Sweet Memories from Offshore
Published on February 29th, 2016
The 2016 RORC Caribbean 600 started from Antigua on February 22 with the 600nm course circumnavigating 11 of the Caribbean Islands. Peter Holmberg, who hold the rare double of an Olympic Medal and America’s Cup victory, shares his experience on the 82-foot Highland Fling XI…
This race is becoming one of the new classic distance races of the world for these reasons: February (ie. winter), 600 miles, start and finish in Antigua, rounding 11 different islands, wearing t-shirts, under a full moon, with winds between 15 and 25 knots, while screaming along at up to 25 knots. What is there not to like about it?! Most of the world’s heavy hitters now make this a part of their race schedule.
We had prepared our inshore boat pretty well for this offshore test, but knew that we would be up against more than just the competition. We had a nice start and were in a tight pack with the four Maxi 72s for most of the race, so having a nice race within a race – always good for pushing yourself. We were leading our pack into Guadelupe, with only a couple more legs to go in the race, when we had problems with our rigging holding up the mast and had to retire. A real shame, as we were probably looking at a top 3 result, and our boat and team had been performing so well.
However, this disappointment will not erase the sweet memories of rounding Nevis and St. Kitts at sunset, rounding Saba at 10pm only a couple hundred feet from shore, rounding St. Barths and St. Maarten in darkness, racing just meters from our pack of boats all through this time, dolphins playing with us, and the general life onboard doing an offshore race with 20 of your new best friends. Truly a fantastic race that I hope to do many more times.