Supermaxi Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2015: Day 1

March 13, 2015

If there was ever any doubt that another new rating rule could create thrilling superyacht racing, Day One of the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2015 not only proved the concept, but kicked it squarely at the goal. After a squally night in the enchanting Virgin Gorda yacht charter location in the British Virgin Islands, the day dawned with perfect conditions – sun, a steady breeze and blue skies. The scene was set – and the racing didn’t disappoint, with an amazing photo finish on the water for both Classes.

46 metre superyacht Ganesha made a strong start in Class A. Image by Carlo Borlenghi

46 metre superyacht Ganesha made a strong start in Class A. Image by Carlo Borlenghi

‘It was a perfect day of yachting,’ said a beaming Peter Wilson, racing on the Vitters ketch Marie in Class B. ‘The wind direction was steady, as was the wind speed – perfect conditions for Marie and the fleet.’

This year’s regatta – organised by the Boat International Media and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – has two innovations. First, it is the first outing for the Offshore Racing Congress’ new ORCsy superyacht rating rule, and second it is the first time the Loro Piana regatta has run a true pursuit race format. The yachts start in a prescribed order according to how long their rating says they will take to finish the course, and whoever crosses the line first is the winner – there are no corrections or handicaps applied after the racing.

Charter yacht P2 races hard on the final beat. Photo by Boat International and YCCS

Charter yacht P2 races hard on the final beat. Photo by Boat International and YCCS

The race committee chose to send the fleet of sailing superyachts clockwise around Virgin Gorda and the Dog Islands, with the more performance orientated Class A yachts sailing a 32 mile course and the cruising yachts of Class B sailing a 26 mile course. With 13 to 16 knots of breeze from the east, the fleet fought hard on the first beat past Necker Island and out to the eastern point of Virgin Gorda. Some chose to head inshore, and some tacked out, but the early pace-setter was the Nautor’s Swan yacht Freya who reached the corner first and was quick to hoist her spinnaker. She was followed by regatta veteran charter yacht P2, with the 46 metre sailing yacht Ganesha in hot pursuit.

As the kites popped open and the fleet headed towards Ginger Island at the bottom of Virgin Gorda, Freya and the Southern Wind superyacht Cape Arrow had stretched their legs and pulled out an impressive lead in Class A, while the giants Marie and Wisp in Class B hauled in the smaller yacht Drumfire and Bolero yacht. But as Class A rounded Ginger Island and dropped kites, both the 38 metre P2 and the 33 metre super yacht Inoui had reeled in Cape Arrow and Freya, leading to a tense battle up to the Dog Islands. Marie and luxury yacht Wisp – sailing the shorter Class B course – meanwhile began to pick their way through as the fleet compressed nearing the final beat.

Inoui and Freya yachts finish seconds apart in idyllic racing conditions. Photo by Boat International and YCCS

Inoui and Freya yachts finish seconds apart in idyllic racing conditions. Photo by Boat International and YCCS

For the last couple of miles, there was all to play for, but the big story was developing as P2 and Inoui caught Cape Arrow. ‘In the end it was incredibly exciting,’ says Chris Main, tactician on Inoui. ‘We were looking ahead and halfway through the race we thought we were never going to catch P2, Cape Arrow and Freya. But then a couple of things went our way. The bigger boats came through the fleet and were playing cat and mouse with the smaller yachts which gave us a chance to get past. We and P2 also gave Cape Arrow a bit of a pasting, but while we were battling with P2, Freya got a bit of a jump on us!’ Cape Arrow got caught in the crossfire and suffered in some dirty air, but P2 and Inoui fought through.

‘We got the last wind shift just right,’ Main continues. ‘We didn’t think we were going to get across P2 but the shift went our way and we went from third to first in the last 500 metres.’

As the yachts closed in on the finish the tension mounted, with Inoui and Freya running side by side to the finish, and with P2 closing in fast at the other end of the line. As the gun sounded, Inoui had taken Class honours by the smallest of margins – just 37 seconds separated her from Freya. P2 came in just 33 seconds later, while fourth and fifth placed yachts Ganesha and Cape Arrow were separated by a single second. It was an astonishing and dramatic end to a great race – and the excitement carried over to Class B.

Close competition between Marie and Wisp yachts on Day One. Photo by Boat International and YCCS on Day One

Close competition between Marie and Wisp yachts on Day One. Photo by Boat International and YCCS on Day One

In the final moments of the last beat, there was nothing between Marie and Wisp. ‘The beat was key,’ Wilson says. ‘We had to keep Wisp behind to the finish, particularly when she went offshore on the last beat and got a good shift – that put her ahead. But when she came back in the shift went our way and we managed to retake the lead.’ It showed – Marie took the win in Class B with Wisp on her transom just 31 seconds behind. The 24 metre Drumfire took third.

‘It was a lot of fun,’ enthuses Donald MacPherson, owner of Freya. ‘There was good strategy. Cape Arrow was on our hip for much of the race until she got rolled by P2 and we got well away. There’s always a way to do something better, but second is not bad!’

The real winner of the day, however, was the ORCsy rating rule. ‘The race committee did a great job of implementing the new racing rule,’ smiles MacPherson. ‘The race really did come down to the wire.’

‘It’s still early days but I have to take my hat off to the rating guys,’ agrees Wilson. ‘Today was the perfect day to test a new system!’

