As I sit at the kitchen counter here in CT I must report that the temperature outside is a balmy 46 degrees and all the snow, including what I posted a photo of just yesterday, is gone. However, 46 is a long way from the 80s temperatures of where Pandora is in Martinique and I am none too happy with all that. Anyway, I guess it’s not all that cold.
Happily, the Caribbean 600 race is underway, with nearly 90 entries, a record fleet, which is good as it will give me something to write about. This video is a pre-race overview and is worth watching. And, I’d better write about it PDQ as the leading boats are more than half of the way to the finish line and the race only left yesterday. Actually, the leading boat, Phaedo 3, a 70′ go fast trimaran, no make that go EXTREEMLY FAST racer, is owned by a 36 year old Lloyd Thornburg. It’s interesting to note that his father, Garrett, co-founded a mortgage company back in 1993 and made a lot, no make that a LOT of money. The company went bankrupt in 2009. Remember the crash of 2008? However, it seems that Lloyd’s dad made out alright in spite of the market collapse as now his son Lloyd can spend his time racing around the world. Phaedo isn’t his only boat as he also owns a large 60′ carbon Gunboat cat that he cruises, I guess.
This is an interesting quote from an interview he did with Forbes Magazine.
“This the scariest thing I’ve done,” he confides. “I fly, skydive, drive fast cars, but the MOD is scarier. All those other things are scary for a minute or a few minutes at a time, but this boat shows you what you’re capable of after being miserable, and tired, and soaked in fear for 24 hours, 30 hours. You could wake up upside down in the freezing cold water in the dark…”
His newest boat Phaedo 3 is a real screamer and is leading the 90 boat fleet. This boat, only a few years old, took line honors as the first to finish in the 2015 Caribbean 600 race and that was the very first regatta that she was in.I’ll bet it was upsetting to some of the race veterans to have a first timer skunk them all. She’s a really fast boat. As I watched that video I was struck by how many of the boats and sights I recognized from our time in Antigua. It’s a really nice place to visit if you are into sailing like I am.
Another yacht leading the pack is also a trimaran, Paradox. This boat is particularly interesting as it’s set up as a racer/cruiser, unlike most other fast boats, this one is also used for family cruising. She looks fast and is capable of speeds in the 30s. I’m not sure if this information is current but it appears that she’s for sale. Want to get there fast? She may be the boat for you. Check out her listing here. Multi ulls, yachts with more than one hull, two or three, are really tricky to sail in strong winds as the risk of capsize is high. Actually, last night one of the cats in the 600 did just that, the 70′ Fujin. This photo is of her at the start of the race yesterday from Yachts and Racing. I guess she’s not going all that fast now. Read about her capsize and see a few photos of her by following this link. I am sure that there will be plenty of commentary about this in the coming weeks.
And speaking of things going bump in the night. Another competitor among the leaders of the pack is Rambler 100. She’s one of the fastest monohulls in the world and her owner, George David, former chairman of United Technologies, if I’m right, also owns Rambler 88. She’s leading the monohull feet, even ahead of her bigger sister Rambler 100. With two major ocean racers to keep up David must have quite a payroll.
His bigger boat, Rambler 100, lost her keel in the Fastnet race in 2011. Imagine what it’s like to be blasting along one minute and upside down the next. And, that’s what happened. Fast ocean racing is a high stakes game, that’s for sure. These boats are certainly different than the type of cruising boats that most of us have. This video, a series of interviews with skippers of some of the fastest boats in the 2015 trans Atlantic race gives a pretty good feel for what these boats are like. Some great footage of them underway including Phaedo 3, Rambler 88 and Paradox.It’s remarkable to see these videos but even better to be sailing in these waters over the winter and seeing these boats first hand. Last winter Brenda and I were making a run from St Barths to Antigua and ended up right in the middle of the fleet during last year’s running of the Caribbean 600. To see these boats scream by as the sun rose in the east was a sight to behold. Follow this link to the post that I wrote about that chance encounter with the fleet that day.
As I finish up this post it’s mid morning and the leaders are closing in on the last third of the leg. That’s a lot of boats. And, here are the leaders, rounding the south side of Guadeloupe. The tri to the right is Phaedo 3, the green one on the bottom is Rambler 88 (green) taking a different road, number three Rambler 100 (white) and Paradox after that.
I guess we will hear more as the race finishes. If you want to check things out yourself, try this link to the race tracker. So, there you have it, the Caribbean 600 race is underway and nearly over for the leaders already. Me? I’m up in the north with snow, well at least snow was on the ground yesterday, and Pandora’s in Martinique, waiting for us to return in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the biggest and fastest kids are duking it out in heavy conditions down in the Caribbean.
Oh yeah, I have had a cold for a while and Brenda might be coming down with one too. Oh boy. I sure hope that doesn’t keep us from seeing Rob, Kandice and little Tori. Fingers crossed.