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Greg Slyngstad's American Bieker 53 multihull Fujin has capsized during the RORC Caribbean 600. All eight crew are safe. Stephen Cucchiaro's Gunboat 60 Flow stood by until Dutch/ French authorities organised a rescue vessel. Preparations are now underway to transfer all crew to the safety of Port Saba.

RORC Race Manager Chris Stone issued a statement on behalf of the race organisers, The Royal Ocean Racing Club:

"On Monday 19th February at 20:20 AST, Fujin capsized close to Saba Island and the eight-man crew were observed standing on the up-turned hull. All of the crew are now safe. Stephen Cucchiaro's Gunboat 60 Flow stood by while rescue agencies co-ordinated the rescue efforts.

Jens Kellinhusen's German Ker 56 Varuna altered course to assist, but has now continued racing. The Coastguard at Fort De France Martinique has been co-ordinating the rescue."

The highly experienced crew on Fujin from Seattle, Washington, USA include the skipper Greg Slyngstad, the boat's designer, Paul Bieker and Olympic Gold medallist Jonathan McKee.

Fujin's Crew: Greg Slyngstad, Bradley Baker, Peter F Johnston, Paul Bieker, Gina Borza, Fritz Lanzinger, Michael Leslie, Jonathan McKee.

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Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam! is currently showing best of the Irish still racing in the RORC Caribbbean 600 after this afternoon’s start off Antigua writes W M Nixon. The new “Sailor of the Year” is leading in Class 3 and 19th overall while reaching fast in a northwesterly direction in the fresh easterly wind towards the first mark at Barbuda.

The phrase “still racing” is of some relevance to the Irish contingent, as Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners returned to port without crossing the starting line, while the Maxi CQS, with Cork’s David Kenefick in a key role, also appears to have turned and headed back to port.

RORC Caribbean 600 2On record pace, George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 and the IRC Zero & Superyacht fleet at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 off Fort Charlotte in Antigua today Photo: RORC/Tim Wright

The initial beat along Antigua’s southeast coast saw quite an element of sorting-out in the fleet. And as beating is not the strongest suit for the IRC 46 Pata Negra chartered by Michael Wright of Howth, initially she was showing as well down the fleet. But now with sheets freed, the Marc Lombard design is starting to make much better knots, and is lying 4th in IRC 1.

At the head of the fleet, as expected George David’s Rambler 88 is leading the mono-hulls on the water. But she still has some work to do to get up to a performance which will match his record-making race in 2011 with Rambler 100, the boat which - in August of the same year - was to part company with her keel at the Fastnet Rock.

Race tracker: here

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“It could be the most rugged RORC Caribbean 600 in the race’s ten year history”. That is one of the predictions being made in advance of this afternoon’s start off Antigua at 11am local time writes W M Nixon. And those who recall the superb heavy weather performance of George David’s Rambler 88 in breaking records and winning handicaps every which way in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 will reckon that this is the boat to beat, for she could well break the course record of 1 day 16 hours and 20 minutes set by the same owner’s Rambler 100 back in 2011.

Not only is Rambler 88 looking at line honours and a possible new course record, but the handicap win is also a prospect, as the strong nor’easters being forecast – they might get to 35 knots, and more in squalls – are forecast to ease as the week goes on, possibly in time to slow back the smaller boats.

That said, 35 knots is more than is needed for a record. 20-25 knots might be about right, with a bit more for the many downwind legs in a complex course which takes the fleet round 11 islands and through multiple navigational challenges.

RORC caribbean 600The complex 600-mile course – starting and finishing at the south end of Antigua – takes the fleet round eleven islands in a very special navigational and tactical challenge

elliott 52 outsider2It will be a fast but very wet sail – Ian Moore is navigating Tilmar Hansen’s Elliott 52 Outsider

Thus good navigator/tacticians are at even more of a premium than usual, and Ireland’s Ian Moore, - navigator of last year’s overall winner, the Maxi 72 Bella Mente – is this year doing his stuff on the Tilmar Hansen-owned, Bo Tichman skippered New Zealand-built Elliott 52 Outsider, which is from Germany, though the owner is Florida-based They’ll have a fast but wet sail. In fact, if any boat isn’t having a fast but wet sail, then they’re not really in the race at all.

