Tuesday, February 26, 2013

J/39 Blasts Off On RORC 600!

(English Harbour, Antigua)- A flash of smoke, high above the "Pillars of Hercules" announced the start of the 5th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Before the start 25 knots of trade winds, gusting close to 30, provided feisty conditions.  Nevertheless, the sailors were quite excited as this meant the "big boys" would be targeting record-setting wind conditions for the race-- faster than 42 hours for 600nm!!

"At the moment, the forecasts seem to be quite stable," advised Hugh Agnew, a renown navigator and veteran offshore racer. "We can expect 20-26 knots of easterly wind, maybe slightly to the south of due east for the duration of our race. The longest leg of the course is from St. Barth's to Guadeloupe and with this wind direction, coupled with the apparent wind created by the boats, it will be forward of the beam, so many boats will be unlikely to fly a spinnaker. This will slow them down, but the other side of the coin is that this wind direction may be beneficial on a crucial part of the course-the south side of Guadeloupe. If we get a one-sided beat, requiring few tacks, this could really work in the fleets favor."

It has been a fast race so far on what is a pretty "reach" offshore course with some long fetches and beats interspersed amongst the "islands" course.  After a yeoman's effort last year, Jonty Layfield's team from the United Kingdom have continued to modernize their sail inventory and have their beautiful J/39 SLEEPER VIII rolling along quite fast!  At this moment at 1500 hours on Thursday, Feb 21, their lying about 75 nm from the finish line and are currently leading IRC 3 Class!  We wish them luck and wish them more Fair Winds & God Speed! you can follow them with Race tracking on Yellowbrick    Sailing Photo credits- Tim Wright/ Photoaction.com   For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information