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Posts Tagged ‘Caribbean 600’

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Pro racer and team boss Chad Corning checked in after the ubiquitous Gunboat 62 Elvis made her Caribbean 600 debut this week.  Check the video following the story for the Race Wrap reel from a brutal C600 that knocked out more than half of the entrants, and props to Mojo Nixon for the song that kept Elvis famous long after he stopped deserving it.
We’d heard good things about it: A fast race with lots of reaching, great scenery, and solid winds in a warm climate. Sounds perfect, right? Team Elvis was excited to finally take a crack at the RORC’s Caribbean 600 this year.
Alarm bells started ringing about a week before.  Long term forecasts showing colors from the angry red side of the palette with a sea state to match.  If anything, the forecasts were low and the race became a heavy-air war of attrition.
We had a few good days of training where we worked on perfecting reef-in,reef-out, tried different heavy-air sail combos and broke all sorts of bits.  When race day dawned, we felt reasonably well-prepared, and after some final comparisons of routing times with our neighbors (a favorite activity leading up to the race) and some gallows humor-style jokes, we pushed off for the start.
Conditions were as they would be for much of the race, 22-30 knots TWS, 3+ meter waves, with a nice squall mid-sequence to get everyone in the mood.  Leg 1 is a short 8 mile beat up to the eastern end of Antigua, with spectacular visuals sailing through the fleet here, with the feisty sea state and the hills of Antigua creating a dramatic backdrop.  Once around the east end, the first of many power reaching sections began, with a 35 mile slide down to the Barbuda mark.  Elvis may have loved it but it was quite hard on the guys, especially those trimming in the forward cockpit.  Firehose spray and frequent filling of “the bath” to mid-shin made the forward trimming a character-building experience.  Since we put tillers on the boat the helmsman took it on the chin quite a bit as well.  I’d always thought those helmets with visors the Volvo guys wore looked like maybe a bit much, but all of a sudden, I got it.   My preferred position?  Mainsheet and traveler under the roof, cozy and dry(ish!).
Once around the Barbuda mark, we put the A6 on and began the 50 mile VMG run down to Nevis.  We were in company with Warrior and Proteus while Rambler 88 and the [ORMA with fridges -ed] Paradox were busy sailing over the horizon.  Proteus seemed to be exploding spinnakers as fast as she could put them up, and Warrior was on a hard luffed sail so we were able to slide by both by sailing lower with our soft-luffed A6.  As we congratulated ourselves on a great leg we found the A6 lock had failed causing us to run off and to get it down thus losing all our gains!
Once sorted out, it was back to more power reaching for 50 miles to the next mark at Saba.  We slid into the lee of the island and had a chance for a short breather after a very wet leg.  The respite would not last long as Saba brewed up some huge katabatic gusts and rolled them downhill at us like a giant in a Sinbad film.  A couple of lifting gusts pegged the dial over 40 knots so we were on high alert, especially after facing very similar conditions resulting in a near-capsize at Les Voiles a couple of years back.  Armed with the PTSD from that brown-trousers moment, we were most definitely on our toes.  It was with relief that we got through to more stable winds on the other side as we began the 30NM-beat to St. Barths.
As we were pounding away upwind, navigator Artie Means noticed a PLB light up by Saba.  We thought it may have been Proteus who looked to have abandoned the race just then but tragically it turned out to be our good friends on Fujin, who had probably been caught by one of the big katabatic gusts in the lee of Saba and had capsized.  Brad Baker’s excellent account of the incident is here, and we give our kudos to the very professional crew on the all-black Ker 56 Varuna and the team on the Gunboat 60 Flow who both stood by until the team was safe and the boat was headed to harbor.
All the way to Saba we had been looking at Fujin on AIS and pushing the boat at near 100% of polars to try and stay ahead.  It was a very sobering moment to realize just how wrong things can go and we were happy to lift off the gas pedal a bit and keep things in one piece for the rest of the race.  We’ve really enjoyed the rivalry with Greg and the Fujin team over the years, and wish them well in getting the boat back online.

