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Fast Caribbean miles and AC news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 22 Feb 2013
Phaedo - 2013 RORC Caribbean 600 Ocean Images/Team Phaedo
For us rain-sodden souls up here in Seattle, the last few weeks have been a grind. Lots of 'liquid sunshine', not enough Vitamin D, and of course, plenty of wet maritime air. Business as usual in the Pacific Northwest, granted, but the display of rain and grey bleakness was further accentuated (for me at least!) this week by the amazing reports that have been arriving from Antigua and the RORC’s Caribbean 600. Here, 54 boats enjoyed 605 miles of offshore sailing, starting and ending in Antigua, with plenty of fast miles and hot angles in between.

While this regatta has always seemed enticing (maybe I’ve just done a few thousand too many cold and rain-soaked miles), this year’s race was especially magnetic as the lead boats got within sniffing distance of new course records. In the Grand Prix division, owner Mike Slades 100-foot 'ICAP Leopard' supermaxi once again took line honors, but she wasn’t quite fast enough to break her own standing course record.


'That was definitely the toughest of the three races I have done, but I absolutely love this race; the course, the weather and the welcome we receive back in Antigua is just the best, anywhere,' said Slade, ex post facto. 'The RORC Caribbean is one of the premier yacht races worldwide and 'ICAP Leopard' will definitely be back next year.'


The action was also fast and furious in other classes, with the multihulls-including the trimaran 'Paradox' and the catamaran 'Phaedo'-scorching up the miles and enjoying their own private competition. 'I have to say I was surprised that we beat Phaedo,' admitted Peter Aschenbrenner, the owner of 'Paradox'. 'It’s difficult to rate multihulls because they are so different, but we have now raced 'Phaedo' in light airs and heavier breeze and both times the corrected result has been mighty close, so I guess the rating must be working.' Get the full Caribbean 600 debriefing, inside this issue.


In America’s Cup news, the Defender of the 34th America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA and the Challenger of Record, Artemis Challenge, have been lining up their wingsail-powered AC72 catamarans for some speed trialing on San Francisco Bay. According to reports the American-flagged Defender is proving to be the faster boat, but the Swedish-flagged team is working hard to eek out every fraction of a knot possible.


'It’s fantastic to be here in San Francisco and have the opportunity to line up with Oracle and to do it on the America’s Cup race course,' said Artemis CEO Paul Cayard. 'We learned a lot from our sailing with them. We learned that we have a lot of improving to do so we are taking it on. It’s going to be a full team effort. We have the shore team, the design team and everyone is enthusiastic and we are going to roll up our selves and get into it before we get back out on the track.'

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) has announced that it reached an important fund-raising milestone, which will put the group closer to their big-picture goal of supporting the science behind sailing. 'This is a very significant step for us,' said Stan Honey, a board member of the SYRF. 'Now we have the resources to expand our mission to support the science of sailing across a wider diversity of platforms. The better we understand the performance of racing sailboats through SYRF-funded research programs, the more positive effect this will have on performance design and accurate handicapping.'

Also performance sailing related, the Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium-the world’s longest-running organized gathering for the advancement of the art and science of sailing-has announced their 2013 meeting. This year’s symposium will be held during the weekend of March 15-16 at St John's College in Annapolis, MD. Check out this issue for more details, including registration options.


Also inside, get the latest news on the recently announced 'Gazprom Swan 60' class, which this week received ISAF recognition; don’t miss the updates from the Volvo Ocean Race, and finally, get the latest scoop on skipper Alessandro di Benedetto ('Team Plastique'), who-at the time of this writing-was less than 200 miles from the Les Sables d’Olonne, France finishing line of the 2012/2013 edition of the Vendee Globe. And finally, be sure to check in with Team Australia as they set out to break 'Wild Oats XI’s' Sydney-Hobart record, and also be sure to read up on the always-engaging JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Southern Spars - 100T Clewring J-classupffront 660x82

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