Over the last 10 years the RORC Caribbean 600, a distance race that starts and finishes in Antigua and winds around the Leeward Islands from Guadeloupe in the south to Anguilla in the north, has grown to become a highlight of the island regatta season. It’s hotly contested by serious racing teams, and with changing weather conditions and plenty of islands and reefs to deal with, it’s a real test of navigation skills and crew work as well as outright boat speed.
A record 11 multihulls were entered in this year’s race, which kicked off with a couple of days of big winds and waves that took their toll on both the mono and multihull fleets. There were many retirements, none as spectacular as that of the Paul Bieker-designed Fujin, which capsized on the first night off Saba. Both the owner, Greg Slyngstad, and designer Bieker were among the eight-man crew, who all emerged wet but unharmed.
Peter Aschenbrenner’s Nigel Irens-designed 63ft trimaran Paradox ran away with the race, setting a blistering pace to keep several hours ahead of Elvis, Jason Carroll’s Gunboat 62. Gilles Lamire’s 50ft trimaran, French Tech Caraibos, was third.
The fourth and last boat to finish in the multi class was the Seacart 30 Morticia. Owner Shaun Carroll and his crew of three had shipped the little black trimaran all the way from Australia to compete in the 600, and they certainly got their money’s worth over three tough days and nights. According to Carroll, “We just had to back off and take it easy. This race was just about making it to the finish line. We got very wet, very hungry and we haven’t had much sleep.”
The Aussies had entered the race last year, but struck problems before the start. This time, they’ve packed Morticia back into her crate and will leave her in St. Martin for a year, ready for an all-out attack on the Caribbean regatta scene in 2019.
Those of you who haven’t yet sampled the delights of a Down East summer now have a chance to cruise there in company. The Salty Dawg Sailing Association has organized two rallies to the far northeast.
The first is the Rally to Maine, scheduled to start from the Chesapeake on July 8 and wind up in Rockland, Maine, on July 18 after stopovers in Dutch Harbor, Rhode Island and Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. After a lobster bake courtesy of the Rockland Yacht Club, participants can then join a mini-cruise around some of the most beautiful spots on the Maine coast or explore on their own.
On August 8, the Rally to Nova Scotia leaves Rockland and stops over at Shelburne and Halifax before finishing up at Baddeck on Cape Breton on August 15.
For more information go to saltydawgsailing.org.
Feeling the need to brush up on your skills after a long winter? Check out Boaters University’s list of online courses. The popular Marine Diesel Maintenance and Navigation Rules segments will get you up to speed quickly. Also keep an eye out for the Survival at Sea, Marine Weather and First Aid courses—they’ll be added to the curriculum soon. Boaters University, boatersuniversity.com.
MHS Summer 2018