The large Irish contingent has been further increased with the confirmation that Ludde Ingvall’s Maxi CQS – with Cork’s David Kenefick calling the shots – will indeed be going as part of the 85-strong IRC fleet.

cqs sailing3Ludde Ingvall’s highly-specialised Maxi 100 CQS, with Cork’s David Kenefick on board, has brought fleet numbers up to 85 boats.

Other additions to lists we’ve been carrying in recent weeks include Will Byrne and Chris Raymond of the National YC in Dun Laoghaire. They’re going again with American Kevin McLaughlin (his people are from Donegal some time back) in the J/44 Spice. They were nicely set up for a class place in 2017’s race, but got stuck in the parking lot at Guadeloupe. Nothing daunted, Will Byrne – who was in Paul O’Higgins’ winning crew on Rockabill VI in the 2017 Dingle Race – is beavering on with building a career as a professional sailor on the international circuit.

bam racing4“Sailor of the Year” Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 36 Bam! will be racing with an amateur crew

Amateur crews dominate the entry on the two Howth boats. New Sailor of the Year Conor Fogerty with his Sunfast 36 Bam! (a class winner in 2016’s race)is ready for battle with a crew of friends and shipmates, while the Michael Wright/Kieran Jameson campaign with the Marc Lombard IRC 46 Pata Negra will be looking at conditions which suit the boat if the crew can take the hammering.

pata negra5Pata Negra: big winds (but not too big) seem to suit her well

After her heavy weather victory and record-breaking success in the windy Round Barbados Race three weeks ago, Pata Negra seems to be a horse for the course. But the opposition in this fleet is ferocious, and Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners from Dun Laoghaire – with which he won the first Caribbean 600 in 2009 – is another Irish contender which in this case will find that Ron O’Hanley’s American Cookson 50 Privateer is always in with a shout.

For those who like to find links to the Round Ireland fleets of times past, another boat to watch is Eric de Turckheim’s new 54ft Teasing Machine, winner already of November’s RORC Transatlantic Race, and always sailing with that special edge for the honour of France.

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The Afloat.ie sailor of the year Conor Fogerty is among Irish crews in a record entry of 88 yachts has entered the tenth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 which has grown both in stature and entries since the race was first contested in 2009. Read Afloat.ie's Irish race preview by WM Nixon here

For the 10th anniversary, in excess of 800 sailors from six continents and over 22 nations, will compete in the thrilling race around 11 Caribbean islands. Winners from the Olympic Games, America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and multiple world champions have gathered in Antigua and will be competing alongside passionate corinthian sailors, both young and old.]

Ireland's newest sailor of the year, Howth's Conor Fogerty, in his Sunfast 3600 Bam!, returns to the West Indies with victory on his mind. He won his class in Antigua in 2016. In a recent interview with Afloat.ie, he has credited his sails for some of his success here

Start: Antigua, West Indies - Monday 19 February 2018 Course: 600nm non-stop around 11 Caribbean Islands

In its ten year history, American yachts have dominated the race, winning the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy on six occasions, setting both the current monohull and multihull records. For the 2018 race, 13 American teams will be competing including, George David's Rambler 88, George Sakellaris' Proteus, and Peter Aschenbrenner's Paradox. The trio are amongst the favourites for the top prizes. However there is strong competition from Australia, France, Great Britain, Germany and Ireland.

American Maxi Rambler 88 is back and skipper George David will be taking part in his sixth race. David has taken line honours on three occasions and with Rambler 100, won overall under IRC in 2011, setting the monohull race record (40 hours 20 minutes 2 seconds). Rambler 88 is the hot favourite to be the first monohull home this year and has world class crew in every department, including three time America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth. Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS will make its debut in the race after successfully taking line honours in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race. Philip Rann's British Maxi La Bête poses a threat to Rambler 88 and CQS. Race founder and long-standing RORC member John Burnie will be taking part in his ninth race on board La Bête.

George Sakellaris American Maxi 72 Proteus is one of the favourites for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, won by the yacht with the best time after IRC time correction. Should Proteus win, Sakellaris will lift the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for an unprecedented third time. Proteus has an all-star cast, including Stu Bannatyne who is on leave from Dongfeng Race Team in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Bannatyne has competed in eight round the world races, winning on three occasions.

