's crew diving into the water to free the boat from a fish trap.
Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo3 - Photo RORC/Tim Wright
Once back on the dock in Antigua, Lloyd Thornburg, Skipper of the American Phaedo3 summed up the race: "Maserati gave us a heck of a run and it was really tough to stay ahead of a foiling boat. They kept coming at us with more pressure and they definitely have more speed at certain angles. The run down to Redonda was a real nail-biter and we knew that after that, the beat home would be in our favour and to cross the line ahead was just awesome. Every year, I get reminded how insane a race this is and after this race, our navigator Miles Seddon said to me that we have turned the insanity up again this year. You never get used to this race - hanging on reaching at 36 knots, it is just incredible. All of our team had to dig so deep and we love Antigua and had an amazing reception."
Co-Skipper of Phaedo3, Brian Thompson commented on the unusual wind direction that had been predicted before the start: "We had a lot more wind speed for the race, which was a surprise. Off Guadeloupe we had huge rain squalls which are really quite dangerous in a MOD70 and we had 30 knots of wind from nowhere and shifting 50 degrees in seconds, with Maserati pushing us all the way. The big gennaker stayed up and we had to put in a few big bare aways to avoid capsize. With the strange wind direction we had to really think on our feet. It was an amazing race with Maserati though and we got away several times, but they always caught us up. Right near the start they went blasting past us flying through the air, hooting and hollering and waving at us. That is what they had come for and they have learnt a lot about foiling a MOD."
Maserati crew: Giovanni Soldini, Guido Broggi, Francesco Malingri, Vittorio Bissaro, Carlos Hernandez, Oliver Herrera, François Robert, Matteo Soldini © RORC/Ted Martin
Maserati skipper, Giovanni Soldini was full of praise for both his Maserati team and their rivals Phaedo3. The Italian MOD70 has an experimental foil enabling them to literally fly when the boat is on starboard, but not when they are on port, enabling them to give Phaedo3 a really close fight.
"Phaedo are a very, very good team. They have known the boat for many years, whereas we are just beginning to get to know ours. We really flew a few times and we were able to play with Phaedo and I am really pleased with my crew as they were fantastic. At the start of the last leg, we were just a minute behind. We have learnt a lot by racing with Phaedo and so we are improving our performance. Our dream was to make a MOD70 fly and in a couple of months we will have foils on both sides and life will be much more simple."
Maserati’s race was not without incident. "When we were past La Desirade we caught a buoy on the rudder but we didn't realise until near Barbuda," explains Soldini. Carlos Hernadez heroically jumped into the water when it was blowing 20 knots and the boat would not stop, so he had to swim very fast!"
George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 is expected to take Monohull Line Honours for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 at midday today local time (1600 UTC). At dawn on Day Three of the RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth's Bella Mente was winning the battle of the Maxi72s approaching Barbuda. Bella Mente holds a two mile lead from 2016 RORC Caribbean Trophy holder, George Sakellaris' Proteus, and is estimated to be top of the leader board overall under IRC.
Simon & Nancy De Pietro racing C.n.b. Briand 76, Lilla are approaching Guadeloupe and are estimated to be leading IRC One by a slender margin from Theodore Kane, Jr's Swan 66 Bounty. Three yachts are in a close battle for victory in IRC Two. Dominic Hurndall's Grand Soleil 43, Jua Kali has taken the normal route on the downwind leg to Guadeloupe. However Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster and Ed Fishwick's Redshift on El Ocaso passed Montserrat to port. After IRC time correction, there are just seconds separating the three yachts after 330 miles of racing. In IRC Three, Jonty Layfield's Swan 48 Sleeper X is enjoying a comfortable lead after IRC time correction and by 22 miles on the water from Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson's swan 48, Isbjorn. Peter Hobbs' Sigma 38, Sam is approaching the halfway stage in the race and is estimated to be in third in class.
A close battle is raging in the Class40 Division as the three leaders approach the wind shadow of Guadeloupe with barely a mile separating them. Catherine Pourre's Eärendil is just ahead of Peter Harding's Phor-ty and both team have chosen to take a line close into Guadeloupe. Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron’s Campagne de France has chosen to go offshore by approximately 8 miles.
In the battle of the schooners, the 182ft Adela, skippered by Greg Perkins is rounding Iles des Saintes with 220 miles to go. The 162ft schooner Eleonora, skippered by Brendan McCoy is 44 miles behind Adela on the water.
After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. The low pressure system emanating from the north arrived earlier than anticipated, extinguishing the trade winds to provide a windless night for many competitors. However, in the early hours of Tuesday morning a highly unusual north westerly wind was effecting the majority of the fleet rounding St.Kitts and Nevis. The arrival of the wind was accompanied by torrential rain – more Argyll & Bute (Scotland) than Antigua & Barbuda! By dawn on the second day, the majority of the monohull fleet were beating to Saba Island to turn downwind towards St. Barth.
As dawn broke on Day 5 of the RORC Caribbean 600, crews who had finished the race were beginning to arrive back in Antigua. Every boat, regardless of where they were moored, was met by the RORC Caribbean 600 volunteers, armed with a celebration banner and cold beer. The restaurants and coffee shops around Falmouth Harbour were filling up with sailors, hungry for a square meal and full of stories about their RORC Caribbean 600.
At Dawn on the fifth day, the leading Class40s were approaching the finish. Throughout the race, the battle in the class had been intense, with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course. Peter Harding's Phor-ty was leading at Redonda, just ahead of Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Halvard Mabire's Campagne de France was in third. All three yachts started the beat to finish with a chance of victory. However, Eärendil's main halyard broke as the team hardened up for the beat and they were forced to reef and re-hoist. Phor-ty extended on the beat to take the gun and the class win by just 33 minutes. With Eärendil under-powered, Campagne de France closed the gap and overtook them, just before the finish line, to snatch second place by just under two minutes.
An emotional win in IRC One for Antigua's Bernie Evan Wong and his crew on the RP37, Taz © RORC/Ted Martin
In IRC One, Antigua's Bernie Evan Wong was tired but overjoyed to win the class racing his Antiguan RP37, Taz. Bernie has competed in all nine editions of the race and is proud to represent Antigua & Barbuda.
