Triple winner - Beau Geste
Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Triple winner - Beau Geste

Beau Geste secures the triple

As the wind shuts down across the RORC Caribbean 600 race course

Friday February 26th 2010, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Although several boats are still racing, Richard Bamford’s Swan 38 Dolfijn retired this morning. This means that at tonight’s prizegiving Karl Kwok’s Farr 80 Beau Geste will be awarded the RORC Caribbean 600 trophy for best yacht overall under IRC, the line honours trophy for monohulls and Class trophy for IRC Super Zero.

“I have never cleaned up as well before so it feels really good,” said Karl Kwok upon hearing the news. “There may have been a lack of wind, but we kept on going all the time and when the wind was with us we had flat water and some fantastic sailing. Beau Geste has a great spirit, I have been friends with Gavin Brady for two decades and we sit down and decide who we will have on board. Friendship is very important to me, we choose the best sailors but also the right people. I have to say a big thank you to Gavin Brady and the two watch captains, Jonno Swain and David Endean but all of the crew did a great job.

Beau Geste races all over the world and I would like to invite all of the competitors we come across to do this race. The sailing is as good as can be and I have enjoyed it immensely.”

Winner overall of the CSA division and second place overall under IRC is Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce.

“We had a close battle with Privateer who beat us by less than a minute in our last encounter, so beating them this time was a bit of payback," admitted Oland. “Privateer are good sports and I am sure we will share a beer with them tonight. Although I have done a lot of cruising here, this is the first time I have raced in the Caribbean since the 60s. The boat comes from New Brunswick, Canada and it amazes me why people don’t come down here and enjoy these water.

Winner of IRC Super Zero Canting keel, third overall under IRC and second under CSA was Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 52 Privateer.  “We have never raced against another Cookson 50 which we were really looking forward to, but Privateer is a newer boat with some differences and we weren’t really racing close to Lee Overlay Partners," commented Vela Veloce boat captain Scott Innes-Jones. "We had a really good fight with Vela Veloce. This is the first time we have competed in a RORC race and I would like to give a big thank you to the organisers; this has been a very well run event.”

Third overall under IRC and CSA was Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners. Dockside Lee was still full of admiration for the race: “Very different to last year, but we have enjoyed it just the same, this was as much a challenge but for different reasons, keeping the boat going and concentrating the whole time were so important. The last few miles were agonizingly slow but we kept cool under pressure and to be honest, we were delighted just to finish. Congratulations to Beau Geste on an excellent performance.”

Only one boat, AAG Big One has finished since Lee Overlay Partners came in last night. The breeze virtually shut down, right across the race course, causing many yachts to retire. ‘H’ one of the Blesma crew described the scene on board as Spirit of Juno made the decision to stop racing. “The skipper went to every guy and asked him for his view, everybody had their say but when he turned the engine on, it was a sickening feeling. We just ran out of time and needed to get back for flights home. We have developed as a team and really got to grips with the physical side of things but we need to work more on the tactical side, we will be back for sure. The RORC Caribbean 600 is unfinished business.”

Antigua is usually blessed with easterly trade winds and the unusual weather is extremely rare. However, the competitors in the RORC Caribbean 600 did have the sensation of surfing through the Caribbean sea in sublime conditions, at least some of the time.

The RORC Caribbean 600 trophy and other prizes will be presented at tonight’s prizegiving,, to be held at the Antigua Yacht Club. It should be a big night, after the ceremony, there will be an Antigua-style barbeque and full bar with famous Antiguan band, Itchy Feet playing live on stage until the early hours.

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