"It's the warmest of the classic 600 races so always an event to look forward to," commented Bannatyne. "The race has a lot of corners and waypoints so the whole team is usually far busier than the typical 600 mile race; especially navigators. It is a great race for crews because there are so many manoeuvres and sail changes required, good crew work really makes a difference and the guys don't mind being woken up or nudged on the rail for another change because it is always so warm."

IRC Zero is the largest class competing this year with 24 teams. The mighty superyachts, Danneskjold and Farfalla represent the two largest yachts in the race, both in excess of 100ft (30.48m) and equipped with racing systems, as well as luxury refinements below decks. Ron O'Hanley's American Privateer and Adrian Lee's Irish Lee Overlay Partners are both previous winners. Two new boats to the race will also be among the favourites; Eric De Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine and Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 56 Varuna. British Infiniti 46 Maverick, skippered by Quentin Stewart and Stefan Jentzsch's German Carkeek 47 Black Pearl, represent the two smallest yachts in the class, but both are capable of punching above their water line length.

A record number of multihulls will be racing this year, including 2013 class winner Paradox, skippered by Peter Aschenbrenner. Designed by Nigel Irens, the 63ft American trimaran hit a top speed of 38 knots in the 2013 race. "French Tech Caraîbos will be quick in big breeze," commented Paradox trimmer Jeff Mearing, referring to Giles Lamire's Multi50, which won class in the 2010 Route du Rhum. Both boats are capable of breaking the multihull race record (31 hours, 59 minutes, 04 seconds Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo3). Greg Slyngstad's Bieker 53 Fujin returns and includes Olympic gold medallist Johnathan McKee as part of the Seattle-based crew. Competing for the first time will be Jason Carroll's American Gunboat 62 Elvis, with Irish Volvo Ocean Race winner Justin Slattery on board. The smallest yacht in the race is the modified Seacart 30 Morticia, skippered by Shaun Carroll with an all-Australian crew.

The RORC Caribbean 600 is part of the Class40 2018 Championship and a record seven pocket rockets are competing this year from France, Germany, Sweden and the United States. The Class40 race record is 2 days 16 hours 26 minutes 29 seconds, set by Gonzalo Botin's Tales II in 2016. Catherine Pourre's Eärendil returns after a terrific battle in last year's race and 2016 runner-up, Mikael Ryking's Talanta from Sweden will also be amongst the Class40 fleet. Mathias Muller von Blumencron's German Class40 Red debuts after winning the RORC Transatlantic Race and Marc Lepesqueux's Class40 Sensation will be racing under IRC.

In IRC One, Olympian Per Arne Nilsen's Norwegian Swan 66 Enigma VIII is the largest yacht. Philippe Frantz's Nivelt-Muratet 43 Albator has a mixture of highly experienced veteran and young talented Figaro and Tour Voile sailors, all from France. German Swan 56 Latona will have three generations of the von Eicken family on board and representing the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. German Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg, winner of IRC One for the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race will be skippered by Georg Christiansen. The smallest yacht racing in IRC One will be last year's class winner, Antiguan RP37 Taz, skippered by Bernie Evan-Wong who has competed in every edition of the race. Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra was third in class in last year's race and has been chartered by a team from Dublin, with Oliver Heer as skipper.

In IRC Two, the largest yacht will be Oceanis 55 Julia, skippered by Louie Neocleous who is just 20 years old and sailing with his father Richard. Back year after year are several yachts owned by charter companies offering the golden opportunity to compete in the race. Performance Yacht Racing have three entries; Grand Soleil 43s Quokka 8, Jua Kali and Beneteau First 47.7 EH01. The three teams are expected to have a close battle within the class. Another charter boat duel will be between two First 40s. Susan Glenny's Olympia's Tigress will be sailed by Richard Preston, against Sailing Logic's Lancelot II, sailed by Trevor Drew. Pamala Baldwin's J/122 Liquid will be proudly flying the Antiguan flag, as will the Antigua Sailing Academy's First 40.7 Ortac, sailed by Amanda Mochrie.

