Leaders turn south

The latest from the RORC Caribbean 600

Tuesday February 23rd 2010, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

As dawn broke on the second day of the RORC Caribbean 600, ORMA 60 trimaran Region Guadeloupe had just rounded St.Maarten, the most northerly part of the course. Wind speed at St Maarten is expected to be in the high ‘teens for some time, but the direction may well be southerly and on the nose for the long leg to Guadeloupe.

Spirits on board are good on board Region Guadeloupe , as skipper John Burnie explains:  “Excellent tea and garibaldi biscuits are supplementing the pot noodle fayre.”

Only an hour behind the 60ft trimaran is Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste, the leading monohull. The Farr 80 has a stellar crew on board including round the world bowmen, Justin Clougher and Andy Meiklejohn. The two of them will have had no sleep last night. Manoeuvring through the top half the course at night would have meant all of the crew on deck for a myriad of sail changes, especially in the wind shadow of various islands.

The Italian Swan 90, DSK Pioneer Investments are second on the water, but Richard Oland’s Vela Veloce had a good night and are second in class, 34 miles astern of Beau Geste.

Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy’s Swan 56 Noonmark VI is leading IRC One, however two of the Farr 65s are only five miles behind: Spirit of Minerva is having a battle royale with Spirit of Isis and they have been barely a boat length apart for much of the night.

Marc Glimcher’s J/122 Catapult continues to impress in a competitive class. The American yacht will be rounding St Maarten during day time making it easier to spot the breeze or better still to avoid a wind shadow created by the island.

Richard Bamford’s Swan 38 Dolfijn is having a great race and is currently lying sixth overall. They are to leeward of St Kitts and seem to be heading further offshore, presumably looking for more breeze. The six crew include Richard’s wife, Dawn from New Zealand.

Clarke Simmons reports that the crew on Sun Odyssey 52 Great Escape of Southampton, are in great shape and had an eventful first leg. A humpback whale came right up to the boat, breaching within just a few metres. The ten crew also enjoyed a pasta dinner and a magical night under a carpet of stars.

The three Class 40s in the RORC Caribbean 600 are rounding Saba. Leading on the course is 40 Degrees with Ocean Warrior 1.5 miles behind (see Josh Hall's blogs from on board here). Tradition Guadeloupe are sailing two handed and are ahead on handicap.

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