The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started on time from Antigua on Monday 21 February.
Seventy-four teams with over 700 sailors from 32 countries started the race. The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands, including St.Kitts and Nevis, had a spectacular start with 15 knots of wind from the northeast gusting up to 20 knots.
The IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of hell-raising, with Comanche reaching at full speed towards the Pillars of Hercules, then hardening up to take the inside line perilously close to the cliffs.
Hundreds of spectators, on and off the water watched the IRC Super Zero yachts head off in the 13th RORC Caribbean 600 – photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
The 13th RORC Caribbean 600 IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of hell-raising, with Comanche reaching at full speed towards the Pillars of Hercules – photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Fleet Snapshot: DAY 1 – 1500 AST 21 February
Four hours into the race, Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) was leading the Multihull Class from Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay and Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA).
In the race for Monohull Line Honours, the leader by just a mile, was Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, skippered by Fernando Echavarri. The VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth was second on the water. With just over two hours to go until the first sunset of the race, the majority of the fleet were making good progress to Barbuda, the first and only mark of the course.
“The start was just incredible, it’s rare to see so many big boats in a start like that, just taking it on, but it was not just the big boats. This fleet is stacked right through all the classes, with competitive starts the whole way through. Good luck to all the teams,” commented Race Director Chris Stone.
“Making sure the fleet get away to a good start is the first part of this stage of the race management. We continue to focus on the safety aspects out on the race course. There will be different weather conditions and some parts of the course are pretty treacherous. For the RORC Race team it is about keeping the fleet safe, with 24-hour monitoring for every boat.”
A record MOCRA fleet – Gilles Lamire’s Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires and Antoine Rabaste’s Ultim’Emotion 2 start the 13th RORC Caribbean 600 – photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Yuri Fadeev’s First 40 Optimus Prime (GBR) nailed the inshore end of the line, closely followed by Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR). Bernie Evan-Wong’s RP37 Taz (ANT) also had a great start. Stuart Dahlgreen racing J/121 Wings (USA) was OCS by just five seconds, but restarted correctly.
Four hours into the race, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise (GBR) and Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) were neck-and neck at the front or IRC One. Just a mile behind the leaders, Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was going well. In IRC Two, two old rivals were battling for the lead on the water: Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR) and Scarlet Oyster. Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid (ANT), skippered by Julian White was just three miles behind the leaders.
Peter Lewis’ J/122 Whistler from Barbados was among the first start with boats racing in IRC 1 and IRC 2 in the 13th RORC Caribbean 600 – photo © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
IRC ZERO and Class40 START
Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) totally nailed the start, ripping over the line at full pace towards the lifting pressure. David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR) was second over the line. On her hip with a good controlling position was Jean Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 (FRA). In the Class40 Division, Herve Thomas’ Finnimo (FRA) got the best start, staying out of the melee inshore. Baptiste Hulin & Clement Commagnac’s Rennes – Saint Malo (FRA) and Marc Lepesqueux’s Sensation Class40 Extreme (FRA) tucked right in under the cliffs and crossed the line in good shape.
Four hours into the race, Warrior Won (USA) was leading on the water, two miles astern was their Pac52 sistership Callisto (USA) sailed by Jim Murray and Tala (GBR). In the Class40 Division, Finnimo held a one-mile lead from Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi (FRA). Sensation Class40 Extreme was third on the water.
UP Sailing, Morgan Ursault Poupon’s Class40 was one of nine Class40s at the start of the 13th RORC Caribbean 600 – photo © Arthur Daniel / RORC
Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Class40 Guidi and Adrian Lee’s Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners at the start of the 13th RORC Caribbean 600 – photo © Rick Tomlinson / www.rick-tomlinson.com
Follow the RORC Caribbean 600 on social media and via the dedicated race website: caribbean600.rorc.org
Track the fleet and follow all the updates as the race unfolds. All yachts will be fitted with a race tracker: caribbean600.rorc.org/Tracking/2022-fleet-tracking.html