Today marks the final day of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600. It has been a challenging race to say the least, with almost half the entries retiring through illness, or because of damage sustained by their yacht. Participants are now making the most of the sunshine and wind by drying out their clothing and equipment. Falmouth Marina is awash with colour, as life jackets, wet weather gear, and safety harnesses are slung over booms and railings to dry out.
Although bustling with activity, the marina is an image of tranquility and calm, compared to the conditions that the participants endured. Huge waves, strong winds, and confused seas have been the most commonly used adjectives to describe the challenging weather conditions faced this year, with even some of the most seasoned of sailors suffering from sea sickness.We caught up with some of the competitors to ask them how they fared throughout the race, and their thoughts now that they were safely back on dry land.
Chris Laiolo, was one of the ten crew aboard Lancelot II, a Beneteau First 40. Lancelot II, from Sailing Logic, was skippered by Trevor Drew. Unfortunately, Lancelot II had to retire from the race due to illness, as one of the crew was vomiting blood. We are pleased to hear that he is doing well and has now flown home. Chris had nothing but praise for the coastguards in St Kitts, where the crew member disembarked. Chris is a keen sailor but doesn’t have vast offshore racing experience. Despite having some of the most challenging weather conditions ever experienced in this race, he is keen to come back next year to have another go. It will of course cost him the price of another cruise, the penalty bestowed upon by him by wife for his participation! At least on a cruise Chris can kick back, relax, and enjoy a more serene boating experience than the one that he’s just encountered!
Whereas Chris will be heading back to the UK after the weekend, his team mate, also Chris, will be heading over to St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta, starting 1st March. We wish him all the best, and hope for calmer weather!
Chris Laiolo (on the left) and his crew mate, also Chris.
Nestled among the impressive Superyachts that are available for charter, were the many yachts that took part. It was great to be able to see up close the different styles of racing yachts that participated.
Racing yachts jostling for space amongst the Superyachts
Morticia, is the smallest yacht to finish this testing race. After much scrutiny by the RORC, she was deemed safe enough to take part, and with her four Australian crew, battled huge seas, and tremendous winds. Having had a disappointing false start last year, where they were unable to compete due to gear failure, this tiny trimaran, and her heroic crew have successfully completed this tough course under very challenging weather conditions. With a diet of chocolate bars and biscuits to keep them going, and hardly any sleep, I’m sure the crew were glad to set foot ashore.
Morticia, tied up in Falmouth
French Tech Caribos, Multihull 50, France. Came third place in the Multihull Line Honours
George David’s American Maxi Rambler 88 has won the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 trophy. It has been an amazing race for the team, as not only did they set a new monohull record, they also won the IRC Zero.
Paradox, at anchor in Falmouth. Peter Aschenbrenner’s Paradox won the Multihull Line Honours
We were kindly invited aboard Camiranga by crew member Claudio Beier. Unfortunately, Camiranga was one of the many boats that had to retire due to the damage that their yacht had sustained. He explained how they had initially lost their spinnaker, which took over an hour to recover, and a lot of effort and energy from the crew, which you can ill afford when participating in such a grueling race. The twelve crew of Camiranga, skippered by Samuel Albrecht, were then forced to retire after their main sail split in half. Claudio is an experienced racer, and has raced in the region before, up in the BVI. He has never faced such conditions that were seen in this race, and said he found them particularly tough, not what he was expecting in the Caribbean, they were reaching speeds of 24/25 knots! He is however keen to return next year to give it another go, and perhaps have kinder sailing conditions! Meanwhile, they are waiting for their mainsail to be repaired (they are £80,000 new), before heading north to St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta, which starts on 1st March
Daniel chatting to Claudio
Daniel having a turn at the helm while safely tied up!
We enjoyed lunch at the yacht club while watching the band set up for tonight’s prize giving.
A glimpse at the coveted trophies.
With the prize giving ceremony taking place tonight they’ll be lots of celebrating as participants eagerly await the final results.
By Laura Barber