Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

RORC Caribbean 600 - Sensational conditions predicted for 5th edition

by Trish Jenkins on 17 Feb 2013
ICAP Leopard in action ICAP Leopard http://www.leopard3.com
Only 48 hours before a record breaking fleet sets sail for the fifth RORC Caribbean 600, weather forecasts are unanimously predicting sensational conditions, ideal for record-breaking pace, and there is every possibility that this will be the fastest RORC Caribbean 600 on record. Twenty knots or more of warm trade winds are anticipated for the start, with the wind and the Caribbean swell building during the course of the race, perhaps piping up to thirty knots on day two.

Mike Slade's canting keel Maxi, ICAP Leopard, is the out-and-out favourite to scorch around the 600-mile course to take the first gun. Navigator Hugh Agnew has been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for several days. In the meantime, the shore crew have been hard at work, meticulously preparing the boat for the wild ride to come.

'At the moment, the forecasts seem to be quite stable,' commented Agnew. 'We can expect 20-26 knots of easterly wind, maybe slightly to the south of due east for the duration of our race. The longest leg of the course is from St.Barths to Guadeloupe and with this wind direction, coupled with the apparent wind created by Leopard, it will be forward of the beam, so we will be unlikely to fly a spinnaker. This will slow us down, but the other side of the coin is that this wind direction may be beneficial on a crucial part of the course - the south side of Guadeloupe. If we get a one-sided beat, requiring few tacks, this could really work in our favour. It is a long beat between Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante and in my view the race for a record could be won or lost there.'

Leopard held the RORC Caribbean 600 course record for two years, however George David's Rambler 100 eclipsed that in 2011, setting a benchmark of 40 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.

Dockside in Antigua, Leopard's skipper Chris Sherlock was keeping his cards close to his chest but he admitted that there was a possibility of winning back the record. Something Leopard's owner, Mike Slade, has set his heart on.

'Our routing software is showing 40 hours at the moment, so there is not much fat on it, but we have a chance,' hinted Sherlock. 'There are three things that will stop us from breaking the record. Firstly if we go the wrong way and get out of big breeze, the other factors are maintaining the yacht and boat handling; just one bad furl on a sail can cost us 15 minutes and breakages can put an end to it totally.'

'In my opinion, our time could be half an hour either side of the record, we will just have to see how it pans out. Record or no record this looks like it will be a fantastic race with awesome conditions. Every time we do this '600, we learn more. Even when we are out on charter, we often sneak a look at a part of the race track, we have a lot of knowledge of what goes on behind those islands. Leopard is in great shape, we have a very capable crew and it would top off a great season if we got our record back.'

The RORC Caribbean 600 programme starts in earnest today with the Skippers' Briefing followed by the official opening party. It will be standing room only for invited guests, jam-packed shoreside at Antigua Yacht Club. Owners and their crew are set to enjoy a Caribbean drinks party and canapés accompanied by a traditional steel band. RORC Commodore, Mike Greville, competing in the race for the second time with CM60, Venomous, will open the proceedings.

The fifth RORC Caribbean 600 will start at 1100 local time (1500 GMT) on Monday 18th February.
Caribbean 600 website
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring - GenericInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Day 2 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 27 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts - Images from Régates Royales - Final day
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the Final Day - there ws no racing due to the obvious lack of wind - but the images are still excellent.
Posted on 27 Sep
French-flagged sailing team to make Extreme Sailing Series debut
30-year old Kiwi Adam Minoprio will lead the team, and he is looking forward to the challenge. Arriving fresh from victory on their GC32 in Sotogrande (Spain), the team of experienced foilers is expected to get competitive quickly on Lisbon’s stadium racetrack.
Posted on 27 Sep
Groupama Nouvelle-Caledonie Race - Top Kiwi racer takes line honours
TeamVodafoneSailing/Frank Racing has taken line honours in the 650nm Groupama Nouvelle-Caledonie Race. The New Zealand ORMA60 trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing/Frank Racing has taken line honours in the 650nm Groupama Nouvelle-Calendonie Race. She crossed the finish line at 10.33.12 on Tuesday morning, local time.
Posted on 27 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series - Lisbon joins the race to restore ocean health
Extreme Sailing Series™ organiser OC Sport is proud to announce that they have joined the race to restore ocean health Extreme Sailing Series™ organiser OC Sport is proud to announce that they have joined the race to restore ocean health with Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas programme.
Posted on 27 Sep
Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Day 1 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day one Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day one
Posted on 26 Sep
Melges 32 World Championship – Previewing the podium
13 teams from five countries are primed to descend on the sailing capital of the United States, Newport, Rhode Island. Thirteen teams from five countries are primed to descend on the sailing capital of the United States, Newport, Rhode Island for the eighth edition, hosted by Sail Newport, launching out of the Newport Shipyard.
Posted on 26 Sep
Another Foiling Week to be held next month
The public attention is no longer limited to the competitive sailing community since the market is offering more options The attention of the public is no longer limited to the competitive sailing community since the market is offering more and more options for recreational and cruising vessels. Newport is the first overseas edition of the Foiling Week: the genuine passion shown by the participants reminds of the first ever edition in 2014 on Lake Garda.
Posted on 26 Sep
Strong finish for Armin Strom at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
With Norauto and Team Tilt secure in first two positions, Armin Strom headed into the last day vying for third position With Norauto and Team Tilt secure in the first two positions, Armin Strom Sailing Team headed into the last day of competition vying with Team ENGIE, Realteam and Malizia for third position
Posted on 26 Sep
Alinghi pull off incredible comeback to take Act 6 in Madeira
Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances on the waters of Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
Posted on 26 Sep