Once around St. Barth’s, there are a couple of zig zags around St. Maarten and Tintamarre before the long, 150-mile blast reach down to Guadeloupe.  This is the leg we were licking our chops for but fatigue had begun to set in and the firehose reaching had become less then fun, especially for those helming and up front.  Though a tad unpleasant it went by quickly and we found our way to the next big hurdle of the course, getting through the massive lee of Guadeloupe.  There were as many opinions as people on the dock on how to get through here but we seemed to get off easy – coasting through the light patch about a mile offshore with just enough time to make a pot of coffee and heat up the lasagna (finally).  The beat up to Desirade was less than pleasant with a large left shift making port tack head right into the big seas, which our boat (heavy with a lot of rocker) did not particularly enjoy.  More power reaching past Antigua (unusual amount of “let’s take a left here” jokes) to the Barbuda mark was next, followed by a couple hours of VMG running before the final 33-mile beat into the finish.

Elvis crossed the line behind Paradox (line honors), Rambler 88 (mono line honors) and the turbo Volvo 70 Warrior (ex-Camper) finishing after dawn on Wednesday, with an elapsed time of around 43 hours.  Jason has had the vision to turn Elvis into a magnificent machine and she took all that we threw at her in the race with ease.  Just the halyard lock and one winch button as far as gear failure goes, otherwise the boat was flawless in a race that destroyed containers-full of equipment among the fleet.  It was a rough race and hats most definitely go off to the boys on the Seacart 30 Morticia who got it around the course as well as all the smaller boats who couldn’t have had an easy time of it.  It was a race that was rewarding to finish and, with the short memory that most offshore racers are blessed with, most will be back for another go around one of the world’s best racetracks.

March 1st, 2018 by admin

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Sailor Chick of the Week

If you thought the Class 40 was full of soon-to-be Vendee stars, you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean the shorthanded speciality Class can’t be won by less glitzy sailors. Witness Catherine Pourre, who’s Eärendil just won the Class 40 section and set a Class record for the extremely tough Caribbean 600 course that’s been well-attended by top Class 40s since its inception.  From the folks in Antigua:

Eärendil took line honours for the eight-strong Class40 Division in an elapsed time of 2 days 13 hours and 15 seconds, breaking the previous record set by Gonzalo Botin’s Spanish Tales II in 2016 by over three hours. Eärendil, with a French, Spanish and Italian crew won the Class40 division for this year’s race by just under three hours. Louis Burton’s BHB was second in class and Arnt Bruhns racing his German Class40 Iskareen was third.

“The team did a fantastic job. I didn’t know we were going to break the record, but we have two crew from Tales who had the record and said we could do it with the forecast conditions,” commented Catherine Pourre. “We had 25 knots almost all the time, with 30 knot gusts. It was very, very wet on deck and inside the boat it was very rough as we were bumping on the waves. When we were upwind I got seasick and it was difficult for me to recover because we had no respite; even reaching was really rough. The RORC Caribbean 600 is part of the American Trophy for the Class40s. It is one of the fiercest and most challenging races for Class40 because of the number of manoeuvres, and this year because of the weather conditions. I hope we will have many more boats next year. There are 58 potential candidates for next year’s Route du Rhum,” continued Pourre.

Click below for an interview with Catherine after the finish with thanks to Louay Habib.

March 1st, 2018 by admin

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Bang! goes the gun for the Caribbean 600; is anything quite as pretty as a big fleet of big boats racing into the tropical blue sea? Nice editing work from the RORC guys on this start video from yesterday; track ’em and watch the rolling leaderboard here. Argue about the race, monohulls and multihulls, and what an asshole Mr. Clean is here.

For bonus coverage, check out Comanche bowman Shannon Falcone, publishing short vids during the race on Instagram.

 

February 23rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 8.18.23 PMIf 500 miles a day isn’t cruisey enough for you, how about a metre-long barracuda coming over the stern?  Shannon Falcone posts this pretty pre-sashimi shot from the Charleston to Antigua delivery on the eve of the already-a-legend RORC Caribbean 600. Go to Instagram to find the usual advice from the ciguaphobic.

While the RORC’s only major fuckup – a useless registration system that makes it tough to find anything but an overall entry list – makes it hard to give you exact links, the quality of the fleet and the stories that abound make it worth watching:

Biggest fleet ever?  Check.

MOD70 match race featuring the most successful British sailing recordbreaker ever against France’s most-revered shorthanded sailor? Check.

Dozens of schooner sailors flinging 200-footers around like massive wooden dinghies?  Check.

Two of America’s newest maxi canters, one of them with a serious fishing pedigree? Check.

Race starts tomorrow morning.  What’s not to love?  Track here.