The largest yacht racing in IRC Three will be the 50ft Bermudan Cutter Gemervescence owned by RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. Jonty and Vicki Layfield's Antiguan flagged Swan 48 Sleeper won the class last year and will be defending their title. Andrew Eddy also returns with Oyster 48 Gaia and a young crew including both his son and daughter. "My daughter is flying in from Kenya and my son has put together a group of his sailing friends, so I am going to be the grown-up on board," laughed Eddy. "Our goal is to finish before the prize giving on Friday as we did not manage last year, so we are hoping for good winds." RORC Transatlantic Race Class winner, Richard Palmer will once again be racing his British JPK 10.10 Jangada Two Handed. Richard has teamed up with his partner for the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, Jeremy Waitt and Jangada is the smallest monohull racing this year.

The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 19th February from Fort Charlotte, outside Nelson's Dockyard. The first start is at 1100.

RACE MINISITE here 

FLEET TRACKER here 

PAST RESULTS: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY - IRC OVERALL

(Best best corrected time under IRC)
2017 - Hap Fauth, Bella Mente, JV72 (USA)
2016 - George Sakellaris, Maxi 72, Proteus (USA)
2015 - Hap Fauth, JV72, Bella Mente (USA)
2014 - George Sakellaris, RP72, Shockwave (USA)
2013 - Ron O'Hanley, Privateer, Cookson 50 (USA)
2012 - Niklas Zennström's JV72, Rán (GBR)
2011 - George David, Rambler 100, JK 100 (USA)
2010 - Karl C L Kwok, Beau Geste, Farr 80 (HKG)
2009 - Adrian Lee, Lee Overlay Partners, Cookson 50 (IRL)

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The International Rating Certificate (IRC) has made a flying start to 2018 with increased numbers of rating applications in the first month of the year and nearly 1000 certificates issued in January. RORC says 'This is very positive for IRC as certificates are not automatically renewed. Owners must apply for a new certificate through their local IRC Rule Authority and advise any changes to the boat’s configuration before the certificate is issued by the RORC Rating Office or UNCL Centre de Calcul, joint owners and administrators of IRC'.

In Ireland, Irish Sailing says they have have had 50 IRC revalidation applications plus four trial cert applications so far this season. According to Chief Executive Harry Hermon,  this is trending 'exactly the same as last year'. 

2017 saw total Irish certs of 419 (includes all applications – revalidation, new, trial, amendment etc) so the view is that this will be the same in 2018, with a 'possible small increase'.  

March/April/May/June are the peak months for IRC applications in Ireland.

Changes to the IRC rating calculations are implemented every January to cater for technical innovations in yacht design, a practice implemented by the IRC Technical Committee to foster close racing and protect the main fleet while remaining progressive.

Over the last 12 months the Technical Committee has been studying the effects of foils and how they are rated. Boats such as Infiniti 46 Maverick using the Dynamic Stability System will see a change in her rating from which she will benefit for the upcoming RORC Caribbean 600. Other developments for Spinlock IRC 2018 include changes to the calculations affecting: the rating of spinnaker area, sports boats, and boats that set headsails from bowsprits and do not carry spinnakers.

The ‘dayboat’ classification has also been removed from the Rule, leaving assessment of boats’ Offshore Special Regulations compliance to event organisers.

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With just over a month before the start of the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, over 60 yachts have officially entered the Caribbean classic. Superyachts, maxis, multihulls and a vast array of racing and cruising yachts will be taking on the beautiful, yet challenging race around 11 Caribbean islands.

Perhaps as many as 20 Irish sailors are taking part in all, and the preliminary list shows that Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners (Royal St George YC), winner of the first RORC Caribbean 600 in 2009, is back in the hunt and up against such other noted Cookson 50s as American Ron O’Hanley’s Privateer, runner-up in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017. 

Ian Moore of Carrickfergus, overall winning navigator of Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72 Bella Mente in last year’s Caribbean 600, is going again, but aboard a boat of a different vintage. Just this morning in New York, he signed up to pilot the Elliott 52 Outsider, a 1997 New Zealand design though built in 2006 and still a very competitive proposition generally - particularly so with Moore calling the shots. 

Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 36000 Bam! (Howth YC, class winner in 2016) is very much in the hunt, his crew including Mini-Transat veteran Tom Dolan. Irish-French interest is further maintained with popular Round Ireland contender Eric de Turckheim of La Rochelle with his new 54ft Teasing Machine, overall winner of the recent east-west RORC Transatlantic Race. 

