David and Peter Askew’s American Volvo 70 Wizard (above) has won the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, scoring the best corrected time under IRC. Wizard put in a near faultless performance to complete the 600 mile non-stop race yesterday in 43 hours 38 minutes and 44 seconds.
“This is the first time we have done this race and to win it overall is beyond our wildest possible dreams,” remarked David Askew. “It’s a race we have followed and we have always wanted to be in Antigua, but we wanted to have the right boat to do the really prestigious ocean races; the races we dreamed about when we were younger. We really didn’t have any expectations, but we prepared ourselves to perform as best as we could. I am in shock, I really can’t believe it.”
“Outstanding, really special,” commented Peter Askew. Both myself, my brother and all the Wizard team are very competitive, so to start the year with a big win and part of our commitment to the Transatlantic Ocean Race Series, is just fantastic.” Peter confirmed that the schedule for Wizard includes the Transatlantic Race, The Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Wizard’s crew led by the Askew brothers was skippered by Charlie Enright (USA), Richard Clarke (CAN), Simon Fisher (GBR), Phillip Harmer (AUS), Robbie Kane (USA), Chris Maxted (AUS), Mark Towill (USA), Phil Trinter (USA), John von Schwarz (USA), Mitchell White (AUS), and Daryl Wislang (NZL).
Another battle was decided today when John Gallagher’s Gunboat 62 Chim Chim (USA) elapsed finish time of 2 days 2 hours 14 minutes and 12 seconds earned Chim Chim the MOCRA (multihull) class victory. Chim Chim hails from San Diego, California and this is the first season in the Caribbean for the owners.
“My impression of the RORC Caribbean 600 is like it’s an entire Caribbean racing season in two days of sailing,” noted Gallagher. “It feels great to win the class. We had a great crew and pushed the boat really hard, which was fun and it is nice to get a good result, have a great time and nobody got hurt.
“We knew we were doing well, but the pin on our forestay was coming loose and the midnight sail repairs were necessary, but we kept racing and the crew fixed the problems and that was the key to the race for me.
“Racing round so many beautiful islands was fantastic but we saw them all from a distance. The finish line was pretty nice and thank you RORC for arranging the super moon! We would love to do the race again. I would give it five stars or whatever the top star is. The water is much warmer than in San Diego, especially when you get thrown in at the end!”
Also claiming victory earlier today was Catherine Pourre’s French Class40 Eärendil finishing to take Line Honours in the Class40 Division for the second year in a row, this time defeating two of the rising stars of offshore racing.
“That was stressful, Eärendil was not the quickest on some of the legs, so all three of us were battling and winning the lead all the time,” said Pourre. “Eärendil is a little bit older than the others that challenged for the win, but essentially they are similar in design. The key factor was having the right sails for the different legs. If you change, it may take half an hour, but if you don’t change you can lose more than that.
“It was match racing all the way, especially at the end and we were really under pressure all of the time. Last year we were battling against the elements, this year we had really good competitors that we could see all the time. It was an intense battle which never faltered day or night.
“Aymeric (Chappellier) and Luke (Berry) both sailed with a team of four and we went with five. I did not think I could compete physically with these tough young guys. Although we were a bit heavier, I am glad we made the choice and the crew were just as impressive as last year.”
Chappellier’s Aïna Enfance Et Avenir was second by just 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
“It was an incredible race, a good fight on the water,” said Aymeric on arrival. “All three boats were close all the time, there was never time for a rest as we had to think about strategy and maneuvers. Eärendil made less mistakes than us, they played a good game and they are worthy winners.
“Our next race will be Le Défi Atlantique and the 600 has been a great way to get the crew together and to get everything right on the boat. We have had a few breakages and the race has been a good test of the new equipment installed after the Route du Rhum.”
Berry’s Lamotte – Module Création was less than five minutes from victory.
“An amazing race and a great speed test for us,” remarked Berry. “We were trying lots of different sail combinations and as Aymeric and I train together in L’Orient it was like a big training session for two and a half days – absolutely amazing.
“Well done to Eärendil; we all got our bit of glory in the lead, but Eärendil won the last battle and did very well. Personally, in the Route du Rhum I got overtaken rounding Guadeloupe and exactly the same thing happened in the 600! But anyway, this has been great fun and a really good preparation – bring on Le Défi!”
The 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts from Antigua on February 18, 2019. The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s.
• Multihull record (2019) – Giovanni Soldini, Maserati, Multi 70 (ITA) – 30 hours, 49 minutes, 00 seconds
• Monohull record (2018) – George David, Rambler 88, Maxi (USA) – 37 hours, 41 minutes, 45 seconds
Source: Louay Habib