The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is scheduled to start off Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Monday 22nd February 2021.
“The RORC Flag Officers meet regularly and since July the overall commitment from the Club has been to provide safe racing when there is sufficient demand and when restrictions allow us to do so,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone.
“The early entries for the RORC Caribbean 600 and the enquiries we are receiving show that there is a real desire for the race to take place.”
The RORC Caribbean 600 course is unique; starting and finishing in Antigua, the competitors round 11 Caribbean islands. Warm trade winds and Caribbean swell provide superb sailing conditions and the local effects of the islands produce spectacular and strategic racing. For 600 miles the race is full of twists and turns with breath-taking scenery.
International travel is subject to change in the current climate. However the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority has published a useful page for entry protocols which is regularly updated: visitantiguabarbuda.com/travel-advisory
A summary of the latest advisory for travel to Antigua by air and sea
To fly to Antigua, all passengers must have taken a negative PCR test prior to departure. Arriving by boat, all crew and passengers are to have a Negative PCR Covid-19 test result prior to travel. There is an established travel bubble comprising the six OECS countries, along with Montserrat and Barbados. Given the fluidity of the Covid-19 situation, countries may be removed from or added to the list. Travellers should keep up-to-date for any changes.
Statistically, Antigua is one of the safest places to travel and the Antigua & Barbuda Government have taken a serious approach to tackling the health crisis. The marinas in Antigua are all implementing protocols to control access to the docks. Wearing of face masks and sanitisation and social distancing is compulsory in public areas, except for beaches. The rules are very similar to those adopted throughout Europe. In addition, a curfew is in place from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. each night.
Speaking with residents and business owners in English Harbour and Falmouth, the vast majority are very much open for visitors. The Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association (ABMA) reports that the docks are well-booked and marine service companies, restaurants, and stores are gearing up to receive an influx of boats for the Caribbean season.
The Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health issue Covid-19 compliance training certificates to ensure yacht workers understand the necessary precautions needed to be taken to ensure the safety of all. Taxi drivers, yacht workers, restaurant, bar staff and vendors have all participated in health protocols workshops.
Entries for the 2021 RORC Caribbean 600 include a diverse fleet of boats including some of the world’s fastest monohull and multihull yachts. (Entry list link: caribbean600.rorc.org/Entries/entries-interest-2.html) The overall winner, decided on IRC rating will feature world famous sailors competing with, and against, passionate Corinthian sailors. Early entries boast teams from over a dozen different nations from the Caribbean, Europe, North America and from Australia.
Franklyn Braithwaite, Commodore of the Antigua Yacht Club has been a part of the yachting community in Antigua for his whole life. “The Antigua Yacht Club looks forward to working with RORC for the 2021 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. The Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda welcome the arrival of the boats and crew to enjoy our hospitality and sailing conditions while observing all necessary Covid-19 protocols. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable regatta.”
For more information about the 2021 RORC Caribbean 600 please visit caribbean600.rorc.org.
by Trish Jenkins