Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto AUS 2017 728x90 2

2015 RORC Caribbean 600 - Third time lucky for happy Hap

by Louay Habib on 28 Feb 2015
Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 - Hap Fauth's American JV72, Bella Mente has been declared the overall winner. Whilst several yachts are still racing, by the morning of Friday 27th February none of the remaining teams had the ability to better Bella Mente's corrected time under IRC. It was third time lucky for Bella Mente as the Maxi 72 has finished second overall for the past two years.

Bella Mente was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero Class and retained the Bella Mente Trophy as the first IRC Yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered, without either variable or moveable ballast. A delighted Hap Fauth spoke about the achievement and was full of praise for both the race team and shore crew.

'Friday, before the race start, we had a structural problem with the boat and limped home from practice to assess the problem. We took the boat apart and for two days the shore team set up a temporary boat building workshop and did a great job just to get us to the start line. Throughout the race we had no problems at all and my hat goes off to our ground crew.

'This is the third go at winning this race and three is the beauty! This is the third Bella Mente since 2006 and the majority of this team have been with me for at least five years - it is an outstanding group of guys. They like each other, we have a good time together - they are all mates. Everybody puts safety first, that's the way it should be offshore, but after that we push to the limit.

'This race is a series of sprints and every leg is different, you are trying to get out of the blocks at the start of each segment and as soon as you get going, you are looking to get to top speed without increasing the distance sailed in that quest for boat speed. We try to make a couple of minutes up at every corner - with 12 corners if you save three minutes a corner then that makes a real difference to your finish time. Everybody works together, it is our big strength; the crew did a phenomenal job.'

Bella Mente's British navigator, Ian Moore, spoke about a crucial part of the course. Nicknamed the 'Guadeloupe Casino', the wind shadow of Guadeloupe can make or break a performance as the largest and tallest island on the course can be an unforgiving trap.

'We knew that the wind direction would flick to the south east just as we were arriving at Guadeloupe and, although we were looking at the current situation, we had pretty much made the decision to take our chances by going inshore. In the past, we have had some bad experiences going offshore, if you run out of wind you can get trapped for a very long time. I would give Bella Mente's performance in the wind shadow a solid nine out of ten, we did really well but we had to fight for it and use all our skill to keep the boat going. Moose (Mike Sanderson) was driving, Terry (Hutchinson) and Ado (Adrian Stead) had their eyes out of the boat and I was just giving them the numbers and I believe that combined tactical sailing knowledge got us through.'

Hap Fauth had left nothing to chance in his quest to win the RORC Caribbean 600 and brought a team of world class sailors to run the afterguard which included Volvo Ocean race winning skipper, New Zealand's Mike 'Moose' Sanderson, current Rolex US Sailor of the Year, American Terry Hutchinson and British America's Cup tactician, Adrian Stead, who has been on the winning team for the RORC Caribbean 600 on three occasions. Mike Sanderson spoke about Bella Mente's victory:



'It was a great race at the end of the day and we had Maserati to race with some of the time. To be boat-on-boat with a Volvo 70 was a nice surprise. We have worked on the boat very hard since we were here last year. Hap loves this race and it was very pleasing for us sitting on the dock feeling that we didn't leave anything on the table. This was one of our best overall performances. We have two big races this year; the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet and we have produced a sail programme that covers the range well for those races. At one point we went through the lee of Leopard, reaching with a jib-top. Leopard is a fast 100 ft canting keel boat, so we are really excited at how well Bella is going with its new mast and new sails. We have done a lot of work on the aero-package and the boat feels great and she is going quick but we are really ringing its neck. To be honest the boat is pretty cranky and very physical. It is some of the most physical keel boat sailing that we do because you are muscling a windward leeward orientated boat around a reaching course, so it is tough on the wheel and there is a lot of grinding for the big boys.'

Bella Mente has become the third Maxi 72 to win the race overall and the fifth American owner to win the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving will take place on Friday 27th February at the Antigua Yacht Club.

