Leopard sets high bar in Caribbean 600

Published on February 21st, 2024

Fort Charlotte, Antigua (February 21, 2024) – The Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON) skippered Joost Schuijff took Monohull Line Honors in the 2024 RORC Caribbean 600, arriving today at 12:43:18 to complete the course in an elapsed time of 02 Days 01 Hrs 23 Mins and 18 Secs.

This is Leopard 3’s ninth RORC Caribbean 600, and while the canting keel Maxi has taken the gun on two previous occasions, Leopard 3 has never won the race overall under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.

Leopard 3 has set the bar on IRC corrected time for all of the 36 boats still racing under IRC and must now wait for the overall winner to be decided. The biggest threat to Leopard for the overall title are all racing in IRC Zero that are about 100 miles from the finish in Antigua.

“I started racing Leopard some 5-6 years ago,” commented Schuijff. “After major changes, including taking 10 tons of weight out of the boat and installing a new mast, we’re seeing the rewards for all that work. However, the most important aspect is the training of the crew; it’s all about the people. The teamwork on Leopard is all important.

“This is my second RORC Caribbean 600 and with Leopard it can be challenging. This year we saw 30 knot squalls and with big sail area up that can be quite scary, but I really enjoy this race. Sailing in the tropics is picturesque, the scenery is really beautiful and racing against good competition is a perfect combination.”

Onboard Leopard 3 was Schuijff, Chris Sherlock, Mitch Booth, Aaron Reynolds-Lovegrove, Antonio Cuervas Mons, Carlos Hernandez Robayna, Charlie Wyatt, Dennis Frederiksen, Gerard Mitchell, Gian Ahluwalia, Giles de Jager, Guillermo Altadill, Mark Bartlett, Matthew Lester, Paul Standbridge, Samuel Wright, Stephen Booth, Tom McWilliam, and Will Best.

Leopard 3 led right from the start, opening up a lead of about 30 miles on the nearest competition; Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X (FRA). However, as Leopard 3 passed through the wind shadow of Guadeloupe, the lead almost evaporated as Spirit of Malouen X appeared on the horizon.

“We know the boat Spirit of Malouen well as it has won the Maxi Worlds twice,” shared Sherlock. “For the 600, the TP52 Paprec Sailing Team was racing on board, so we knew that we needed to sail very well to beat them. I have to say I am very pleased that we did the RORC Nelson’s Cup prior to the 600 because we were sharp for the big race. In all the years we have raced Leopard we have never had such intense racing practice before and that definitely paid off big time.”

Leopard 3 is now 17 years old and probably faster now than she has ever been. The boat has taken Line Honors and set records all over the world, but apart from the Aegean 600, this would be Leopard’s first big win on IRC corrected time. The chance of that happening now is improved as the wind is becoming unstable for the boats behind.

Race informationTrackingResults

• The 15th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on February 19, 2024. The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte at English Harbour and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s

• The 2024 RORC Caribbean 600 is preceded by the 2nd Nelson’s Cup Series with two days of inshore racing on February 13-14 followed by the Antigua 360 Race on February 16. This is the same format as the 2023 edition.

RORC Caribbean 600 Records
• Multihull Record: 01 days 05 hrs 48 mins 45 secs in 2022 by MOD70 Argo (Jason Carroll)
• Monohull Record: 01 days 13 hrs 41 mins 45 secs in 2018 by Rambler 88 (George David)
• IRC Corrected Record: 03 days 10 hrs 09 mins 41 secs in 2022 by Pac52 Warrior Won (Christopher Sheehan)

2023 – Roy P. Disney, Volvo 70, Pyewacket (USA)
2022 – Christopher Sheehan, Warrior Won, Pac52 (USA)
2020 – Tilmar Hansen, Outsider, TP52 (GER)
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)

Source: Royal Ocean Racing Club

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