"Unbelievable, just amazing," smiled Bernie, full of emotion. "The team worked so hard, but was also a really happy bunch. I remember trying to take a rest but I couldn't sleep because there was so much laughter on the boat. We are the smallest boat in the race and to beat all of the big boats in our class is like a dream come true."
James Heald's British Swan 45, Nemesis, racing Two Handed with Ben Harris is the runner up in IRC Two, a monumental effort for the short-handed team. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46, Pata Negra is third.
Ed Fishwick's J/122 Redshift on El Ocaso secure overall win in IRC Two. Crew for the RORC Caribbean 600: Nick Cherry, Robert Hillier, James Holmes, Ed Males, Luke Patience, Alan Roberts, Nick Bubb and Tom Whicher © RORC
In IRC Two, Ed Fishwick's J/122 Redshift on El Ocaso is the winner.
"We have competed in this race with classic trade wind conditions, but this year we had a massive variety in weather on the course from big breeze in squalls, to fickle light winds. The guys did a fantastic job and we all agreed that this was the best 600 we have ever done. The whole crew was sensational," commented skipper, Ed Fishwick.
"I couldn't have picked a better offshore race than the RORC Caribbean 600. It was a really cool experience, a great bunch of guys and my first offshore race," exclaimed Olympic 470 Silver medallist, Luke Patience.
"Day one we saw a water spout, hump back whales; it was all kicking off, just epic! It was wonderful steering a boat at night, sailing by feeling the flow underneath you. The watches just flew by, I really enjoyed the race and it was very inspiring. The difference between offshore and Olympic sailing is that this is relentless, you are at it day and night. Where the two are wildly different is that with offshore sailing you are not in control all the time, you have to give a good handover to the next watch. However both disciplines require that you never take your foot of the gas."
While Redshift on El Ocaso is the provisional winner for IRC Two, a battle is raging for the remaining podium places between three British yachts. Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster is currently estimated to be in second place. Dominic Hurndall's British Grand Soleil 43, Jua Kali in third. Andy Middleton's First 47.7, EH01 is in fourth.
Hap Fauth's American Maxi72, Bella Mente has been declared the overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. Whilst yachts are still racing, none of the fleet can beat Bella Mente's corrected time under IRC. This is the second time Bella Mente has won the race overall and was a sweet victory after retiring last year with keel problems.
Multi70 Maserati (ITA) and MOD70 Argo (USA) have been ripping up the RORC Caribbean 600 race track, blasting around the course at phenomenal pace and well over 30 knots of boat speed has been recorded on the YB Race Tracker.
Hap Fauth's American Maxi72, Bella Mente has been declared the overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. Whilst yachts are still racing, none of the fleet can beat Bella Mente's corrected time under IRC. This is the second time Bella Mente has won the race overall and was a sweet victory after retiring last year with keel problems.
George David's Rambler 88, finished the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 11 hrs 56 mins 17 secs AST taking Monohull Line Honours.
Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70, Phaedo3, finished the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Tuesday 21 February 2017 at 21 hrs 20 mins 46 secs AST taking Multihull Line Honours.
The winning crew were:- Lloyd Thornburg (Skipper), Brian Thompson (Co-skipper), Paul Allen, Peter Cumming, Michel Desjoyeaux, Robert Greenhalgh, Damian Foxall and Mile Seddon.
The 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 19th February and teams from all over the world will be competing, lured by the thrilling conditions to race 600 miles around 11 Caribbean islands. Two months prior to the start, 53 entries have already been received and the race starting from Antigua is on course to eclipse the record entry of 80 boats last year.
USA makes up 40% of IRC fleet + Record Class40 entries
With just over a month to go until the start of the RORC Caribbean 600, 77 teams from across the world have already entered the spectacular 600-mile offshore non-stop race around 11 Caribbean islands. The overall win under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy over the past decade has been dominated by teams from the United States. This year, at least 17 teams will be flying the Stars and Stripes and the vast majority will be racing under IRC. In the Class40 Division, the 2018 Route du Rhum and the forthcoming 2019 Le Défi Atlantique have assisted in creating a record 10 entries, nine of which will be flying the French Tricolour in the 11th edition.
The RORC Caribbean 600 has been an epic offshore combat zone for the Maxi72 Class and Hap Fauth's Bella Mente (USA) and George Sakellaris' Proteus (USA) have both won overall on two occasions. Both teams are back again this year, and alongside Peter Harrison's British Maxi72 Sorcha, they are among the favourites.
The 2020 RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving was held on Friday 29th February celebrating a fascinating race. 700 sailors from 37 countries, joined by the Antiguan yachting community, gathered at the Antigua Yacht Club for a grand finale to congratulate winners. All of the participating teams were honoured with a personalised souvenir in the shape of decanters, suitably filled with English Harbour 5-year-old Rum!
The overall winner of the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 was Tilmar Hansen’s TP52 Outsider (GER), skippered by Bo Teichmann. Outsider is the first German boat to lift the RORC Caribbean Trophy, breaking a seven-year winning streak of winners from the USA. Runner-up was the defending champion, David & Peter Askew’s Volvo 70 Wizard (USA), which also took Monohull Line Honours. One of the smallest boats in the race was third, Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 10.80 In Theory (USA).
“This is a great race, one of the greatest experiences in my 38 years with this team,” commented Tilmar Hansen. “We kept going and that is down to excellent teamwork and a well-prepared boat. Outsider is not just a German boat, the team is also from Australia, Denmark, USA, Poland, Netherlands and Austria. Congratulations to the RORC for their meticulous organisation and also to Antigua for the fantastic welcome.”
IRC Zero was won by Outsider, with Wizard second. Eric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine (FRA) was third. The Bella Mente Trophy was won by Landry, Siwicki & Roesch’s Mills 68 Prospector (USA).
Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was victorious in IRC One. Second in class was Philippe Frantz’s NMD43 Albator (FRA) closely followed by Placido Arango García-Urtiaga’s Swan 65 Libelula (ESP) in third and winner of the Swan Challenge Cup.
