The RORC Caribbean 600, as the name suggests, is a 600 mile race around the Caribbean islands. The RORC Caribbean 600 starts and finishes in Antigua, the competing yachts pass 14 magnificent islands in the central Caribbean. Some of the best sailing grounds in the world are blessed with stunning scenery, including the remote cliffs of Saba, the white sandy beaches of Barbuda and the twisted volcanic rock faces of Montserrat. The turquoise sea, blessed by the Trade Winds, produces exhilarating sailing conditions and whales, dolphins and turtles are a common sight. By night the competitors race in warm breeze under a carpet of stars, seldom seen with such clarity.
Check out photos from the start line in 2011 from Eli Fuller on the chase boat with videographer Roddy Grimes-Graeme.
It was first run in February 2009 and attracted world wide interest. The RORC Caribbean 600 Race starts off Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua. The course takes the fleet to the north passing a mark off Barbuda, the islands of Nevis, Saba and St Barths, to circle St Martin before heading down to Guadeloupe as the most southerly point, then back up to a mark off Barbuda before returning to finish in Antigua via Redonda.
RORC members John Burnie and Stan Pearson are two well known characters in the yachting community in the Caribbean. They have often talked about an offshore yacht race, something that the Caribbean has never had, their plans devised over a few beers have now become a reality. The RORC Caribbean 600, in association with the Antigua Yacht Club, is now firmly established as an annual event, starting in February each year.
The Caribbean served up some sublime sailing conditions for the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600, the competitors are expecting to blasted around the course in big breeze, warm seas and ocean swell. The race course around the Caribbean was the ultimate sailor's playground, apart from two short beats, the fleet enjoyed fast downwind conditions. By day the yachts criss-cross between the tropical islands and by night they sail under a carpet of stars.