Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com

Rambler leads the charge

The latest from the RORC Caribbean 600 with photo gallery from Tim Wright

Tuesday February 21st 2012, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

George David's RP90 Rambler has a commanding lead in the battle for line honours in the RORC Caribbean 600. The American entry is over 20 miles ahead of the 214ft ketch Hetairos, even though Rambler is less than half her size.

Rambler rounded Tintamarre just after dawn this morning to begin the 160-mile power reach south to Guadeloupe. The maxi-boat David's team has reverted to using after the keel loss on their 100ft supermaxi in the Rolex Fastnet Race last year, barely stalled for speed right through the night. Rambler cut the corner at Nevis, as better than expected breeze hurried their progress. Except for dropping below ten knots in the wind shadow of St.Martin, she has been absolutely launched. Hetairos may close the gap on the reach, but the 214 footer is now well behind the American maxi. Rambler provisionally also leads IRC Zero after time correction with Niklas Zennström's JV72 Rán lying in second place. Swan 80 Selene had a good first night to take up third place on handicap.

In IRC Two, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Logic is provisionally leading overall in the RORC Caribbean 600. Over night, the predicted fall in wind speed never materialised and Scarlet Logic maintained good boat speed throughout. After rounding Saba, she was back on the wind and trucking along at seven knots. Smile and Wave, Jaime Torres' First 40, found ballistic pace during the night and is into second. Amanda Hartley's Swan 56 Clem did not fare so well and has dropped back to third.

As expected, the largest yacht in the fleet, Hetairos leads the five superyachts by some margin. The 214ft carbon fibre ketch has been flying, reaching at a speed in excess of 18 knots rounding St Kitts. By midnight she was around Saba and beating north. However, none of her 36 crew will have retired below. In the dead of night, the tricky slalom course through St Barths and past St Martin would have required all hands.

Behind Hetairos two monumental duels are playing out: Peter Harrison's Sojana and P2 have enjoyed each other's close company virtually from the start. However P2 has completely split from the usual heading after rounding Saba. The 38m Perini Navi looks to be 'banging the corner' going to the far extremity of the course. This morning she was on a beam reach at full speed heading to St Barths, while Sojana was beating to windward. It will be interesting to see which tactical play wins out.

Meanwhile Adela and Windrose of Amsterdam are enjoying a titanic sparring match and there is nothing between the two yachts on the water, although Adela does give Windrose a significant amount of time under IRC.

IRC One has a new provisional leader after time correction. Smile and Wave had great pace off the breeze overnight, however the beat around St Barths should favour Spanish entry Clem. Colin Buffin's Uxorious IV elected to take a more northerly course after Saba and the Swan 62 looks to be pointing higher than rivals.

Bernie Evan Wong has just cleared the wind shadow behind St Kitts. However, shortly after sunrise, High Tension made an unusual bear away in the lee of St Kitts, presumably to effect some sort of repair. It was almost exactly the same spot as High Tension dismasted last year. Happily, Bernie and his team are going well and enjoying the ride.




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