“We enjoyed the sailing and these boats, especially in this race when we have hours and hours of fast reaching, surfing away,” commented Giles Redpath. “The crew are all friends and there is a lot of camaraderie and an extremely nice atmosphere on board. We had some beautiful moments such as breaching whales near Barbuda. This is a very special race with stunning scenery and always boats to race with, anywhere on the course – a lot of fun!”
IRC Two was won by Scarlet Oyster; the sixth class win for the Oyster 48 and the seventh for the Oyster 48's skipper Ross Applebey (GBR). Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid (ANT), skippered by Jules White was runner-up in both IRC Two and CSA Two. Global Yacht Racing’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR), skippered by Andy Middleton, was third in IRC Two.
“That was easily the toughest race I have done both mentally and physically, there was so may twist and turns,” commented Ross Applebey. “The close racing with young friend Jules (White), and of course Andy (Middleton) with EH01 saw us stick together with a bungee for half the race. When you get parked up you have to regroup and come back, and our crew just kept working - they were incredible. It was a real war of attrition the whole way around. You invest so much into this race, to try and do the best you can, and this year it was very close.”
IRC Three has been won by Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 10.80 In Theory (USA). Richard Oswald’s Emily of Cowes, skippered by Katy Campbell (CAN) was second, Yoyo Gerssen’s Ohlson 35 Cabbyl Vane was determined to finish the race and after almost exactly five days, crossed the line to take third. IRC Two Handed was won by Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (GBR), adding to their overall win in the RORC Transatlantic Race. Last year’s winner, Jeremi Jablonski’s Hanse 430 Avanti (USA) was second.
Peter McWhinnie’s team is mainly from the Larchmont YC situated on Larchmont Harbor in Westchester County, New York:
“The team are very experienced and in Long Island Sound we have learnt a few tricks on how to keep going in light airs,” commented Peter McWhinnie. “The biggest gain during the race was in the lee of St.Kitts. We kept going and stretched out six miles on our class. If the wind had not dropped off on Thursday, we would have had a real chance of winning the race overall. The team is all Corinthian and we are really happy with our performance.”
The Class40 Division was won by BHB, sailed by Arthur Hubert (FRA). Morgane Ursault Poupon’s UP Sailing (FRA) was runner-up. Arnt Bruhns’ Iskareen (GER) completed the podium.
“Our boat is designed for really strong wind, so it was a bit tricky for us, but we really enjoyed the race - fighting with other boats,” commented Arthur Hubert. “BHB is really powerful reaching but we knew UP Sailing would be faster in the light. So the overall strategy was to keep close to them in the light and attack when the wind was stronger. Up Sailing is also from St. Malo so we are friends but there was no talking between us when we were racing. This race is really good for getting data to develop the boat because we sail at many wind angles and wind speeds. BHB has come second twice, so to win was very satisfying.”
The last boat to finish the race, Cabbyl Vane, arrived the morning after the prize giving. The 1974 Ohlson 35 has been beautifully restored and optimised for offshore sailing. Last year the Dutch brothers, Yoyo and Jan Gerssen raced Two Handed but retired, exhausted in the tough conditions. This year they were joined by Sam Frampton and Gertjan Andel. A huge gathering at the Antigua Yacht Club cheered their arrival.
“This means so much to us,” smiled Yoyo Gerssen. “We were determined to finish the race and that is down to the crew and a great boat. Racing 600 miles in Cabbyl Vane is a long way but she was solid and so were the team. It was never in doubt that we would finish and Jan will make his flight back to Holland today! It means so much to me and my brother, a big thanks to him, to Sam and Gertjan, and of course to the RORC for the 600 – it is a wonderful experience.”
"Safety is the primary concern of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the RORC Race Team monitor all of the boats throughout the race,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone. “The RORC recognise the time and effort put in by all of the teams in the RORC Caribbean 600 and look forward to welcoming them all to race with the Club again in the future. Also, a big thank you to the huge number of volunteers who help with every aspect of the race finish here in Antigua."
Representing Antigua & Barbuda at the Prize Giving were: His Excellency The Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, The Hon Charles Fernandez Minister for Tourism and Mr. Walter Christopher, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry and Tourism and Ms Shirlene Nibbs, Consultant to the Ministry of Tourism.
Go to the RORC Photo Gallery for all the images of the race:
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
On the second day of the RORC Caribbean 600, Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70, Phaedo3 and Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70, Maserati have passed La Desirade on the Atlantic side of Guadeloupe. After 24 hours of high octane racing, Phaedo3 was just 35 seconds ahead of Maserati.
The northwesterly breeze had churned up a confused sea state at a part of the course, notorious even without the unusual wind angle. The two flyers felt the full brunt of the conditions as they cracked sheets and pulled the trigger towards Barbuda, blast reaching at over 30 knots of boat speed.
Phaedo3 proved to be the faster of the two, opening up a slim lead of under half a mile. The breeze is due to turn north and if it does, the two MOD70s will be reaching to Redonda and then onto the finish. At La Desirade the two MOD70s were 25 minutes off record pace. However, if the wind clocks north, both Phaedo3 and Maserati will be on for the multihull record, but they need to cross the finish line off Fort Charlotte before 19hr 39min 04sec AST on Tuesday 21 February.
In the MOCRA Class, third place on the water is Greg Slyngstad's Bieker 53, Fujin, an all-carbon flyer with daggerboards and T-Rudders designed by Californian Paul Bieker. However after MOCRA time correction, Robert Szustkowski's H66, R-six is in third place behind the two MOD70s. R-Six flies the Polish flag and is skippered by Robert Janecki. Fred Ball's American Newick 50, Lucky Strike is in fourth place after time correction. Michael Butterfield's Dazcat 46, Dazzla suffered rig failure on Tuesday morning; all of the crew are well on board and heading for St. Maarten under engine.
Hurtling around the Caribbean at speeds in excess of 30 knots and topping out nearer 40, often barely a boat length apart, the epic duel between MOD70s Concise 10 and Phaedo3 came to a conclusion after 32 hours of hot racing. Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo3, co-skippered by Brian Thompson crossed the finish line at Fort Charlotte in an elapsed time of 31hours, 59minutes, 04seconds, breaking their own multihull race record set last year by 1hour 34minutes 26seconds.
Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY), skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield has taken Multihull Line Honours in the 2020 RORC Caribbean 600 just four minutes ahead of Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA).
