Sunday, 27 February 2011

RORC Caribbean 600: Concise 2 Wins Class 40

Concise 2. Image copyright Tim Wright/

by Oliver Dewar

Throughout Wednesday, the three remaining Class40’s in the RORC Caribbean 600 were totally absorbed with rounding Guadeloupe, the southern mark in the race. Ned Collier-Wakefield and the five crew on Concise 2 opted to take a longer, offshore route west around the French island, keeping clear of the wind shadow and coastal currents, while David Ducosson on Fitz sailed closer inshore and Martin Zeyer and the German team on Pogo 2 sailing in IRC1 took the offshore approach.

For all three, rounding the islands of Les Saintes and sailing along the south coast of the island to the port turning mark – the outlying island La Désirade off the south-eastern tip of Guadeloupe – meant a beat before the 75 mile reach north to Barbuda in the north-easterly Trade Wind breeze. Concise 2 rounded Désirade at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday evening, turned the corner, lit the fuse paper and flew north in around 18 knots of breeze, consistently averaging 10-11 knots of boat speed. Having tacked very close into the beach between Gosier and St. François along the coast of Grande-Terre, Fitz rounded Désirade seven and-a-half hours later on Thursday morning (GMT), by which time Collier-Wakefield’s one year-old Akilaria RC2 was approaching Barbuda and the North Sails buoy with a lead of 83 miles over Fitz – an increase of just under 50 miles since rounding Désirade and freeing-off.

Concise 2. Image copyright Tim Wright/

Meanwhile, Pogo 2 had a slow passage along the west coast of Guadeloupe despite sailing offshore, rounding Les Saintes just as Fitz picked up the pace for the reach north to Barbuda. As the Germans beat south of Guadeloupe averaging six knots on Thursday morning, Concise 2 rounded the island of Redonda, the final mark in the course 35 miles WSW of the finish line off English Harbour, Antigua, 86 miles ahead of Fitz in 2nd place as Ducosson and his crew reached the halfway point of the route north from Guadeloupe to Barbuda.

Concise 2. Image copyright Tim Wright/

At 15:30 GMT on Thursday, Collier-Wakefield and his team on Concise 2 crossed the finish line taking first place in Class40 and winning the Concise Trophy having led the fleet from crossing the RORC Caribbean 600 start line three days earlier. Tony Lawson, the yacht’s owner, was delighted with his team’s performance: "Although Ned Collier-Wakefield is down as the skipper, this really is a combined effort from a great bunch of very talented lads,” said Lawson of the youngest crew competing in the event. “The new boat is going well with less freeboard and a much more ergonomic cockpit and the articulated bowsprit gives the crew more options,” he explained. “It was important that we continued to build on our success in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland and we were very pleased to see that we went even faster than in the similar conditions we experienced in the 2009 RORC 600. We feel we have nudged the bar slightly higher."

UK National Match Race Champion, turned Figaro sailor, sailmaker Nick Cherry sailed on Concise 2. Image copyright Tim Wright/

David Ducosson and his crew on Fitz took second, crossing the line ten hours after Concise 2, while the German team on Pogo 2 rounded La Désirade off Guadeloupe and, three hours into the reach north to Barbuda, opted to bear away and head directly for Antigua without completing the course.

Class40 RORC Caribbean 600 final ranking:

1. Concise 2 2d 23h 19m 46s
2. Fitz 3d 09h 19m 46s
Puff the Magic Dragon DNF
Tales DNF
Class40 IRC1
Ocean Warrior DNF
Pogo 2 DNF

The winning Concise 2 team at the prizegiving. Image copyright Tim Wright/

More news: Cherry Racing and Concise 2, Class 40

RORC Caribbean 600
Global Ocean Race