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Leopard 3 declared overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600

by Royal Ocean Racing Club 22 Feb 11:08 PST 22 February 2024

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced that the Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Joost Schuijff is the overall winner of the 2024 RORC Caribbean 600. While 24 boats are still racing under the IRC rating rule, none of the teams still at sea can better Leopard 3's time after IRC time correction.

Leopard 3 Crew: Joost Schuijff, Chris Sherlock, Mitch Booth, Aaron Reynolds-Lovegrove, Antonio Cuervas Mons, Carlos Hernandez Robayna, Charlie Wyatt, Dennis Frederiksen, Gerard Mitchell, Gian Ahluwalia, Giles de Jager, Guillermo Altadill, Mark Bartlett, Matthew Lester, Paul Standbridge, Samuel Wright, Stephen Booth, Tom McWilliam, Will Best.

The podium for IRC Overall for the RORC Caribbean 600 is also confirmed with Leopard 3 as the victor. Second is Niklas Zennstrom's Carkeek 52 Rán (SWE) which has won a highly competitive IRC Zero Class by just three minutes after time correction from Peter & David Askew's Botin 52 Wizard (USA).

Leopard 3 was one of the race founding entries, setting the original race record in 2009 and taking Monohull Line Honours again in 2013. However, in the previous eight races that Leopard 3 has competed in, this year is the first occasion that Leopard 3 has won the race overall under IRC. Leopard 3 is now 17 years old but is faster than ever due to a major refit by the new owners, including shedding 10 tons of weight and increasing sail area aloft under a brand new mast.

"When I woke up this morning and found out that Leopard had won overall it was quite amazing, I am very proud of the team and the boat," commented Joost Schuijff. "It is a magnificent experience and a very special feeling. When I look at the Trophy, I see so many names of such famous boats. I am delighted for the team that the name Leopard 3 will be engraved there too. It's all about the people and not just the race crew, but also the permanent crew and the build team - the team is super important; without the right people you cannot get the maximum performance from Leopard. Winning in Antigua is also special because myself and my family love coming here; the area is so nice and people are so friendly. To win the RORC Caribbean 600 in such a historic place for yachting is extraordinary."

Chris Sherlock has been central to the Leopard team since its conception 30 years ago with the former owner Mike Slade. Sherlock was one of three of this year's team that was on the boat for the first edition in 2009; Crew Boss Paul Standbridge and Boat Captain Gian Ahluwalia.

"It took 15 years and nine attempts to win overall, so it's a big achievement and wonderful for the owners who have invested a lot of time and energy, and just fantastic to see that pay off," commented Chris Sherlock. "The whole Leopard ethos started long ago and that was to bring young people into the sport and give them opportunity; it's nice that we still have several team members that are still part of that. Over the years so many Leopard crew have gone on to do round the world races and under the new ownership that has not changed."

On winning on IRC corrected time from world class opposition, Chris Sherlock commented: "The stars have all got to line up and they did for this race. First you have to finish the yacht race and the amicable preparation by the whole team is very much part of the success. Then you have to win your IRC Class, and then it is in the wind god's hands. We know the Rán team very well; Niklas (Zennstrom) chartered Leopard for a Transatlantic Race Record and we know Rán will have done everything to beat Leopard, but this year, it was our turn. Antigua is Leopard's spiritual home in the Caribbean and personally I was here in 1992 with Ocean Leopard. It's great to win your home Grand Prix."

On Friday 23 February, Leopard 3 will be presented with the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy at the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving.

For more information go to RORC Caribbean 600 website: caribbean600.rorc.org

Live results available here.

Race tracker available here.

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