RORC Caribbean 600: Figaro and Classic Focus

Published on February 26th, 2015

(February 26, 2015, Day 4) – Four Figaro II teams, all from the Guadeloupe Grand Large sailing academy, are racing in this year’s RORC Caribbean 600. 18 sailors from the offshore racing academy are racing on four identical yachts and have high aspirations for the future; the Solitaire du Figaro, Route du Rhum or the Everest of offshore solo-sailing, the Vendée Globe.

At 1200 local time on Day Four of the RORC Caribbean 600, the leading Figaros in the race had just rounded Barbuda for the second time and were 78 miles from the finish. Benjamin Augereau’s Bandit Mancho was less than a mile ahead of Alienor Fleury’s Urga Burga. Simon Lefort’s SOR was six miles behind the leader and Arthur Bouwyn’s Bato 1 was in fourth place. The battle at the front is intense with a photo-finish likely between Bandit Mancho and Urga Burga at around midnight tonight.

While the fastest boats have finished the RORC Caribbean 600, the fight is still on for the three boats pushing hard to win the Mariella Cup for best Classic yacht overall. Donated by Carlo Falcone in 2014 and won that year by his 79ft Alfred Mylne designed yawl of the same name, the yachts in contention for the Mariella Cup include Brian Smullen’s 1970 Irish McGruer 55, Cuilaun and Robert Fabre’s 1945 Marconi Frers 42ft ketch, Vagabundo II.

Leading on the water is the oldest yacht in the fleet, Joseph Robillard’s 1938 S&S 68ft yawl, Black Watch, which is currently leading on the water on the leg from Barbuda to Redonda with 59 miles to the finish. Chris Museler, crew onboard Black Watch has been blogging about the highs and lows of racing the classic in the RORC Caribbean 600:

“Black Watch was pounding away on port tack between St. Martin and Montserrat. The leeward rail and heavy #1 genoa were scooping up and dispensing a broad white froth illuminated by the moon. Bang! zzzzzzzzzzziiippp….The tack of the sail blew and the sail was unzipped until it trailed from its clew and the genoa lead.

“There’s nothing like a catastrophe to test a team and aboard Black Watch, all that yucking it up at the bungalow and learning about each others lives and jobs during time on the rail, showed. Positions were called out; all on deck, sail down while staysail was being loaded and by the time the shredded mess of snapped bronze hinges and Dacron was being pushed down the varnished companionway, the staysail was up and drawing. Back to 8.7 knots and not a breath of discontent. “How ya doing Joe?” I asked the owner. “Couldn’t be better!”

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Event websiteTracker

Report by Louay Habib, race media.

Background: The RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on Monday 23rd February 2015. 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.

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