Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

RORC Caribbean 600 - Record fleet expected on the start line

by Louay Habib on 4 Jan 2013
Hetairos takes 2012 RORC Caribbean 600 line honours. © Tim Wright / Photoaction.com http://www.photoaction.com
The RORC Caribbean 600 is still defying the financial crisis with a record fleet expected on the start line when the fifth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 kicks off on February 18th 2013. With the northern hemisphere in the grip of winter, racing 600 miles around eleven Caribbean islands in warm trade winds and surfing in ocean swell is proving to be very appealing.

'We had 30 confirmed entries at the end of 2012 which is twice as many entries as we had the same time last year,' confirmed RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. 'It is encouraging to see that the race has captured the imagination of all sizes of yachts with a significant number of entries from yachts less than 50ft as well as much larger yachts, including superyachts, which you would expect to see in the Caribbean. Antigua Yacht Club will be hosting the event once again and since our last race, the club has made many improvements to shore side facilities for yacht crews. All in all, the fifth edition of the race looks all set to be a fantastic event.'

Last year's Line Honours victory went to the magnificent 216ft carbon ketch Hetairos, in a time of two days, two hours, 39 minutes 32 seconds. Of the current confirmed entries for 2013, the 100ft Farr Maxi ICAP Leopard is the hot favourite to be the first monohull to finish the course.

'We didn't compete last year because Leopard was undergoing a major refit,' commented ICAP Leopard's owner, Mike Slade. 'Even though we have added a couple of tons with a full interior, Leopard has lost none of her pace. In 2011, we completed the course quicker than Hetairos in 2012 and Leopard has just demolished the IMA Transatlantic Race record, which was set by Hetairos. We know that we are in fine form for the RORC Caribbean 600. George David's Rambler 100 holds the outright course record and that will be very tough to beat, but ICAP Leopard will be giving it their all, as always.'

Two of the world's largest schooners are set for a marvellous battle. The 182ft Adela which competed against Windrose last year will have the mighty Athos as competition. Athos is making her RORC Caribbean 600 debut and a fascinating encounter is expected. Athos at 203ft has a greater overall length, but the two schooners are evenly matched and both yachts have enjoyed a friendly rivalry throughout the 2012 superyacht season.

In addition to Adela and Athos are a significant number of the world's most impressive maxi yachts including Peter Harrison's Farr 115, Sojana and Filip Balcaen's 112ft supermaxi Nilaya, who are very evenly matched. Both yachts competed in the IMA Transatlantic Race and after more than nine days at sea, Nilaya and Sojana were less than five hours apart. The 100ft Maxi, Liara and Didier Lacombe's 92ft Med Spirit are also set for the start.

At least nine yachts from the Nautor Swan range are expected to take part in the race and besides racing in their respective classes they will also be competing for the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy, awarded to the best Swan overall racing under IRC.

Last year's overall winner Niklas Zennström's JV72, Rán will not be competing and this year's favourite must come from America in the shape of Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente. Last summer, Bella Mente was crowned Rolex Mini Maxi World Champion, defeating Rán by the narrowest of margins and the RORC Caribbean 600 is the start of an offshore race season for Bella Mente that will also includes RORC's flagship event the Rolex Fastnet Race in August.

An overall win for Bella Mente is far from certain. Rán's winning time of three days, 11 hours 49 minutes was beaten by seven yachts in the 2011 race. The strength of the trade winds and conditions experienced at different parts of the course can be a big factor in winning overall, as well as taking the right tactical decisions. Last year, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic came very close to winning the race. Ross will be competing again and expects a close encounter with Philippe Falle's Deep Blue Racing Team on Trustmarque Quokka. Making his third appearance in the race is Ron O'Hanley in his Cookson 50 Privateer and could be a good outside bet to win as Adrian Lee's Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners won the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 in 2009.


Joining the battle is the winner of the RORC Racing Division of the ARC 2012, the Austrian, Christof Petter in his Class40, Vaquita. He will have other Class40s to play with including Peter Harding's 40 Degrees and Marc Lepesqueux's Sensation.

