The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 began in style as the mixed fleet started the race in a 14 knot south-easterly breeze with brilliant sunshine

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The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style on Monday with the record 70 yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua.

Under the Pillars of Hercules, five highly competitive starts thrilled hundreds of spectators lining the cliffs at Shirley Heights and Fort Charlotte. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.

For more information on the race visit www.yachtingworld.com/rorc-600

Highlights from each class start below:

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Hundreds of spectators watched the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 from ashore and on the water Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

 

CSA, IRC 2 & IRC 3 Start

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First to start the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600: CSA, IRC 2 and IRC 3 – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

24 yachts participated in this class. with the all-female team Sirens’ Tigress, Scarlet Oyster and Por Favor executing text book starts. Special mention to Grand Soleil 43 yacht Jua Kali who had a great start, despite badly damaging their rig in the Atlantic en route to Antigua for the race.

IRC 1 & CLASS40

IRC 1 and Class40 fleet at the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 Race - Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

IRC 1 and Class40 fleet at the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 Race – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

17 yachts partcipating in this class. Spanish Tales II was the first Class40 to cross the line with Antiguan entry Taz also starting well. Belladonna, skippered by RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine had a great start controlling the favoured coastal side of the course.

IRC Zero and IRC Canting Keel

The IRC Zero and IRC Canting Keel fleet made an impression at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 - Credit: RORC/Emma Louise Wyn

The IRC Zero and IRC Canting Keel fleet made an impression at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 – Credit: RORC/Emma Louise Wyn

Plenty of action in this crowded start. The Lithuanian Volvo 60, Ambersail were overeager and with no room to bear away, sailed around the pin end buoy. The brand new 115ft Baltic Nikata was forced to round the wrong side of the pin after encountering severe congestion and the Irish Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners was adjudged OCS and had to restart.

Also in the fleet,  Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark’s 100ft Maxi Comanche had a slightly conservative run-up to the line before the big winches growled in a dial-down and Comanche powered up, accelerating into the lead.

Superyacht

he magnificent three-masted schooner Adix at the start - Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

The magnificent three-masted schooner Adix at the start – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

The Southernwind 102 Farfalla executed a textbook start but it was the magnificent sight of 178ft schooner Adix crossing the line under full sail that caught the crowd’s attention. Adix is the first three-masted schooner to take part in the race.

MOCRA Multihull

Phaedo3 flying two hulls past Willoughby Bay, Antigua - Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

Phaedo3 flying two hulls past Willoughby Bay, Antigua – Credit: RORC/Tim Wright

Six Multihulls including MOD70s Phaedo3 & Concise 10 lined up for the last start of the day.

Phaedo3 and Concise 10 locked horns in the pre-start as expected, with Phaedo3 co-skippered by Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson gaining a small but significant advantage at the start.

Concise 10 had to tack offshore to escape bad air and ploughed through several spectator boats that had gathered close to the exclusion zone.

The two MOD70s are incredibly competitive against each other and it’s worth keeping an eye on the Yellow Brick Tracker for their current positions.