PHOTOS: ’17 Leg 2: RORC Caribbean 600, Antigua

13 Mar


#FinishedBusiness

Welp, we did it! Isbjorn, finally, and one year later, completed the brutal and exciting RORC Caribbean 600 race in Antigua! If we took it for granted and failed in 2016, we had nothing of the sort in 2017, and showed up more prepared, more rested and better equipped than the year before by a long shot.

Big thanks to 2016 and 2017 crewmember Dan Shea for encouraging us to compete again in 2017. At first, the race wasn’t on our radar for 2017. But after failing to complete the course in 2016, Dan said he’d signup “immediately” if we decided to race again. So we did, he kept his word, and was there with us as we crossed the finished line in the wee hours of the dawn on Saturday, February 25, 2017!

The race was equal parts exciting and exhausting. The crew did shifts of 4-hours-on, 4-hours-off, with Paul Exner & Mia leading one shift, and Andy & Rory Finneran leading another. The crew – Dan, Brian B, Brian T, Thomas, John & Ryan – all contributed equally with their various strengths from foredeck work to helming. Isbjorn sailed wonderfully – in fact, until making a tactical decision to go ‘inside’ at Guadaloupe that turned out to be wrong, we were solidly in third place in our class. In the end, we came firmly in the middle of the fleet – 6th in class, and somewhere in the middle of about 70 yachts that finished. And we know from experience just how hard it is to finish!

The weather was weird for 2017 – a light, upwind start turned into strong SW’ly and even a cold front passage as we came around Saba – the wind violently shifted to the NW and blew close to 40 knots for a few hours before settling down out of the north as the skies cleared. One boat was dismasted in the squall. What was a LONG close-reach from St. Martin to Guadaloupe in 2016 was a light-air spinnaker run this year. We even sailed on one tack up the Anguilla Channel on PORT TACK! That’s almost unheard of in these parts of the Caribbean.

In the end, the race was a success – we finished, we didn’t hurt anybody, and we didn’t break the boat! Thanks to all of our friends and crew for helping to make it a memorable event.


2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Isbjorn

Practice Days, Saturday & Sunday

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RORC Caribbean 600

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This article was syndicated from 59º North Blog - 59 North Sailing

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