In IRC Two, last year's winner and sixth overall, El Ocaso is looking for a charter and is one of three J/122s entered this year, alongside Pamala Baldwin's Antiguan Liquid and Bernard McGranaghan's French Noisy Oyster.

"It's exciting, exhilarating, exhausting and filled with the spirit of adventure. We are brave-hearts with a mission - to dig deep and give it our best. We learn to expect the unexpected. We bond and make lifelong friends and cherish priceless memories," says Pamala Baldwin, owner of J/122 Liquid.

Two Antiguan yachts scored memorable victories in 2017, Bernie Evan-Wong's RP37 Taz was the winner of IRC One and Jonty and Vicki Layfield's Swan 48 Sleeper X was the winner of IRC Three.

Sleeper X will be one of the oldest yachts competing and is a true classic, but there is more than meets the eye to the 1973 Olin Stephens design. Under her former name Jacobite, she won three back-to-back Swan European titles and was class winner at the Swan Worlds:

"We have had a number of Swans, but this one is special," commented Jonty Layfield. "Despite her age Sleeper is in really good condition and we love to cruise as well as race. Winning class last year was fantastic and we would love to repeat that. We were also ninth overall and it would be amazing if any of the smaller yachts could break into the top five this year. The core Sleeper crew has been racing together for over 20 years and we also have talented young Antiguan sailors on board, which is a great mix and it is really rewarding to help young talent develop."

Two all-women teams will be competing in the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Miramar Sailing's Grand Soleil 46.3 Phoenix, skippered by Pippa Turton will have a crew of nine, and Girls for Sail's Beneteau First 40.7 Hot Stuff, skippered by Sophie O'Neill returns having finished last year's race during the prize giving after over five days at sea.

"We pushed really hard to make it in time for the party and it was one of the best evenings. I love racing with the RORC because they really put on well managed and enjoyable racing," commented O'Neill. "I was delighted to hear that there will be another all-female team in this year's race. I am sure we will want to meet up beforehand to get to know each other and share a few drinks afterwards, but during the race, it will be very competitive."

The 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on Monday 19th February. 

Link to current entry list here

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At midday on Monday 8th January 2018 entry will open for all Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) races, including the Season's Points Championship comprised of 14 races, as well as the highlight of the UK Solent season - the IRC Europeans and Commodores' Cup.

Competitors entering the IRC Europeans (8-16th June) are invited to form a team of three boats with members of their own yacht club or with boats from their region. Alternatively, contact the RORC Race Team who will provide a list of boats entered, but not yet part of a team.

The biggest contest in the 2018 RORC programme is the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on Sunday 12th August. At 1,805 nautical miles, it is three times longer than a Fastnet Race and attracts experienced offshore sailors looking for a serious challenge. Starting and finishing in Cowes, it is on a four-year cycle due to the toughness of the race. Circumnavigating all the islands of the UK, including the most northerly point Muckle Flugga, it negotiates headlands with tidal challenges all around the UK and faces the notorious British weather.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's UK domestic season fires up with the Easter Challenge (30th March to 1st April) and offers crews the chance to work on pre-season training and fine-tuning. With the relaxation of RRS41, the highlight of the event is the availability of a selection of experienced coaches on the water to assist with getting back up to speed.

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Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine is the overall winner of the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race. Whilst many of the record 23–yacht fleet are still racing, none of them can better Teasing Machine's corrected time under IRC. Teasing Machine is the smallest yacht to win the RORC Transatlantic Trophy which has been previously won by yachts in the Maxi Class.

"To win the RORC Transatlantic Race is just fantastic," commented Eric de Turckheim. "It is not just a personal achievement to win my first ever transatlantic race because it has been such a massive team effort. Teasing Machine was only taking part in its second offshore race and to build a team to that performance level within four months has required a huge commitment from everyone, but especially Laurent Pages."

Teasing Machine tactician Laurent Pagès and Navigator Jean-Luc Nélias form a formidable partnership. The Frenchman took the same roles for skipper Franck Cammas, winning the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, and Nélias won this year's Transat Jacques Vabre on Sodebo Ultim with Thomas Colville, smashing the race record.

