Monohulls line up for Caribbean 600
Published on February 16th, 2022
Seventy-five boats are entered for the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600 which starts on February 21 in Antigua. The bulk of the fleet will be racing under IRC on the 600nm course around 11 Caribbean islands, competing for overall victory and the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios (MON) sailed by Fernando Echavarri, and the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche (CAY) skippered by Mitch Booth, are favorites for Monohull Line Honours. Both Maxis are very capable of beating the Monohull Race Record set in 2018 by George David’s Rambler 88 (37 hours, 41 minutes, 45 seconds).
The wild card for Line Honours is the Farr 100 Leopard skippered by Chris Sherlock. Leopard took Line Honours in the very first edition while Comanche and Skorpios have only raced each other once before with Comanche taking the spoils in the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race.
“The RORC Caribbean 600 is a complicated race with a lot of different legs,” commented Skorpios skipper Fernando Echavarri. “For Skorpios, how we play with the sails will be a very important area. Sail changes take a lot of time and each one reduces your speed, so we need to minimize the changes.
“To do that we choose sail combinations that are very versatile for the conditions and play with reefs and outriggers. It is super-important to make the right calls at the right time.”
“We know Comanche is very good in big breeze. Skorpios is a new boat and we have been making some changes to increase the performance in those areas where Comanche is strong, especially downwind.”
IRC Super Zero
Fifteen Maxis will race in IRC Zero, just one less than the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, with six Volvo 70s and three VO65s. The fastest on IRC Rating is the Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN) sailed by Jens Dolmer, with Joern Larsen at the helm. Tactician Bouwe Bekking commented that L4 Trifork’s primary goal is to be the first Volvo 70 to finish the race.
Competition in the Volvo 70s will come from Johannes Schwarz’s Ocean Breeze with a crew from the Yacht Club Sopot in Poland and Il Mostro (CAN) skippered by Gilles Barbot of Atlas Ocean Racing. I Love Poland (POL) skippered by Konrad Lipski has one of the youngest teams in the race, including teenagers Mateusz and Kacper Gwozdz. Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Tamara Echegoyen will be racing on Jens Lindner’s HYPR (ESP). Six different nationalities make up the crew on Lance Shepherd’s Telefonica Black (GBR), with charter guests from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States.
The VO65s will enjoy a battle within IRC Super Zero. Ambersail II (LUT) is skippered by Saulius Pajarskas with an all-Lithuanian crew. The Austrian Ocean Race Project’s Sisi (AUT) is skippered by Gerwin Jansen. Deneen Demourkas from Santa Barbara, California has chartered Sailing Poland’s VO65 and is competing under the famous team banner of Groovederci Racing (USA).
The multinational crew includes Marc Lagesse as navigator and Taylor Canfield as tactician. Over the past two decades, Demourkas’ Groovederci Racing has excelled in top one-design classes, including three world championship victories in the Farr 30 (formerly Mumm 30) Class. In 2015, Deneen was nominated for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.
The two lowest rated boats in IRC Super Zero are the Mills 68 Prospector (USA), sailed by Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners and taking part in their third race. Richard Tolkien at the helm of his Open 60 Rosalba (GBR) will be taking part in his first RORC Caribbean 600.
The top five boats on IRC Rating could produce the closest contest in the 75-strong fleet. Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA), class winner in the 2021 Transpac, has a crack-crew including Stu Bannatyne from New Zealand and Canada’s Richard Clarke. From Lake Michigan in Illinois, Kate and Jim Murray’s Pac52 Callisto (USA) is the highest rated boat in IRC Zero.
Callisto’s crew includes navigator Jules Salter from the UK and Jared Henderson from New Zealand. Direct competition for the Pac52s will be David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR). Tala was in fine form for the RORC Transatlantic Race, placing third overall. Tala’s crew includes New Zealander Campbell Field as navigator and Jeremy Robinson from the UK.
