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Record breaking 5th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 Race

by Trish Jenkins 15 Feb 2013 20:16 GMT 18 February 2013
Co-Ordinator, Helen Spooner will hold a briefing for volunteers before the RORC Caribbean 600 start © Tim Wright /

The Caribbean 600 race starts on Monday 18th February off Fort Charlotte and for the 5th edition, spectators will witness a record-breaking fleet as 54 boats from around the world gather on the start line.

Getting the show on the road: Volunteers make it happen

The RORC Caribbean 600 is hosted by Antigua Yacht Club (AYC) and their support is a crucial part of the success of the event. Over 50 volunteers will provide assistance to ensure that the race will be well managed and above all enjoyable for the hundreds of competitors taking part.

Co-ordinator, Helen Spooner has worked her magic for every edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, leading the team of volunteers and running shoreside logistics: "Most of the volunteers are members of Antigua Yacht Club, but all of them are sailors and take great pride in getting involved and get a real buzz out of greeting the yachts. I can tell you, the competitors are very happy to see them as well!"

Through careful planning, every yacht competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 will be greeted dockside by the volunteers. No matter what time they finish the race, every yacht will be given a warm welcome back to Antigua and a case or two of cold Corona Beer to quench their thirst. What's more, the bar at the Antigua Yacht Club will be open when the first warning signal sounds on Monday 18th February for a few hours, then from Tuesday 19th and will not close until after the Prize Giving on Friday 22nd.

Many of the volunteers are highly experienced having worked on many other regattas and include superyacht captains and race officials. This part of the team will be the core group to ensure a safe and well-managed start to the RORC Caribbean 600.

This year, the RORC Caribbean 600 has 11 yachts competing over 70' and six yachts over 100'. These yachts need considerable sea room to manoeuvre and several of the highly experienced volunteers will act as on-the-water marshals maintaining an exclusion zone to keep spectator boats a safe distance from the yachts racing.

Watch the start, follow the race

From the land

The RORC Caribbean 600 will be starting south of Fort Charlotte on Monday 18th February and for those wishing to watch, the best view will be from Shirley Heights. There's also a chance to catch a glimpse of the boats leaving Falmouth and English Harbour from Galleon Beach from 1000. Boats will be gathering in the start area from around that time, so get there early to get the best view. The start sequence begins at 1100.

During the race, every yacht is fitted with a Yellowbrick Tracker and their progress can be followed on the race website.

From the water

For those wishing to watch the race from the water, please note that there will be an exclusion zone around the starting area effective from 1030 to 1145 on Monday 18th February 2013.

The safety of spectator vessels and competitors is paramount and therefore Marshall Boats displaying a white flag with a red "M" will be policing the exclusion zone as per the diagram below.

"The support of the members of the Antigua Yacht Club plays a vital part in the success of the RORC Caribbean 600. The fact that we see so many familiar faces helping us each year, with their vast experience of the local area and conditions, gives the RORC the confidence to be able to organise this demanding offshore race with a small RORC team from the UK," says RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott.

"We are very pleased that ABSAR, the Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue team will be on hand to help with the many aspects of safety and fleet management required to run an offshore race. ABSAR's highly trained team and safety network throughout the islands on the Caribbean 600 course, is vital to the safe running of the race. ABSAR will also be on hand to help identify any boats finishing in the hours of darkness," continues Elliott.

Follow the race web site

The 2013 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, will start on Monday 18th February 2013.