"There were three main stories to this book," explained Laurent Pagès. "The start of the course put us in the wind shadow of the Canary Islands which was very difficult, but we had a very good first 24 hours. It was very important to be as early as possible to the ridge of high pressure because the door would close at some stage, and we did a very good job crossing the area of light winds. After that we knew we would have to go south eventually and we tried to remain in the pressure. Teasing Machine is a powerful boat that likes to stay in the wind. It has been a privilege to discuss the strategy of the race with Jean-Luc Nélias. It is another great victory and I hope there will be many more." 

RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen was very pleased with the result and the race: "It has been no easy task for the Teasing Machine team to win this race and they have been pushed hard by a number of very competitive boats. Eric and his team showed their determination and expertise, setting a strong pace from day one and never letting up. This race marks the start of the 2018 RORC Season's Points Championship and Teasing Machine has set the standard required for the rest of the fleet who have their eyes on this prestigious prize."

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Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS finished the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Wednesday 6th December taking Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 11 days 00 hrs 03 mins 08 secs. CQS committed to a southerly route for the 3,000 nautical mile race and despite sustaining sail damage in a vicious 40 knot squall, the canting keel 98ft Maxi led from start to finish. Ingvall is no stranger to taking line honours in prestigious offshore races, twice taking the honour in both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This was Ludde Ingvall's 16th transatlantic.

Once dockside at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Ingvall was full of enthusiasm for the RORC Transatlantic Race and his team:

"We have had a fantastic trip, even though the slow start meant we didn't have a fast race, but I love it. It is great to be back in the Atlantic and especially nice to be first. Much more fun than being last! We have a young crew on board and it is especially rewarding to give them this chance and 'pass it on'. Sailing is an amazing sport, but big boat opportunities for young sailors are few and they did really well. Just think, we have eight nationalities on one boat and everybody was focused on the same finish line. We worked as a team, looked after each other and it was tough at times."

After the Australian Maxi had safely moored at the impressive Superyacht Dock, CQS received a warm welcome from RORC Race Officer Steve Cole and Glynn Thomas, General Manager at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Patricia Maher, Chief Executive Officer at Grenada Tourism Authority presented Ludde Ingvall and his team with a basket of Grenadian produce.

CQS has now set the bar for the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The defending champion, Marten 72 Aragon, skippered by Jochen Bovenkamp and Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump are likely to be the next yachts to finish. The Maxis have close company from two high-performance offshore racing yachts, Tilmar Hansen's German Elliott 52 Outsider and the provisional overall leader, Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine. All four yachts are expected to finish the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Friday 8th December.

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Irish sailors David Kenefick and James Espey on board Ludde Ingvall's CQS suffered a setback in the RORC Transatlantic Race; the westbound leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta. "We got caught in a bad squall of probably 40 knots which resulted in a number of issues," Ingvall reported from on board on day 10 of the race. "There has been damage to sails and onboard electronic systems, but we are still progressing towards the finish."

Kenneth Thelen, co-skipper for Australian Maxi CQS confirmed that all of the crew of the 96ft canting keel Maxi were safe and well. Describing the damage he said: "Part of our electronics failed making it hard to sail in the dark. We blew our biggest spinnaker, but it is repairable. As we went into a gybe, the engine stalled and we lay flat on our side for a while which resulted in a diesel spill inside the boat, so the smell is terrible in the heat! We broke the top three battens in the mainsail, but we are still sailing towards the finish at reasonable speed, in pouring rain. We will assess the situation at first light."

At 1100 UTC on December 4th, the race tracker showed that CQS had slowed down to barely a few knots of boat speed to effect repairs. "We are back on track," continued Ingvall. We lost about six hours while sailing slowly and then stopped to repair probably at 90-95%, but we are now doing 14-15 knots average with G1 and a full main."

At the time of the incident CQS was more than 400 nautical miles ahead of Jochen Bovenkamp's Dutch Marten 72 Aragon and Southernwind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump. CQS are fighting all the way to hold onto their grip on the IMA Transatlantic Race Trophy.

Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine leads overall after IRC time correction and the majority of the record fleet are reaching at double-digit boat speed towards the finish at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.

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