Class 40s in the Caribbean 600
Later today the RORC's Caribbean 600 race sets sail, this 600 miler starting and finishing in Antigua with a course taking the fleet through the Leeward Islands as far north as Anguilla and southwards to round Les Saintes – the island just south Guadeloupe.
Within the fleet there are three Class40s competing for the inaugural Concise Trophy: a prize initiated by Tony Lawson whose Concise was the first Class40 across the finish line in the 2009 RORC Caribbean 600 taking 7th overall in IRC.
Racing on a Pogo 40, Lou – winner of the double-handed division in last year’s race - Guadeloupe-based yachtsmen, Willy Bissainte, will be competing again. Sailing on Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees – a third generation Owen Clarke Design Class40 launched last year - the well-known Class40 yachtswoman and veteran short-handed offshore racer, Miranda Merron, is joined by two highly-experienced Irish sailors, Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling – winners of the 2008 RORC double-handed trophy – and John Patrick Cunningham, a US sailor who has considerable experience in transatlantic racing. The yacht has proved to be robust, fast and immaculately prepared with Harding and Merron taking 7th place in the double-handed, transatlantic La Solidaire du Chocolat last winter.
On board the third Class40 entry, Ocean Warrior – an Express 40 built in Cowes and launched in 2007 – American yachtsman, Joe Harris, is joined by British solo sailor, Josh Hall; Belgian Yachtsman of the Year, Michel Kleinjans; and South African sailor, Peter Van der Wel. The depth of experience on Ocean Warrior is impressive: skipper of the Class40, Joe Harris, took second place in the 50ft monohull class of the single-handed, 2004 Transat on Wells Fargo – American Pioneer and the following year, Harris teamed-up with Josh Hall for the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre and took first place in the 50ft class on Gryphon Solo. Hall, Race Director of the 2008-09 Portimão Global Ocean Race (PGOR) and Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR), is a serial solo circumnavigator with BOC races and a Vendée Globe to his credit and will be sailing with two competitors from the PGOR, Kleinjans and Van der Wel.