‘We’re a very happy ship,’ Main concludes. ‘And to have won the first race under the new rating system – we’re stoked!

Tonight, the close racing is bound to be one of the leading topics of conversation as owners and their guests enjoy some sophisticated hospitality at the Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner on the YCCS clubhouse terrace overlooking Gorda Sound. There will be some sophisticated entertainment, too, as the dinner features a performance from the great lyric soprano Maria Luigia Borsi. Hailed by critics worldwide for her vocal dynamism and interpretive prowess, she has forged a career that has taken her centre stage to some of the most prestigious theatres around the world, from Milan’s la Scala to the Tokyo New National Theatre, collaborating with the world’s most renowned conductors.

Tomorrow racing resumes at 1100 as Day Two – Oil Nut Bay Race Day – gets underway, and the close action on the water continues.

Video of 52m Royal Huisman sailing yacht METEOR at St. Barths Bucket Regatta

March 13, 2015

Luxury charter yacht METEOR is a majestic  52-metre aluminium gaff rigged schooner, launched by the premier Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman in 2007. Mixing up the classic lines of the Gloucester schooner with 21st century sail and rig technology, sailing yacht METEOR  has been beautifully penned by John G. Alden and John Munford. Below is a video showing this beauty at the St. Barths Bucket Regatta, a popular Caribbean race, annually hosted by the lovely St. Barths yacht charter destination. The video has been released by Royal Huisman.

Beautifully designed by John Munford and Pauline Nunns, the interiors of luxury superyacht METEOR boast timeless styling and beautiful furnishings, creating elegant and comfortable atmosphere. The vessel can sleep up to 6 guests in maximum comfort, providing them with 3 magnificent staterooms, including a master suite and 2 twin cabins.

Luxury charter yacht METEOR is the perfect vessel for socializing and entertaining with family and friends, thanks to her amazing leisure and entertainment facilities. She is available for rent in Europe, Western Mediterranean, as well as Caribbean yacht charter locations.

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2015 to kick off today

March 12, 2015

A steady 20-knot breeze blowing in from the east greeted the sailing superyachts and motor yachts gathered at the YCCS Marina in the fabulous Virgin Gorda yacht charter destination for the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2015, hosted by Boat International Media and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The owners, their guests and crews of the diverse fleet – which ranges from the 22,4m yawl Bolero to the impressive 58,6m Perini Navi charter yacht Seahawk – were buzzing with anticipation at the prospect of classic racing in the British Virgin Islands.

Ideal sailing conditions and clear waters surrounding Virgin Gorda ahead of the Regatta.

Ideal sailing conditions and clear waters surrounding Virgin Gorda ahead of the Regatta.

‘The weather looks perfect,’ says enthused principle race officer Peter Craig. ‘We’ve got 17 to 22 knots of breeze from the east and a whole bunch of superyachts – it’s as good as it gets!’ With the wind forecast to be consistent until the weekend, conditions should remain ideal for the regatta, which should also make for spectacular viewing for the motor yacht fleet.

There are some familiar faces among the yachts – superyacht Ganesha, charter yacht P2, luxury yacht Cape Arrow, charter yacht Parsifal III, super yacht Inoui and Bolero, for example are all previous racers in the regatta – but for some this will be their first experience. Among the newcomers is Royal Huisman’s 47.65m sailing yacht Wisp, whose stunning lines will make for a beautiful sight on the race course.

Owners and captains attend the skippers’ briefing and ORCsy rating rule Q&A session.

Owners and captains attend the skippers’ briefing and ORCsy rating rule Q&A session.

The regatta also marks the debut for a new superyacht rating rule. Conceived and refined by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the ORCsy rule combines a sophisticated velocity prediction element with ‘dynamic allowances’ – essentially meaning that allowances are made for yachts that, for example, take longer to tack because they have to furl away their headsails. Each yacht receives a number of ratings covering different wind strengths and sea states to ensure as close and fair racing as possible – no mean feat given the enormous differences between sailing superyachts.

‘The great thing about the new rule,’ said Bruno Finzi, chairman of ORC, ‘is that it is transparent, so each owner can see how the data has been treated and can compare his yacht to all the others.’

The superyacht fleet gather at YCCS Virgin Gorda for the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta.

The superyacht fleet gather at YCCS Virgin Gorda for the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta.

The new rating system is not the only change to the racing this year – after feedback from yacht owners, the usual staggered start will be replaced with Time On Distance racing. In this pursuit format, the slowest yacht starts first and the rest follow at timed intervals that match their rating, so that, theoretically, if sailed equally all yachts would finish at the same time. It makes for exciting racing as every yacht can see how it is doing on the water against its competitors, and the first over the finish line is the winner.

Racing begins today, Thursday 12 March, with the first start at 11:00am local time.

The Perini Navi Group to attend St Barths Bucket Regatta 2015

March 12, 2015

In a few days, the world’s best sailing yacht fleet will gather in the azure waters of the breath-taking St. Barthélemy yacht charter destination to attend the St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2015. Started over 25 years ago as weekend party in Nantucket, the Bucket has grown into the most prominent Corinthian spirited superyacht regatta in the world over the years.

Luxury Superyachts participating in the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Luxury Superyachts participating in the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Perini Navi together with Royal Huisman, Vitters and Rybovich are now the stewards of the Bucket and this year’s edition will have 36 participants divided into four categories: les Gazelles des Mers, les Grandes Dames des Mers, Les Mademoiselle des Mers and les Elegantes des Mers.

