Tired and Elated
Just after dusk at 19:34:34 Ron O'Hanley's American Cookson 50, Privateer, came through the finish line off English Harbour, Antigua. The 12 crew were tired and hungry but most of all thirsty for knowledge. The team from Newport, Rhode Island, USA knew it was close...too close to call. They had sailed their socks off and knew they were in with a chance of winning the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
The RORC Race Team gave Ron O'Hanley the good news that his Cookson 50, Privateer, had beaten Hap Fauth's American JV72, Bella Mente, by just over 22 minutes on corrected time to top the leaderboard for IRC Overall. At 0700 this morning only Adrian Lower's vintage Swan 44, Selene, has a mathematical probability of eclipsing Privateer's corrected time, but Selene needs to cover 200 miles in 10 hours, which is highly unlikely.
Privateer's win was made all the more sweeter by the fact that last year the team sailed an epic race only to come through the finish line and find that they had been docked a 10% penalty for a starting infringement.
"Elated, but relieved there is not another leg!" exclaimed Ron O'Hanley dockside in Antigua. "It is a fantastic race, the RORC do a phenomenal job and we are all delighted to back here again for the third time. After last year we knew there was some unfinished business and we put that away which was very sweet."
Shortly after Privateer's emotional return to Antigua the mighty schooner Adela, skippered by Greg Perkins, returned to the dock. Their IRC corrected time of 3 Days 6 hours 26 seconds secured their win in the Spirit of Tradition Class, Superyacht Class and third overall in IRC. Adela had an exceptional race worthy of their podium place for the overall title. Skipper Greg Perkins was quick to praise the entire crew:
"Of our crew of 30 only one has not sailed on Adela before, Kiwi navigator, Campbell Field. He did a great job on the tactics, especially taking us close in at Guadeloupe, which really paid off and that is a big part of why we performed so well," commented Greg Perkins.
"The crew did a fantastic job. With a boat like Adela, everyone has to understand the manoeuvers. It takes 15 minutes to change a headsail and there is no time to explain what has to be done, it has to go like clockwork. I have lost count of the number of sail changes in this race but it takes 20 guys just to get a headsail in place. Our A2 weighs 150kg and a lot more soaking wet and believe me, this was a very wet race for us. We are absolutely delighted to win our class and were surprised but very happy to see we are lying third overall."
At 0700 on Day Four 26 yachts are still racing and podium positions for class honours still hang in the balance.
Peter Harding's Class40, 40 Degrees, is 3 miles ahead of Mike Thrower's Jasmine Flyer with Christof Petter's Vaquita 10 miles further back. (More details in our afternoon update).
In IRC One Simon de Pietro's French Briand 76, Lilla, with a host of Antigua sailors on board, is just 12 miles from the finish and in a very strong position to take the class win. Colin Buffin's British Swan 62, Uxorious IV, is three miles astern of Lilla on the beat to the finish from Redonda, but on corrected time, second is the realistic finishing place. A great battle has developed for third in the class between Andy Middleton's Cowes based First 47.7, EH01, and Jason and Judy Payne-James' Dufour 45, Heartbeat IV. EH01 is just 14 minutes ahead of Heartbeat IV on corrected time and both yachts are expected to arrive in Antigua early tonight. Heartbeat IV comes from Burnham-on-Crouch, UK and the crew includes Grace Payne-James, at 15 the youngest crew member in the RORC Caribbean 600.
In IRC Two Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron's British Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, is 100 miles from home and in pole position to retain the class win they achieved last year. However the vintage Oyster is having to defend a fantastic effort from Joesph Mele's Swan 44, Triple Lindy, racing under the burgee of the City Island Sailing Club in New York. Christian Reynolds' British Swan 53, Northern Child, is well placed in third. Antiguan Bernie Evan-Wong's Mumm 36, High Tension, is lying fourth in class and having a terrific race, as the strong conditions have definitely favoured the heavier and longer yachts.
In IRC Three Jonty Layfield's British J/39, Sleeper VIII, is leading the class and expected back in Antigua at midnight tonight with a three hour lead on corrected time. Sleeper VIII is in a commanding position, but the last leg from Redonda is a 40-mile beat and the heavy displacement yachts behind Sleeper VIII should be far quicker on that leg. Valerio Bardi's Italian Swan 48, Milanto, should arrive in Antigua in the early hours of Friday morning and is currently lying second in class. Adrian Lower's British Swan 44, Selene, is having a terrific race but the British team need to get their skates on. Selene is currently third overall but predicted to cross the finish time at 18:30 tomorrow, which would be 30 minutes late for the prizegiving!