At the RORC Caribbean 600 seventy boats started racing under IRC, Class40 and MOCRA Rules at 11:00 AST on Monday 20 February.
The RORC fleet set sails for the spectacular 600nm race around 11 Caribbean islands in unstable squally conditions off Antigua.
The fastest boats in the fleet are expected to finish in less than two days, but for some it will be five days
MOD 70 Zoulou (FRA) sailed by Erik Maris got away to a superb start. Flying their port hull, Zoulou had to duck a few boats on starboard, but nailed the pin end of the line at full pace.
Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) took a more conventional start inshore, but was soon up to full pace, with Zoulou and Maserati both hitting over 30 knots of boat speed.
Zoulou was the first to Barbuda just two hours and 43 seconds into the race, with Maserati 26 seconds behind. Gunboat 68 Tosca (USA), skippered by Alex Thomson was leading the charge behind the two trimarans.
IRC Super Zero
A classic dial-up featured in the big IRC Class; Pyewacket 70 (USA) skippered by Ben Mitchell and VO65 Wind Whisper (POL) skippered by Joca Signorini locked horns inshore before the start. Bragging rights went to Wind Whisper which stayed clear ahead.
Three hours after the start Pyewacket 70 was recording over 20 knots of boat speed with I Love Poland in hot pursuit. VO 65 Ambersail 2 (LTU) skippered by Przemyslaw Tarnacki was leading the chasing pack.
IRC Zero & Class40
With 12 high performance IRC boats and a record 13 Class40s, a thrilling start was expected and there was no disappointment. RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine (FRA) went straight for the pin end and got away to a fast, clean start.
Meanwhile inshore, RORC Commodore James Neville racing HH42 Ino XXX (GBR) found clean air reaching down the line and hardened up for a great start.
Three hours after the start Botin 56 Black Pearl (GBR) was leading IRC Zero on the water ahead of Callisto (USA) and Niklas Zennstrom’s CF520 Rán 8 (SWE).
In the Class40 Division, Axel Trehin’s Project Rescue Ocean (FRA) was in the leading pack of Class40s, including; Alla Grande – Pirelli, Tquila and IBSA.
In the combined IRC One & IRC Two start, Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA) skippered by Philippe Falle got away to a great start inshore, as did Jon Desmond’s Mills 41 Final Final (USA).
Two hours after the start, Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was in the leading pack with Final Final and Adrian Lee’s Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners (IRL).
J/133 Vamoose (USA) skippered by Bob Manchester got away well and played the shifts inshore to lead at Green Island on the water and extend the lead on the reach on the way up to Barbuda. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR) was second on the water in close company with Ray Rhinelander’ J/133 Bella J (CAN).