Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - RG

RORC Caribbean 600 preview

by Trish Jenkins on 28 Jan 2012
Setting off from Antigua in the 2011 RORC Caribbean 600 - RORC Caribbean 600 2012 © Tim Wright / Photoaction.com http://www.photoaction.com
The RORC Caribbean 600 fourth edition, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with Antigua Yacht Club, starts on Monday 20th February 2012. With less than one month to go the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2012 programme kicks off with a sensational cast in Antigua.

The RORC Caribbean 600 is a truly international affair, with well over 500 hundred competitors from at least 24 different nations taking part. More than 30 impressive yachts are expected to take part in a high-speed, action-packed yacht race around 11 Caribbean islands. There can be few sporting events that can boast such a worldwide appeal with sailors taking part from all over the world including: Antigua, Australia, Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey and the United States of America.

This astounding diversity of nationalities is matched only by the astonishing array of yachts and personalities. The largest yacht competing this year is the magnificent Hetairos with a waterline length of 200'. Hetairos is the world's largest carbon composite sailing yacht. The 29 crew on board is composed of many Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and Jules Verne around the world veterans. Hetairos is among the favourites to take line honours, but there are several other yachts more than capable of finishing in front.

In 2011 American George David skippered Rambler 100 to smash the monohull course record, taking line honours and overall victory. David's team is back, this time with the Reichel Pugh 90, Rambler and they are unlikely to give up the title without a fight. The Spanish Volvo 70, Gran Jotti will be dwarfed by Hetairos, but the former Telefonica Black has a venomous turn of speed and is quite capable of out pacing the entire fleet. On board there is a huge wealth of talent in the form of Spanish America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors. These three are likely to be contenders for line honours, but overall victory under IRC is far more difficult to predict. A hot contender is Niklas Zennstrom's Judel/Vrolijk 72 Rán, which will be making its debut in the RORC Caribbean 600.


Rán navigator, Steve Hayles is one of the world's most experienced offshore sailors but this will be the first time he has tackled the intricate course around the central Caribbean:

'For me it's very refreshing to tackle a new race and the Caribbean 600 is a real fascination,' explained Hayles. 'It's unlike any other offshore race in that the average leg is only about 40 miles and for a navigator there is a lot to consider. Normally, a race is all about the weather and strategy but in addition to all that, this race takes you back to the basic problem of navigating around so many rocks and islands. Looking through all the legs, there is a broad mixture of sailing angles; there is a fair bit of reaching, but it is wrong to think that is not a challenge, especially with the speed sensitivity of modern high-performance boats. The course is more like a whole stream of complex coastal races. I have to say that it is a pretty unique race.'

A dazzling variety of yachts crewed by some of the world's finest will be racing this year. However, not all of the competitors are seasoned professionals. One of the smallest yachts competing this year is J/39 Sleeper, which will be raced two-handed by a father and son team. Jonty Layfield and son Jack are both RORC members and hale from Brighton, UK. Last year with a full crew, Jonty's won class at Antigua Sailing Week:

'Sailing Two-Handed with my son, I don't expect to be very competitive, we are not going to go flat out but treat the race more like a delivery trip,' admitted Jonty. 'I have raced double-handed with my son back in England and I have been sailing with Jack since he was about five years old, we are more like friends than father and son. The great thing about sailing is that you have to get on with it; you can't have any histrionics. Jack is working in Brazil at the moment and the RORC Caribbean 600 is a great way to spend a few days together.'


Close duels are expected right through the fleet, none more so than in the Class 40s where a hard fought and close encounter is expected. Tradewind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class 40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Peter Harding's 40 Degrees has Hannah Jenner as skipper, the only female to skipper the Clipper Round the World Race. Hannah was in fine form last year, gaining a podium position in the Class 40 Transat Jacques Vabre:

'Antigua is a beautiful place to start the season with some winter sunshine and I have heard that Antigua Yacht Club provides a great party!' smiled Hannah. ' The race course has plenty of activity with sail changes and the competition should be really close. Making the right tactical decisions will also be very important if we are to be the fastest Class 40 around the track. I am really looking forward to the race.'

ORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen believes that the RORC Caribbean 600 is especially attractive to larger yachts, however the ethos of the club maintains equal status to every participant.

'A wide spectrum of yachts and competitors has decided that this is an event that is not to be missed. The club is delighted that people from all over the world want to take part. There is a mixture of world class sailors and corinthian enthusiasts, but they all have one thing in common, a passion for offshore racing.'

'This average length of yacht for this year's entry is over 70'. When the Royal Ocean Racing Club started this race in 2009, we felt it would appeal to larger yachts and that has proved to be the case. This year we have a significant number of Racing Maxis, Super Yachts and Spirit of Tradition yachts. However, every yacht competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 is governed by the same set of rules. All of the competitors receive a warm welcome from the Antigua Yacht Club, regardless of their finish time or place. Since 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club has promoted offshore racing for all and in many ways the RORC Caribbean 600 typifies that cause.'

Fans can follow the race live, as all of the boats taking part will be fitted with RORC Trackers. Synchronised position reports will be available using the Race Player Application online.

RORC Caribbean 600 website

Southern Spars - 100Colligo Marine 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Another Foiling Week to be held next month
The public attention is no longer limited to the competitive sailing community since the market is offering more options The attention of the public is no longer limited to the competitive sailing community since the market is offering more and more options for recreational and cruising vessels. Newport is the first overseas edition of the Foiling Week: the genuine passion shown by the participants reminds of the first ever edition in 2014 on Lake Garda.
Posted today at 3:54 pm
Strong finish for Armin Strom at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
With Norauto and Team Tilt secure in first two positions, Armin Strom headed into the last day vying for third position With Norauto and Team Tilt secure in the first two positions, Armin Strom Sailing Team headed into the last day of competition vying with Team ENGIE, Realteam and Malizia for third position
Posted today at 11:31 am
Alinghi pull off incredible comeback to take Act 6 in Madeira
Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances on the waters of Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
Posted today at 3:39 am
It’s Chuck’s fault!
The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz. Had he not shown me this image he took during the recent Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay, then this editorial would not have come to pass.
Posted today at 2:36 am
Roepers leads Plenty to victory in Zadar, captures circuit crown
Alex Roepers began his sailing season by scoring a major victory in Australia, stopped in Italy Alex Roepers began his sailing season by scoring a major victory in Australia, stopped in Italy a few months later to secure another significant achievement then capped an extremely successful 2016 campaign by closing the deal in Croatia.
Posted on 25 Sep
Oman Air stay top of Extreme Sailing Series table with podium place
Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six and shifted focus to the next Act. Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six in Madeira and immediately shifted their focus to the next Act in Lisbon, Portugal, in two weeks.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Norauto foils to victory at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Racing in a light wind Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all races Racing in a light westerly Levante wind, Adam Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all three races, and he went on to win two of them.
Posted on 25 Sep
Team Tilt finish second at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Team Tilt added a second place to scoreboard this weekend at the penultimate event of what has been a successful season The seven crew members on board the 32-foot flying catamaran posted three outright wins from 15 races to finish second overall after Adam Minoprio on Norauto. Team Engie, skippered by Sebastien Rogues finished in third place.
Posted on 25 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - Images from Régates Royales
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales with classic yachts and Dragons. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the penultimate day of the regatta.
Posted on 25 Sep