A thrilling race between four Maxi72s came to a conclusion on the third day of the RORC Caribbean 600. With the lead changing hands on numerous occasions, George Sakellaris' Proteus was the first Maxi72 to finish the race, just over 20 minutes ahead of Dieter Schön's Momo with Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou third. Last year's overall winner, Hap Fauth's Bella Mente retired with keel problems.
“We have beaten some great boats and the sailing was great and we had a beautiful venue,” smiled George Sakellaris, Proteus’ owner. “During the race we had boat-on-boat action with all of the Maxi72s; Bella Mente, Jethou and Momo, and their teams are all great sailors. Proteus is a powerful boat which helps, but it is all down to the team.”
We are sad to announce that Maxi72 Proteus has officially withdrawn from the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 after breaking her mast during training on Wednesday 13 February 2019.
George David's American Maxi, Rambler 88 finished the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 11 hrs 56 mins 17 secs AST taking Monohull Line Honours.
This year was George David's third line honours win in the RORC Caribbean 600. However, the record set by his previous boat, Rambler 100 in 2011 remains intact for another year. However, George David was very content with the performance of the team and Rambler 88.
“The forecast was right on for direction as the breeze went a full 360 degrees, but we had a bit more velocity than anticipated. It was a good race and we enjoyed it very much but this was a different race altogether. It was more like the English Channel than the Caribbean and Rambler 88 will be racing there this summer in our build up to the Rolex Fastnet Race. I have never taken part in those races before so that will be interesting as well.
“This year we had a full-on reach all the way from St. Barth to Guadeloupe. When you are at the helm and the boat is beautifully balanced, and you are doing 20 knots with a poled out J1 and staysail for 150 miles, you can't help but smile. It is great to have taken line honours again, but we have only won this race overall one time. We will come back because it is such a great place to be; everything about the race is nice”
George David and Brad Butterworth after the finish of the RORC Caribbean 600 © RORC/Ted Martin
Tactician, Brad Butterworth was quick to commend the Rambler 88 crew dockside shortly after finishing the RORC Caribbean 600:
“We were looking through the data all through the race and between Anguilla and St. Maarten we had to gybe while our competition got the new pressure and by dawn, they were right behind us, so we lost most of our lead there. Racing a boat like Rambler 88 you need a really good crew and we have guys that have the experience to get the boat going faster all the time. This year the race was not as tough as previous years, but it is far from a Caribbean holiday. We had to make a lot of sail changes which is very gruelling on the crew. This boat is like a Volvo 70 on steroids; it has unlimited power and in these conditions the helm is still relatively easy to handle and there is a lot of water coming over the bow, but we don't go up there!”
Rambler 88: Rodney Ardern, Silvio Arrivabene, Scott Beavis, Josh Belsky, Brad Butterworth, Andrew Cape, Rodney Daniel, Simon Daubney, George David, Jan Dekker, Brian Giorgio, Brad Jackson, Jerry Kirby, Will McCarthy, Robert Naismith, Mark Newbrook, Dean Phipps, Aaron Reynolds-lovegrove, Joao Signorini, Stuart Wilson © RORC/Ted Martin
Mike Slade's British Maxi Leopard 3 is expected to be the second monohull to finish the race in front of two Maxi72s vying for the overall win under IRC: Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Proteus. Lionel Pean's French Volvo70 SFS II is also expected to finish the race today, 22 February at 17:30 AST.
A record entry of 88 yachts has entered the tenth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 which has grown both in stature and entries since the race was first contested in 2009. For the 10th anniversary, in excess of 800 sailors from six continents and over 22 nations, will compete in the thrilling race around 11 Caribbean islands. Winners from the Olympic Games, America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and multiple world champions have gathered in Antigua and will be competing alongside passionate corinthian sailors, both young and old.
In its 10 year history, American yachts have dominated the race, winning the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy on six occasions, setting both the current monohull and multihull records. For the 2018 race, 13 American teams will be competing including, George David's Rambler 88, George Sakellaris' Proteus, and Peter Aschenbrenner's Paradox. The trio are amongst the favourites for the top prizes. However there is strong competition from Australia, France, Great Britain, Germany and Ireland.
American Maxi Rambler 88 is back and skipper George David will be taking part in his sixth race. David has taken line honours on three occasions and with Rambler 100, won overall under IRC in 2011, setting the monohull race record (40 hours 20 minutes 2 seconds). Rambler 88 is the hot favourite to be the first monohull home this year and has world class crew in every department, including three time America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth. Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS will make its debut in the race after successfully taking line honours in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race. Philip Rann's British Maxi La Bête poses a threat to Rambler 88 and CQS. Race founder and long-standing RORC member John Burnie will be taking part in his ninth race on board La Bête.
Olympic, America's Cup and round the world sailors will be rubbing shoulders with passionate corinthian sailors at this year's spectacular RORC Caribbean 600 starting from Antigua on Monday 22 February. A record entry of around 70 yachts is anticipated for the 8th edition of the offshore race around 11 Caribbean islands.
Featuring the most magnificent collection of racing yachts ever seen in the Caribbean, an incredibly varied fleet will be racing under the IRC, CSA and MOCRA rating systems, as well as Class40s racing under class rules. Comanche, Phaedo3 and Concise 10 will be gunning for course records but the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy will be won by the yacht with the best corrected time under IRC.
A fleet of over 80 yachts is expected for the ninth edition of the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 in which 900 sailors from 30 different nations will race non-stop around 11 Caribbean islands, starting and finishing in Antigua. Passionate corinthians will be rubbing shoulders with Olympic medallists, America's Cup winners and round the world sailors in a race to take home the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The 600 mile course is designed to offer a tactical, high speed race with stunning vistas at every corner.
“The RORC Caribbean 600 is very different to the other 600 mile races and definitely not a holiday race in the Caribbean,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. “The race has many tactical legs with land effects and wind-driven currents which are both difficult to predict. The heat of the day and the long nights are also unusual features for an offshore race making it every bit as challenging as the Rolex Fastnet Race, and just as exciting. It is interesting to note that the records for the Rolex Fastnet Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 are very similar.”
