A fleet of Canadians head south for RORC 600

Crew at Finish Last Year

Feb 13, 2020

Here’s a fun shot of the crew from finish last year, including the 4 returning that I mentioned (first left- Adam Paul Holmes, 3rd Left Jolbert vanDijk, middle Meg Reilly, far right Morgen Watson – skipper)

Life on the Caribbean racing circuit attracts participants from all over the world and increasingly from Canada. In addition to the series of regatta’s that take participants from Grenada (see the Touch2Play blog) to the Heineken in St Maarten then to the BVI Spring Regatta with stops along the way, perhaps the big daddy of the season is the RORC Caribbean 600. The 600nm course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean Islands with crews that include some of the finest sailors in the sport; from Olympians, Volvo Ocean Race, Vendee Globe, America’s Cup and round the world record-breakers.

There are many Canadians sprinkled throughout the fleet and four all-Canuck boats will be on the starting line. Here’s their profiles with notes from Trish Jenkins, event publicist:

A change in temperature for team’s first RC600

Emily of Cowes © Tim Wright

Katy Campbell, Vancouver, Canada on Emily of Cowes (chartered from LV Yachting, Elan 450) – runs the only RYA training centre on the west coast of North America and along with Nikki Henderson will lead an amateur crew for their first stab at the 600-miler. Crew looking forward to the novelty of big wind and warm weather simultaneously, having come from winter-bound Pacific Northwest.

Escapado training for Victoria to Maui Race

Stuart Dahlgren’s Beneteau First 40.7 will be competing for the first time. The team have done lots of racing in the Pacific and 3 x West Coast Hawaii Races, 3 x Vancouver Isle 360 Races, 1 x Rolex Middle Sea Race, plus numerous other 100+ mile distance races. On board will be a mix of regular and new crew members from their boat based in Victoria BC. The new crew will be part of our 2,308 nm Victoria to Maui International Yacht race this summer. “Being the first one, we are looking to be competitive and safe. I am a realist and I think a mid-fleet finish would be very satisfying (winning our class would be better though!)”

Winter training for Montreal-based team

Esprit De Corps IIIEsprit de Corps III visited Toronto last summer

Atlas Ocean Racing will be bringing VO60, Esprit de Corps III to her first serious race after competing four times in previous boats. The Montréal-based team will make the most of Caribbean conditions ahead of this summer’s Transat Québec to Saint Malo Race in July. The boat is the former Brunel Synergy from the ‘97-98 Whitbread. It’s had some upgrades this year since they lost Esprit de Corps IV in a storm in May ‘19. The amateur crew will be led by AOR’s co-founder, Maxime Grimard, and include the company CEO, carpenter, real estate agent and firefighters.

Nurturing young offshore talent

Fourth race for the well-sailed Pogo 12.50 Hermes owned and co-skippered by Meg Reilly (NYC, USA) and Morgan Watson (Calgary) who have developed an international network that brings on young talent in offshore racing. For the past five years they have led offshore youth development campaigns around Atlantic with talent from North America and Europe. Joining the team for the second year (recruited to the Ocean Racers team via the RORC Under 35 Facebook Group) is navigator Jolbert vanDijk from Holland. He has a successful European record with youth teams. Two of Hermes ‘17 RORC Caribbean 600 crew are now Volvo Ocean and America’s Cup sailors – Emily Nagel & Sean O’Halloran. They intend to have more alumni success stories in the future.

RORC Course Map

Follow the race website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org

Live streaming of the build-up and all the starts on RORC Facebook, with commentary:-

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