by Louay Habib
RORC Caribbean 600 has been a special event for all of the competitors with the closest battle in any class decided last night. Great fighting spirit was shown by the two yachts still racing, providing a fitting finale to racing in the beautiful, but sometimes brutal waters of the central Caribbean.
RORC Caribbean 600
British Soldier, the Army Sailing Association’s A40, crossed the finish line last yesterday evening. The team largely consists of British soldiers on leave from active duty in Afghanistan, but not entirely. Two of the crew were from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and had no offshore sailing experience.
The Antiguans put there hands up for the trip and were shown the ropes by some of the more experienced members of the crew. British Soldier had a blistering start to the race and sailed intelligently around the track to claim a well deserved win in Class Two, showing dedication to duty, but also allowing the soldiers a relaxing shakedown from their vital role.
British Soldier had a cracking race but by the end they were fighting off a rear guard action from Christian Reynolds Swan 51, Northern Child. Christian charters his pride and joy at sailing regattas all over the world: 'Northern Child is all about the experience of sailing and enjoying time away from the stress of life. We were a little deflated at the end losing out by so little, but I think I can speak for all of the crew by saying that this has been a thought-provoking adventure not to be missed.' commented Christian Reynolds.
There was another great tussle between several yachts finishing in Class One. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 claimed second overall in class with Richard Balding’s Swan 60, Fenix third. Philippe Falle’s First 50, Hydrocarbon Logic and Ondeck’s Farr 65, Spirit of Minerva also finished this lively race which was a great achievement.
First 40.7s Spirit of Athena skippered by AYC (Antigua Yacht Club) and RORC member John Duffy and Coyote skippered by RORC member Peter Hopps, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 on Friday afternoon, wrapping up a fantastic event. Coyote were the last boat to cross the line but beat Athena on handicap. The two boats had been locked in a private battle all the way around the course. Not everybody gets to race a ballistic maxi, but there are many races within the event, which are just as important. The two production yachts had their own private gentleman’s duel from start to finish.
The third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 could be described as a ‘coming of age’ of a new offshore racing classic. Already interest is pouring in from future competitors. The race around 11 Caribbean islands provides some of the most spectacular racing conditions and scenery anywhere else in the world. It has attracted a huge variety of yachts and competitors and there is almost unanimous agreement, the RORC Caribbean 600 is a tough race with big wind and waves. It is exciting and a joy to experience.
Tonight all of the competitors will be joined by the race management team and dedicated volunteers from the Antigua Yacht Club at the closing party. Rock band, Itchy Feet will play out the event after winners collect there prizes, not everyone will end up on the podium but anybody involved with the RORC Caribbean 600 can rightly feel a sense of pride, this race has most definitely come of age.
Full Provisional Results Here