The race has always attracted UK members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and this year is no exception. RORC Commodore Mike Greville has chartered CM 60, Venomous for the race and RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine will be part of the crew of the Najad 57, Weir Kraken, which is skippered by former RORC Commodore, David Aisher. The Weir Kraken crew is entirely made up of members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Olivier Vigoureux, boat captain of Peter Aschenbrenner's ballistic trimaran, Paradox has confirmed that the 63ft Nigel Irens-designed flyer will be competing:

'We can definitely go faster this year, given the right conditions. Ideally we would like 20 knots of wind, then we might just be able to keep up with Leopard,' suggested Olivier. 'The course record set by Region Guadeloupe in the first race will be very difficult for Paradox to beat as we have more weight and less sail area, but who knows, if we get the right conditions, anything can happen.'

Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66, Phaedo returns to RORC Caribbean 600 action, having won the Multihull Class in 2011. For the 2013 edition, Jules Verne record holder, Brian Thompson will be part of a stellar crew. However, Phaedo should have a close battle on the water with the latest Gunboat 66 to be launched, Slim, skippered by South African, Travis McGarry.

The action in Antigua starts on 18th February 2013 with live tracking and regular updates from the course. For more information visit the RORC Caribbean 600 website.

Naiad/Oracle SupplierPredictWind.com 2014Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 14 – Aragon watches the clock
Aragon crew are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor was at the helm of Aragon. The crew of Aragon are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor, Anna Van Nieuwland was at the helm of Aragon as the team crossed the line.
Posted today at 3:03 pm
52 Super Series – Great strides towards sustainability
The 2016 season represents the second complete year in partnership with sustainability sponsor 11th Hour Racing. The 2016 season represents the second complete year in partnership with sustainability sponsor 11th Hour Racing.
Posted today at 12:24 pm
Strong winds continue on Day 4 of Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall. Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall, three points ahead of Cypriot Pavlos Kontides. Rio Silver medallist, Tonci Stipanovic finished second in both today’s races and is currently lying third overall, while Australia’s Tom Burton is in fourth overall. Burton scored a 12 and a five in today’s two races.
Posted today at 12:02 pm
Extreme Sailing Series – Oman Air close gap on Alinghi
Oman Air took every opportunity today and cornered the podium to close the gap at the top of the Act eight leaderboard. Team Oman Air took every opportunity on the Sydney Harbour race course today and cornered the podium to close the gap at the top of the Act eight leaderboard as the rivalry with Alinghi intensifies.
Posted today at 11:09 am
SWC Final – Badloe and Squires pick up where their countrymen left off
Badloe holds the lead after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. Badloe holds the lead in the men's windsurfer after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. The pair, and the sailors across the ten Olympic and Open Kiteboarding fleets battled against a south westerly wind in excess of 20 knots coupled with a big sea state.
Posted today at 10:38 am
ESS Sydney - second day images from Beth Morley
The Open Water session due for 4pm to 6pm today but it was cancelled due to the wind Beth Morley was back out on the water to capture the second day of Act Eight of the Extreme Sailing Series. An Open Water session was due for 4pm to 6pm today but it was cancelled due to the wind, so these are from the Stadium race. Enjoy!
Posted today at 10:09 am
Alinghi and Oman Air neck and neck at Extreme Sailing Series finale
Swiss crew Alinghi remain in pole position after two days of breathtaking action on the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour. Swiss crew Alinghi remain in pole position after two days of breathtaking action on the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour, but it couldn't be tighter at the top as the battle between the two Series frontrunners intensifies.
Posted today at 10:08 am
Tom Squires 'dab's' while skydiving at Sailing World Cup - Melbourne
Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne for the Sailing World Cup Final sailing on the RS:X jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. He took the opportunity to do his first 'dab' and managed to hurt his shoulder.
Posted today at 7:25 am
Vendee Globe - Dealer's choice - Antipodean duel in stormy low
Armel Le Cleac’h and Alex Thomson have throttled back to preserve their boats and equipment as best they can Gusty, squally winds averaging 40kts, big, confused seas compounded by an awkward wind angle are all contributing to the worst period yet for two leaders of the Vendee Globe as they deal with a nasty, messy low pressure system. Armel Le Cleac’h and Alex Thomson have throttled back to preserve their boats and equipment as best they can but even so speeds are still averaging between 18 and 20 kts.
Posted today at 6:11 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman - 'It’s emotional and shocking'
Conrad Colman has shown in this race that he is not merely able to deal with the technical problems thrown at him Conrad Colman, currently in twelfth place directly south of Madagascar, has shown in this race that he is not merely able to deal with the technical problems thrown at him, but he has also revealed his ability to communicate how he feels and what life is like aboard an IMOCA with all its ups and downs. Here is his reaction to the recent incidents in the race.
Posted today at 5:24 am