USA makes up 40% of IRC fleet + Record Class40 entries
With just over a month to go until the start of the RORC Caribbean 600, 77 teams from across the world have already entered the spectacular 600-mile offshore non-stop race around 11 Caribbean islands. The overall win under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy over the past decade has been dominated by teams from the United States. This year, at least 17 teams will be flying the Stars and Stripes and the vast majority will be racing under IRC. In the Class40 Division, the 2018 Route du Rhum and the forthcoming 2019 Le Défi Atlantique have assisted in creating a record 10 entries, nine of which will be flying the French Tricolour in the 11th edition.
The RORC Caribbean 600 has been an epic offshore combat zone for the Maxi72 Class and Hap Fauth's Bella Mente (USA) and George Sakellaris' Proteus (USA) have both won overall on two occasions. Both teams are back again this year, and alongside Peter Harrison's British Maxi72 Sorcha, they are among the favourites.
This will be the first RORC Caribbean 600 for the new Botin-designed Bella Mente built by New England Boatworks, Rhode Island, USA. Bella Mente's owner Hap Fauth concurrently spearheads the New York Yacht Club American Magic challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup. The afterguard for the RORC Caribbean 600 includes multiple 52 Super Series World Champion Terry Hutchinson, two-time Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Mike Sanderson and Adrian Stead, who has been on winning teams for the '600 more than any other sailor.
“If you like to race offshore this is the nirvana,” enthused Hap Fauth. “It's an outstanding race; the boat goes fast and it’s all execution, execution, execution. Everybody has to give 120% in order to have a high probability of winning. The race is a crew beater, 48 hours of hard work and it really tests you in every way. We all love it; the RORC Caribbean 600 is our favourite race offshore.”
“The new Bella Mente is stunning and hopefully she will do all the things she is supposed to. We will spend a week before the race getting the team acclimatized and getting the boat set up for the conditions. If the VPP analysis is correct, we will be very fast upwind and as fast as the old boat downwind and reaching. It will be a great race, especially against the other two '72s. I wish the whole fleet was there!”
Charlie Enright will skipper David and Peter Askew's American Volvo 70 Wizard (USA) and like Bella Mente will be flying the burgee of the New York Yacht Club. The Juan K design has supreme pedigree having won the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as Groupama and the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart as Giacomo. Wizard's crew includes a number of Volvo Ocean Race sailors, including three past winners: Simon Fisher, Phil Harmer and Daryl Wislang.
“Our team has been sailing together for a while and some of us have even circumnavigated the planet together,” commented Enright, skipper of Alvimedica and Vestas in the last two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“Winning is always the goal! We need the trades to be up and we need the course to have as much fetching and the least VMG as possible. This will be my 6th '600...it's one of the best races going. Good trades, good temperature, good competition and you start and end in the same place, which always helps with logistics. For grand prix boats the 600-milers are real sprints and this race is no exception; every couple of hours you're rounding another beautiful piece of terra firma, which makes for great views but very little sleep!” continues Enright.
Record Class40 fleet
The competition in the Class40 division is shaping up to be hotter than ever before. A record entry includes the defending champion and race record holder, Catherine Pourre's Eärendil (FRA). Two of the stand-out new entrants are Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création (FRA), third for the 2018 Class40 Championship, and Aïna Enfance Et Avenir (FRA), skippered by Aymeric Chappellier from La Rochelle, France. Chappellier was runner-up for the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre, and last November runner-up in the Route du Rhum.
“I have competed with Teasing Machine in the RORC Caribbean 600. It’s a very good race and I think the Class40 is a great boat for it,” commented Chappellier. “I will probably race with three people as it is a great opportunity to share a fantastic event with those who have worked so hard, and who are so close to the project. Especially Jacques Fournier who has given me so much help and has done so much for the Class for over 10 years. There are very few races for the Class40 which suit fully crewed boats, but the '600 is for sure. It is a very tactical course, there are a lots of shifts and a lot of clouds around the islands, which makes it a very interesting race. I expect that this will be a good battle with less than one hour separating the top boats. It is always a great pleasure to sail in RORC races like this one and the Fastnet. They are well organised with a really friendly atmosphere and extremely competitive.”
US ENTRIES AS @ 14 JAN 2019
USA 45 Bella Mente Maxi 72 Botin Hap Fauth
USA 70000 Wizard Volvo Open 70 David and Peter Askew
USA 60722 Proteus Maxi 72 George Sakellaris
USA 61333 Triple Lindy Cookson 50 Joseph Mele
USA 61915 Summer Storm Marten 49 Andrew Berdon
USA 61266 Bounty Swan 66 Gibb Kane
USA 52906 Avanti Hanse 430 Jeremi Jablonski
USA 14571 Isbjorn Swan 48 Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson
USA 10194 Andiamo Gunfleet 58 Byrne Murphy
USA 61939 Rye X-55 Kevin McLaughlin
USA 61006 Arethusa Gunboat 60 Philip Lotz
USA 128 Argo Mod 70 Jason Carroll
USA 5301 Fujin Bieker 53 Greg Slyngstad
USA 61164 Katara J/145 Roger Gatewood
USA 61003 Porthmeor Oyster 49 Neil Styler
USA 28252 Sin Duda Santa Cruz 52 Lindsey Duda
USA 60456 White Rhino 2 Carkeek 47 Todd Stuart
CLASS40 ENTRIES AS @ 14 JAN 2019
Yacht Sail No. Owner / Sailed by
Hydra NOR149 Henrik Bergesen / Tristan Kinloch
MADE IN MIDI FRA142 Kito de Pavant
Aïna Enfance Et Avenir FRA151 Aymeric Chappellier
BHB FRA152 Louis Burton / Arthur Hubert
Campagne De France FRA147 Halvard Mabire/Miranda Merron
Colombre XL FRA101 Charles-Louis Mourruau
Eärendil FRA145 Catherine Pourre
Esprit Scout FRA81 Marc Dubos
Lamotte - Module Création FRA153 Luke Berry
Sirius FRA73 Stephane Bry
PREVIOUS WINNERS: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY - IRC OVERALL (Best corrected time under IRC)
2018 - George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA)
2017 - Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA)
2016 - George Sakellaris, Maxi 72, Proteus (USA)
2015 - Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA)
2014 - George Sakellaris, Shockwave, RP72 (USA)
2013 - Ron O'Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA)
2012 - Niklas Zennström, Rán, JV72 (GBR)
2011 - George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)
2010 - Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
2009 - Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)
For more information go to: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/