George Sakellaris’ Maxi72, Proteus (USA) was the overall winner of the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600. It is the second time that Sakellaris has skippered the overall winner, having won the 2014 race with the Maxi72, Shockwave. Proteus was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero class featuring four Maxi72s.
Monohull line honors went to Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze Clark’s American VPLP-Verdier, Comanche, finishing with an elapsed time of 40h 53m 2s, only 33 minutes outside the record time set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011.
Eric De Turkheim’s French A13, Teasing Machine finished in an elapsed time of 68 hours to win IRC One and claim third overall for the race. “It was a big trip to get the boat here from Australia, including sailing 1,500 miles upwind from Panama, but we knew we had the potential to do well in this race,” De Turkheim said.
Ross Applebey’s British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster finished the race just before sunset on day four to win IRC Two for the fourth time. Global Yacht Racing’s British First 47.7, EH01, skippered by Andy Middleton finished half an hour later to place second in class. Third place went to Performance Yacht Charter’s First 40, Southern Child skippered by Lucy Jones.
“That was not an easy victory,” admitted Applebey. “At Saba we were last but one on the water. The crew dug deep for the beat to St. Barth; we clawed our way through the fleet and got into a good position for the big reach to Guadeloupe. Scarlet Oyster is very well set up for reaching and we edged ahead. I am never going to pretend Scarlet Oyster is a Maxi72, but we are proof that you can come to play on a charter boat and win at one of the world’s greatest offshore races.”
After a tremendous battle between Conor Fogerty’s Irish Sunfast 36, Bam and Susann Wrede’s German Swan 44, Best Buddies, Bam took line honors in an elapsed time of 3d 11h 1m 7s. Bam also won the class on corrected time by just over six minutes. Bam crew member Simon Knowles has competed in five Round Ireland Races and one Fastnet. “Conor and all the team were over the moon; we have never sailed together as a crew before, so to come here and win our class is brilliant. As the smallest boat racing in IRC and an amateur team, we knew it was going to be tough and the most important thing was just to keep going. It was very tense at the finish, especially as there was confusion about the location of the finish line. From a navigational point of view this is the toughest race I have done, but the race course is fabulous and you are always thinking about the next move.”
The Grand Soleil 46, Belladonna finished the race after just over three days and nights at sea. The crew of 14 (including T-Bear, a stuffed toy to avoid the unlucky number) are all RORC members, including skipper RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine.
“This is my seventh race and I have done it on lots of different boats. I started racing on a 46ft boat and I seem to have gone back to a 46-ft boat,” laughed McIrvine. “It was a great race, but also the slowest time I have completed the course, so this time I got my money’s worth! We are a bunch of elderly gents, kept in tow by two super guys in Alex Gardner and Tim Thubron. Alex spent the last five hours of the race inside the transom, holding the rudder together. We went around La Desirade in a lot of breeze and we had planned to hoist the jib top but Tim said that the angle was much freer so we put up the S4 spinnaker and we took off on big seas, fully loaded – fantastic! A lot of the course was upwind for us but the boys were great hiking out for many hours. They are a brilliant team but we did give up on cooking and survived on nuts and Peter Morton’s carrots.”
Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies, racing the J/120 Nunatak, won the IRC Two Handed class in an elapsed time of 3d 14h 19m and 44s.
The smallest yachts in the race, comprising three Figaro IIs from the Guadeloupe Grand Large Offshore Sailing School, were also racing with just two crew. Figaro II Sor, sailed by Arthur Bouwyn and Alienor Fleury was first to complete the race in 3d 9h 50m 50s. Bandit Mancho, sailed by Benjamin Augereau and Keni Piperol finished second; just over an hour behind, Sor. Bato 1, sailed by Joan Bernard and Tom Saliot, was third.
Antiguan entry Bernie Evan-Wong, racing the RP37, Taz completed the race on the fourth day. Evan-Wong is the only skipper to have competed in all eight editions of the race. “I had an awesome crew for this race and it is the fastest that I have ever done, so that is just great. We pushed really hard, we blew out a few sails but I didn’t want the crew to say we didn’t really go for it. The most memorable moment for me was passing within a boat length of the 100ft Comanche at night; absolutely amazing. She was gone with a flash. I was very thankful that we had a night moon and that they saw us.”
For more information visit the RORC Caribbean 600 mini-site: www.caribbean600.rorc.org
LLOYD THORNBURG’S MOD70 PHAEDO3 BREAKS RORC CARIBBEAN 600 MULTIHULL RECORD
Hurtling around the Caribbean at speeds in excess of 30 knots and topping out nearer 40, often barely a boat length apart, the epic duel between Tony Lawson’s MOD70s Concise 10 and Phaedo3 came to a conclusion after 32 hours of hot racing. Thornburg’s Phaedo3, co-skippered by Brian Thompson, crossed the finish line at Fort Charlotte in an elapsed time of 31h 59m 4s, breaking their own multihull race record set last year by 1h 34m 26s.
Barely out of sight of each other for the entire race, the superyachts in Falmouth Harbour heralded the arrival of the two boats with a cacophony of horns as hundreds of race fans gathered to cheer the two teams to the dock.
“Since we set the record last year we have got a lot better; our maneuvers are improved and we are sailing a better course,” Thornburg said. “We made a few mistakes out there, which we will correct next time, but this is the best group of sailors I have sailed with. We weren’t thinking about the record at any stage because we were so focused on match racing Concise. We had to dig deep and they were doing the same and they gave us a hell of a race.”
Report by Louay Habib