Early entries for the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 reveal a stunning fleet of famous professional teams taking part alongside passionate corinthian crews. Famed for spectacular sailing conditions on an intricate and mesmerizing course, the 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is set to be an absolute cracker.
Two months before the start of the race 50 teams have thrown down the gauntlet; over 10% more than the same time prior to the record entry of 88 yachts in 2018. The race is a truly international affair with teams from all over the Caribbean Islands, Canada, Chile, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
For the first time in the history of the race, three ocean-going trimarans in the shape of Jason Carroll’s Argo, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati and Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay will be battling for multihull line honours and the race record, set in 2016 by Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 in 31 hours, 59 minutes, 4 seconds.
The IRC fleet racing for the overall win and the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, boasts three magnificent yachts; the 203ft (62m) schooner Athos, skippered by Tony Brookes, the 115ft (35m) sloop Nikata, skippered by Tom Brewer, and the 96ft (30m) sloop Sorceress, sailed by Will Apold.
Two Maxi 72s will be locking horns; previous winner George Sakellaris’ Proteus and the brand new Bella Mente sailed by Hap Fauth. American Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright will be hoping for victory with the American Volvo 70 Wizard. In two previous editions, the race has been won overall by a Cookson 50. This year, two new teams will be hoping to increase the statistic. Franco Niggeler’s Kuka3 is on a high from their overall win in the RORC Transatlantic Race and the highly experienced team racing Triple Lindy will be led by Joseph Mele.
A record entry of Class40s is also expected to compete in the race. The 2018 Route du Rhum featured 53 of these pocket rockets, bound for Antigua’s neighbour island of Guadeloupe. With another transatlantic race organised in March, 10 or more Class40 are likely to take part in the RORC Caribbean 600. Among the early entries is Catherine Pourre’s Eärendil which set a new Class40 record for the race last year (2 days 13 hours and 15 seconds).
“We are delighted to be heading back to Antigua for the 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone. “This coming year we are anticipating close to 100 boats from all over the world who will be coming to Antigua to enjoy the challenging racing and amazing weather. We are expecting an extremely good mix from within the fleet, seeing our smallest competitors tussling with the larger race machines for the prestigious IRC overall trophy. As usual, there will be a great welcome party and prize-giving event, plus every yacht will be met dockside with cold beers and a warm welcome from our wonderful team of volunteers.”
Event website: caribbean600.rorc.org
by Louay Habib