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Privateer wins RORC Caribbean 600

Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 overhauls Bella Mente under IRC

Saturday February 23rd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Just after dusk at 19:34:34 on Thursday, American Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer finished the RORC Caribbean 600 taking over the lead on corrected time from Hap Fauth's Mini Maxi Bella Mente by just over 22 minutes. The following morning only Adrian Lower's vintage Swan 44 Selene had a mathematical chance of eclipsing Privateer's corrected time, but needed to cover 200 miles in 10 hours, which was improbable.

"Elated, but relieved there is not another leg!" exclaimed Ron O'Hanley dockside in Antigua. "It is a fantastic race, the RORC do a phenomenal job and we are all delighted to back here again for the third time. After last year, we knew there was some unfinished business and we put that away which was very sweet."

Privateer's RORC Caribbean 600 win was made sweeter after their race last year when they crossed the finish line to discover they had received a 10% penalty for a start line infringement.

Privateer was followed into Antigua, by the giant schooner Adela, skippered by Greg Perkins. Their IRC corrected time of 3 days 6 hours and 26 seconds secured them the win in the Spirit of Tradition Class, Superyacht Class and third overall in IRC.

Perkins was quick to praise the entire crew: "Of our crew of 30, only one has not sailed on Adela before, Kiwi navigator, Campbell Field. He did a great job on the tactics, especially taking us close in at Guadeloupe, which really paid off and that is a big part of why we performed so well.

"The crew did a fantastic job. With a boat like Adela, everyone has to understand the manoeuvres. It takes 15 minutes to change a headsail and there is no time to explain what has to be done, it has to go like clockwork. I have lost count of the number of sail changes in this race but it takes 20 guys just to get a headsail in place. Our A2 weighs 150kg and a lot more when soaking wet and believe me, this was a very wet race for us. We are absolutely delighted to win our class and were surprised but very happy to see we are lying third overall."

Peter Harding's Class40 40 Degrees crossed the finish line to win the class with Mike Thrower's Jasmine Flyer just behind them to secure second place. Christof Petter's Vaquita claimed third in a very close race.

Harding knew that they had won the class, but didn't find out that 40 Degrees had broken the Class40 course record, set by Tony Lawson's Concise2 in 2011, by 3 hours 17 mins and 15 secs.

"Wow!" exclaimed Harding when he heard the news. "I never show much, emotion but that is really good to hear. Right now all I can think about is the 40-mile beat back from Redonda, which was dead on the nose and a very hard way to finish a very tough yacht race. Hannah Jenner described the boat as a submarine and that wasn't far wrong, I don't think we could have got any wetter if we tried. It is a great result for the boat and third time lucky, as the boat has not managed to complete the course in two attempts before. I have done five Fastnets and none of them were as hard as this."

In IRC One Simon de Pietro's Briand 76 Lilla took line honours and the win after time correction.

"It was a blast," said de Pietro. "It's a great race course and there aren't many races you can do in a T-shirt and shorts for most of the time. I'm really pleased to win the IRC One Trophy. We've had a good run with Lilla. She's not a real race boat, but she's quick reaching and great upwind. We've spent some money on sails and so forth since last year's race and have a real multinational crew on board. A number of the crew are from South Africa, with some really good ocean racers 'in their day' plus a bit of local knowledge with Ian Martin and Randy West on board, so we have some famous people as well and their local knowledge obviously helps."

Colin Buffin's Swan 62 Uxorious IV, finished just two minutes behind Lilla to take second in class for the second year running.

In IRC Two Scarlet Logic was the clear winner. Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron's Oyster 48 took line honours and the class title for the second year running by over three hours.

Applebey was quick to praise his co-skipper: "I have complete confidence in Tim and that means a hell of a lot. Basically, one of us was always on deck allowing the other to rest and that trust kept both of us alert for a good period of the race. Many of the crew has sailed with Sailing Logic in the past and they were magnificent. I couldn't have asked more of them.

"Probably the low point in the race was getting stuck for four hours behind Guadeloupe and watching Triple Lindy close a massive gap, but we picked ourselves up and got away well."

The Swan 53 Northern Child crossed the finish line two hours behind Scarlet Logic and Joseph Mele's Swan 44 Triple Lindy was next. However on corrected Triple Lindy was second in class and Northern Child third.

Arthur Prat's Guadeloupe Grand Large 11 won the battle of the Figaros, finishing two hours ahead of Baptiste Maillot.

"The student has beaten the teacher," Prat. "We have been side by side the whole race, but at Barbuda I saw a cloud we could use and we got a terrific lift towards the mark to open up a lead for the first time in over 48 hours of racing. After Redonda, we went to the north trying to work the wind shifts off the top of Antigua but we didn't manage to stay in the pressure and I was really worried that Baptiste was going to sail through us. All of the crew is delighted to be the first Figaro home and can I say a big 'thank you' to the RORC for the race and especially the volunteers who brought us plenty of cold beer when we finished!"

In IRC Three, Jonty Layfield's J/39 Sleeper VIII won the class title by a significant margin. Valerio Bardi's Italian Swan 46 Milanto laid claim to the runner up position.

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