RORC Caribbean 600: Done and Dusted
Published on February 26th, 2016
(February 26, 2016; Day 5) – A thrilling race between four Maxi72s came to a conclusion on the third day (Feb 24) of the RORC Caribbean 600 when George Sakellaris’ Proteus was the first Maxi72 to finish the race (02:00:22:16), just over 20 minutes ahead of Dieter Schön’s Momo with Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou third.
By the afternoon of Thursday (Feb 25), Proteus (USA) was declared the overall winner under the IRC Rating rule as the remaining teams would be unable to better Proteus’ corrected time. It is the second time that George Sakellaris has skippered the overall winner, having won the 2014 race with Maxi72, Shockwave.
Proteus was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero class featuring four Maxi72s.
“I would like to congratulate all competitors for attending such a great, great event,” said Sakellaris. “I am glad to have been part of it. We got a little bit lucky and won the day, but this event has many great teams and sailors. I am so happy; we hope to see you next year.”
Proteus afterguard Stu Bannatyne explained they were configured as the highest stability boat and that really showed on the race course. “Whenever the conditions were pressed up, we felt we had a little edge in speed. (But) these boats are not designed for a 600 mile race; they have very little concessions for sailing offshore. The inside of the boat was full of water and with all the manoeuvres and corners it was hard work for the crew. The watch system was six hours on and then three off, but if anyone got three off, they were very lucky.”
The RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving will be held tonight and all of the class winners have now been decided.
The epic duel between MOD70s Concise 10 and Phaedo3 came to a conclusion after 32 hours of hot racing on February 23 when Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 team crossed the finish line at Fort Charlotte in an elapsed time of 31 hours, 59 minutes, 04 seconds, breaking their own multihull race record set last year by 1 hour 34 minutes 26 seconds. Tony Lawson’s MOD70 Concise 10 finished second in class, just 9 mins 52seconds behind.
IRC Canting Keel
Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze Clark’s American VPLP-Verdier 100 Comanche crossed the finish line of the RORC Caribbean 600 at 03:45 AST on Wednesday morning (Feb 24) with an elapsed time of 40 hours 53 minutes 2 seconds, taking monohull line honours for the race and only 33 minutes outside the record time set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011. Comanche tops the class with Bouwe Bekking’s Volvo Ocean 65 Team Brunel claiming second place after IRC time correction.
Finishing February 24, George Sakellaris’ Maxi72, Proteus (USA) won both class and was awarded the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the best corrected time under the IRC Rating rule. It is the second time that George Sakellaris has skippered the overall winner, having won the 2014 race with Maxi72, Shockwave. Racing in IRC Zero division, Proteus finished the race just over 20 minutes ahead of Dieter Schön’s Maxi72s Mom which finished second overall.
Eric De Turkheim’s French A13, Teasing Machine finished the RORC Caribbean 600 at 0710 AST on Thursday (Feb 25) in an elapsed time of two days and 20 hours to provisionally win IRC One and claim third overall for the race. In the eight editions of the RORC Caribbean 600 no other boat under 50ft has made the podium for the overall prize. As Teasing Machine moored stern to at Antigua Yacht Club, the mass of soaking wet offshore clothing on board was testament to a tough race.
“To win our class and to be third overall is a fantastic result for us,” said owner of Teasing Machine, Eric De Turkheim. “It was a big trip to get the boat here from Australia, including sailing the boat 1500 miles upwind from Panama, but we knew we had the potential to do well in this race. This is a great race and I will always remember the leg from La Desirade to Barbuda averaging 15 knots for 140 miles with full sail and warm water cascading down the deck; it couldn’t be better! We like to win but not at all cost. The ambience on board is fantastic and we were often toasting our performance with a small glass of red wine in the evening.”
Tactician of Teasing Machine, Laurent Pages adds: “Teasing Machine is like a mini Volvo 70 with a lot of stability and power and we can run it nicely into heavy air and sea state. We tried to be precise everywhere, especially the island roundings and wind shadows, but also holding a good course and perfecting sail changes. We were careful to avoid making any big loss and one of the key areas was Guadeloupe; we didn’t stop at all in the wind shadow of the island and a lot of that was due to our navigator, Jeremie Beyou.”
Ross Applebey’s British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster finished the race just before sunset on the fourth day of racing (Feb 25) to win IRC Two for the fourth time. Global Yacht Racing’s British First 47.7, EH01, skippered by Andy Middleton finished the race just half an hour after Scarlet Oyster to place second in class. In third place was Performance Yacht Charter’s First 40, Southern Child skippered by Lucy Jones.
“That was not an easy victory,” admitted Ross Applebey: “At Saba we were last but one on the water. The crew dug in deep for the beat to St.Barths; we clawed our way through the fleet and got into a good position for the big reach to Guadeloupe. Scarlet Oyster is very well set up for reaching and we edged ahead. The whole IRC Two fleet was south of Guadeloupe together, so we were never comfortable, especially as Andy (Middleton) stayed with us all the way. I am never going to pretend Scarlet Oyster is a Maxi72, but we are proof that you can come to play on a charter boat and win at one of the world’s greatest offshore races. Scarlet Oyster has a regular core crew and I always tell new members to the team that the ‘600 is a tough race and we push hard.”
