Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

RORC Caribbean 600's Upgrade To Two Week Inshore/Offshore Festival In February Is Reminder Of Irish Antigua Success

14th September 2022
RORC Caribbean 600 inaugural winner in February 2009, Adrian Lee's Lee Overlay Partners (RStGYC), in her classically swift but unfussy Cookson 50 style. In this case, she's on her way to the overall win and a new course record in the November 2013 Dubai-Muscat Race
RORC Caribbean 600 inaugural winner in February 2009, Adrian Lee's Lee Overlay Partners (RStGYC), in her classically swift but unfussy Cookson 50 style. In this case, she's on her way to the overall win and a new course record in the November 2013 Dubai-Muscat Race

The up-grading of the RORC's annual Caribbean 600 race to what is effectively a two-week inshore/offshore festival in February 2023, when the sailing in the area is at its brisk but warm best, is a reminder that Irish boats and crews have been in there since the start in 2009 of
what initially seemed like a slightly wacky idea.

For although the established 600-700 mile classics such as the Bermuda Race, the Fastnet Race, the Sydney-Hobart, the Middle Sea and the Round Ireland have relatively straightforward courses, in order to break the 600-mile ceiling, the slighty eccentric Antigua Sailing Brains Trust came up with a cat's cradle of a course, intertwining so many island and large rock turning points that some of the bigger boats carried two navigators, just to be sure to be sure.

 Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian Turvey Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian Turvey

But immediately it was proposed, Adrian Lee of Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire was much taken with the idea. He had recently bought Ger O'Rourke of Limerick's Cookson 50 Chieftain, overall winner in the 2007 Fastnet Race and high scorer or winner in several other majors. Yet by February 2009 there she was in Antigua, ready to go as Lee Overlay Partners with a totally fresh high-quality livery re-vamp which clearly declared that this was a completely new chapter in Cookson 50 history.

And a pretty good chapter it was too. Lee Overlay Partners was the overall winner of the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600. And it was the first of several good stagings of the annual race as far as Ireland is concerned, for since then there have been top placings and class wins,
notably by Conor Fogerty with his Sunfast 3600 Bam! and the Howth Wright brothers-led team with the chartered Lombard 45 Pata Negra.

Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian TurveyThe RORC Caribbean 600 is a cat's cradle of a course - the start and finish is in the middle, at the south end of Antigua

As for the crew of Lee Overlay Partners, they'd acquired a taste for winter-rejecting offshore races, and in November 2013 they sailed in balmy Middle East weather in the 360-mile Dubai-Muscat Race, down the Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz to the Arabian Sea in what some naval authorities reckoned to be a war zone. If it was, Lee Overlay Partners spent a prudent minimum of time in it, as they broke the course record and notched another major overall win.

It was a warm, spice-laden Saturday night in Muscat when the win was declared. Meanwhile, back home in Dun Laoghaire on a wet and windy night of classic November qualities, the Royal St George YC was staging a gala celebration of all the 254 major international wins its members had recorded since the club's foundation in 1838, with the successful idea of cheering everyone up after emerging from the acute economic recession of 2008-2012. In the midst of it all, the news came in from Muscat. With appropriate acclamation, the number on the International Winnerboard was raised to 255.

Published in Caribbean 600

Caribbean 600 Race Live Tracker 2022

Track the progress of the 2022 Caribbean 600 Race fleet on the live tracker above 

The 13th edition of the 600-mile race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club starts on Monday, February 21st from Antigua.

 

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

RORC's Caribbean 600 Race

The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start from Antigua on Monday 21st February 2022.

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

PAST WINNERS: RORC CARIBBEAN 600 TROPHY - IRC OVERALL: (Best corrected time under IRC)

2020 - Tilmar Hansen, Outsider, TP52 (GER)
2019 - David and Peter Askew, Wizard, Volvo 70 (USA)
2018 - George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA)
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)

RACE RECORDS:

Multihull record (2019): Giovanni Soldini, Maserati, Multi 70 (ITA) - 30 hours, 49 minutes, 00 seconds
(I day 6 hrs 49 mins 0 secs)

Monohull record (2018): George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA) - 37 hours, 41 minutes, 45 seconds
(1 day 13 hrs 41 mins 45 secs)

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating