Final preparations are under way for the biggest offshore sailing race in the Caribbean. The RORC Caribbean 600, hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, English Harbour.
Hundreds of sailors from all over the world will be arriving in Antigua to take part in a 600 mile yacht race around the Caribbean. The organizers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club are based in London and founded in 1926. The club is renowned the world over for organising major sailing events, including the famous Rolex Fastnet Race.
Racing starts, just outside English Harbour on Monday 22nd February. After sailing, day and night and non-stop for up to four days, they will return to Antigua after passing and rounding 14 Caribbean islands and experienced some of the best sailing anywhere in the world.
The crews will be tired, hungry and thirsty and the Antigua Yacht Club will give them all a fantastic reception. Every yacht will be greeted dockside by a team of local volunteers, even in the early hours of the morning with a case of ice cold beer, courtesy of Bryden’s, Antigua.
Probably one of the best vantage points to watch the start of this magnificent yacht race is Shirley Heights. Due to the number of boats, there are several starts and the yachts will be setting off from the Club at mid-day on Monday, 22nd February.
Keep a look out for the spectacular trimaran, Region Guadeloupe and the unmistakable red dragon motif on the bow of Beau Geste, Karl Kwok’s 80 ft yacht which comes from Hong Kong and raced to the Caribbean from Europe, breaking a trans Atlantic record on the way.
Local Antiguan favourite, looking to retain their class title, is Bernie-Evan Wong’s, Café Americano High Tension. You can follow Bernie’s race on the website as all of the yachts in the race are fitted with GPS satellite tracking devices, which Bernie thinks is a tremendous development.
“The ability for the public to track the participants on the internet, is a truly superb innovation to Caribbean racing. It has opened up the sport to a really wide audience and drummed up a lot of interest in the race. It’s really good for the sport and great for Antigua.” Commented Bernie.
A skipper's briefing will be held on Saturday 20th February followed by a welcome party sponsored by Lee Overlay Partners, who were the overall winners last year. Honoured guests from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda are Harold Lovell, Finance Minister; John McGinley, Minister of Tourism and Winston Williams, Minister of Sport.
If you want to follow the race and see where all of the boats are, visit the RORC Caribbean 600 web site. www.caribbean600.rorc.org
An information centre will be available outside the Antigua Yacht Club from Friday 19th February.