After a tremendous battle between Conor Fogerty’s Irish Sunfast 36, Bam and Susann Wrede’s German Swan 44, Best Buddies. Bam took line honours in an elapsed time of 3 days 11 hours 1 mins 7 secs. Bam also won the class win after IRC time correction by just over six minutes. The team on Bam are all Irish, bar Welshman Roger Smith and all live in Dublin. Bam crew member, Simon Knowles has competed in five Round Ireland Races and one Fastnet: “Conor and all the team were over the moon; we have never sailed together as a crew before, so to come here and win our class is brilliant. As the smallest boat racing in IRC and an amateur team, we knew it was going to be tough and the most important thing was just to keep going. Best Buddies kept reeling us in on the upwind legs and we were faster downwind. At Redonda we had a six mile lead but we knew they would be eroding that. It was very tense at the finish, especially as there was confusion about the location of the finish line. From a navigational point of view this is the toughest race I have done, but the race course is fabulous and you are always thinking about the next move. We celebrated when we finished, but we still have something in the tank for tonight’s prize giving.”
Grand Soleil 46, Belladonna finished the RORC Caribbean 600 yesterday (Feb 25) after just over three days and nights at sea. The crew of 14 (including T-Bear a stuffed toy to avoid the unlucky number) are all RORC members, including skipper RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine, Commodore, Michael Boyd and three former Committee members.
“This is my seventh race and I have done it on lots of different boats. I started racing on a 46-foot boat and I seem to have gone back to a 46-foot boat,” laughed Admiral Andrew McIrvine dockside. It was a great race, but also the slowest time I have completed the course, so this time I got my money’s worth! We are a bunch of elderly gents, kept in tow by two super guys in Alex Gardner and Tim Thubron. Alex spent the last five hours of the race inside the transom, holding the rudder together. Last night we went around La Desirade in a lot of breeze and we had planned to hoist the jib top but Tim said that the angle was much more free so we put up the S4 spinnaker and we took off on big seas, fully loaded – fantastic! A lot of the course was upwind for us but the boys were great hiking out for many hours. They are a brilliant team but we did give up on cooking and survived on nuts and Peter Morton’s carrots!”
Congratulations to Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies, racing J/120 Nunatak, for winning the IRC Two Handed class in an elapsed time of 3 days 14 hours 19 minutes and 44 seconds. The smallest yachts in the race were also racing with just two crew; the three Figaro IIs from the Guadeloupe Grand Large Offshore Sailing School. Figaro II Sor, sailed by Arthur Bouwyn & Alienor Fleury was first to complete the race in 3 days 9 hours 50 minutes 50 seconds. Bandit Mancho, sailed by Benjamin Augereau & Keni Piperol was second, just over an hour behind Sor. Bato 1 sailed by Joan Bernard & Tom Saliot was third.
Antiguan entry Bernie Evan-Wong, racing RP37, Taz completed the race on the fourth day (Feb 25) of racing having spent over three days and nights at sea. Bernie is the only skipper to have competed in all eight editions of the race. “I had an awesome crew for this race and it is the fastest that I have ever done, so that is just great. We pushed really hard, we blew out a few sails but I didn’t want the crew to say we didn’t really go for it. The most memorable moment for me was passing within a boat length of the 100ft Comanche at night; absolutely amazing. She was gone with a flash. I was very thankful that we had a night moon and that they saw us.”
Finishing February 25 at 0336 AST was the Class40 Tales II to win the Class40 division for the third year in a row. The Tales II team broke their own Class40 record by 11 minutes and 23 seconds to set a new Class40 record of 2 days 16 hours 26 minutes 29 seconds.
The magnificent 213ft schooner Adix finished just hours later at 0703 AST in an elapsed time of 2 days 19 hours 33 minutes 5 seconds to win the Spirit of Tradition Class.
On the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600 three yachts were still racing: RORC member, Peter Hopps, skipper of British Sigma 38, Sam was just five miles from completing his eighth RORC Caribbean 600. Aleksandra Jankowska’s Polish team racing Dufour 40, Porfavor was 15 miles from the finish and Girls For Sail’s British First 40.7, Hot Stuff, skippered by Sophie O’Neill was 56 miles from the finish. The RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving will be held tonight and all of the class winners have now been decided.
Report by race media.
Background: The RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on Monday 22nd February 2016. The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s.
Thousands of spectators will gather at Shirley Heights to watch the impressive 66-boat fleet begin the 8th RORC Caribbean 600. Hundreds of thousands more will watch the race unfold via video, photographs, race reports and blogs from the boats. All of the competing yachts will be fitted with YB Trackers.