It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:
“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ’600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20′s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”
For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.
IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.
With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.
In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.
The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.
Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.
There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.
Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.
Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”
There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.
IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.
“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”
An enthusiastic Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) got the 2011 sailing season off to a resounding start on board the new Maxi Yacht Rambler 100 in the Caribbean 600. The American skipper, who leads the Puma Ocean Racing project, has just won the event, leaving his rival Leopard 3 a long way behind and in so doing also grabbing the race record. Winner of last year’s inaugural running of the Les Voiles de St. Barth as skipper of George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) 90-footRambler, Read was naturally entrusted with the helm of Rambler 100 (the former Speedboat) when David took command of it earlier this year. Very excited by Rambler 100’s performance so far, Read is looking forward to the race program that lies ahead in the coming weeks. The second edition of the Les Voiles de St. Barth is next on the schedule (April 4-9), and with a mere mention of Read’s victory at the 2010 event, he admits without hesitation that he took advantage of “the best conditions ever experienced in my whole career….”
The prospect of once again facing their main rival Leopard 3 (owned by Great Britain’s Mike Slade) at Les Voiles de St. Barth–in closely fought contests on a variety of windy courses–is something that Read and David are extremely happy about. The Americans will bring along the whole of Read’s Puma Ocean Racing team, comprised of 15 top class professional sailors that will join seven other experienced crewmen to sail the powerful carbon Maxi Yacht.
“Don’t change a thing!,” said Read about the Les Voiles des St. Barth format, which features short daytime race courses that will have Rambler 100 and Leopard 3 facing off for the first time with that type of racing. “Rambler 100 and Leopard 3 are two huge monsters,” he said, explaining that both boats are entered in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, which reaches its climax in June with the 2011 Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island to The Lizard (UK). “They are record-breaking boats designed for long ocean races and major offshore courses; however, for our crew, it is vital to be able to compete in inshore races like those that will be held in St. Barth. Our battle against Leopard 3 will be very demanding for the crews and fascinating to watch, as we will be alongside each other for a lot of the time and it is bound to offer a maximum level of excitement.”
The Caribbean 600 represented an intermediate format for Ken Read and his crew, and it very quickly turned to the advantage of Rambler 100, which led the way from start to finish in what were typically Caribbean conditions, with strong trade winds windward of the islands and tricky currents, particularly at night. “Sailing along at 26 knots under the stars, we had some great moments aboard Rambler 100, a boat that offers a completely new dimension to racing,” concluded Read. Peter Harrison’s (Great Britain) 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, which stood out in the Les Voiles de St. Barth last year and will be back again this year, also took part in the Caribbean 600 alongside Genuine Risk, the 90-foot Dubois design that has registered for the Les Voiles de St. Barth for the first time and may also thwart the favorites’ plans.
“In St. Barth, each day is different,” said Read. “The race committee has done an excellent job coming up with courses around the islands that are spectacular and at the same time very demanding from a tactical perspective, as they mean we have to sail at every point of sail. The Les Voiles de St. Barth is also physically very tiring, as the strong regular winds that sweep across the islands at this time of year allow us to get the most out of the boat, implying frequent sail changes with each change of tack. Technically, this is a really interesting event, which is a fantastic complement to the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series.”
With one month to go until the start of racing, the Les Voiles de St. Barth has registered no fewer than 49 yachts, divided according to their size and class in the following five divisions:
SUPER / MAXI YACHT : A Maxi yacht refers to a prototype yacht or one that is produced in limited numbers measuring at least 69’ in length: 8 boats registered
CLASSIC: Classic Yachts or traditional boats are boats that are at least 35 years old and fit into various categories: 5 boats registered
RACING: This division brings together racing monohulls designed specifically for coastal or offshore races: 15 boats registered
RACING-CRUISING : The Racing Cruising division includes chiefly series boats, fitted out for cruising as well as for racing: 17 boats registered
RACING- MULTIHULLS: This division includes racing multihulls, be they trimarans or catamarans, with a length between 30 and 60 feet and which are very light and fast: 4 boats registered