Crew aboard Perini Navi mega yacht SEAHAWK during the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Crew aboard Perini Navi mega yacht SEAHAWK during the St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Perini Navi fleet will be represented by 6 yachts: the 38m charter yacht P2 in the Gazelle des Mers category and the 54m charter yacht Parsifal III, the 56m charter yacht Rosehearty, the 60m charter yacht Seahawk, 40m sloop State of Grace and the 56m charter yacht Zenji in the Grand Dames class.

Superyachts start to arrive for Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 2015

March 11, 2015

As an amazing fleet start to reach the five-star YCCS Virgin Gorda Marina, Boat International Media and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda are preparing to welcome owners, guests, as well as race crew to the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous 2015. The event, which hosts an exquisite collection of superyachts, will be held off the fabulous Virgin Gorda yacht charter destination from March 11 to 14. The beautiful coastline, distinguished by huge granite boulders, inshore coral reefs and an abundance of what looks to be some breezy Caribbean trade winds will present spectacular sailing conditions making for an exciting regatta.

YCCS Marina will host a collection of the world's finest superyachts

YCCS Marina will host a collection of the world’s finest superyachts

A competitive mix of performance and cruising superyachts divided by class will compete over three days to take the esteemed champions title, whilst a flotilla of motor yachts participating in the Rendezvous will cruise in company to follow all the action on the racecourse. Returning sailing yachts will have the upper hand with their knowledge of the local waters. With Vitters sailing yacht Inoui, superyacht Ganesha and luxury yacht Marie competing against the likes of Royal Huisman sailing yacht Wisp and Southern Wind sailing yacht Blues and superyacht Cape Arrow, we look forward to three days of exhilarating action on the water.

Idyllic sailing conditions will make for three days of exciting superyacht competition

Idyllic sailing conditions will make for three days of exciting superyacht competition

Owners and their guests are invited to relax and enjoy a welcome lunch at Oil Nut Bay’s superb beach club restaurant. In addition, the luxurious resort is extending their hospitality throughout the regatta, allowing guests of the event use of their impressive facilities. A laidback yet glamorous Welcome Cocktail on the YCCS lawn kick-starts the event on the evening of the 11th March, and superyachts will take to the start line on 12th March for day one of racing at 11:00 local time (GMT-4).

Guests of the regatta are invited to enjoy Oil Nut Bay's Beach Club facilities

Guests of the regatta are invited to enjoy Oil Nut Bay’s Beach Club facilities

As well as first-class regatta racing, owners and charter guests along with their family, friends and crew can expect an arrangement of fabulous social events and the highest level of exclusive hospitality services. Title Sponsor Loro Piana will host yacht owners for an intimate dinner at the YCCS Clubhouse to round-up day one, whilst day two will be topped off by a cocktail reception for superyacht owners hosted by Pamela and David V. Johnson. This exclusive gathering will precede the ‘Hollywood Glamour’ beach party hosted by Oil Nut Bay.

On the final day, competitors and guests will attend a prize giving on the YCCS lawn to celebrate the winning yachts. Race day prizes will be presented by Gold Sponsors Oil Nut Bay and Embraer Executive Jets and a special prize will be presented to the the owner and crew crowned ‘Spirit of the Regatta’.

Stunning bays and beautiful blue waters in the British Virgin Islands

Stunning bays and beautiful blue waters in the British Virgin Islands

The overall winner of The Boat International Media Trophy will be presented by Loro Piana Deputy Chairman, Mr Pier Luigi Loro Piana, joined by Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo and Boat International Media’s CEO, Tony Harris. The regatta concludes with celebratory and farewell cocktails to see the yachts off in style.

Organisers Boat International Media and YCCS are delighted to have the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board as a sponsor to the event. The Director of the Board comments: “On behalf of the BVI Tourist Board, we invite you to enjoy our alluring 60 islands and cays; our tranquil blue waters and powder white beaches; and some of the most spectacular sailing in the world. Travellers come to our shores from near and far to capture the essence of navigating this beloved archipelago. Many nautical adventures can be found in the BVI and whether this is your first time visiting us, or you are returning to Nature’s Little Secrets, we welcome you to experience the charm and beauty of our destination. We are honoured to host the fifth annual Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in Virgin Gorda, and wish all competitors a fantastic event!”

 

Two New Silver Sponsors for Superyacht Cup Palma 2015

March 04, 2015

The organizers of the Superyacht Cup Palma 2015, set to run in the beautiful Mallorca yacht charter location from June 17 to 20, are proud to present two new silver sponsors, Palma-based Marine Hydraulic Services (MHS) as well as Italian premium lines manufacturer Gottifredi Maffioli. Both companies are important suppliers to the superyacht and megayacht market and excellent partners to have supporting the leading superyacht regatta in Europe.

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze, teamwork on the bow, SYC Palma 2014

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze, teamwork on the bow, SYC Palma 2014

“The Superyacht Cup consistently draws some of the most spectacular superyachts in the world to Palma. Prior to the regatta the majority of the yachts undertake refit work and race optimization here on the island, this gives us a great opportunity to provide our hydraulic services to existing and new clients as well as building relationships with other sponsors and industry professionals who attend the regatta each year,” explained Chris Geraghty, Operations Manager at MHS.

