So far ten or more Irish sailors have registered as crew members on the following boats for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Caribbean 600 Race starting in less than a month.
Starting on Monday, 24 February, teams from around the world will descend on Antigua for the non-stop race around 11 islands.
Three Irish sailors are on Pata Negra, Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 that competes in IRC One. Former RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, 1996 Olympian Marshall King (and more recently a J70 champion) and James Murphy are all onboard. It is the fourth Caribbean 600 race for the Round Britain and Ireland winner. Redpath is joined by an experienced group of inshore and offshore sailors - a mix of professionals and good friends who all have all sailed with him on Pata Negra.
The Lombard 46 was third in class in 2019 and second in ’the 18 race under Michael Wright of Howth Yacht Club. Andy Lis is boat captain and he will be backed up by Will Harris as navigator, Sam Matson on trim and Royal Irish's Boyd on the helm.
In his 90th year, American Don Street, who hails from Glandore in West Cork, will compete on Kinship.
The lifetime sailor has spent 45 years cruising, charting and writing about the Caribbean for his famous guide books. 40 of those years were spent in his 46ft engineless yawl, Iolaire, built-in 1905.
“My nickname used to be ‘squeaky’ but with the way I am having holes cut in me, it should be changed to ‘swiss cheese’, says Street. He will be racing with a team who has sailed and raced Kinship for over a dozen years, with good results in ocean races and local regattas along the East Coast of the US. Oldest combined crew ages? A 91-year-old will also on be on board!
Elsewhere in the fleet, Galway Bay's Ronan Grealish competes on the Swedish VO65 Childhood 1.
Helen Flannery competes on the French-flagged Aminata.
Howth Yacht Club's Laura Dillon is on the British Beneteau 47.7 EH01.
Neil Maher is on the Sail Racing Academy Beneteau 40.7 Escapado and Clipper Round the World Skipper Sean McCarter is on the 25m Swan, Umiko. This is the same vessel that took a National Yacht Club crew across the Atlantic on the ARC before Christmas 2019 as Afloat reported here.
For many, it will be their first time in the race, whilst for others, it's a chance to defend their titles or improve on past results as they are lured back to this challenging race.