Paradox shows record pace in 5th RORC Caribbean 600 race. Photo: RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The first finishers in the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Caribbean 600 race course are expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with every possibility that at least one record will be broken and possibly two.
On Tuesday afternoon, Peter Aschenbrenner's American trimaran, Paradox, had virtually rounded Guadeloupe and was close to laying Les Desirades, the most westerly point of the course. Paradox, with multihull legend Cam Lewis on board, is still on record pace and is expected to arrive back in Antigua in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Paradox needs to cross the line before 03:11:05 on Wednesday to beat Region Guadeloupe's 2009 record. Paradox needed to cover 190 miles in 12 hours, which is very achievable.
In the Multihull Class, Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66, Phaedo, took a big gamble on Tuesday morning and rolled straight sixes. Leaving Montserrat to leeward meant that the team had to sail many more miles but the "Buffalo Girls" manoeuvre had Phaedo smelling of roses, nearly catching up with ICAP Leopard and cementing their position as leaders of the Multihull Class.
British Maxi ICAP Leopard's attempt to eclipse George David's Rambler 100 monohull record looks to be slipping away; Leopard needs to finish by 04:10:02 on Wednesday and their ETA was 0500. However, Mike Slade, owner of ICAP Leopard, is one of the sport’s most colourful characters and sent this message from on board Leopard via satellite link.
"Well here we are, flat out racing sitting at 18-20 knots of boat speed, covered in salt and even in the best offshore gear, still very sodden," said Slade.
"We are trying to reclaim the monohull record for this super Caribbean 600 RORC Race. Set by us is 2009 and subsequently stolen by Rambler 100. Rambler, as you will recall, is now no more, having capsized in the Rolex Fastnet but, lo and behold, we can see her on the tracker, returning like Lazarus! We are now just an hour behind Rambler's record time and we are giving it our all," he continued.
In IRC Zero Hap Fauth's JV72, Bellla Mente, has seared downwind from St Barths and at 1500 local time was beginning their approach to round Guadeloupe leading in IRC Overall. However Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50, Privateer, is just 20 minutes behind Bella Mente on corrected time. Bella Mente has slowed significantly on the northeast corner of Guadeloupe and may have fallen into an area of light air. Privateer is very much in the running for the overall prize and looks set to catch up its rivals.
The RORC Caribbean 600 started from Antigua on Monday and the 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands, starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe, taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth's.
Multihull record holder - Region Guadeloupe in 40 hours 11 mins 5 secs (2009)
Monohull record held by Rambler 100 in 40 hours 20 mins 02 secs (2011)