RORC Caribbean 600: Winning WaysFebruary 10, 2017
The RORC Caribbean 600 – starting from Antigua on Monday 20th February at 11 a.m. - attracts the world's fastest racing yachts, magnificent superyachts and corinthian production cruisers. Gathered in Antigua for the start of the 600-mile blast around 11 Caribbean islands, the fleet is a phenomenal sight. Over 70 yachts and 900 sailors from 24 different countries are anticipated to take part in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
The largest number of American boats ever seen on the race course will include several serious race teams with a chance of winning the overall trophy. Past winners from the U.S. on the start line will include the current holder of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy from 2016, George Sakellaris (Proteus, Maxi 72, USA) as well as some of the other American overall winners: 2015: Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA); 2014: George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA); 2013: Ron O'Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA) and 2011: George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA).
Favourites, for both line honours and the overall win are likely to come from the USA, even though British contenders lead the impressive list of entries in terms of number of boats from around the globe.
The fastest boat in the race is the American trimaran, the MOD70, Phaedo³ owned and skippered by Lloyd Thornburg who grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Phaedo³ set the multihull record last year, hurtling around the course at speeds in excess of 30 knots and topping out nearer 40, crossing the finish line in an elapsed time of 31 hours, 59 minutes, 04 seconds and breaking their previous race record. Team Phaedo is back to defend their title and will be taking a tilt at their own record once again.
RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY - IRC OVERALL WINNERS
2016 - George Sakellaris, Proteus Maxi 72 (USA)
2015 - Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (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)
Among the spectacular entries this year are also two colossal schooners: Eleonora and Adela, with at least 12 classic-designed yachts joining them on the race course.
Adela dates back to 1903 and at 182ft (55 metres), she is the largest yacht competing in the race. Displacing 250 tons and capable of 17 knots of boat speed, the forces on board are off the charts; the mainsail alone can generate 50 tons of load. Adela has an extraordinary record in the race; coming in the top ten overall under IRC in all four races she has competed in, including third overall in 2013. Adela is unbeaten in the Spirit of Tradition Class and is likely to have 35 crew for this year's race. Since she last competed in 2015, the schooner has undergone major modifications to her rudder and keel. Changing a headsail on Adela requires crew out on her mighty bowsprit, a position for agile, strong and trustworthy crew.
Displacing 213 tons with an overall length of 162ft (49.5 metres), Eleonora is an exact replica of the famous 1910 Herreshoff schooner Westward. Since her launch in 2000 she has followed Westward’s heritage of racing, however, this will be Eleonora's first RORC Caribbean 600.
Classic yachts have always been a part of the RORC Caribbean 600. Competing this year is the 78ft Maxi Kialoa III, best remembered for victory in the 1975 Sydney Hobart, with the race record lasting for 21 years. The 70ft mahogany ketch, El Oro which was originally owned by the founder of Bic pens has been sailed from Australia to compete. Mat Barker's 65ft sloop, The Blue Peter has unfinished business after retiring from last year's race. The Blue Peter is a true classic, almost unchanged since being launched in 1929.
Nine majestic yachts, built by Nautor's Swan will also be competing this year, including three classics designed by Sparkman & Stephens; Swan 48s, Isbjorn and Sleeper, a Swan 44 Freebird. Other classic designed sloops in the RORC Caribbean 600 include the 88ft Dutch Frers, Tulip, Irish C.N.B Briand 76ft, Lilla and Hound, a 60ft Nielsen Custom from the United States.
Race report: Louay Habib /RORC
For the latest entry list and more information: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/