2014 RORC Caribbean 600 is scheduled to start Monday, February 24th off the island of Antigua. While Olympic athletes put their skills to the test in snowy Sochi, Bella Mente Racing’s 22 world-class sailors are warming up for their next big contest of the year, the RORC Caribbean 600. Last year in the 600-mile race, the team won IRC 0 and finished second overall for IRC, and this year all sights are set on not only the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy but also the inaugural Bella Mente Trophy, which will be awarded to the first yacht (that is 100% manually powered) over the finish line in IRC. In its sixth edition, the distance race is already boasting a record number of entries.
'We donated the Bella Mente Trophy to RORC after last year’s event, as there should be significant recognition for first-to-finish in this iconic race, and it would be very fun if we were the first boat to take it home,' said owner/driver Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn/Naples, Fla.), adding that the team started its 2014 campaign on a high note with a victory in IRC one at Quantum Key West in January. 'We are very happy with our results in Key West, and the team is excited to get back out on the water next week. The boat arrived in Antigua yesterday, and everyone is flying in over the next few days so that we can get some practice in before Monday.'
Originally launched in 2012, the 72-foot Judel/Vrolijk designed mini maxi is Fauth’s third yacht under the Bella Mente name, and to prepare it for this year’s campaign, the team spent the last few months of 2013 making updates to the boat to improve its balance and speed.
'It takes a lot of time and effort to get everything worked out with a boat, and I attribute all of Bella Mente Racing’s success to our team’s dynamic both on and off the water' said Fauth, adding that many of the sailors have been with him since 2005 when he acquired the first Bella Mente (a Judel/Vrolijk 66 built in 2002). The team won the 2006 Newport Bermuda Race on the original Bella Mente, and in 2010 Fauth purchased the second Bella Mente (a modified Reichel/Pugh 69 built in 2009) and went on to win the Transpac the following year.
'Over the years we have learned and strengthened as a team, and we have put our all into preparing for this season. We think we’re getting closer to an optimal level of racing,' added Fauth.
The team will see a strong group of contenders out on the race course next week, including George Skellaris’ mini maxi Shockwave, which fought a hard battle against Bella Mente in Key West; George David’s Rambler, which is a line-honors favorite; and Johnny Vincent’s TP 52 Pace, which is also a tough competitor.
After the RORC Caribbean 600, Bella Mente will stay south for Les Voiles de Saint Barth in April and then head north to Newport, R.I. for the month of June to race at the 160th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex and start the 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race. Later that month, the team will race in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Annual Regatta before shipping Bella Mente to Europe for the 33rd Copa del Rey Mapfre in August, the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship in September and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October. More about Bella Mente Racing
The original Bella Mente Racing campaign kicked off in 2006 with Key West Race Week, and since then owner and skipper Hap Fauth has had two additional racing yachts in the program. Launched in Spring 2012, the new Bella Mente is a 72-foot Mini Maxi designed by judel/vrolijk yacht design and built by New England Boatworks. Notable features include a Hall Spars mast; Southern Spars eC6 carbon rigging; running rigging supplied by T-E-C, winches and drive system by Harken and Stay in Phase; hydraulics by Navtec and Cariboni; most sails built by North Sails along with specialty Doyle Sails.
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