600 mile Superyacht Match Race

Sojana during the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 - photo RORC/Tim WrightPeter Harrison's 115ft ketch, Sojana and Gerhard Andlinger's 124ft sloop, P2 have never done battle before in an offshore race. The two magnificent superyachts had a 600-mile match race around the entire course. P2 were the first home by just over 13 minutes in a race lasting over two and a half days. However, Sojana was well over an hour quicker than P2 after time correction. The two skippers, Marc Fitzgerald and Jonathan Kline spoke dockside, as the two yachts finally came to rest in Falmouth Marina.

Marc Fitzgerald - Sojana:

"We don't often have a match race on Sojana, we try an avoid it to be honest, especially when you are up against someone as good as Peter Holmberg who was at the wheel of P2. However, we ended up with a match race all the way around the course. P2 got away at the start, basically because they were much quicker in the light upwind but we reeled them in on the reach to Barbuda."

"Sojana was also quicker downwind, partly because we had bigger spinnakers from our new bowsprit and P2 had reduced the size of their downwind sails by not carrying their running spinnaker, presumably to lower their rating. When the breeze got up, we were definitely quicker upwind. However P2 is 10ft longer than Sojana, which sort of evened-out the performance of the two yachts."

"The race showed that we both have strengths and weaknesses but they are pretty small, so we were never that far apart. Sojana has a more extensive sail inventory than P2, especially reaching, but we managed to blow up our Code Zero which was a set back. We also had the hydraulics to the main clew and the mizzen clew fail on the final leg to the finish, which slowed Sojana down for some time but no disrespect to the crew work. We have a lot of very good sailors on Sojana and they instinctively got stuck in and kept the loss to a minimum. All credit to P2, they came back at us at Guadeloupe and we didn't pass them until after the Barbuda mark, if we hadn't had our problems on the beat to finish, we would have beat them to the line but P2 sailed extremely well and made it a great race with Sojana."

Jonathan Kline, P2

"Definitely a great battle with Sojana, I think we changed places six times during the race. This was our first offshore race and with the owner on board who is 81, to be able to battle like that around the course and take the finish was a lot of fun for everybody. I think we saw a bit of everything during the race, which made things quite tough. When you look at the course from afar you think that it's going to be 15-20 knots of wind for 72 hours but in fact there were so many different variables; squalls, island lees and everything else, which made it a bit tougher than expected. The variations kept as all awake a lot of the time and we had designed our watch system the way we thought it would be, but most portions of the course required everyone on deck."P2 during the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 - photo RORC/Tim Wright

"P2 has done lots of bucket racing and superyacht events but what attracted P2's owner Mr A, to the race was that we could sail long legs and let P2 do what she was designed to do. The RORC Caribbean 600 gave P2 a chance to shine and give the owner the experience of long distance sailing offshore but still in the vicinity of great islands and magnificent views."

"The mood after we tied up was a bit grim because we didn't have much beer to celebrate, but then the race 'meet and greet team' showed up at 4 a.m. with three cases of cold Carib and the mood changed rapidly. A big thank you to the RORC and Antigua Yacht Club for organizing such a great event."

The 4th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 has five yachts competing in the Superyacht Class. The Royal Ocean Racing Club has commissioned a new trophy for the class. Fashioned from an antique glass bowl dating back to 1907, The Superyacht Trophy will be awarded to the best superyacht racing in IRC.

Antigua & Barbuda
Seven Star Yacht Transport