Featuring a magnificent collection of yachts, an incredibly varied fleet will be racing under the IRC, CSA and MOCRA rating systems, as well as Class40s racing under class rules. Rambler 88, Phaedo3 and Maserati will be gunning for course records, however, the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy will be decided by the yacht with the best corrected time under IRC.
A record 84 yachts started the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua today; the largest fleet assembled in the ten-year history of the race. The impressive armada set off in unstable conditions with squalls producing a wind range of over 20 knots, and as little as 10, with some big shifts in direction. High seas and strong trade winds are expected for the race, with the anticipation of record breaking pace. At 1600 AST Rambler 88, Proteus and Warrior were ahead of the monohull race record.
Peter Aschenbrenner's Irens 63 Paradox was launched at the start and led the 11-strong multihull fleet, reaching Barbuda in just two hours. George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 got away well at the outer end of the line, tacking immediately to smoke upwind in a halo of spray. Rambler 88 took under an hour to round Green Island before unfurling reaching sails to blast towards Barbuda at well over 20 knots of boat speed. Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS developed a technical problem shortly after the start and returned to Antigua to effect repairs, as per the rules of the race.
The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 is set to be a spectacular edition of the fantastic 600 nautical mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.
The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start as scheduled in Antigua on 19th February 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.
Thomas Corkett Sr's American Andrews 70, Runaway finished the RORC Caribbean 600 in an elapsed time of 3 days 2 hours 17 minutes and 5 seconds to claim third place in IRC Zero. Anders Nordquist's Swan 115, Shamanna has won the Superyacht Class and is top Swan, as we go to press for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600, finishing the race in an elapsed time of 3 days 1hr 44 mins and 2 secs.
“We were happy with our race but had very difficult conditions with very little wind,” said Shamanna's Anders Nordquist on arrival back in Antigua. “On the way down to Guadeloupe we had almost 20 knots, so we were really happy to experience the conditions that the boat was built for. The crew have been racing together since 2012 and they are a fantastic team. We know each other very well; the communication is good and the atmosphere is great. It was an excellent race.”
“This is the first RORC Caribbean 600 race with this boat,” explains Daniel Calascione, Skipper of Swan 115, Shamanna. “As far as training for this race, we did one event in November and that glued the crew together, plus two days training before the race and everyone was back into the rhythm. Being a superyacht with all the luxury amenities, we have quite a bit of extra weight and we struggle against the race boats below 8 or 10 knots, and we had quite a lot of that! We needed a lot of patience at frustrating times waiting for the wind to fill in, but it makes it a bit more exciting and adds a little more of a tactical dimension to the race, which I think we enjoyed. On the way down to Nevis we had beautiful sailing and saw about six whales blowing waterspouts into the air. At times we had dolphins around the boat and the scenery is just fantastic.”
Danneskjold, Dixon 100, sailed by Simon Hill - Photo RORC/ELWJ Photography
Danneskjold, sailed by Simon Hill, finished the race in 3 days 3 hours 33 mins and 4 secs. The Dixon 100 was close on the water with Shamanna and Runaway and is one of 14 Maxi and Supermaxi yachts taking part in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600.
Young up-and-coming sailors will be racing alongside and against some of the world's best professionals in next month's RORC Caribbean 600.
Thirty-four yachts have officially entered the ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starting from Antigua on Monday 20th February 2017. With almost double the number of entries as this time last year, the race has already attracted a magnificent fleet and is expected to better last year's record entry of 70 yachts.
Over the next four months, a huge variety of yachts will arrive in Antigua, along with crews from all corners of the world in order to prepare for the start of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 600 mile yacht race around eleven Caribbean islands.
"The RORC Caribbean 600 is the only true offshore race in the West Indies and is a very attractive event for many sailors. I love every part of the race as you have to navigate to always put the boat in the right place, even though the situation is often changing," explains veteran French round the world sailor, Lionel Péan who is skippering the physically demanding Volvo 70, SFS II in the 2017 edition.
"The race requires full mental concentration and that is one of its most exciting values. You always have to ask yourself questions about your decisions and it is also a very technical race from one leg to another. There are always decisions to be made and many effects from the land. Racing around so many tropical islands in great weather is very beautiful. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a very unique race," says Péan, whose nickname is 'the Rock' (and it's not just about his rugby player physique).
Lionel Péan set his sights on winning the Whitbread Round the World Race for France and achieved his goal, as skipper of Esprit d'Équipe in 1986. Before his round the world win, Péan won the 1983 Solitaire du Figaro, but his first real test was the 1979 Mini Transat which finished in Antigua. Péan has raced the RORC Caribbean 600 previously, coming third overall in 2011 on Peter Harrison's 114ft Superyacht, Sojana. For the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600, monohull line honours and the overall win under IRC, will be the twin goals for SFS II.
“The Mini Transat was my first solo crossing of the Atlantic and I fell in love with Antigua and its people. It is always a joy to return to Antigua and spend time with great friends and the RORC Caribbean 600 will bring many of us together.
SFS II is a Volvo 70 designed for offshore racing and especially for reaching, which is a main feature in this race,” comments Péan. “The Volvo 70 is perfect in this format so the '600 will be much more suited to our team than any race we've done with the boat. However, we will have a bigger crew than we would for an oceanic race. You have so many manoeuvres on a race like the ‘600; you eat up the crew all the time from sail changes and grinding and need a very good fit crew. We will probably race with 15 and not all of them are super-strong, but they are passionate and dedicated Figaro sailors which makes up for any lack of power.”
Adela, one of the world's fastest schooners is back for a fifth RORC Caribbean 600. The 182ft twin-masted schooner dates back to 1903 and has recently undergone an extensive re-fit at Pendennis in Falmouth, UK. Performance enhancements under the water and new carbon rigging will complement an extensive sail wardrobe of hi-tech sails, including 'Big Red' a spinnaker of 1000 sq. metres. The schooner has an extraordinary record in the race; coming in the top ten overall under IRC in every race she has competed in, including third overall in 2013. Adela is also unbeaten in the Spirit of Tradition Class.
