Richard Langdon /

Records stand in the RORC Caribbean 600

While Bella Mente is currently favourite to take the handicap win as the frontrunners return to Antigua

Thursday February 21st 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Peter Aschenbrenner's 63ft trimaran Paradox completed the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua on 20 Feb at 03:22:52, after an elapsed time of 40 hours 22 minutes and 52 second, just 11 minutes 47 seconds short of the Multihull Course Record set by the ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe in the 2009 race.

Despite this Aschenbrenner was still up-beat: "Fantastic conditions, really amenable to Paradox, that was a dream ride. We're really surprised that we were so close to the record. That time was set by a race boat and we are just a cruising trimaran with three year old sails. So to get that close was really astonishing and a testament to what a great boat Paradox is."

Paradox was later announced as winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Multihull Class. Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66 Phaedo came close to taking the title for the second time, but crossed the finish line at 13:31:09, just under an hour behind Paradox on corrected time.

Lloyd Thornburg (left) with Peter Aschenbrenner

"I have to say I was surprised that we beat Phaedo," admitted Aschenbrenner. "It is very difficult to rate multihulls because they are so different, but we have now raced Phaedo in light airs and heavier breeze and both times the corrected result has been mighty close, so I guess the rating must be working."


Phaedo's owner, Lloyd Thornburg, commented: "Paradox is a quick boat, I noticed Peter didn't have much of a suntan, he doesn't get to spend too long in a boat that fast!"

Similarly Mike Slade's 100ft maxi ICAP Leopard crossed the finish line in Antigua to take Monohull Line Honours, but her elapsed time of 45 hours 58 minutes and 05 seconds, was just outside Rambler 100's monohull course record of 40 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.

Upon arrival Slade commented: "That was definitely the toughest of the three races I have done, but I absolutely love this race; the course, the weather and the welcome we receive back in Antigua is just the best, anywhere. The RORC Caribbean 600 is one of the premier yacht races worldwide and ICAP Leopard will definitely be back next year."

Filip Balcaen's Baltic 112 Nilaya completed the race this afternoon. The crew included Volvo Ocean Race sailors with former movistar/Telefonica Blue skipper Bouwe Bekking calling tactics.

Balcaen has been sailing with the same crew for many years, but this was his first RORC Caribbean 600. "We have competed in quite a number of races, so we are all well used to each other. We wanted to be conservative without much damage and we have done that. We always race to win but also to have fun and we laughed a lot during the race. I have to convince some others Maxi owners to come next year."

The overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 remains undecided. Hap Fauth's Mini Maxi Bella Mente finished the race just after noon local time and is currently in pole position. Fauth is competing in his first RORC Caribbean 600, but the canny American has raced enough miles to know to keep the champagne on ice.

Although several yachts have a mathematical probability of winning overall, Ron O'Hanley's American Cookson 50 Privateer and the schooner Adela skippered by Greg Perkins, are still in with a realistic chance of beating Bella Mente to lift the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.


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