The inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 started today and the competitors are expecting to blast around the course in big breeze, warm seas and ocean swell. Close to 30 yachts from nine different countries gathered in Antigua for the first ever race to circumnavigate the Caribbean. The entries show a rich diversity of sailing boats; the smallest and probably most unusual, is Yanick Rebuffat’s Giro 34, Claire de Vents, an Italian built, water ballast downwind reaching machine, not dissimilar from a giant mini-Transat. “We are sailing two handed for this race and we hope to have a good battle with our friends on board the Class 40, Lou, which is also from Guadeloupe. When we heard about the race we decided to do it almost immediately. It is a great opportunity; there is no other race like it in the Caribbean.” commented Yanick.
The largest yacht in the race is Mike Slade’s record breaking, 100ft Farr designed, ICAP Leopard. The race course around the Caribbean is the ultimate sailor’s playground and, apart from two short beats, the fleet will enjoy fast downwind conditions. By day the yachts will criss-cross between the tropical islands and by night, they will sail under a carpet of stars. RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine is racing on David Aisher’s Rogers 46, Yeoman XXXII commented; “We went out for a shakeout today and had a ball; 20 to 25 knots of breeze and some big waves. We were trucking along, touching 18 knots with very little canvas up; a reef in the main and a No. 4. These are the conditions we came here for and we are relishing the prospect of some fantastic racing.” Full story here. Pic from Rick Tomlinson. Just a few more here right now, but more to come as the event unfolds.