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Bam! & Pata Negra Continue to Fly the Caribbean 600 Flag for Howth

22nd February 2018
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Bam in the RORC Caribbean 600 2018. “A gallant little boat, raced by a determined skipper and his crew of amateur shipmates and friends” Bam in the RORC Caribbean 600 2018. “A gallant little boat, raced by a determined skipper and his crew of amateur shipmates and friends”

With the third dawn of the RORC Caribbean 600 arriving on this Thursday morning, the annual warm water classic is settling into its final stages writes W M Nixon. While the successful heavy metal may be long since back into port and celebratory mode in Antigua, with George David’s Rambler 888 the undisputed treble success star, many boats and crews are licking their wounds after an unprecedented retiral rate in a race which has been living up to its advance billing as the toughest yet staged in the RORC Caribbbean 600’s ten year history.

For those still at sea but with the tricky sailing waters around mountainous Gudeloupe at the southern end of the course now well astern, it’s a case of consolidating positions and maintaining maximum speed while the breeze holds up, while at the same time managing to avoid any crippling gear damage. This has been the unfortunate experience of the combined National YC/Malahide YC crew of Bernard McGranahan and Dermot Cronin with the J/122 Noisy Oyster, who had rounded most of Guadeloupe, but then had to retire, and are limping back to Antigua.

pata negra2Pata Negra, the Lombard IRC 46 chartered by Howth YC’s Michael Wright, is now clearly in second place in Class 1

The little superstar, Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam from Howth, continues to amaze with her ability to sail above her size, a gallant little boat sailed by a determined skipper and crewed by his amateur shipmates and friends. Currently she’s due east of the southern tip of Antigua, entering the final triangle of the course with 120 miles still to race, and pacing confidently with larger boats while continuing to lead IRC Class 3 by a now substantial margin.

The other Howth boat, the Michael Wright-chartered Lombard IRC 46 Pata Negra, has had a good night of it, and though she was not going to be able to make a significant dent in the 40-mile Class 1 lead of Albator (a new French NMD 43), Pata Negra is now more securely in second, and has just 58 miles to race to the finish.

RORC Caribbean 600 course3.jpg The three boats with Irish links in contention in the RORC Caribbbean 600 2018 are now all in the final Antigua-Barbuda-Redonda-Antigua triangle, with their finish at the south end of Antigua.

Third place in Class 1 is being retained by American-Irish Kevin McLaughlin’s J/44 Spice, which has Will Byrne and Chris Raymond of the National YC in her crew, but while significiantly lower-rated than Pata Negra, she now has 104 miles to race to the finish.

After the high-powered, strong winds drama of much of the race, inevitably there are areas of the course which are starting to show an easing of the pressure. But at the moment, the breeze is holding up over the final crucial Antigua-Barbuda-Redonda-Antigua triangle. We keep our fingers crossed

Race Tracker here

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