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RORC Caribbean 600 entry list open

Italian Swan maxis, Cookson 50s and other already signed up for February's race

Friday October 1st 2010, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Online entry opens today for the third RORC Caribbean 600. A serious line-up of offshore racing boats have already shown interest in competing in the race which starts in five months time. The race goes as far north as St Martin and as far south as Guadeloupe and zigzags around 11 islands along the way.

“This race is firmly on the calendar for those boats who enjoy offshore racing,” said Royal Ocean Racing Club, Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen. “Many boats are using the ARC race, which starts in November, as a way of crossing the Atlantic to be able to participate in the RORC Caribbean 600 which starts on 21 February in Antigua”.

One of those boats doing the ARC and the RORC Caribbean 600 is the brand new Swan 80 Berenice, owned by Marco Rodolfi from Italy. Berenice had heard a lot about the RORC Caribbean 600 in Italy and decided to race across the Atlantic for the experience and as a way of getting to know his new boat.

Another Italian entry is Danilo Salsi in his Swan 90, DSK Pioneer Investments who will take part in the race for the third time. “The RORC Caribbean 600 is the best offshore race in the world,” said Salsi after winning the Maxi Division of the recent Rolex Swan Cup in Sardinia. “The race has everything to offer: wind; warm water; lots of islands to round; beautiful scenery and even an active volcano. With cold weather in Italy in February, it’s the perfect time for us to race in the Caribbean and we are looking forward to it.”

Adrian Lee, past winner of the inaugural race, is planning to return to Antigua where the race starts and finishes, with his Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners. He will have competition from possibly two other Cookson 50s, Ray Hanley’s Privateer will be returning for a second attempt to win the race and Chris Bull has a new Jazz that he is planning to ship to the Caribbean after the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: “It may be a long shot, but I am working on shipping the boat to the Caribbean in time for the race,” said Bull during a recent visit to the RORC's St James' HQ. “I have heard so many good things about the race that I really thought we had to do it and the prospect of racing two other Cookson 50’s is also exciting.”

Yachts from nine nations are currently listed and one boat hails from Lithuania. Simonas Steponavicius’ Volvo 60, Ambersail recently won her class in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and came very close to winning overall. The team are on their way around the world and are participating in the classic ocean races as they go along. The RORC Caribbean 600 is one they had to do.

An increasing number of boats are from charter companies who are selling places to both individuals and teams who want some winter sunshine and exciting sailing. OnDeck are one of the larger organisations who will have three Farr 65s available for charter, plus an all-carbon fibre Santa Cruz 37 and three Beneteau 40.7s: “There is a lot of interest in chartering yachts for the 2011 race,” said Simon Hedley of OnDeck. “The warm Caribbean in winter is very appealing for those who like offshore racing and chartering is a good option for those who cannot afford to ship their boats across.”

Other ‘exotic’ charter options include the superior comfort and elegance of the 155ft classic schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam which will get around the course in good speed with 5-star quality accommodation and food. Windward Sailing is offering places on their CM60 thoroughbred race boat Venomous. With her carbon mast and huge spinnaker, this state of the art yacht will be the perfect ride in typical Caribbean sailing conditions. For more information about all charter opportunities check out the race website.

Interest is also growing from the super yachts who winter in the Caribbean. The 46m Hyperion, the 122ft Luca Brenta-designed Ghost and Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 ketch Sojana have all expressed an interest in participating in the Caribbean 600 and as word spreads, it is likely that entries from these boats will increase.

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