RORC Caribbean 600 sets sail in Antigua

The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started on time from Fort Charlotte, Antigua, on Monday 21st February. Monohull Line Honours is likely to be decided by the three Maxi Yachts: The Verdier/VPLP 100 Comanche, and Farr 100 Leopard, both powered by Doyle Sails, and ClubSwan 125 Skorpios.

The IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of frenetic, with Comanche reaching full speed at the Pillars of Hercules, then hardening up to take the inside line perilously close to the cliffs. VO65 Groovederci Racing - Sailing Poland, sailed by Deneen Demourkas was in close quarters. As the two leaders tacked out, they crossed with the massive ClubSwan 125 Skorpios (MON) and the Volvo 70 Ocean Breeze coming inshore on starboard. In the MOCRA start, Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY) flipped a wheelie on final approach before blasting off into the lead in a ball of spray at over 25 knots.

A spectacular fleet of 75 boats, ranging from 10 to 38 metres (32 to 125 feet), started the race, with over 700 sailors representing 32 nations. The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands had a spectacular start with 15 knots of wind from the northeast gusting up to 20 knots.

Four hours into the race, Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) was leading the Multihull Class from Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay and Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA). In the race for Monohull Line Honours, the leader by just a mile, was Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, skippered by Fernando Echavarri. The VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth was second on the water. With just over two hours to go until the first sunset of the race, the majority of the fleet were making good progress to Barbuda, the first and only mark of the course.

Race director Chris Stone commented, “The start was just incredible, it’s rare to see so many big boats in a start like that, just taking it on, but it was not just the big boats. This fleet is stacked right through all the classes, with competitive starts the whole way through. Good luck to all the teams.

“Making sure the fleet get away to a good start is the first part of this stage of the race management. We continue to focus on the safety aspects out on the race course. There will be different weather conditions and some parts of the course are pretty treacherous. For the RORC Race team, it is about keeping the fleet safe, with 24-hour monitoring for every boat.”

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