Gottifredi Maffioli have been manufacturing rope since 1926. Their new ideas, solid tradition, great experience, advanced technology and strict quality controls have been the corner stones for their long success.  “We manufacture a wide range of high quality ropes, braids and yarns made of high tenacity synthetic fibres and with our extensive experience and innovative techniques we are constantly developing new products. The Superyacht Cup in Palma provides us the ideal platform to present our brand and extensive product range to the superyacht industry where quality, reliability and innovation are so important,” commented Massimo DellAcqua.

Sailing yacht Saudade - SYC Palma 2014

Sailing yacht Saudade – SYC Palma 2014

The outstanding selection of modern and classic superyachts already registered include many regulars who year after year have enjoyed the unique atmosphere; the exhilarating racing amongst a truly breathtaking fleet and the relaxed, informal evening functions held on the dock in the heart of Palma, a cosmopolitan city with so much to offer visitors.

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze (Frers/Nautor Swan 34m) will be making her fifth consecutive appearance at SYC with her smartly uniformed Gaastra crew under the guidance of experienced Captain Albert Keularts. Competitive on the race course and always highly visible on the dock, the Highland Breeze team certainly know how to join in the spirit of the event and experience the regatta to the full. As gold sponsors to The Superyacht Cup, Gaastra supply the Race Officials and SYC staff with team clothing.

Superyacht Saudade (Tripp/Wally 45m) is another regular visitor to Palma, a fast powerful sloop she is always a keen contender and ready to take on the new arrivals. This year she will be joined by another Wally Yacht, the 30m luxury yacht Open Season (Judel/Vrolijk/Wally), a newer generation design launched in 2012. The two rivals will be determined to out perform each other around the race track.

RORC Caribbean 600: The Best Yacht Race in the Caribbean

March 02, 2015

The recently concluded 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 has undoubtedly featured the best fleet of offshore racing yachts that has ever gathered in the popular Caribbean yacht charter destination. A total number of 66 yachts started the 600 mile race around 11 Caribbean islands, with numerous world champions, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors participating with passionate Corinthian amateurs, plenty of whom are members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Ranging from the latest high performance record breakers to classic yachts from the past, the variety of yachts and sailors taking part demonstrates that the RORC Caribbean 600 has a wide appeal and the growth in popularity, year-on-year, indicating a very healthy future for the event.

Antigua witnessed possibly the finest yacht race in the Caribbean as the 66-boat fleet racing in the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 set off on 23 February. It was to be an epic race. ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The beautiful Antigua yacht charter destination witnessed possibly the finest yacht race in the Caribbean as the 66-boat fleet racing in the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 set off on 23 February. It was to be an epic race. ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

After a classic trade winds start the wind shifted south of east and decreased on the second day, which added gravitas to the tactical decision making for many yachts as they approached the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. By day three, the trade winds were back to provide exhilarating racing for the fleet. By day four, the wind had built to over 20 knots, with gusts in excess of 30 knots and the beat to finish in Antigua from Redonda became a real test for the remaining yachts and exhausted crew.

Three is the Magic Number

Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 yacht Phaedo3 crossed the finish line in Antigua in an elapsed time of 1 day, 9 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds, breaking the multihull race record that had stood since the very first edition of the race. Phaedo3 broke the record set by Claude Thelier and John Burnie’s ORMA 60, Region Guadeloupe by 6 hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds.

“Fast, really fast,” commented a shattered looking Lloyd Thornburg as Phaedo3 tied up in Falmouth Harbour. “Sailing with Michel Desjoyeaux has been an incredible experience. When I was driving, he pushed me out of my comfort zone and then got the guys to wind on the sails even more and the speed just kept climbing and my confidence and experience with it. Surfing at over 30 knots for hours is just an incredible experience. A big thank you to Brian Thompson for putting this all together in such a short period of time. This is right up there; a totally amazing experience!”

Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo^3 smashed the race record ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 yacht Phaedo^3 smashed the race record ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The crew of Phaedo3: Lloyd Thornburg (Owner), Romain Attanasio, Samuel Bason, Pete Cumming, Michel Desjoyeaux, Warren Fitzgerald, Sam Goodchild and Brian Thompson.

Third Time Lucky for Happy Hap

Hap Fauth’s American JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente was declared the overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600. Whilst several yachts were still racing, by the morning of Friday 27th February none of the remaining teams had the ability to better Bella Mente’s corrected time under IRC. It was third time lucky for Bella Mente as the Maxi 72 has finished second overall for the past two years. Bella Mente was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero Class and retained the Bella Mente Trophy as the first IRC Yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered, without either variable or moveable ballast. A delighted Hap Fauth spoke about the achievement and was full of praise for the entire Belle Mente team:

“This is our third go at winning this race and three is the beauty!” said Hap Fauth. “The majority of this team have been with me for at least five years – it is an outstanding group of guys. They like each other, we have a good time together – they are all mates. Everybody puts safety first, that’s the way it should be offshore, but after that we push to the limit. This race is a series of sprints and every leg is different. You are trying to get out of the blocks at the start of each segment and as soon as you get going, you are looking to get to top speed without increasing the distance sailed in that quest for boat speed. We try to make a couple of minutes up at every corner – with 12 corners if you save three minutes a corner, then that makes a real difference to your finish time. Everybody works together, it is our big strength; the crew did a phenomenal job.”

