Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com

Strong line-up already

Entry opens for the RORC Caribbean 600

Wednesday October 5th 2011, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

The RORC Caribbean 600, run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with Antigua Yacht Club, is the Caribbean's only major offshore race. Since its conception in 2009, the event has become a firm favourite with offshore racers seeking a tactical challenge in warm Caribbean conditions. The 2012 edition will witness an impressive line-up of yachts starting from Antigua on Monday, 20 February.

The fleet will battle the 600nm course, which circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heading north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth's.

RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine will be competing for the second year in the elegant 154.5ft classic schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam:  "The RORC Caribbean 600 is now well established on the international offshore racing calendar. We are excited about the quality of the boats intending to race in 2012 and expect to follow this year's record entries which represented 15 different countries. The race has great appeal to offshore sailors as it's a modern race in every sense; the course is designed to provide an exciting and inspiring race that compliments modern yacht design. The club is delighted that sailors from all over the world want to take part. The diverse fleet will be a mixture of world class sailors and corinthian enthusiasts, but they all have one thing in common, a passion for offshore racing and a challenge."

It's the Caribbean sailing conditions that attract highly competitive and successful racing teams such as Niklas Zennström's Rán. Aboard their 72ft Judel/Vrolijk-design Mini Maxi, the Rán team are hoping to add to their silverware collection following overall wins in the Rolex Fastnet Race and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship this year and Team Manager, Tim Powell explains why: "The Rán team are looking forward to competing in the 2012 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 as it's an event we have wanted to race in since its inception due to the fabulous sailing conditions that are the 'norm' in that area. It will be a great race."

George David is planning to return to the Caribbean to defend the 2011 title he won in Rambler 100. This time he will be using his previous water ballasted Reichel/Pugh designed Rambler 90. This will be the first race the team will have sailed together since the capsize of Rambler 100 in the Rolex Fastnet Race. It is unlikely that he will be able to beat the race record he set, but he will have a battle on his hands for overall line honours with some of the super yachts that are expected to compete.

Interest has already been received from a diverse range of boats and crews: In the super yacht class - the 38m Philippe Briand-designed, P2, skippered by Jonathan Kline and Peter Harrison's Farr 115 ketch, Sojana. Harrison has been an admirer of the race since its conception and he competed for the first time this year finishing second in IRC Zero and third Overall.

Also planning to compete is the brand new 66.7m (219ft) ketch, Hetairos, built by Baltic Yachts. This incredibly luxurious, fast yacht designed purely for pleasure, will also compete in regattas where competition is fierce. She is currently undergoing sea trials and if all goes well she will be there.

In the Spirit of Tradition class, the 180ft (55m) classic twin-masted schooner Adela will line up against the 155ft Windrose of Amsterdam whose classic hull and modern schooner rig was conceived to win races of this type.

Other interesting entries include: Brad Van Liew's Le Pingouin, the Eco60 winner of the 2010/11 Velux 5 Oceans. Charleston-based van Liew sailed the Open 60 to victory in the singlehanded race around the world, winning every ocean sprint of the 30,000 mile race and becoming the first American to ever officially complete three solo races around the globe.

Also intending to compete are Idea, the Reichel Pugh-designed 78ft maxi, Peter Aschenbrenner's 63ft trimaran Paradox, Amanda Hartley's Swan 56 Clem, Christian and Lucy Reynolds Swan 51, Northern Child and the Swan 48, Scarlet Oyster. Ondeck will enter Farr 65s and a Beneteau 40.7, First 40 and Santa Cruz 37 for charter. The Grand Soleil 46, Belladonna Logic has been entered by Sailing Logic, winners of the RORC 'Sailing School Boat of the Year' for the past six years.

For more information about boats available for charter, check out the race website here.

Entry opened on Monday 3 October. Click here to enter.

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