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Rambler 88 Scores Treble Success in RORC Caribbean 600 as National YC & Howth Battle for Class Podium Places

21st February 2018
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The new NMD 43 Albator from France looks to have the Class 1 win in the bag in the current RORC Caribbean 600, but boats of Irish interest have been battling for the second and third slots The new NMD 43 Albator from France looks to have the Class 1 win in the bag in the current RORC Caribbean 600, but boats of Irish interest have been battling for the second and third slots Photo: Tim Wright

George David’s mighty Rambler 88 has repeated her Volvo Round Ireland 2016 treble in the current RORC Caribbean 600, taking line honours, the new course record, and overall victory in IRC, all in the one fell swoop writes W M Nixon.

By this afternoon, only Ron O’Hanley’s renowned Cookson 50 Privateer could have challenged the big silver bullet. But the final leg to the finish off the south coast of Antigua is a beat long enough to upset VMG predictions, which had earlier shown Privateer to be a genuine threat. However, it was not to be, and Rambler 88 is now clearly ensconced on the ultimate treble podium of a classic offshore race.

For the varied Irish contingent dotted throughout the fleet, it’s a matter of who takes second in Class 1, and can we hang onto the Class 3 IRC lead against a lower-rated second-placed boat which clearly has no intention of easing off the pressure?

In Class 1, barring gear failure the winner is going to be the new NMD 43 Albator from France, campaigned by Benoit Briand. He has forty miles in hand on the next boat in the class, and though he rates higher than his closest contenders, currently he has time to spare.

There’s more of a battle for second and third in Class 1, as there’d been a ding-dong for those places today between the American J.44 Spice with the National’s stars Will Byrne and Chris Raymond in the crew, and Howth YC’s Michael Wright with the IRC 46 Pata Negra. But the flukey conditions round the south end of Guadeloupe have been shaking up the places like nobody’s business, and as we post this Pata Negra is lying third in Class 1 but Spice has slipped back to seventh.

Further on down the line among the little folk, Conor Fogerty with the smallest boat in the race, the Sunfast 3600 Bam, continues to sail above his size – so much so that, among the boats he has always been clear ahead of on the water, there’s the J/122 Noisy Oyster, the joint campaign by the National YC’s Bernard McGranahan and former Middle Sea Race two-handed winner Dermot Cronin of Malahide, which is currently lying ninth in IRC 2.

Noisy Oyster has been level pacing today with the JPK 10.10 Jangada (Richard Palmer), which is the closest contender for Bam’s Class 3 lead. But as the Fogerty boat has twenty miles in hand on the pair of them, for the time being his class position is secure. But there’s still a long way to go, and even with Rambler now firmly in the supreme slot, there’s still much at stake.

Race tracker here

Published in RORC
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