Adela's skipper, Greg Norwood-Perkins spoke about the RORC Caribbean 600 from the schooner, mid-Atlantic, en route to Antigua:
“The Caribbean, especially the Windward and Leeward Islands are hard to beat for sailing condition for Adela, says Norwood-Perkins. “Now throw in a race where you are competing with similar yachts and it adds further excitement to the venture. One that you just want to keep doing again and again. The RORC Caribbean 600 is top of the list for ‘must to do’ yachting. With more boats every year signing up to be on the start line, it is becoming a race that is increasingly harder to ignore on the racing calendar!
“On Adela we have to deal with the logistics of organising a large race crew so Antigua, and specifically English Harbour and Falmouth with their array of good hotels, restaurants, bars and marine-associated businesses, make the task so much easier. Cruising the Caribbean as much as we have and competing in four RORC 600 to date, we can categorically state that Antigua is the perfect venue for such an event. Compliments also need to be made in the seemingly faultless organisation of the event by the RORC and the association with Antigua Yacht Club.”
For more information please go to: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/
The Royal Ocean Racing Club is pleased to announce Sevenstar Yacht Transport as the Official Logistics Partner to the RORC Caribbean 600 starting in Antigua on 20th February 2017.
"The RORC have had a long and fruitful relationship with Sevenstar through their title sponsorship of the quadrennial Round Britain and Ireland race. We are delighted that they have extended this partnership by becoming the logistics provider for the incredibly successful RORC Caribbean 600, with the ability to provide cost-effective shipping solutions for boats travelling from Europe and America," says Michael Boyd, RORC Commodore.
Sevenstar is the world leader in the transport of yachts and equipment all around the world, and has recently added the Racing Yacht Logistics division to specifically cater for the yacht racing community.
Although Sevenstar operate worldwide, much of its business involves shipping to and from the Caribbean and Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics will offer competitors a team of experts to advise on race yacht transport. The new division will also ship other essential racing equipment, including spares, masts and RIBs, making sure that teams are fully race-ready by the time the start gun goes off.
"Sevenstar Yacht Transport is delighted to continue its association with the RORC, to add to its title sponsorship of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. We very much look forward to being the Official Logistics Partner of the RORC Caribbean 600 and are ready to be of service to its competitors," says Wouter Verbraak, pro-sailor and Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics.
The RORC Caribbean 600 is a highly challenging and tactical 600-mile race that takes competitors around some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. This 9th edition of the race will take place on 20th February 2017 and attracts an unprecedented fleet, featuring many of the world's most spectacular and high profile boats and crews, with race teams flying in from all around the world. These include Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and world-class sailors, along with RORC offshore racers and passionate adventurers; all competing on the same race course offering sublime conditions; guaranteed trade winds, sunshine and warm water, that keep them coming back for more.
For more information about Sevenstar Yacht Transport's services and for competitors interested in shipping their boats to the Caribbean for the race, please click here.
Morticia receives hero's welcome in Antigua. Shaun Carroll's Australian modified Sea Cart 30 Morticia is the smallest yacht to finish the tough 2018 RORC Caribbean 600.
With less than 48 hours to go, it’s a busy scene around the docks as crews prepare for the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 on Monday 20th February, but it was time to officially open the race and welcome everyone to Antigua for the 9th edition.
Skippers from 80 boats attended a briefing at Antigua Yacht Club where RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott highlighted some key points for the race and a few administrative requirements before they head off. It was standing room only for the 200 or so highly experienced skippers and navigators from the record fleet, but all were fully focused, listening attentively to the briefing for the 600-mile offshore race.
0700 AST Day Two RORC Caribbean 600
The record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600 enjoyed a full moon on the first night of racing. At sunset on the first night, all of the fleet had rounded the mark off Barbuda, enjoying fantastic sailing conditions and highly competitive racing. Phaedo3 and Concise 10 were at the front of the fleet enjoying a thrilling high-speed duel, often touching a blistering 30 knots of boat speed. 100ft Maxi, Comanche was blasting through the Caribbean surf in hot pursuit of the monohull record for the course. Four Maxi72s were in a close quarters battle for supremacy, but two of the smaller yachts in the fleet were vying for the overall lead as dawn broke on day two of the RORC Caribbean 600.
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.
DAY 4 AM UPDATE 1000 AST
The magnificent 213ft schooner, Adix finished the RORC Caribbean 600 at 0703 AST on Thursday 25 February in an elapsed time of 2 days 19 hours 33 minutes 5 seconds to win the Spirit of Tradition Class. Gonzalo Botin's Class40, Tales II finished at 0336 AST, over three hours before Adix. Both yachts are sailed by the same Spanish family and no doubt Gonzalo would have been delighted to win the Spanish duel in a boat that could fit on the stern of the spectacular schooner. Tales II was also the winner of the Class40 division for the third year in a row. The joy of Botin's Tales II team was complete when they crossed the line, breaking their own Class40 record by 11 minutes and 23 seconds to set a new Class40 record of 2 days 16 hours 26 minutes 29 seconds.
Multihulls have been racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 since the very first race in 2009 when Claude Thelier's (FRA) Region Guadeloupe, skippered by John Burnie (GBR), set a record that was not bettered until 2015.
The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style with the record 70 yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua. Under the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent collection of yachts started the 600 nmile race in a sublime 14 knot south-easterly breeze with brilliant sunshine. The conditions were enough to have the fleet fully ramped up and a not insignificant swell added to the excitement. Five highly competitive starts thrilled hundreds of spectators lining the cliffs at Shirley Heights and Fort Charlotte. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.
By dusk on the second day of the RORC Caribbean 600, the entire monohull fleet in the race were at the northern most extremity of the course negotiating the chicane of islands; Saba, St. Barths, and St. Maarten.
Day Four am Report 27 February
For the second year in a row, David and Peter Askew’s Volvo 70 Wizard (USA) has taken Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Caribbean 600. Adrian Keller’s Nigel Irens-designed catamaran Allegra (SUI) is the provisional winner of the MOCRA Class. Tilmar Hansen’s German TP52 Outsider has finished the race and is currently the overall leader under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 Prize Giving will be held tonight, Friday 22nd February and it is a special evening celebrating a premier race in the world yacht racing calendar. Hundreds of passionate corinthian sailors and the world's top professionals will rub shoulders at Antigua Yacht Club. Victorious teams will take to the stage to receive acclaim for their efforts and to be presented with personalised souvenir decanters of English Harbour Rum!
