The 15th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in glorious conditions on Monday 19th February off Fort Charlotte Antigua. Sixty-four boats with over 500 sailors from all over the world took to the start for the non-stop 600nm race around 11 Caribbean islands. The south easterly breeze gusting up to 17 knots produced a fast start to the Caribbean classic.

IRC One & IRC Two

The outer distance mark was very busy for the first start with four charter boats giving their guests on board the thrill of winning the pin end: Harmony 52 Sao Jorge (GBR) skippered by Anne Tyler-Morgan and First 40.7 Escapado (GBR) skippered Andy Parritt jostled for position along with Elan 450 Emily of Cowes (GBR) skippered by Richard Laver, and Katy Campbell’s Salona 45 Panacea X (CAN). Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) got a great start near the pin, as did Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR) all the way inshore.

Approximately five hours into the race, the leader on corrected time in IRC Two is Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 1080 In Theory (USA). The leader for IRC One was Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA). Joel Aronson’s Hylas 49 Rule One (USA) was over the line but returned to start correctly.

IRC Zero & Class40

The second start was a combination of some of the most technically advanced boats in the race, and the race to the line was just as competitive as the first start. RP42 Rikki (USA) skippered by Bruce Chafee was the closest to the line in the minute before the start. Frederic Puzin’s Ker 46 Daguet (FRA) made a bold move reaching in from an offshore position into a ball of boats but managed to find enough room to get onto Rikki’s tale and then just get the bow down for an electric start. Niklas Zennstrom’s Carkeek 52 Rán (SWE) made a good start inshore of Rikki and Daguet. Peter & David Askew’s Botin 52 Wizard (USA) also got away well. James Neville’s Carkeek 45 Ino Noir (GBR) was over the line, but returned to start correctly. Five hours into the race, leading the IRC Zero Class after time correction was Peter & David Askew’s Wizard.

In the Class40 division, Richard Palmer’s Jangada 40 (GBR) skippered by Rupert Holmes made a clean start inshore. James McHugh’s Tquila and Mathieu Jones’ Alternative Sailing – Constructions du Belon (FRA) also got away to a flyer. Five hours into the race Tquila was the clear leader in the Class40s.

Botin 52 Wizard (USA) & Carkeek 52 Rán © Alex Turnbull

Class40 Start © Tim Wright/RORC

IRC Super Zero

Four Maxis barrelling into the pin at top speed was a breath-taking sight for the IRC Super Zero start. In the mix were Farr 70 Ocean Breeze (AUT) skippered by Johanne Schwartz and VO65 Sisi (AUT) skippered by Gerwin Jansen. Just tucked in behind the pair was Atlas Ocean Racing’s Juan K 70 Il Mostro (CAN). Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON) skippered by Joost Schuijff and Sergio Giglio’s Southern Wind 102 Egiwave (ITA) were bow level at the start, but Leopard pulled clear and five hours into the race was the leading monohull on the water and after IRC time correction.

IRC Super Zero Start © Tim Wright/RORC

Farr 100 Leopard 3 and Paprec Sailing Team on Spirit of Malouen X © Tim Wright/RORC

MOCRA

The last start featured 11 multihulls, including three MOD70s vying for the race record and Multihull Line Honours. As with all of the previous starts it was rush-hour at the pin end. However, Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) started on port, blasting right over the top of the fleet like Zoulou had been shot out of a cannon. Adrian Keller’s Irens 84 Allegra (SUI) got a great start at the pin end. Alexia Barrier’s MOD7 Limosa – The Famous Project (FRA) got away to a fast start, but Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) was late over the line. Guy Chester’s Ocean Tribute (AUS) and Wooldridge & Davis’ Triple Jack (BVI) got a clean start. Five hours into the race, Argo was leading on the water from Limosa – Famous Project, with Zoulou in third. After MOCRA time correction, Fabrice Cahierc’s Ocean Fifty Realites Planet-R (FRA)was leading after five hours of racing.

MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) © Tim Wright/RORC

No Limit and the diverse MOCRA fleet © Arthur Daniel

“It is always great to see the fleet all get away to a clear start,” commented RORC Race Director Steve Cole. “The RORC Race Team will be monitoring the fleet 24-7. All teams in the race will be greeted by the invaluable Caribbean 600 Volunteers with warm smiles and cold Carib beers. We wish all competitors a great race and look forward to seeing them all safely back in Antigua after they have finished.”

Teams in the RORC Caribbean 600 are sending in videos, pictures and messages from the race course which are posted on the live blog. The RORC Social Media Channels are also covering many aspects of the race. The RORC Caribbean 600 forms part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Season Points Championships, the world’s largest offshore racing series. For more information go to RORC Caribbean 600 website. https://caribbean600.rorc.org.

Capturing all the action at the start with Calvin Air © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Fort Charlotte start and spectators © Tim Wright/RORC

Nielsen 59 Hound (USA) © Tim Wright/RORC

© Caribbean Sailing Association 2018