Overall winner: Team Bella Mente in the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Overall winner: Team Bella Mente in the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Bella Mente Crew: (Owner) Hap Fauth, Thomas Allin, James Baxter, Michele Cannoni, Carlo Castellano, Sean Clarkson, Sean Couvreux, James Dagg, Federico Giovanelli, Peter Henderson, Terry Hutchinson, Keats Keeley, Brian Macinnes, Craig Monk, Ian Moore, Michael Sanderson, Matt Smith, Adrian Stead, Morgan Trubovich, Jim Turner.

Rambler 88 takes Monohull Line Honours

George David’s Juan K designed superyacht Rambler 88 took Monohull Line Honours for the RORC Caribbean 600. Rambler 88 was approximately four hours short of the monohull race record, set by his previous yacht Rambler 100 in 2011.

George David commented dockside: “Rambler 88 was ahead of the monohull race record for some time, but the wind angle on the long leg to Guadeloupe was tighter than in 2012. Rambler 88 is probably faster on every point of sail than the Rambler 100, but the weather really didn’t work for us this year. Rambler 88 is an exciting boat to race, powerful and really wet on deck. We have moved a step closer to harnessing that power and the wet conditions are easily managed with good foul weather gear! A special course and a very well organised race. The RORC should be congratulated once again for producing a great event.”

George David's Juan K designed Rambler 88 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

George David’s Juan K designed superyacht Rambler 88 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The crew of Rambler 88: George David (Owner), Rodney Ardern, Silvio Arrivabene, Stuart Bannatyne, Scott Beavis, Curtis Blewett, Brad Butterworth, Simon Daubney, Wendy David, Jan Dekker, Brian Giorgio, Nathan Hislop, Brad Jackson, Jerome Kirby, William McCarthy, Artie Means, Robert Naismith, Mark Newbrook, Dean Phipps, Andrea Visintini, Matthew Welling, Stuart Wilson.

300 Tonne IRC Weapon

The 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, dating back to 1903, won the Superyacht and Spirit of Tradition Classes and placed fifth in IRC overall; an incredible performance that skipper Greg Norwood-Perkins was rightly proud of. “An IRC weapon!” laughed Greg. “Adela competes in numerous bucket-style short course racing and it is there that we hone our boat-handling – this course demands impeccable manoeuvres from the crew. The owner is really thrilled with the performance of Adela and is full of encouragement, even though we put Adela through enormous stress loads. I am so proud of the crew, most of whom have been racing Adela now for many seasons. It takes every sinew of muscle and brain-power to sail her to the maximum, everyone has to be at the very top of their game.”

Majestic 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, Greg Norwood-Perkins ©RORC Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Majestic 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, Greg Norwood-Perkins ©RORC Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Sorcha – Tough but thoroughly enjoyable

Bella Mente was the winner of IRC Zero with Peter Harrison’s TP52, Sorcha, in second place and one of the big stories of the race was Sorcha’s battle with Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4. Equally matched, the two teams battled side-by-side and were utterly exhausted after an intense match race around the 600-mile course.

Sorcha’s skipper, Campbell Field, spoke dockside: “A tough race but thoroughly enjoyable. Racing around the Caribbean in a TP52 is like attaching a 500 HP outboard to a surf board. Everything and everybody gets a full soaking, even down below there is no respite from the drenching, but this is a great crew with a fantastic spirit and we have all enjoyed the race immensely. The battle with Tonnerre was just the icing on the cake; that is some of the best racing I can remember. I think, all in all, we won’t find many areas that we could have made a lot of time up, so we have to be satisfied with our performance. If the weather had been slightly more in our favour, who knows, we might have won the race overall.”

Otra Vez wins IRC One – We will be back

William Coates, Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez, was the runaway winner of IRC One, even starting half an hour late with a mainsail problem didn’t stop the determined team from claiming victory. “The conditions definitely suited our type of boat compared to the heavy displacement opposition in Music and Maximizer,” commented William Coates. “This is the first race for us but we are definitely coming back, the course is just awesome and the event is the best organised regatta in the Caribbean. We are delighted with the win; it is a great start to our season.”

Hatrick for Scarlet Oyster

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster won IRC Two for the third time and enjoyed a fantastic battle with Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 and Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51, Northern Child. Scarlet Oyster crossed the finish line just 81 seconds in front of EH01 and the three skippers, who are great friends, put aside their bon ami to push their teams to the maximum in search of class glory. EH01 came second and Northern Child third, by just under one minute on corrected time, after three and a half days of hard racing.

“Both EH01 and Northern Child have bought new sails and put up one hell of a fight,” commented Ross Applebey. “We are all race charter yachts and I believe that sailors sign up with us because they know that they will be racing safely but also competitively. All of the Scarlet Oyster crew are experienced offshore sailors and this was a hard fought victory. Just completing the course is a challenge but winning against good competition is a big part of the satisfaction.”

Tough Racing in IRC 3

IRC Three produced the closest contest of any class with four yachts taking the lead at various stages of the race. By Thursday night, the wind had picked up to 20 knots, gusting 30. The beat to the finish from Redonda was exceptionally hard with the crews having to grunt up for the final push to the finish line. Yuri Fadeev’s Russian crew on the First 40.7, Intuition was leading the fleet on the water at Redonda but lost a sail over the side which cost them an hour to retrieve in the rough seas. Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.10, Raging Bee was sailing Two Handed and finished third in class. After the race, the highly experienced French skipper exclaimed. “The standard of the competition and conditions were more difficult than any Fastnet.” Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35, Zarafa crewed by  young servicemen from the King’s Royal Hussars and Queen’s Royal Lancers were very much in contention, but it was Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 36, Redshift that pulled away in the wind shadow of Guadeloupe to take the class title.

