Heaven and hell in RORC Caribbean 600

21 February, Antigua: At the break of dawn on the second day of the RORC Caribbean 600, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) was in pole position, an hour inside race record pace for the 600 mile race. Video footage from on board Maserati reveals hellish conditions on deck at over 30 knots of boat speed (Watch HERE).

MOD70 Zoulou (FRA), sailed by Erik Maris was just 17 minutes behind Maserati, but one break down or error and that lead will fly away. At dawn on Day Two, Maserati and Zoulou were slugging it out in the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. Zoulou rolled the dice, passing south of Marie-Gallante. To set a new Multihull Race Record, the time to beat is 17:08:44 AST (UTC -4) on Tuesday 21 February. There is a strong possibility that either Maserati or Zoulou will become the new record holder for the RORC Caribbean 600.

Pyewacket 70 (USA) skippered by Ben Mitchell in IRC Super Zero © James Tomlinson
Pyewacket 70 (USA) skippered by Ben Mitchell in IRC Super Zero © James Tomlinson

IRC Super Zero

Pyewacket 70 (USA) skippered by Ben Mitchell leads the charge south hitting over 20 knots of boat speed. The American Volvo 70 was about halfway in the race, 100 miles from Guadeloupe. Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL) skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was 15 miles astern of Pyewacket 70, but after IRC time correction leads the class by just over one hour. The leading VO65 in the race was Wind Whisper (POL) skippered by Joca Signorini. 16 miles behind I Love Poland, Wind Whisper was third under IRC.

IRC Zero

At the northerly extreme of the course the front runners in IRC Zero fought an epic duel through the night in the Anguilla Channel. Kate & Jim Murray’s Pac 52 Callisto (USA) and Niklas Zennstrom’s CF520 Rán 8 (SWE) staged a dog fight to Ile Tintamarre. Swapping tacks in the pitch-black first night at sea, Callisto won the skirmish, rounding three minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Rán 8. Callisto was leading the class after IRC time correction. RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim, racing NMD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA), rounded Tintamarre 20 minutes and 19 seconds after Callisto. After IRC time correction, Teasing Machine was in second place with Rán 8 third.

Niklas Zennstrom’s CF520 Rán 8 (SWE) © James Tomlinson
Niklas Zennstrom’s CF520 Rán 8 (SWE) © James Tomlinson

Class40

Nineteen hours into the race, seven Class40s had finished the tough beat to St Barths and had cracked sails to fly downwind towards St Maarten. Two Italian boats were leading the fleet; Albi Bona’s IBSA (ITA) was in pole position, just over five minutes ahead of Ambrogio Beccaria’s Alla Grande – Pirelli (ITA). Marc Lepesqueux’s Curium life forward (FRA) was 11 minutes behind IBSA. James McHugh’s Tquila (SUI), skippered by Brian Thompson was less than two minutes behind Curium.

IRC One

Just 40 minutes after IRC time correction separated the top three boats at Saba, Jon Desmond’s Mills 41 Final Final (USA) was leading. First 53 Yagiza (FRA) skippered by Philippe Falle was ranked second, just ahead of Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR). RORC photographer Tim Wright is out on the water at St Barths with cameras at the ready. Tim reports about 14 knots of breeze with good visibility and a moderate sea state.

Albi Bona’s IBSA (ITA) © Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
Albi Bona’s IBSA (ITA) © Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

IRC Two

Competition was off the Richter Scale in IRC Two in the early hours of Day Two. Ray Rhinelander’s J/133 Bella J (CAN) was the first to round Saba by just 13 seconds from Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR). Three more boats were to round the remote island in the following 10 minutes: Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 1080 In Theory (USA), Erich Buri’s First 47.7 Kali (SUI) and Bob Manchester’s J/133 Vamoose (USA). After IRC time correction, In Theory leads the class by 28 minutes from EH01, Kali was in third just nine minutes behind.

IRC Two-Handed

The conditions are favouring the bigger boats in the double-handed class. Verdier 54 Notre Mediterranee – Ville de Nice (FRA), sailed by Fabien Biron & Pim Nieuwenhuis had a commanding lead at Nevis; four hours ahead on the water and over two hours ahead after IRC time correction. Markus Moser’s Pegasus 50 Lifgun, racing with Marko Pas, was in second place. The smallest boat in the race, Szymon Kuczynski’s Figaro One Hultaj (POL) was ranked third.

Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 1080 In Theory (USA) © James Tomlinson
Peter McWhinnie’s JPK 1080 In Theory (USA) © James Tomlinson

To follow the race with satellite tracking and regular updates from the competitors and media team go to: www.caribbean600.rorc.org

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