The RORC Caribbean 600, as the name suggests, is a 605 mile race around the Caribbean islands starting and finishing in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. It was first run in February 2009 and since it has attracted worldwide interest. The 2011 race is due to start on Monday 21st February and is already amassing a fleet of star studded boats and some of the best sailors from around the world to compete in the central Caribbean, considered by many to be the best sailing grounds in the world.
The 100 foot super maxi ICAP Leopard, owned by London property millionaire Mike Slade, will be back and trying to get around the course quicker than 44 hours 5 minutes and 14 seconds to break the race record.
Competing for the first time will be Antigua Sailing Week winner, Niklas Zennstrom's JV72, Rán. Also joining Rán and Leopard in the race will be Karl Kwok’s 80 foot Beau Geste from Hong Kong. Beau Geste holds the RORC Caribbean 600 trophy for the best yacht after handicap in 2010.
Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen of the Royal Ocean Racing Club is delighted with the response from the world's top sailing teams: "The Caribbean has the perfect sailing conditions and this race, at the start of the Caribbean regatta season, is proving popular with a wide variety of boats", said Eddie. “From Italy, Danilo Salsi's stunningly beautiful Swan 90, DSK Pioneer, will be back to try and win the race. We also expect to see a good fleet of Class 40's who will be Caribbean based, after their Atlantic crossing in the Route du Rhum. We have had early enquiries from some of the world's most spectacular yachts and also from corinthian sailors who feel compelled to do this fantastic race.”
John Burnie, one of the founders of the race and a member of both RORC and Antigua Yacht Club who support the race, says that the race will become a showcase for the Caribbean: "This race is destined to become one of the classic ocean races ranked alongside the world famous Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Sydney Hobart races," commented John. "The quality of the competitors means that the world's media will be focused on Antigua and the Caribbean next February."