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Tuesday 16th February 2016

Boats and crews are gathering in Antigua in anticipation of The Inaugural Antigua 360 Race which takes place on Friday 19th February. This new and exciting race was conceived by Stan Pearson, a co- founder of the RORC Caribbean 600. Entry to the Around Antigua 360 is exclusively reserved for boats entered in the RORC 600 mile offshore classic, starting on Monday 22 February.

 "Many boats are usually out training on the Friday before the Offshore race" quotes Stan, "So it is a logical process to add a slightly competitive edge to that training. Racing around the island boats will experience many of the conditions and wind angles seen on the offshore course - and some of the legs are even actually part of the 600 - particularly the start and the finish approaches to the line - the lines used are exactly the same as the 600. In fact last year two multihulls, Paradox and Phaedo (the current 600 record holder) both went around Antigua as part of their 600 training and both found it highly useful in their build up to the offshore event."

Round Antigua Record holder Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70, Phaedo3 (Richard Langdon/Team Phaedo)

This year the 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 has an entry list as glamorous as any Grand Prix event anywhere. World class teams are already gathering in Antigua and the buzz around the dock is as much to do with the Antigua 360 Race as much as the offshore event. Entry interest has been given by the following boats already in Antigua

Phaedo3, Jethou, Momo, Tonnerre, Spookie, La Bete, Nikata, Farfalla, Guardian Angel, Belldonna, Spitfire, Mussulo 40, Taz.

Unusually for an event of this calibre there is NO ENTRY FEE!! The event is being managed and run by Stan Pearson and his SYCA team who run the annual Superyacht event in Antigua every January.

Two of the entries Momo and Jethou are hot Maxi 72 yachts from the international circuit and the record breaking MOD 70 multihull Phaedo will be out in earnest to set the 360 Round Antigua multihull record. Having just lost out to Ned Collier's MOD 70 Concise 10 in Barbados may see the gauntlet thrown down between these two boats again on Friday. La Bete (ex- Ramber 90), and two new boats over 100 ft Nikata and Farfalla will be vying for the mono hull prize, while hot IRC racers like Spookie and Tonnerre will be pacing themselves in handicap mode. Inevitably Bernie Evan - Wong (local resident and participant in every 600 race) has already entered his latest boat Taz in the 360. Bernie is a serial supporter of such events throughout the Caribbean!! Guardian Angel is a well campaigned and competitive Oyster which is expected to do well in handicap - but they will be hotly pursued by RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine and RORC Commodore Michael Boyd who have entered the Round Antigua 360 on Belladonna, chartered by them and their usual RORC team for the offshore race as well.

A top race committee is in place to manage this new event and the NOR and SI's are both online. Registration is now open at the SYCA office in Nelsons Dockyard (next to Immigration) and the skippers briefing will take place at 18.00 in the Admirals Inn followed by cocktails. The Prize Giving will be at 18.30 after racing, again in the Admirals Inn, with trophies awarded for: 1st Corrected IRC Overall. 1st Elapsed Monohull. 1st Elapsed Multihull.

This is undoubtedly the new race to watch if you are not already participating.

To download the Sailing Instructions and NOR click here.

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