Ran in the chocolates
At noon on the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, Niklas Zennström's JV72 Rán looks set to have clinched the overall handicap win and will lift the sterling silver RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy at tomorrow night's Prizegiving ceremony.
This morning Scarlet Logic, the Oyster 48 co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, was the only yacht which posed any sort of threat, but realistically the Oyster 48 will not cover the last 70 miles of the course by 17:40 local time today.
All of the yachts racing in IRC Zero are now accounted for. Rán is the class winner with George David's RP90 Rambler second. Swan 80 Selene, skippered by Benjamin Davitt, finished the race this morning to secure third place in class and may lay claim to the Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy.
By noon, none of the yachts racing in IRC One had finished. Colin Buffin's Swan 62 Uxorious IV is expected to finish the race in a few hours and looks like the strongest contender to win the class after time correction. Amanda Hartley's Swan 56 Clem is currently correcting out as the leader, but the beat back from Redonda to the finish may see them fall behind Uxorious IV. Jaime Torres' First 40 Smile and Wave rounded the North Sails mark at Barbuda shortly after noon today and are currently lying third in class.
Scarlet Logic has put in a sensational performance and look almost certain to win their class. The racing school Sailing Logic chartered the yacht from Ross Applebey, and is co-skippered by the highly experienced Tim Thubron. It is unlikely they know exactly how close they have come to winning the ultimate prize. However, if Scarlet Logic continue their fine form, the team could well be a contender for the prize of a week of luxurious accommodation, generously donated by race sponsor, The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua. Christian Reynolds' Swan 51 Northern Child, sailed by Team Merkle, is currently second after time correction with Bernie Evan-Wong's Mumm 36 High Tension in third.
There is a fantastic battle in the Class40 Division on the water between Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche and Christof Petter's Vaquita. However Vaquita will be receiving a penalty after the finish for not starting the race correctly. Both yachts are neck and neck heading for the solitary island of Redonda. The highly experienced Coatnoan is sailing two-handed with fellow countryman Eric Calmard. Vaquita is fully crewed with six on board. The run to Redonda may well have favoured Partouche as with just two on board, the French yacht will have been significantly lighter than their rivals. However for the 40-mile beat to finish Vaquita will be able to stack the rail and have six crew hiking out, which will surely be an advantage.
Banque Populaire crewman and the fastest Englishman around the planet, Brian Thompson is racing Ondeck's rather more sedate Spirit of Juno and sent this message from the Farr 65: "I remember passing by Antigua during the Jules Verne attempt and thinking how nice it would be to come and compete in the RORC Caribbean 600. Ondeck very kindly invited me out and here I am! All going well on board Spirit of Juno, really enjoying this great RORC race as we weave our way through the green Caribbean islands. Though this is an all-amateur team, we have had to work hard. The spinnaker was up and down like a yo-yo to get through the calms and fluky breezes. We saw a whale just 30 miles away on our approach to Guadeloupe, a great sight to go with the soaring frigate birds off St Martin and the beautiful and varied landscapes of each island. I am really enjoying seeing some land when sailing after virtually none in my last trip.
"There is a great group of people on the boat, few of them had met before the start and we are fast forming a solid team. I am so pleased to see how hard everyone worked to press on through to the south side of Guadeloupe. Roll on Antigua." Spirit of Juno is currently 10nm from the finish at 1400 local.
16 yachts had finished the RORC Caribbean 600 by 1200 on 23rd February 2012.
Eight yachts have retired over the last couple of days:
Rayon Vert - steering failure
Blackbird - jib damage
Super Rose - damage to mainsail battens
Hassebas - damaged mainsail
Safara - broken main halyard
40 Degrees - furling gear broken
Lancelot - run out of time
Sleeper VIII - backstay pressure and engine gone