Coming home thick and fast

Lee Overlay Partners looking favourite for handicap honours in the RORC's Caribbean 600

Friday February 27th 2009, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
Danilo Salsi’s magnificent Swan 90 DSK Pioneer finished the RORC Caribbean 600 crossing the finish line after dusk on Wednesday night, to claim line honours for a fixed keel monohull.

Skipper Andrea Casale said: “This is our first race and we are still learning how to sail the boat to its potential. All the crew have enjoyed the experience. The race course is fantastic, always interesting. We would love to see more Italian boats here next year.”

There was high tension later that evening as Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners was approaching the finish. It was pitch black, just after midnight on Thursday morning. Lee Overlay Partners took the gun, in an elapsed time of 60 Hours 45 minutes 40 seconds. It was soon confirmed that the Irish canting keel Cookson, from the Royal St.George Yacht Club was leading overall under IRC, with a small possibility of being beaten by a local boat, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, Café Americano High Tension.

“This says it all - fetching to Guadeloupe at 18 kts….All well - this can't be offshore racing, if it is so nice?!" Commented Adrian Lee in his boat blog, obviously enjoying the sleigh ride, through the Caribbean. “I want to promote Irish offshore sailing that is why we race all over the world and what better way to do that than to compete at the RORC Caribbean 600.

David Aisher’s Rogers 46, Yeoman XXXII crossed the finish line after dawn on Thursday morning to claim line honours for IRC Class Zero. On board Yeoman XXXII was RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and four members of the RORC main committee, all checking out this new RORC initiative: “There was no rest for the crew on any part of the course, but we didn’t expect anything else. This is a demanding race but the conditions are just about the best you can get,” commented Aisher. Yeoman XXXII was locked in battle with Xabier Ross’ Gunboat 48, Cream all the way around the course.

Cream crossed the finish line this morning with the crew in party mood: “I wouldn’t say that we enjoyed the upwind legs so much, but Cream sails fast and is very comfortable and we had a lot of fun on board. It would be great to get a class of Gunboats here next year and have a real battle on the course. Perhaps if they let us use the two 35hp engines instead of having to beat upwind, we might get around a little quicker” joked Xabier Ross, at the Antigua Yacht Club.

Behind Yeoman XXXII and Cream a terrific battle was going on between the Class 40s. Tony Lawson’s Concise had the upper hand over Alex Mehran’s Cutlass, crossing the line ahead of her sistership shortly after 1300 on Thursday. These two pocket rockets have been trading places all over the race track.

Luiz Goncalves’ Farr 65, Spirit of Isis is still in contention for a podium place on handicap, especially as the yacht will enjoy the grueling beat from Redonda to the finish, far more than the Class 40s .

Alistair Groom’s Beneteau 50, Trelorna has over 170 miles to go to the finish. They may be the last boat home, but they are estimated to arrive at the start of the prize giving where hundreds of competitors and friends of the Caribbean 600 will give them the loudest cheer of all. After over four days of ocean racing, they will deserve it.

More photos on page 2...

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