February 21st, 2016 by admin

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To no one’s surprise, Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo^3 absolutely obliterated the Caribbean 600 race record with a 33h35m30s elapsed time, beating the previous time set by an ORMA 60 by 6 and a half hours – some 15 percent.  Brian Thompson, Michel Desjoyeaux, and Lloyd did all the driving, and when we spoke to him a few minutes ago, he said he owed “a huge debt of gratitude to Michel for his amazing help – without him, we’d never have been able to turn this project around so quickly.”  Thornburg only purchased the MOD-70 in January, and is seriously excited to bring his new weapon to the Heineken before taking it North for the NY-UK Transatlantic Race and the Fastnet.

The rest of the fleet is struggling through light air, and turbo Volvo 70 Maserati never got away from Bella Mente before losing their canting mechanism and withdrawing; track the fleet here, and check the thread for pics and video.

Team Phaedo/Ocean Images photo.

 

February 24th, 2015 by admin

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The Michel Desjoyeaux-led MOD 70 crew of Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo^3 was loosely aware of the Farr 115 Sojana’s long-standing 4h37m43s ’round Antigua record when they went out for their first practice sail today; they put the pedal down on the trimaran and shattered it to pieces.  Unofficially, the new record is 2h44m15s, and the top speed the crew remembers seeing is somewhere around 35 knots…unofficially.

Big thanks to Team Phaedo/Ocean Images for the beautiful aerial shots; here’s another one of her coming right at ya!

February 21st, 2015 by admin

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There’s a perfect confluence this year of a strong economy, vibrant offshore racing scene, and serious multihull acceptance in 2016, and for those reasons, we’re calling it The Year Of Broken Records.  Thanks to ubiquitous maxi-multihulls, MOD70s, GC32s, AC45s and the new Ultim tris, nearly every inshore and ocean racing record could fall this year, which means plenty of masts and dreams will fail, too.

First up? Team Phaedo owner Lloyd Thornburg has finally recovered from his dismasting during the last Transpac, and with a massive refit and huge new rig, he’ll be assaulting the West Coast in 2016 with the now-fire engine red Gunboat 66.  But Thornburg’s got a nice combo of no fear and piles of time and money, and he just ‘scrounged together’ a MOD-70 (ex-Foncia) and shipped it across the ocean, recruiting some of the world’s top multihull and ocean racers for next week’s Caribbean 600.  With RTW record-holder Brian Thompson, double Vendee Globe winner Mich Desj, and a crew full of talent, there’s almost no conceivable way Phaedo can’t shatter the existing race record of 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs set by old-school ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe all the way back in 2009.

With the new Rambler 88 and Turbo VO70 Maserati entered in the monohull class, there’s even a chance that the 40h20m monohull record set by David’s Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat) can fall, but we’re expecting the first real assault on the monohull world to come from Kristy and the boys this spring.

Title shout out to a classic movie that fits…

 

February 19th, 2015 by admin

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Whaddya get when you put the youngest-ever winning skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race together with one of America’s best skippers on a J/V 72 with enough time on the water now for the kinks to be worked out?  At the moment, Terry Hutchinson and Moose Sanderson have helped Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente to a current 1st overall, 1st in class, and less than a mile behind the all-conquering Rambler 90 in one of the world’s most enjoyable races.  Track them here, and there’s just a few hours left for one lucky guesser to win a bottle of Oracle Team USA alum and Antigua native Shannon Falcone’s home-brewed rum; we’re not sure it’s legal, but Shannon vowed on his Facebook page to send a bottle to whoever can get closest to the correct line honors boat and closest finish time, but you have to get it in before noon PST today (that’s in a few hours).  Check it out here and thanks to forss for the heads up in the thread. Tim Wright photo.  

 

February 25th, 2014 by admin

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 It’s the only race of this distance that’s been consistently growing over the past few years, with the most diverse fleet of 100+ footers racing anywhere in the world.  The course is gorgeous, the start/finish venue at the Antigua YC is spectacular, and the folks that run it are as helpful as can be.  What more is there to say?  Super-schooner Adela looks to have taken the Spirit of Tradition trophy, while the perpetually top performing canting 50 Privateer leads Bella Mente on CSA at the moment with the roles reversed under IRC.  Phaedo couldn’t pull out the handicap victory over the ass-hauling Paradox, though not for lack of trying; we’ve never seen a Gunboat sailed quite so much like an ocean racing cat.  The Yellowbrick tracker is the best spot to check overall results; look for the ‘leaderboard’ tab on the bottom left of the screen.

February 21st, 2013 by admin

http://www.camet.com/

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