The awards celebrations were in full swing at the Antigua Yacht Club last night for the RORC Caribbean 600; after only four years, this has become one the most popular event in the Caribbean spring race circuit. Perfect racing conditions have allowed Niklas Zennstrom's Rán to win first place overall, while the majestic superyacht Hetairos captured line honour earlier this week. The event caters to all tastes and budgets, yachts ranging in size from the 214ft Hetairos to a Mumm 36, in age from modern carbon racing machine to classic schooners and design from Class 40 to multihulls enjoyed the exceptional weather this year. A perfect formula struck by the Royal Offshore Racing Club and the Antigua Yacht Club; check out all the winners in the story!
Navigators in the Volvo Ocean Race have been scratching their head for the past week; zones of no wind are blocking the way south to New Zealand and, as a result, the fleet keeps sailing west. In the case of PUMA, they have spent the last few days on a major gamble heading north to Japan; time will tell whether this bold move pays off for Ken Read and his team as they are now racing in better breezes than the fleet hunting for wind further south. When it became obvious earlier this week that cutting the corner at the Philippines mark evaporated as an option, most teams followed a course just south of Taiwan at 22º North and have since progressed further away from New Zealand by sailing as far as 27º North; this might be turn out to be a very long leg. Camper is currently at the top of the leaderboard, but only because they are the southernmost yacht; things are likely to change soon.
In the Global Ocean Race, two yachts have safely rounded Cape Horn in unusually benign conditions; Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel were there first on Wednesday Cessna Citation while Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon with Financial Crisis reached to famous landmark yesterday. Taking advantage of favourable conditions, Nannini and Ramon successfully sailed through the Lemaire Straight; feeble winds and adverse currents have caught many unwary sailors tempted by the short cut in the past. With less than 800 miles to the finish in Punta del Este, the leaders should get there in the nest few days.
Qingdao has been busy welcoming the Clipper Round the World Race fleet this past week; De Lage Landen clinched first place but Geraldton Western Australia was first in Quingdoa; De Lage Landen was awarded some time when they stopped racing earlier in the leg to support a medical emergency on board Gold Coast Australia who came in third despite a stop in Taiwan. The teams will enjoy a well-deserved rest in Qingdao after a challenging race 8 from Singapore; next leg will take them across the Pacific to California on March 4th.
Readers on the East Coast and particularly the Halifax area will not want to miss the Halifax International Boat Show this week-end.
Mark your calendar now; next weekend is Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, Oman. Get ready at www.extremesailingseries.com where you can watch all the action live!
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