Offshore

53 Yachts blast off in RORC Caribbean 600

The 5th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in 25 knots of trade winds, gusting close to 30, providing feisty conditions for the 53 yachts who blasted into action, crashing to windward through the surf in the starting area. The international fleet, with crews from 31 nations, set off for the 600-mile race threading through 11 stunning Caribbean islands and the forecast strong winds promises a wild and memorable ride.

RORC Caribbean 600 IRC Zero and Canting Keel start the 600-mile race threading through 11 stunning Caribbean islandsClick image for a larger image

First to go were the multihulls. Peter Aschenbrenner's ballistic trimaran, Paradox,chose to start on port and had to dip Austin Hearst's Gunboat 66, Slim. Next to go were the Class40s and CSA. Peter Harding's British Class40, 40 Degrees, was over eager and was OCS and had to return to the start line.

In the start for the Class Zero and Canting Keel Mike Slade's Maxi, ICAP Leopard and Hap Fauth's, Mini-maxi Bella Mente got away well, but Leopard's prowess upwind was a telling factor as they rolled Bella Mente to leeward. Close behind the 100ft Maxi Liara was dismasted. The crew, all safe and well, motored Liara back to the dock.

Last to go where the Superyachts; Filip Balcaen's 112 ft Baltic, Nilaya was dwarfed by two mighty schooners, Athos and Adela. Nilaya had the line to herself, as Athos and Adela powered to windward on opposite tacks.

Update . . .

At 17:00 local time, Peter Aschenbrenner's American trimaran, Paradox and Mike Slade's British Maxi, ICAP Leopard were both averaging a ballistic 18 knots covering the first 100 miles of the course in an astonishing seven and a half hours.

RORC Caribbean 600 - Peter Aschenbrenner's 63' Trimaran, Paradox CreditClick image for a larger image

Mike Slade's British Maxi, ICAP Leopard and Hap Fauth's Bella Mente are seriously on the charge. Race fans may have noticed that the race tracker page has Rambler 100's record run from 2011 overlaid and at 1700, ICAP Leopard was ahead of the imaginary rival and the 72 foot Bella Mente less than 2 miles behind!

Ron O'Hanley's American Cookson 50, Privateer is just 16 miles behind ICAP Leopard and ahead in the Canting Keel Class, after time correction. Privateer is also second overall in IRC. However, Hap Fauth's American JV72, Bella Mente is currently leading both IRC Zero and the race for the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.

In IRC Three Jonty Layfield's British J/39, Sleeper holds the advantage and a tremendous battle is developing between two vintage Swans behind them, Adrian Lower's British Swan 44, Selene is only half a mile astern of Valerio Bardi's Italian Swan 46, Milanto. However Selene is ahead after time correction.

As the fleet prepare for their first night at sea, the yachts will be enjoying a stunning downwind sleigh ride which they were hoping to experience in the Caribbean. There will be some respite to recover tired limbs as they reach from Nevis to Saba in the flat water behind St Kitts before an energy sapping tough beat up to St Barths.

G New
18 February 2013 22:37 GMT


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