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Ian Moore is Ireland's Yacht Racing Champion for February 2017

2nd March 2017
“The Race of the Year”. Shortly after the start of the RORC Caribbean 600, with the big boats hard on the wind and closing the cliffs of Antigua. George David’s Rambler 88 (foreground) was to go on to take line honours, but ahead of her at this stage are Bella Mente (US 45) and Proteus, locked together right in on the land, with Bella Mente about to call for water and tack with control over Proteus. “The Race of the Year”. Shortly after the start of the RORC Caribbean 600, with the big boats hard on the wind and closing the cliffs of Antigua. George David’s Rambler 88 (foreground) was to go on to take line honours, but ahead of her at this stage are Bella Mente (US 45) and Proteus, locked together right in on the land, with Bella Mente about to call for water and tack with control over Proteus. Photo: Tim Wright

It is already being celebrated as “The Race of the Year”, even though 2017 is barely two months old. But it is difficult to visualise any forthcoming contest that will quite match the 600-miles-plus ding-dong that was the battle for the win in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February. Two of the most potent racing monohulls currently on the world scene, the Maxi 72s Proteus and Bella Mente, ended up in a red-hot race of their own that made the rest of the splendid fleet seem almost an irrelevance.

Not only was it two great boats in perfect tune, but the crew lineup on both was world class through and through. Ireland had sent of her very best, as Gordon Maguire was on the strength in Proteus, while Ian Moore was sailing as navigator/tactician on Bella Mente.

Threading your way through the Caribbean 600’s unique multi-island course results in a track chart which looks like the preliminary sketches for a bulimic Dalek. Thus the navigator/tactician’s already important role becomes even more significant. But as they closed towards the finish and Ian Moore’s positioning of Bella Mente showed he’d made the win move, the destination of the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month (Racing)” award for February 2017 became indisputably clear-cut.

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