Nick Cherry, Redshift tactician commented: “We are delighted to have won in such a competitive class against boats like Zarafa and Raging Bee. We were pushing each other along and it was great competition. The highlight of the race for us was the reach back from Desirade, screaming along under the A3, that was amazing. I’ve done this race twice before but none of the others onboard had. We’re all really good mates but hadn’t raced together like this before so we had a great time and a lot of laughs onboard. The race is pretty special – it’s a great place and the course was designed for sailors, pushing the boats and crews. We’ll definitely be back again.”

The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 22nd February 2016.

Sailing yacht BELLA MENTE – The overall winner of 2015 RORC Caribbean 600

February 27, 2015

The overall winner of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 has become Hap Fauth’s American JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente. Whilst several yachts are still competing, by the morning of Friday 27th February none of the remaining teams had the ability to better Bella Mente yacht’s corrected time under IRC. It was third time lucky for Bella Mente as the Maxi 72 has finished second overall for the past two years.

Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente
©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Luxury yacht Bella Mente was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero Class and retained the Bella Mente Trophy as the first IRC Yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered, without either variable or moveable ballast. A delighted Hap Fauth spoke about the achievement and was full of praise for both the race team and shore crew:

“Friday, before the race start, we had a structural problem with the boat and limped home from practice to assess the problem. We took the boat apart and for two days the shore team set up a temporary boat building workshop and did a great job just to get us to the start line. Throughout the race we had no problems at all and my hat goes off to our ground crew.

“This is the third go at winning this race and three is the beauty! This is the third Bella Mente since 2006 and the majority of this team have been with me for at least five years – it is an outstanding group of guys. They like each other, we have a good time together – they are all mates. Everybody puts safety first, that’s the way it should be offshore, but after that we push to the limit.

Team Bella Mente ©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasyantigua.com

Team Bella Mente ©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasyantigua.com

“This race is a series of sprints and every leg is different, you are trying to get out of the blocks at the start of each segment and as soon as you get going, you are looking to get to top speed without increasing the distance sailed in that quest for boat speed. We try to make a couple of minutes up at every corner – with 12 corners if you save three minutes a corner then that makes a real difference to your finish time. Everybody works together, it is our big strength; the crew did a phenomenal job.”

Bella Mente’s British navigator, Ian Moore, spoke about a crucial part of the course. Nicknamed the ‘Guadeloupe Casino’, the wind shadow of Guadeloupe can make or break a performance as the largest and tallest island on the course can be an unforgiving trap.

“We knew that the wind direction would flick to the south east just as we were arriving at Guadeloupe and,although we were looking at the current situation, we had pretty much made the decision to take our chances by going inshore. In the past, we have had some bad experiences going offshore, if you run out of wind you can get trapped for a very long time. I would give Bella Mente’s performance in the wind shadow a solid nine out of ten, we did really well but we had to fight for it and use all our skill to keep the boat going. Moose (Mike Sanderson) was driving, Terry (Hutchinson) and Ado (Adrian Stead) had their eyes out of the boat and I was just giving them the numbers and I believe that combined tactical sailing knowledge got us through.”

Hap Fauth had left nothing to chance in his quest to win the RORC Caribbean 600 and brought a team of world class sailors to run the afterguard which included Volvo Ocean race winning skipper, New Zealand’s Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson, current Rolex US Sailor of the Year, American Terry Hutchinson and British America’s Cup tactician, Adrian Stead, who has been on the winning team for the RORC Caribbean 600 on three occasions. Mike Sanderson spoke about Bella Mente’s victory:

“It was a great race at the end of the day and we had Maserati to race with some of the time. To be boat-on-boat with a Volvo 70 was a nice surprise. We have worked on the boat very hard since we were here last year. Hap loves this race and it was very pleasing for us sitting on the dock feeling that we didn’t leave anything on the table. This was one of our best overall performances. We have two big races this year; the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet and we have produced a sail programme that covers the range well for those races. At one point we went through the lee of Leopard, reaching with a jib-top. Charter yacht Leopard is a fast 100 ft canting keel boat, so we are really excited at how well Bella is going with its new mast and new sails. We have done a lot of work on the aero-package and the boat feels great and she is going quick but we are really ringing its neck. To be honest the boat is pretty cranky and very physical. It is some of the most physical keel boat sailing that we do because you are muscling a windward leeward orientated boat around a reaching course, so it is tough on the wheel and there is a lot of grinding for the big boys.”

Bella Mente yacht has become the third Maxi 72 to win the race overall and the fifth American owner to win the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving will take place on Friday 27th February at the Antigua Yacht Club.