The Les Voiles de St. Barth officially begins on Monday, April 4, 2011 with the traditional registration process and the opening of the Voiles Village, Quai du Général De Gaulle in Gustavia. At 1300 hrs (local time) the next day (Tuesday, April 5), the Race Directors, under the leadership of Luc Poupon, will signal the start of racing on some exciting and varied race courses set up according to the weather conditions. Racing continues Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Thursday, April 7 set aside as a lay day, with a full list of festive events lined up, allowing the crews to rest and enjoy themselves along with the people of St. Barths. The closing evening on Saturday, April 9 will include the prize-giving
GBR 1R FARR 100′ MIKE SLADE Pre-entry
GBR 115 FARR 115 Peter HARRISON /Marc FIDZGERALD Pre-entry
US 53560 TRIPP DESIGN 75′ JIM GRUNDY Pre-entry
888 SWAN 112 RS/GPR 112′ ALBERT KEULARTS Pre-entry
FRA 8686 CNB 86 86′ ROBIN DE JONG Pre-entry
100′ GEORGE DAVID Pre-entry
100′ GERARD NAIGEON Pre-entry
8390 DUBOIS/MC CONAUGHY 97′ HUGO STENBECK Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
FRA 96 POGO 40 S2 40′ REGIS GUILLEMOT Pre-entry
750 OPEN 750 24′ JAN VANDEN EYNDE Pre-entry
GBR 150 L BENETEAU F 50 50′ TONY MACBRIDE Pre-entry
SANTA CRUZ 37 37′ J. Hin Pre-entry
FRA 2114 X55 55 G;MARTIN Pre-entry
FRA 25597 BENETEAU 31.7 32 SERGE MAZARIO Pre-entry
FRA 27917 Farr 36,7 DEREDEC Christian Pre-entry
SA 3625 CLASS 40 40′ LENJOHN VAN DER WEL Pre-entry
USA 45454 Farr 45 DEMARCHELLIER Patrick Pre-entry
GRB 1513L GRAND SOLEIL 43′ WILLEM WESTER Pre-entry
ANT 104 J 122 40′ JAMES DOBBS Pre-entry
TP 52 54′ JIM SWARTZ Pre-entry
GBR 60006 FARR DESIGN 60′ PETER CUNNINGHAM Pre-entry
SPIRIT OF JUNO
GBR 8653 R FARR 65 65′ RORY FAULKNER Pre-entry
SONIC OF AYR
GBR 370 L SANTA CRUZ 37 37 RYAN BROOKES Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
US2 W CLASS 76′ DAVID TOFIA Pre-entry
10200 Herreshoff 43 43 D.Randy West Pre-entry
ES5 MYLNE 60′ Walwyn Pre-entry
SUI 4405 SWAN 41′ PATRICK NICHOLAS Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
GBR 9660R SWAN 60′ MORITZ BURMESTER Pre-entry
123 Beneteau 45 VELASQUEZ Robert Pre-entry
16286 FIRST 300 SPIRIT 30′ PHILIPPE HERVE Pre-entry
88 DUFOUR 425 GL 43′ REY PASCAL Pre-entry
FINOT BENETEAU 47.3 ALAIN CHARLOT Pre-entry
FRA 491 REQUIN 33 MELISSA RIMBAUD Pre-entry
FRA 479 REQUIN 33 FOX MOWGLI Pre-entry
BERRET 50.5 ANDRE BEESE Registered
X-YACHT 34 MAGRAS Raphael Pre-entry
BERRET 50.5 PATRICK SMITH Registered
DUFOUR 34′ RAYMOND MAGRAS Pre-entry
97133 SWAN 42 HARPER Daniel Pre-entry
SUN ODYSSEY 54 DS 54′ HENRY ALBERT Pre-entry
FRA37407 GRAND SOLEIL 40′ PHILIPPE HERVOUET Pre-entry
IVB 612 X-YACHT 60′ NICO CORTLEVER Pre-entry
US 50007 SWAN 48′ JACK DESMOND Pre-entry
FRA 34625 LATINI 52 FELCI 52′ FREDERIC RIALLAND Pre-entry
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
GRB 1007L ELAN 37′ ANNIE O’SULLIVAN Pre-entry
GBR 9949 T FIRST 40.7 41′ KEN ACOTT Pre-entry
HARMONY 42 42′ HANNEKE STEGWEG Pre-entry
USA 1 J 95 31′ THOMAS MULLEN Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
399BC GUNBOAT 66′ PAUL HAND Pre-entry
COULOMBEL 40′ ERICK CLEMENT Pre-entry
SEACART 30′ HERVE DE MARJOLIE Pre-entry
GBR 565 40′ JASON GARD Pre-entry
George David’s maxi yacht, Rambler 100, crossed the finish line in Antigua in the early hours of Wednesday morning in an elapsed time of 1 day 16 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.
Subject to official confirmation, Rambler 100 has broken the monohull race record set by race rival, Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard by nearly four hours.
Two of the world’s most impressive racing yachts have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The Rambler crew contained the entire compliment of the Puma Ocean Racing team which will be competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, tired but elated, Puma skipper, Kenny Read commented dockside in Antigua:
“That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while, you do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this, because there is no time to take any sleep, you’re taking so many corners and turns but it is also a gorgeous course, it’s a dream come true type of event. I am glad we came and that George invited me. Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St. Maarten, big breeze and massive breaking waves, it was huge fun and really cool, we came out of their doing 26 knots, it has been a real adventure and a this course and Rambler 100 is a whole new dimension for sailing.”
Rambler 100′s George David, an avid sailor and member of the New York Yacht Club, has been sailing with Kenny Read for 17 years.
“Rambler 100 is quite a handful, it’s like a Volvo 70 on steroids and this is a big fast race, which favours us,” commented David. “It is part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been a great race as part of that series. We never took this win for granted, we have carried out some optimisation towards the IRC rating and we really didn’t know how we would perform, as this is the first time that the boat has been raced to be IRC competitive. Leopard is a powerful boat and they are a good team that has been sailing together for a number of years.
Thank you to the RORC and the Antigua Yacht Club, a lot of people have put a great deal of effort into making this a great race, I think this race is going to attract a lot of competitors, we have a record fleet this year and I can only seeing it growing, I think we will be back next year.”
IRC Overall Provisional Results
1. USA25555 Rambler 100 JK 100 George David
2. CAN84248 Vela Veloce Southern Cross 52 Richard Oland
3. GBR115L Sojana Farr 115 Peter Harrison
4. AUS5299 Jazz Cookson 50 Chris Bull
5. GBR1R ICAP Leopard Farr 100 Mike Slade Mike Slade/Clarke Murphy
6. IRL5005 Lee Overlay Partners Cookson 50 Adrian Lee
7. GBR22N Aegir Carbon Ocean 82 Brian Benjamin
8. GBR4321R Oystercatcher XXVIII Humphreys 54 Richard Matthews
9. NED46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Ker 46 Piet Vroon
10. LTU1000 Ambersail VO 60 Simonas Steponavicius
11. US60006 Venomous Carroll Marine 60 Derek Saunders
12. USA60271 Ocean’s Seven² Fauroux 104′ OSML Ltd JP Chomette
13. NED001 Windrose Of Amsterdam Dijkstra 40m Schooner Andrew McIrvine