Big fleet forming for RORC Caribbean 600

Published on December 20th, 2017

The 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 will start on February 19 and teams from all over the world will be competing, lured by the thrilling conditions to race 600 miles around 11 Caribbean islands. Fifty-three entries have already been received and the race starting from Antigua is on course to eclipse the record entry of 80 boats last year.

George David’s American Maxi Rambler 88 will be the hot favourite for line honours and George Sakellaris’ American Maxi 72 Proteus will be attempting an unprecedented third overall win under IRC. For the 10th anniversary of the race, over a quarter of the early entries are yachts around 50 feet (15.24m), which should produce a phenomenal battle and potentially the winner of the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.

Jens Kellinghusen’s German Ker 56 Varuna has confirmed participation; the new canting keel carbon flyer boat had to retire from the RORC Transatlantic Race, but intends to sail to Antigua to make the start of the race.

Eric de Turckheim’s Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine was the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race and can be counted as one of the favourites for the RORC Caribbean 600. Last year in a former boat, de Turckheim’s team was third overall and winner of IRC One.

“The RORC Caribbean 600 is a very intense and interesting race; a bit like the Rolex Middle Sea Race,” commented Eric de Turckheim. “There is some fantastic scenery, but you also get a real mixture of conditions which makes it tactically interesting.

“For example, rounding Guadeloupe is very pretty, but also very tricky from a tactical point of view. It is always difficult to beat the Maxi 72s and this year we have some very good boats of a similar size to Teasing Machine.”

Adrian Lee’s Irish Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners and Ron O’Hanley’s American Privateer have both won the race overall and will be back for the 10th edition. They form the experienced pair of canting keel yachts in this size range, but will have two more formidable opponents from Germany; Tilmar Hansen’s Elliott 52 Outsider and Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 56 Varuna.

“I love offshore racing and this is the best in the world,” commented Adrian Lee. “It is a circular course with a non-cyclonic wind, so it’s very fair. It’s a tough race too; you have lots of course changes with 12 hours of darkness per day and no lighthouses to guide you. By the end of it we will have done about a hundred sail changes.

“Our experience in the race is very important and we have improved in terms of boat preparation, but the competition gets tougher every year. I have a picture of us on the dock after our win and it is hanging on the wall in our boardroom in London. To win again would be fantastic!”

Debutantes to the race in the 50-foot range include three-time Giraglia Rolex Cup winner Franck Noël, racing Swiss TP52 Near Miss with French Jules Verne and match racer, Benoit Briand on the team. Two young German teams competing for the first time are JV53 Bank von Bremen, owned by the SKWB and skippered by Jan-Paul Gundlach and HVS-owned JV52 Haspa Hamburg skippered by Torben Muehlbach.

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PAST RESULTS: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY – IRC OVERALL
(Best best corrected time under IRC)

2017 – Hap Fauth, JV72, Bella Mente (USA)
2016 – George Sakellaris, Maxi 72, Proteus (USA)
2015 – Hap Fauth, JV72, Bella Mente (USA)
2014 – George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA)
2013 – Ron O’Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA)
2012 – Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán (GBR)
2011 – George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)
2010 – Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
2009 – Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)

THE ROYAL OCEAN RACING CLUB
Established in 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) became famous for the biennial Fastnet Race and the international team event, the Admiral’s Cup. It organises an annual series of domestic offshore races from its base in Cowes as well as inshore regattas including the RORC Easter Challenge and the IRC European Championship (Includes the Commodores’ Cup) in the Solent.

The RORC works with other yacht clubs to promote their offshore races and provides marketing and organisational support. The RORC Caribbean 600, based in Antigua and the first offshore race in the Caribbean, has been an instant success. The 10th edition will take place in 2018. The RORC extended its organisational expertise by creating the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada, the first of which was in November 2014. This year, the RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta.

The club is based in St James’ Place, London, but after a merger with The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes, now boasts a superb clubhouse facility at the entrance to Cowes Harbour and a membership of over 4000.

Source: RORC Press/J2 Communications

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