Bella Mente Crew: Owner Hap Fauth, Thomas Allin, James Baxter, Michele Cannoni, Carlo Castellano, Sean Clarkson, Sean Couvreux, James Dagg, Federico Giovanelli, Peter Henderson, Terry Hutchinson, Keats Keeley, Brian Macinnes, Craig Monk, Ian Moore, Michael Sanderson, Matt Smith, Adrian Stead, Morgan Trubovich and Jim Turner.

Cooper Teamwear 660x82 1X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 2Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Kiel Week - What a difference a day makes
After opening day was blessed with gorgeous sunshine and breeze, albeit shifty, Thursday was a massive contrast. After the opening day of the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships was blessed with gorgeous sunshine and a seven - nine knot breeze, albeit shifty, Thursday was a massive contrast.
Posted today at 3:37 am
Highlights from the 'Racing Forward' forum
The highlights from the 'Racing Forward' forum at the Hamilton Princess brought to you by PwC Bermuda and America's Cup The highlights from the 'Racing Forward' forum at the Hamilton Princess, Bermuda on Tuesday 20 June, brought to you by PwC Bermuda and the America's Cup. The panel featured two fantastic sailors, who also happen to be women and part of the core group from The Magenta Project, Abby Ehler and Libby Greenhalgh. I was lucky enough to be the moderator for the panel,
Posted today at 2:31 am
Audi Sailing Week - 52 Super Series – It's a difficult day for Azzurra
Winners of the day’s races were Quantum and Ran, who is currently at the lead of the event’s provisional scoreboard The Swedish team aboard Ran again showed their excellent boat speed sailing downwind and got to the first gate head to head with Azzurra. Ran managed to inch past and take the lead. Azzurra was right behind, then at the final top mark chose to split off with a gybe set.
Posted on 22 Jun
Para World Sailing Championships – What a difference a day makes
Only the Open 2.4 Norlin OD, One Person Keelboat, managed to sail, and they completed one race in variable 5-16 knot The day had a bit of everything. There were grey skies, heavy showers and no breeze in the morning. Moving into the afternoon, a sudden sunny spell was coupled with a heavy breeze, gusting up to 25 knots. The breeze declined as the afternoon played out before dropping off completely and bringing another rain shower to put an end to the day.
Posted on 22 Jun
Interviews from final day of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup
Pretty incredible racing, with the final results decided in the final race, on the final leg to the finish! Pretty incredible racing, with the final results decided in the final race, on the final leg to the finish!
Posted on 22 Jun
Rán Racing on top of 52 Super Series Roller Coaster
On day one the defending 2016 champions Quantum Racing finished rock bottom of the leaderboard, counting maximum points Today, in perfect conditions it was the turn of the world champions Platoon to have an unfortunate taste of life down in the nether regions of the fleet.
Posted on 22 Jun
Red Bull Youth America´s Cup – Wrap-up
No one could have scripted a more exciting ending, as New Zealand was toppled from certain triumph in the last seconds No one could have scripted a more exciting ending, as New Zealand was toppled from almost certain triumph in the last seconds of the last race by a determined British team, and Bermuda emerged as the new darlings of sailing.
Posted on 22 Jun
Extreme Sailing Series sailors outshine in RedBull Youth America's Cup
Land Rover BAR Academy squad pulled off a dramatic last gasp victory to beat New Zealand and Switzerland to the title. The Brits were not the only squad showcasing their prowess and finely-tuned skills on the Great Sound in Bermuda. The two other podium finishers also featured faces who at various times have competed in the Extreme Sailing Series.
Posted on 22 Jun
Audi Sailing Week - TP52 Super Series – Day 2 images by Max Ranchi
Max Ranchi provided this gallery of images from day two Max Ranchi provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 22 Jun
Barcelona revealed as venue for Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4
Race Village will provide the perfect viewing arena for the racing, and will also offer a host of on-shore entertainment The cosmopolitan capital of Spain's Catalonia, a major tourist destination and one of the world's leading cultural and economic centres, is the final venue to be announced as part of the 2017 global tour.
Posted on 22 Jun