Ron Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer (USA), overall winner in 2013 and second overall in 2018, sailed to Antigua from Rhode Island to take part in the race. Juggy Clougher who was on the delivery, has raced around the world more times than Phileas Fogg and won the race overall with Beau Geste and Rambler. “Just bashed our brains out upwind in 20 knots for 1,200 miles, so we can race for 600 miles! That’s what you do…. this is a really special race!”
With 19 teams, IRC Zero is the largest class in the RORC Caribbean 600 which includes two French Ker 46s: Dominique Tian’s Tonnerre de Glen and Frederic Puzin’s Daguet 3. Adrian Lee, winning skipper for the first edition with his Cookson 50 will be taking part in his sixth race in Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners II (IRL). Adrian’s twin teenage children, Dasha and Alexander will be racing on board.
Two British JPK 1180s will be among the favorites in IRC One. Tom Kneen’s Sunrise (GBR) swept the board in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, winning the world’s biggest offshore race overall. Ed Bell’s JPK Dawn Treader (GBR) was out of luck in the Rolex Fastnet Race, retiring with a broken mast. Both boats were shipped across the Atlantic to take part in what will be their first race in the Caribbean.
Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA) and Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) raced to the Caribbean in the RORC Transatlantic Race, coming second and fourth in class respectively. Two J/121s will be racing; Stuart Dahlgreen will sail Wings (USA) with a crew from Canada and the United States. Peter Lewis returns to the RORC Caribbean 600 with his team on Whistler (BAR).
The top two rated boats in IRC One features a match-up between two Pogo 12.50s. Tim Knight’s Kai (GBR) will race Two-Handed with Chris Swallow. Morgen Watson skippers Hermes II (CAN) for a fifth race, with a full crew, alongside partner Meg Reilly. There is no stopping Bernie Evan-Wong, the Antiguan skipper of the RP37 Taz has competed in every edition of the race and this year the Taz crew includes sailors from Antigua, Great Britain, Ireland, and the USA.
A dozen teams will be competing in IRC Two. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has won class at the RORC Caribbean 600 a record six times. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR), racing with Jeremy Waitt will be competing in their third race, having won the Two-Handed class in 2020.
Two Antiguan boats racing in the class are Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid and Carlo Falcone’s legendary Caccia Alla Volpe, skippered by Carlo’s son Rocco, with sister Shirley in an all-Antiguan crew. America’s Cup winner Shannon Falcone will be on Comanche for the race.
Nine Class40s will be taking part this year. The pocket-rocket 40-footers have always featured since the first race in 2009, with some exceptionally close finishes throughout the years.
Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi is one of the latest Class40 designs in the race. The Sam Manuard designed Mach40.3 was commissioned in 2018. Charles-Louis is no stranger to RORC racing having competed in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The 2017 Verdier designed Rennes – Saint Malo / Mer Entreprendre will be sailed by Baptiste Hulin & Clement Commagnac. Racing on Arthur Hubert’s BHB, Commagnac won the 2020 RORC Caribbean 600.
Brian Hennessy’s Dragon (USA) is arguably the most successful American Class40 skipper having won the Bermuda One-Two, the Miami to Havana and the Marblehead to Halifax races. He will be racing Two-Handed with Cole Brauer.
Morgane Ursault Poupon racing Up Sailing will be taking part in her second race. The 2007 Rogers Yacht Design is one of the oldest boats in the race but was an impressive class runner-up in 2020.
The 2020 RORC Caribbean 600 attracted 76 teams from 21 countries and crews from six continents. When the 13th edition gets underway, 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.
• Multihull record (2019) – Giovanni Soldini, Maserati, Multi 70 (ITA) – 30 hours, 49 minutes, 00 seconds
• Monohull record (2018) – George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA) – 37 hours, 41 minutes, 45 seconds
PREVIOUS WINNERS: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY – IRC OVERALL
2019 – David and Peter Askew, Wizard, Volvo 70 (USA)
2018 – George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA)
2017 – Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (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)