Although several boat are still racing, Richard Bamford’s Swan 38 Dolfijn retired this morning which means that at tonight’s prize giving Karl Kwok’s Farr 80, Beau Geste, will be awarded the RORC Caribbean 600 trophy for best yacht overall under IRC, the line honours trophy for monohulls and Class trophy for IRC Super Zero.
“I have never cleaned up as well before so it feels really good,” smiled Karl Kwok upon hearing the news. “There may have been a lack of wind but we kept on going all the time and when the wind was with us we had flat water and some fantastic sailing. Beau Geste has a great spirit, I have been friends with Gavin Brady for two decades and we sit down and decide who we will have on board. Friendship is very important to me, we choose the best sailors but also the right people. I have to say a big thank you to Gavin Brady and the two watch captains, Jonno Swain and David Endean but all of the crew did a great job.
Beau Geste races all over the world and I would like to invite all of the competitors we come across to do this race. The sailing is as good as can be and I have enjoyed it immensely.”
Winner overall of the CSA division and second place overall under IRC is Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce.
“We had a close battle with Privateer who beat us by less than a minute in our last encounter, so beating them this time was a bit of payback,” admitted Richard Oland, skipper of Vela Veloce. “Privateer are good sports and I am sure we will share a beer with them tonight. Although I have done a lot of cruising here, this is the first time I have raced in the Caribbean since the 60s. The boat comes from New Brunswick, Canada and it amazes me why people don’t come down here and enjoy these water.
Winner of IRC Super Zero Canting keel, third overall under IRC and second under CSA was Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 52, Privateer.
“We have never raced against another Cookson 50 which we were really looking forward to but Privateer is a newer boat with some differences and we weren’t really racing close to Lee Overlay Partners. We had a really good fight with Vela Veloce. This is the first time we have competed in a RORC race and I would like to give a big thank you to the organisers; this has been a very well run event.” Commented Vela Veloce boat captain Scott Innes-Jones.
Third overall under CSA and fourth overall under IRC was Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners. Dockside Adrian Lee was still full of admiration for the race. “Very different to last year but we have enjoyed it just the same, this was as much a challenge but for different reasons, keeping the boat going and concentrating the whole time were so important. The last few miles were agonizingly slow but we kept cool under pressure and to be honest, we were delighted just to finish. Congratulations to Beau Geste on an excellent performance.”
Only one boat, AAG Big One has finished since Lee Overlay Partners came in last night. The breeze virtually shut down, right across the racecourse, causing many yachts to retire. ‘H’ one of the BLESMA crew describes the scene on board as Spirit of Juno made the decision to stop racing. “The skipper went to every guy and asked him for his view, everybody had their say but when he turned the engine on, it was a sickening feeling. We just ran out of time and needed to get back for flights home. We have developed as a team and really got to grips with the physical side of things but we need to work more on the tactical side, we will be back for sure. The RORC Caribbean 600 is unfinished business.”
Antigua is usually blessed with easterly Trade Winds and the unusual weather is extremely rare. However, the competitors in the RORC Caribbean 600 did have the sensation of surfing through the Caribbean sea in sublime conditions, at least some of the time.
Update as of Sunday
Willy Bissainte and Benoit Reffe’s Class 40, Tradition Guadeloupe were rightly proud as they crossed the finish line in the early hours of Sunday morning, having spent five nights at sea. A large contingent greeted Tradition Guadeloupe including Elizabeth Jordan, Commodore of the Antigua Yacht Club and Ian Loffhagen, RORC Racing manager. Every yacht competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 was welcomed back to Antigua, regardless of the time. Jonathon Cornelius and his ABSAR team was on call day and night through out the race and piloted every yacht into Falmouth Bay.
“We were never going to retire,” said Willy Bissainte dockside. “The RORC Caribbean 600 is a big part of my training for the Route de Rhum, which I will be racing solo, later in the year. We always had at least a little wind, we kept going all of the time. It was great to have such a reception from the Antigua Yacht Club and the RORC. We will only be staying for a short while though, we must go back to work in Guadeloupe in just a few hours.”
Willy Bissainte and his co-skipper Benoit Reffe picked up the Concise Trophy for the best Class 40 and the class trophy for IRC Zero. After a quick shower, the two sailors who defied the unusual weather, set sail for home.
The last yacht in the 2010 RORC Caribbean 600 was finally accounted for.