Michael Boyd is chasing the overall lead on board Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra after the first 100 miles sailed in the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Antigua.
The proven Pata Negra lies second in IRC One and third overall on IRC in a gentle start to the race yesterday.
Three Irish sailors are on Pata Negra, some of ten Irish competing in this week's race. As well as former RORC Commodore 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.
The impressive 73-boat fleet gathered outside Antigua's English Harbour, relishing the prospect of racing 600nm in stunning conditions. A light south-easterly breeze gave a gentle start to the race, but the fierce competition was exemplified by highly competitive starts right through the fleet. Lighter than usual conditions are forecast for the first 24-hours of the race, adding another level of strategy to the fascinating race around 11 Caribbean islands.
First to go was the combined IRC Three and IRC Two fleet of 26 boats. The second start was for IRC One and the Class40 division, featuring 23 teams. The IRC Zero start featuring 17 of the fastest monohulls in the race was highly aggressive. The Multihull start featured eight teams.