Star studded cast

Big names set to be on the start line for the RORC's Caribbean 600

Monday October 19th 2009, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The RORC Caribbean 600, as the name suggests, is a 605 mile race around the Caribbean islands starting from Antigua. It was first run in February this year and attracted world wide interest. The 2010 race is due to start on Monday 22nd February and is already amassing a fleet of star studded boats and the best sailors from around the world.

The race record holder, the 100 foot super maxi ICAP Leopard, owned by London property millionaire Mike Slade, will be shipped from Sydney in January after her attempt to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Taking the same ship as Leopard is the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72, Rán, who will also be attempting to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart: “It will be a quick turnaround at Hobart”, commented Leopard’s boat captain Chris Sherlock, “but we are determined to make the Caribbean Race because the beautiful trade wind conditions, blue sea, blue sky and guaranteed wind are the perfect conditions for a boat like Leopard”.

Also joining Rán and Leopard in the race will be the 80 foot Beau Geste whose owner Karl Kwok hails from Hong Kong and has a star studded line up of professional sailors with lots of America’s Cup experience.

From America we can expect to see two very competitive boats: The STP 65 Rosebud owned by Roger Sturgeon, who won the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart and will revel in these perfect conditions and Tom Hill’s brand new Reichel Pugh 75 Titan will also be looking to stretch her legs in the wonderful conditions around the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen of the Royal Ocean Racing Club is delighted with the response from the world’s top sailing teams: “The Caribbean has the perfect sailing conditions and this race, at the start of the Caribbean regatta season, will prove popular with a wide variety of boats”, he said.

Last year’s overall winner Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners will also be back to defend her title, but she will have stiff opposition from her sistership, another Cookson 50 called Privateer, which is based on the East Coast of America.

From Italy, Danilo Salsi’s stunningly beautiful Swan 90, DSK Pioneer, will be back to try and win the race: “Last year the boat was brand new and we had not tested her in such tough conditions”, said Andrea Casale, DSK’s’ helmsman: “this year the boat will be pushed much harder to try and win the race, because we know that this beautifully built boat can take the Caribbean conditions”.

We also expect to see a good fleet of Class 40s, which will be Caribbean-based after their Atlantic crossing in the Solidaire du Chocolat two handed race from France to Mexico.

John Burnie, one of the founders of the race and a member of both RORC and Antigua Yacht Club who support the race, says that the race will become a showcase for the Caribbean: “This race is destined to become one of the classic ocean races ranked alongside the world famous Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Sydney Hobart races,” commented John. “The quality of the competitors means that the world’s media will be focused on Antigua and the Caribbean next February”.

Burnie will be sailing Region Guadeloupe, the ORMA 60 trimaran that he chartered for the 2009 race. It was a sleigh ride he will never forget and he cannot wait to do it again.

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