Day two am report 25th February
After a sublime start and a reach up to Barbuda in beautiful conditions, the majority of the fleet experienced the first trap of the course. Just before sunset on the first day, the wind shadow of Barbuda enveloped the armada. The halt in progress was short-lived and looking on the bright side, Barbuda is a stunning spot to pause to watch the sun go down. After rounding the Barbuda mark, the fleet were back in the breeze heading west on a starboard gybe. Choosing when to gybe south to round Nevis would have been the main strategic call. Tactically, with the boats super-compressed, night fighting for wind and position would have taken on guerrilla tactic proportions.
Argo, PowerPlay, Maserati and Ultim’ Emotion 2 are having a fascinating battle at the front of the multihull class. Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) and Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay (CAY) pulled away from Maserati Multi70 (ITA) at Barbuda. Giovanni Soldini’s trimaran stalled in the wind shadow for longer and then proceeded to take a route north of the rhumb line, losing out 20 miles. Maserati fought back, passing Antoine Rabestem’s Ultim’Emotion 2 (FRA) before Nevis. As Argo and PowerPlay stalled in the lee of Saint Kitts, Maserati found superb boat speed to catch up with the leaders. PowerPlay was the first of the trio to escape the trap, blasting out at well over 20 knots of boat speed. However, Powerplay stalled at Saba and was reeled in by Argo, with Maserati just astern. Ultim’Emotion 2, sailed by Petro Jonker and Rick Warner is still in touch with the leaders. The 80ft Ultim was a late entry with a new team that will be ‘revving the engines’ for bigger breeze to come. The winner of the class will be decided by MOCRA time correction - Adrian Keller’s 80ft Catamaran Allegra (SUI) is estimated to be in pole position.
At 1030 GMT on the second day, Tilmar Hansen’s TP52 Outsider (GER) is estimated to be leading the class after IRC time correction. Eric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine (FRA) is second. Mills 68 Prospector (USA), owned by Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners (Landry/Roesch/Siwicki) and skippered by Tery Glackin leads the class on the water, and is third in class. Prospector has put in a stunning performance early in the race, but Outsider made a winning move by going well offshore in the lee of St. Kitts, taking the class lead on the approach to Saba. Teasing Machine look to have picked up a good shift just before rounding Nevis to move up the rankings.
After rounding the Barbuda mark, Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator (FRA) was the first to gybe south and looked to pick a perfect line to stay in the breeze and gybed west to round Nevis to perfection, leading the class on the water. Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) is estimated to be leading the class after IRC time correction and is less than a mile behind Albator. Bernie Evan-Wong’s RP37 Taz (ANT) had a busy night, putting in numerous gybes on the approach to Nevis; the work-out moves the Antiguan team up to third in class.
The Farr 58 Maiden skippered by Liz Wardley is competing in its first offshore race since her refit and since coming second in the 1989 Whitbread Round the world race. “The race is going well. We made good gains last night in the lee of Barbuda and then held our own in light downwind to Nevis. We are currently sailing past the gap towards St Kitt where we can see boats are once again becalmed... another transition zone to navigate through! The sun is just coming up, which is a welcome sight as it’s been a long busy night, but all is great on the mighty Maiden,” commented Liz Wardley on The Maiden Project’s blog.
First 40 Optimus Prime, skippered by Dmitry Kondratyev (RUS) sailed fast and smart to lead the class at Barbuda. Global Yacht Racing’s Grand Soleil 43 Jua Kali (GBR), skippered by Gareth Glover, put in an early gybe after Barbuda which paid off in spades. Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid (ANT) was the first to reach Nevis, followed by Jua Kali and their sistership, Global Yacht Racing’s British First 44.7 EH01, skippered by Andy Middleton. EH01 rounded Nevis one minute ahead of Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster. After rounding Nevis, Liquid made good speed by using the acceleration around the island but then footed off west to avoid the wind shadow. Liquid surged into the lead both on the water and after IRC time correction.
Pip Hare racing on David Hall’s Grand Soleil 43 Panther commented: “Tough conditions for us up to Barbuda. We struggle against the lighter boats but the Code Zero has been a good friend. We’re all looking forward to rounding Nevis when we can officially say we got further than last time!” Panther rounded Nevis just before dawn this morning. Pip was referring to their retirement from the windy 2018 race with a torn mainsail. Panther have unfinished business and the crew are determined to finish the race.
Jonty & Vicki Layfield’s Swan 48 Sleeper (ANT) was first in class to round the Barbuda mark just after sunset on the first day. Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (GBR), racing Two Handed with Jeremy Waitt were well in tune with the shifts and the lightweight boat, the smallest in the race, was first in class to round Nevis. Jangada went offshore out of the lee of Nevis looking for breeze and they found it. First 40.7 Escapado, skippered by Stuart Dahlgreen (CAN) and Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 10.80 In theory also went offshore after Nevis. Seven miles behind the leaders Yoyo Gerssen’s Ohlsonn 35 Cabbyl Vane (NED) is estimated to be leading the class.
The light conditions are favouring the smaller yachts for the overall lead under IRC. Richard Stain’s Sovereign 40 Laura is a prime example: “Home built in Cheshire, Laura finds herself in 11th IRC overall. How did that happen?” commented Richard via the race WhatsApp.
Arnt Bruhns’ Iskareen (GER) got a great start to the race opening up a big lead at Green Island. BHB, sailed by Arthur Hubert (FRA) passed Iskareen on the run. However, both Iskareen and BHB stalled in the wind shadow of Barbuda to watch their lead evaporate. Morgane Ursault Poupon, racing UP sailing (FRA) had a great turn of speed after Barbuda and made a stunning gybe south to snatch the lead all the way to Nevis. UP Sailing is giving away 10 years of design and development advantage to the competition, but racing superbly well.
Early arrivals in Antigua + interviews with some of the first finishers in the 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600; including Class40 winner, Catherine Pourre - Eärendil (FRA); Wizard - Line honours monohull, Volvo Open 70 - David and Peter Askew (USA); Superyacht & largest boat in the race, Nikata, Greg Slyngstad's Bieker 53 Fujin (USA) successful return after their 2018 capsize in the race; Shannon Falcone's Dna F4 Falcon (ANT) and Multihull winner, John Gallagher on Gunboat 62 Chim Chim.
