US SKUTTLEBUTT REPORTS ON RORC CARIBBEAN 600Thursday 14th March 2013
INCREDIBLE RACE TRACK - WELL MANAGED EVENT
When American Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer crossed the RORC
Caribbean 600 finish line off English Harbour, Antigua last week
(02:07:44:34), the 12-man crew knew they had sailed their socks and would
soon learn their efforts earned them the Overall IRC Trophy.
This would be the fifth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, which attracted
a record fleet of 53 yachts from 31 nations. Conceived by a group of RORC
members living in the Caribbean, the growth since its inaugural 2009
edition - considering the economic climate - is phenomenal.
Could it be so simple that a 600-mile race threading through 11 stunning
Caribbean islands in favorable weather is what we have all been looking
for? Providing more detail is Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read,
who was among the winning Privateer crew...
Everybody is right...it is a great race!
There is resolve behind the race from all the right sectors... Government,
Tourism, the Superyacht owners, RORC and the wonderful relationship they
have built with Antigua Yacht Club.
Event founder and competitor John Burnie enjoying the RORC Caribbean 600 2013 prize-giving party.
The weather in the Leeward Islands is certainly a nice feature while
England and most of North America is freezing in February. But even with
the obvious Caribbean warmth, it is the racetrack that is so special. Most
distance races, or even windward-leeward course races, have a "race within
the race". But this race takes that term to another level.
The Caribbean 600 is the "short track speedskating" version of an ocean
race! A series of sprints from Island to Island that are exhausting and
exhilarating. The Islands are just incredibly scenic, the tactical
decisions made on how to approach the enormous volcanic peaks of the
islands of Guadeloupe, Redondo, Saba and Nevis can make or break your race.
Sometimes you simply have bad or incredibly good luck. Sometimes you make
an educated guess based on wind direction and strength to cut a corner and
go close in and it works! Sometimes that strategy can cause a world of
A 90 mile close reach is followed by a 50 mile beat, then a 80 mile broad
reach that on most boats is the ride of a lifetime. The chicane around St.
Barths and St. Martin is incredibly challenging navigationally and
certainly can be a bit hairy when blasting through at 18 knots.
You are racing alongside 100 footers, Class 40's, and an eclectic group of
charter boats and grand prix monohulls and multihulls! Whales, turtles,
incredible night skies with crystal clear views of the galaxies. All worthy
of seeing on an annual basis.
This year was incredible. Trades were ripping. Enhanced by one of the ocean
low pressure systems that battered the northeast and maritimes with
hurricane force winds. It was a true ocean race complete with 10 foot waves
and 25-30 knot squalls!
So why is it growing? Great track, spectacular scenery, the organizers who
make sure you feel welcome in the race village at the AYC. Plain and
simple, it keeps you coming back because it is an incredible racetrack and
is a well managed event. See you next year!
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