66 yachts started the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, with hundreds of race fans watching the impressive fleet from Fort Charlotte and Shirley Heights. Thousands more are now glued to the tracker and social media feeds. After a classic start in 15 knots of easterly trade winds, the fleet powered past the Pillars of Hercules, heading for Green Island where they will bear away and accelerate towards Barbuda, the only mark of the 600-mile course around 11 stunning Caribbean islands.
Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo3, with Michel Desjoyeaux and Brian Thompson on board, had a conservative start with Petro Jonker’s cruising catamaran, Quality Time crossing the line first. Phaedo3lit the blue touch paper at Green Island, blasting through the surf at well over 30 knots. The lime-green machine reached Barbuda in less than two hours, well ahead of record pace and eight miles ahead of Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63, Paradox.
In the second start, 19 yachts in IRC Two and Three started the 600-mile race. For most of the crews racing in the smaller yachts it will be three or four days before they complete the challenge. Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600, Redshift, skippered by Nick Cherry, got a great start at the pin-end with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, judging the inner distance mark to perfection. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 and Scarlet Oyster were the first yachts in IRC Two to reach Green Island and it is likely that these two will be neck-and-neck for the duration of the race. In IRC Three, Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35, Zarafa was leading on the water at Green Island. However the Two Handed team racing Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.10, Raging Bee was the leader in class after time correction.
Jonathan Bamberger’s Canadian J/145, Spitfire and Joseph Robillard’s S&S 68, Black Watch got the best start in the 15 strong fleet racing in IRC One. However, Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72, Maximizer,revelled in the upwind start to lead on the water at Green Island. Oyster 625, Lady Mariposa, sailed by Daniel Hardy had a great leg to Green Island as did James Blakemore’s Swan 53, Music which was leading after time correction.
The penultimate start featured 21 yachts racing in IRC Zero and Canting Keel, arguably the best fleet of offshore sailing yachts that has ever been seen in the Caribbean. A highly competitive start saw Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4, win the pin, while Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer took the island shore route to perfection. Farr 100, Leopard sailed by Christopher Bake, also had a great start, controlling the boats to leeward heading for the Pillars of Hercules.
Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72, Bella Mente had a sensational first leg of the race, rounding Green Island first out of the IRC Zero class, but all eyes were on George David’s Rambler 88, as the powerful sled turned on the after burners. George David’s new speed-machine could well break his own monohull course record; at Barbuda Rambler 88 was almost five miles ahead of the ghost track of the record set by Rambler 100.
Two of the world’s most magnificent schooners were the last class to start. Athos and Adela started their match race in the pre-start and there is no doubt that the battle of the titans will continue throughout the race. Athos won the pre-start in some style, chasing Adela downwind and away from the line, before rounding up onto the breeze and crossing the line over a boat length ahead of her rival. However, Adela was far better suited to the beat up to Green Island and led as the two schooners continued their rivalry towards Barbuda.
Quite possibly the best ocean race on the planet.
Pedal to the Metal
Written by RORC Wednesday, 13 August 2014 16:22
At 1230 BST, Musandam-Oman Sail were 520 miles from the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. To set a new outright World Record, the MOD 70 needs to cross the Royal Yacht Squadron Line by 12:59:14 on 14th August 2014.
Musandam-Oman Sail has been on the charge all morning and last night averaged over 25 knots, hitting a top speed of 35 knots. At that pace the World Record would be broken by over 3 hours.
During the third night of the race, a northwesterly breeze of about 19 knots is expected in the Celtic Sea, which should be enough to keep Musandam-Oman Sail on for the record and make landfall at The Lizard around midnight tonight. During the night, the wind is expected to go lighter and back to the west, which could make for a dramatic last few hours as Musandam-Oman Sail round the Isle of Wight, before crossing the finish line from the east.
“We are just 15 miles from Blackrock, in sunshine on the West Coast of Ireland. I can see Galway and Connemara to leeward,” commented Damian. “The wind has just lined up beautifully and we haven’t really needed to gybe, so we are just going straight, corner to corner, towards the next mark, Tearaght Island. We have the inkling of an idea that it might be possible, in a dream world, to beat Banque Populaire’s record. We are pushing hard, towards near where I grew up; Bull Rock. With the wind going lighter and to the west, we will be dead down wind, which will mean a lot of gybes, but we will see how tomorrow goes; for now we are keeping alive the idea that we can break the course record.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, continues to lead the charge and has extended their lead on Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez, to over 30 miles. Ian Walker’s team has a bevy of outstanding drivers, whom Walker praised when he spoke to the RORC Media team by satellite phone.
“10 miles until we can bear away at St Kilda and the thrashing will subside,” commented Ian. “It was a tough night with up to 36 knots of wind and sustained periods of 30+. We have continued to push the boat as hard as we can – only once backing off as it felt like we were going to shake everything to pieces. I think it is paying good dividends having so many capable helmsmen, as we are going well. It is pretty intense on the body and mind. Most of the helmsmen’s hands are in tatters for a start!”
Brian Thompson, skipper of IMOCA 60 Artemis-Team Endeavour, contacted the RORC Media Team as they rounded Out Stack. At their current projected finish time, Artemis-Team Endeavour will break the IMOCA 60 record, set in 2010, by over 24 hours.
“We haven’t gone upwind since the start and, as we arrived at Muckle Flugga, the breeze switched around 180 degrees and we still haven’t!” explained Brian. “I have held the overall record three times, including onboard Banque Populaire, so to add the IMOCA record would be fantastic. It’s looking hopeful; four years ago it took Artemis two and a half days to get up to the top of the course, so we are already 12 hours ahead of their track. Apart from some bad sea-state plugging the tide at Great Yarmouth, we have been up to full pace. Right now, we are just taking it a leg at a time but we think we will be in Cowes for a Sunday Roast.”
The competitors’ blogs tell the story of the race through the words and pictures sent back by the fleet and one of the more humorous stories is told by Jankees Lampe’s whose Open 40, La Promesse, is leading IRC One and currently 150 miles from Muckle Flugga. Earlier today, the Dutch skipper blogged about the culinary delights on board and the special dietary demands of his fellow Two-Handed crew.
“Bart Boosman’s famous omelette (breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, whenever)
1. onions 2. onions 3. Red Leicester (cheddar) 4. eggs 5. pepper & salt 6. onions
CORONET UPDATE: FRAMED
LINK FOR VIDEO OF THE TRANSATLANTIC LEG:http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/en/
No sooner than the America’s Cup World Tour was packing up their tents than the MOD 70’s started a short sprint to New York City. They should arrive this morning, having left Newport yesterday evening. Sailing at 16 knots in 12 knots of wind, leaving no trace in the water. These boats are all identical, leaving the results to the ability of the crew.
The boats will leave New York on July 7, racing to Brest, France. After that they continue a circuit around the world.
The press office, which had been set up at Newport Shipyard could not have been more organized, open and welcoming.
The America’s Cup is finishing on Sunday here in Newport. The MOD 70’s will have a start at 5pm on Monday, finishing in New York. I do not believe it counts for anything; but the boats have to get to New York for the start of the Transatlantic on July 7. The race to Brest is expect to take 7 days.
Last night at Marble house three people were inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame