Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

RORC Caribbean 600 - Sensational conditions predicted for 5th edition

by Trish Jenkins on 17 Feb 2013
ICAP Leopard in action ICAP Leopard http://www.leopard3.com
Only 48 hours before a record breaking fleet sets sail for the fifth RORC Caribbean 600, weather forecasts are unanimously predicting sensational conditions, ideal for record-breaking pace, and there is every possibility that this will be the fastest RORC Caribbean 600 on record. Twenty knots or more of warm trade winds are anticipated for the start, with the wind and the Caribbean swell building during the course of the race, perhaps piping up to thirty knots on day two.

Mike Slade's canting keel Maxi, ICAP Leopard, is the out-and-out favourite to scorch around the 600-mile course to take the first gun. Navigator Hugh Agnew has been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for several days. In the meantime, the shore crew have been hard at work, meticulously preparing the boat for the wild ride to come.

'At the moment, the forecasts seem to be quite stable,' commented Agnew. 'We can expect 20-26 knots of easterly wind, maybe slightly to the south of due east for the duration of our race. The longest leg of the course is from St.Barths to Guadeloupe and with this wind direction, coupled with the apparent wind created by Leopard, it will be forward of the beam, so we will be unlikely to fly a spinnaker. This will slow us down, but the other side of the coin is that this wind direction may be beneficial on a crucial part of the course - the south side of Guadeloupe. If we get a one-sided beat, requiring few tacks, this could really work in our favour. It is a long beat between Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante and in my view the race for a record could be won or lost there.'

Leopard held the RORC Caribbean 600 course record for two years, however George David's Rambler 100 eclipsed that in 2011, setting a benchmark of 40 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.

Dockside in Antigua, Leopard's skipper Chris Sherlock was keeping his cards close to his chest but he admitted that there was a possibility of winning back the record. Something Leopard's owner, Mike Slade, has set his heart on.

'Our routing software is showing 40 hours at the moment, so there is not much fat on it, but we have a chance,' hinted Sherlock. 'There are three things that will stop us from breaking the record. Firstly if we go the wrong way and get out of big breeze, the other factors are maintaining the yacht and boat handling; just one bad furl on a sail can cost us 15 minutes and breakages can put an end to it totally.'

'In my opinion, our time could be half an hour either side of the record, we will just have to see how it pans out. Record or no record this looks like it will be a fantastic race with awesome conditions. Every time we do this '600, we learn more. Even when we are out on charter, we often sneak a look at a part of the race track, we have a lot of knowledge of what goes on behind those islands. Leopard is in great shape, we have a very capable crew and it would top off a great season if we got our record back.'

The RORC Caribbean 600 programme starts in earnest today with the Skippers' Briefing followed by the official opening party. It will be standing room only for invited guests, jam-packed shoreside at Antigua Yacht Club. Owners and their crew are set to enjoy a Caribbean drinks party and canapés accompanied by a traditional steel band. RORC Commodore, Mike Greville, competing in the race for the second time with CM60, Venomous, will open the proceedings.

The fifth RORC Caribbean 600 will start at 1100 local time (1500 GMT) on Monday 18th February.
Caribbean 600 website

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Kilwell - 5Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 660x82