Magnificent start footage from the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600. Watch all the action on the water including aerial footage and spectacular shots from the start.
French skipper Catherine Pourre, racing Eärendil has won the Class40 division for the RORC Caribbean 600, setting a new record for the 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.
With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the Caribbean’s only offshore race in the Caribbean, teams who have made their way from all corners of the globe are using the last few hours to get in some training out on the water and to make final preparations before the start of this epic 600-miler.
With 24 hours to go until the start of the Caribbean’s only offshore race, crews from all corners of the globe - representing 37 different nations - are using the last few hours to get in some training out on the water and to make final preparations before the start of this epic 600-miler.
Next month, more than 70 yachts are expected to take part in the RORC Caribbean 600, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's stunning race around 11 Caribbean islands. American yachts have had a winning streak in this classic offshore race, winning five out of eight editions of the 600-miler, starting and finishing in Antigua.
With 16 entries, the largest number of American boats ever seen on the race course will include several serious race teams with a chance of winning the overall trophy. Past winners from the U.S. on the start line on Monday 20th February will include the current holder of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy from 2016, George Sakellaris, Proteus, Maxi 72 (USA) as well as some of the other American overall winners: 2015: Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA); 2014: George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA); 2013: Ron O'Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA) and 2011: George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA).
Favourites, for both line honours and the overall win are likely to come from the USA, even though British contenders lead the impressive list of entries in terms of number of boats from around the globe.
The fastest boat in the race is the American trimaran, the MOD70, Phaedo³ owned and skippered by Lloyd Thornburg who grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Phaedo³ set the multihull record last year, hurtling around the course at speeds in excess of 30 knots and topping out nearer 40, crossing the finish line in an elapsed time of 31 hours, 59 minutes, 04 seconds and breaking their previous race record. Team Phaedo is back to defend their title and will be taking a tilt at their own record once again.
15 Maxi yachts have already entered the RORC Caribbean 600, including American Maxi, Rambler 88 skippered by George David from New York. In 2011, George David's Rambler 100 scorched round the track in a time of 40 hours 20 minutes 02 seconds setting the monohull race record and winning the race overall. This year, George David's Rambler 88, although smaller than his previous Rambler 100, will be hoping for the right conditions to better the race record.
Two American owned boats, that on recent results must be regarded as joint favourites, are the highly tuned and professionally sailed Maxi 72's, Proteus and Bella Mente. George Sakellaris from Massachusetts, USA has won the race twice before and will hope to be the first team to retain the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and win the race for a third time. He will however have to beat the highly competitive world-class team on Bella Mente, skippered by Hap Fauth from Long Island, New York. Bella Mente won the race overall in 2015, however, last year the Maxi72 had to retire after suffering a major failure to her keel.
Two-time Olympian and multiple World Champion, Mark Mendleblatt from Florida, USA has won the race as part of George Sakellaris' afterguard and will be racing on Proteus this year:
"I don't know why more American boats do not participate," commented Mark Mendleblatt. "From Florida you can easily deliver the boat there on its bottom. Logistically, the race starts and finishes in Antigua and the marina, facilities and accommodation are excellent and less expensive than back home. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a fantastic race with great breeze, a lot of tactical calls, manoeuvres and sail changes. The start line is something really special; racing past a dramatic coastline, with superyachts, schooners and top ocean racers. During the race there is no respite and we are sure to have a great battle with Bella Mente. Whoever pushes the hardest will probably win. I am happy to take any role on board, but when you are at the helm with world class trimmers and crew calling the breeze in fast reaching conditions, it is the kind of racing that we all dream about."
Over 900 sailors from 24 different countries are anticipated to take part in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600.
For the latest entry list and more information: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/
RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY - IRC OVERALL WINNERS
2016 - George Sakellaris, Proteus Maxi 72 (USA)
2015 - Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA)
2014 - George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA)
2013 - Ron O'Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA)
2012 - Niklas Zennström's JV72, Rán (GBR)
2011 - George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)
2010 - Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
2009 - Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)
David and Peter Askew's American Volvo 70 Wizard has won the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, scoring the best corrected time under IRC. Wizard put in a near faultless performance to complete the 600 mile non-stop race in 43 hours 38 minutes and 44 seconds.
“That's awesome,” commented David Askew on receiving the news. “This is the first time we have done this race and to win it overall is beyond our wildest possible dreams. It's a race we have followed and we have always wanted to be in Antigua, but we wanted to have the right boat to do the really prestigious ocean races; the races we dreamed about when we were younger. We really didn't have any expectations, but we prepared ourselves to perform as best as we could. I am in shock, I really can't believe it.”
Organised by The Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with Antigua Yacht Club
Start: Antigua, West Indies - Monday 22 February 2016
Course: Approx. 600nm non-stop around 11 Caribbean Islands
The glitterati of the sailing world will be in Antigua to compete in the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600. Well over 100 Olympians, World Champions, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors will join hundreds of passionate corinthian sailors for the exhilarating 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.
Surfing on ocean swell in 20 knots of warm tradewinds, on a course resembling a Formula One race track, the RORC Caribbean 600 is hard to resist. A record fleet for the 8th edition is expected, with a 20% increase in pre-Christmas entries compared to last year, making a fleet of 80 yachts highly likely.
The weather forecast for the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 is predicting winds in excess of 20 knots for the duration of the 600 mile race, producing record-breaking conditions. Wouter Verbraak, Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics walks the course with an in-depth video on the nuances of the race around 11 Caribbean islands. Wouter has competed in the race on many occasions, racing Maxis and Multihulls. The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 19th February from Fort Charlotte, outside Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua.
Seventy-three teams with 700 sailors from 37 different countries took part in the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Disruption to the trade winds produced a tactical and strategic battle in predominantly light air. The traditional trade wind experience of blasting around the 600nm course was replaced with wind traps at most of the 11 Caribbean islands. Avoiding the windless lees and making use of the acceleration zones were the key to a winning performance. There were battles right through the fleet and sightings of breaching whales, dolphins and turtles which enhanced the sublime vistas.