Sailing yacht Bella Mente Crew: Owner Hap Fauth, Thomas Allin, James Baxter, Michele Cannoni, Carlo Castellano, Sean Clarkson, Sean Couvreux, James Dagg, Federico Giovanelli, Peter Henderson, Terry Hutchinson, Keats Keeley, Brian Macinnes, Craig Monk, Ian Moore, Michael Sanderson, Matt Smith, Adrian Stead, Morgan Trubovich and Jim Turner

RORC Caribbean 600 Yacht Race: Day 4

February 27, 2015

By the morning of Day Four of the RORC Caribbean 600, 19 yachts had finished the race and 43 yachts were still competing. Yesterday night the lighter southerly wind had switched back to an easterly direction with substantial cloud activity providing changeable conditions for the yachts. The wind speed was steadily building and squall activity provided sudden exponential increases in the wind speed as well as a variable wind direction.

Majestic schooner, Adela ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Majestic schooner Adela ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

 In the IRC Canting Keel Class, with all yachts accounted for, George David’s Juan K designed sailing yacht Rambler 88 has scored the best corrected time. Mike Slade’s Farr 100 charter yacht Leopard, sailed by Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, is in second place with Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer in third.

In IRC Zero, three yachts are still racing but Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht  Bella Mente is the provisional winner of the class with Peter Harrison’s TP52, Sorcha second and True, Doug Baker’s Kernan 47, third. These three yachts also dominate the provisional overall ranking under IRC with Bella Mente currently leading the fleet, Sorcha second and True third respectively.

The story of the night was the battle on the water between Sorcha and Tonnerre 4. They finished the race late last night and both crews were utterly exhausted after an intense match race around the 600 mile course.

Sorcha’s skipper, Campbell Field, spoke dockside: “A tough race but thoroughly enjoyable. Racing around the Caribbean in a TP52 is like attaching a 500 HP outboard to a surf board. Everything and everybody gets a full soaking, even down below there is no respite from the drenching but this is a great crew with a fantastic spirit and we have all enjoyed the race immensely. The battle with Tonnerre was just the icing on the cake that is some of the best racing I can remember. I think, all in all, we won’t find many areas that we could have made a lot of time up, so we have to be satisfied with our performance. If the weather had been slightly more in our favour, who knows, we might have won the race overall.”

Tonnerre 4 stalwart, Frank Gerber was also full of praise for the crew: “This was the first time we had even sailed the new Ker 51 at night, so we have been on a steep learning curve for this race but what an amazing battle with Sorcha. The first 24 hours were just epic. With Paul Wilcox on the helm we hit 25 knots of boat speed on the way up to Barbuda, there was just water everywhere and the rush was thrilling. After Barbuda we were locked in a gybing battle with Sorcha for the downwind leg to Nevis. Two fast yachts surfing at each other at closing speeds of 40 knots, gybe after gybe after gybe, that is thrilling in anybody’s book. Sorcha have a great crew and sailed their boat just that little bit better than us and we applaud them for that but we have learnt so much about Tonnerre 4 and we will be able to up our game for our next race.”

The 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, dating back to 1903, finished just before midnight winning the Superyacht and Spirit of Tradition Classes, placing sixth in IRC overall and fifth in IRC Zero, an incredible performance that skipper Greg Norwood-Perkins was rightly proud of:

“An IRC weapon!” laughed Greg, dockside. “Adela competes in numerous bucket-style short course racing and it is there that we hone our boat-handling and maximize our boat speed – this course demands impeccable manoeuvres from the crew. The owner is really thrilled with the performance of Adela and is full of encouragement, even though we put Adela through enormous stress loads. I am so proud of the crew, most of whom have been racing Adela now for many seasons. It takes every sinew of muscle and brain-power to sail her to the maximum, our sail configuration is complex and everyone has to be at the very top of their game. Tomorrow, we will celebrate our traditional lunch with a bottle of wine for every sail change. It is an unusual method of motivating the crew for every sail change we do and it will be a long and well deserved celebration of an excellent performance.”

In IRC One only one yacht has successfully completed the 600-mile race. William Coates’ Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez, has set the bench mark for the class, which will be difficult for the remaining 14 yachts in IRC One to beat. Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72 yacht Maximizer, should be the next yacht to complete the course followed by James Blakemore’s Swan 53, Music.

Seven yachts are still racing in IRC Two. On the water Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, holds a slender 3-mile lead over Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01. Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51, Northern Child is 10 miles astern of the leader ,but after time correction is virtually tied for second place with EH01. This morning the three leading yachts were approaching Barbuda, preparing themselves for a big gybe in freshening breeze to head for Redonda and the last leg of the course, the gruelling 30 mile beat to finish. All three yachts are expected to finish the race this evening.

Seven yachts are still racing in IRC Three. The provisional class leader is Peter Schofield’s HOD 35, Zarafa, crewed by servicemen from the King’s Royal Hussars and the Queen’s Royal Lancers. However Zarafa is not leading on the water, the remarkable Two Handed French team racing JPK 10.10, Raging Bee is ahead by less than a mile after 465 miles of racing. Raging Bee skipper, Louis-Marie Dussere explained the unusual name of the yacht, the winner of the Two Handed Class for the 2014 RORC Season’s Points Championship: “The bee was a symbol used by Napoleon Bonaparte in his campaigns because a bee is both a team player and a ferocious fighter – so we like this imagination for our boat! I raced Raging Bee here two handed and the RORC always provide well managed events, so taking part in the RORC Caribbean 600 was an easy choice.”

IRC Three is producing probably the closest competition of any of 11 separate classes racing in the RORC Caribbean 600. After 70 hours on the race track, there is less than one hour separating the top four yachts after time correction. Zarafa leads by just 25 minutes from Raging Bee with Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600, Redshift is third and Valerio Bardi’s Swan 46, Milanto, fourth.

 

RORC Caribbean 600 Yacht Race: Day 2

February 25, 2015

By dawn on the second day of the RORC Caribbean 600, the vast majority of the 64-strong fleet were negotiating the chicane of islands to the northern end of the course, weaving through the beautiful islands of Saba, St.Martin, as well as St.Barths. However, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 sailing yacht Phaedo3 was literally miles ahead of the fleet. Screaming down the big reach out of St.Barths, Phaedo3 entered the stealth zone at Guadeloupe to the south at 0300 this morning. The ‘Green Flash’ has been averaging over 20 knots of boat speed since the start and at that rate will smash the course record by 10 hours.

Adela and Athos, the two gigantic schooners racing in the Superyacht Class are enjoying a 'pistols at dawn'  multiple tacking duel - ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Superyacht Adela and charter yacht Athos, the two gigantic schooners racing in the Superyacht Class are enjoying a ‘pistols at dawn’
multiple tacking duel – ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

George David’s Juan Kouyoumdjian designed maxi yacht Rambler 88 has been charging round the course at an average speed of 15 knots. At 0600 this morning Rambler 88 had reached the halfway stage. In real time they are on course for the monohull record, but their average speed must be maintained or increased if Rambler 88 is to set a new benchmark.

A fascinating battle is developing for the overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600, which is decided after IRC time correction. At 0600 on Day Two, Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht  Bella Mente, had the best corrected time of the 54 yachts still racing under IRC. Rambler 88, although ahead on the water, is over two hours behind Bella Mente on corrected time. These two yachts will be the first of the IRC fleet to enter the ‘twilight zone’. Bella Mente’s navigator, Ian Moore spoke about the difficult passage around Guadeloupe before the start of the race.

“The RORC have decided that the tracker player will be switched off so that yachts cannot see how the competition negotiate the tricky wind shadow behind Guadeloupe,” commented Moore. “The wind is forecast to decrease in strength and shift to the south, just as Bella Mente arrive at the ‘twilight zone’. We have been runner-up twice in this race and how well we handle the wind shadow may well decide our overall performance in the race.”

Bella Mente Racing Team before the start of the RORC Caribbean 600  ©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasy Antigua http://photofantasy.zenfolio.com

Bella Mente Racing Team before the start of the RORC Caribbean 600
©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasy Antigua http://photofantasy.zenfolio.com

Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 is having a full-on battle with Peter Harrison’s TP52, Sorcha for IRC Zero and third overall. At 0600 this morning just one mile, or six minutes after time correction, was the separation. The two all-carbon fibre flyers are revelling in a high speed showdown relying on muscle power and shrewd tactics alone. Tonnerre 4’s Frank Gerber sent in this message by satellite link: “Eyes stinging from the salt water firehouse, so excuse the poor spelling. Hard work so far, we have lost count of the sail changes but the boys are joking and smiling. Just passed St.Barths and we are still reeling from the adrenalin of the first leg to the laid mark where Paul Wilcox clocked 25 knots with the FR0 (fractional code 0), a wild wet ride.”

At 0600 on Day Two, IRC One featured several yachts enjoying a close battle. After time correction James Blakemore’s South African crew racing Swan 53, Music was leading the class with William Coates’ Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez in second and Oyster 625 Lady Mariposa, sailed by Daniel Hardy, third. In IRC Two, two old friends are duking it out at the top of the leaderboard. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster and Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 were recording the same average speed and the same distance to finish, heading to the northern most part of the course.

Lucy Reynold’s Swan 51, Northern Child is going well, third in class:  “We had a great start mid line going over the line within seconds of the gun,” commented Reynolds. “Scarlet Oyster were to our leeward and EHO1 were to windward of us and I was happy we had a clear lane and didn’t get stuck in the dirty air of other yachts. We tacked half a dozen times to stay close to the shore out of the stronger current and to get any lifts that were coming around the headlands. At Green Island, the bigger yachts ahead disappeared but it wasn’t just due to boat speed, a ferocious squall with rain like daggers pelted the crew and the boat, but soon we had dried out, blasting towards Barbuda with our two rail hissing in the blue water. Before sunset we bore away around the Barbuda mark, eased the sheets and got ready to peel to the running Asymmetric spinnaker. All manoeuvres complete, I have headed to my bunk to get some rest before we get to Nevis.”

Anthony Todd's Performance Yachts 100, Liara, sailed by Peter Morton (GBR) ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Anthony Todd’s Performance Yachts 100 superyacht Liara, sailed by Peter Morton (GBR) ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

At dawn, the two gigantic schooners racing in the Superyacht Class are approaching a fascinating part of the course. Superyacht Adela and charter yacht Athos are side-by-side entering the Anguilla Channel. The crews of both yachts will be getting fully stuck into some major physical activity as the two yachts enjoy a ‘pistols at dawn’, multiple tacking duel. It takes 35 crew to race Athos and 34 to race Adela, and while there is no doubt the two teams are great friends, the rivalry between them is extreme and no quarter will given or taken. Adela leads on IRC handicap, but this fight is all about the first boat to finish and Skippers Greg Norwood-Perkins (Adela) and Antony Brookes (Athos) want that barrel of English Harbour Rum to give to their crew back in Antigua.