Caribbean 600

Caribbean 600

 

Hasn’t the caribbean been flattened by hurricanes?
Yes, a few Islands have been badly hit but not Antigus where we start and finish the Caribbean 600 race.
Most of the Caribbean Regattas will take place in 2018 but accomodation may be more difficult/ expensive on some of the other islands. Accomodation is available on Antigua, but if it is close to Falmouth Harbour it gets booked early. We offer accomodation on board alongside in the marina right next to tghe Yacht Club so it isn’t an issue for us. This also makes our package much better value than most others who can’t offer this.

The Caribbean 600 is a classic race, normally in trade winds, though in 2015  we saw 30 knots and in 2017 some westerlies. Complex navigation round the Islands and reefs with beautiful views plus the warm water and great hospitality make the rapid growth in popularity of this race inevitable.

Like other classic races there are several options for sailors wishing to just join a team for one race. We are quite a bit different from the rest here is why…

1) the Yacht, Spirit of Juno is a Farr 65 that has raced round the World, if we do get a gale it is the right yacht to be on. Last year we were the first ‘Sea School’ yacht home when about 30% of the others retired.

2) the crew, Skipper is once again Paul Jackson an Ocean Yachtmaster and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor plus ISAF Instructor. With over 100,000 miles he has been part of winning teams for the Sydney Hobart, Round Ireland, Lord Howe Island and UK 3 Peaks Yacht Race. No 2 is Geoff West, an experienced racing skipper who has won the 3 Peaks yacht race more times than anyone else. Geoff is also a YachtMaster Instructor.
Mike Honner is back on Juno again and is our Navigator whilst Pete Ives returns as Engineer. Both also hold Masters qualifications.

3) The training we give is more comprehensive and all 4 Official Crew are committed. Our objectives are to safely complete the race, enjoy ourselves, plus do as well as we can. Spirit of Juno is a comparatively easy yacht to race and with new sails for 2017 plus revised IRC we are not only looking to again be the first ‘Sea School’ Yacht home but to pick up some silverware as well.

4) Our package is better than others; we include on board accommodation alongside in the marina next to Antigua Yacht Club which is where the scoial action takes place. Juno is built to carry 19 but we only race with 16 so there is more space for everyone, before, during and after the Race. We are berthed alongside in the Marina next to the Yacht Club which is the centre for the social action for which the race is famous. We can do this because OnDeck is based in Antigua and have an unmatched ability to make things happen; in the Caribbean this really does matter, you won’t have to haul up and drop the anchor every time we go training or walk 20 minutes round to the Club. As the C600 gets bigger these local connections become increasingly important.

Hopefully our differences from the rest are becoming clear; Paul, the skipper, really does want everyone to thoroughly enjoy their whole experience with us. In 2016 all but one of the team had either raced with him before or had come from a recommendation from someone who had.

time to drop the kiteCaribbean 600—-Team Spirit of Juno

The package
Join Tuesday 13th Feb with training starting on Wednesday and continuing to Saturday and the first big party. Sunday is rest and recovery with the race starting on Monday. We should be in comfortably in time for the Prize giving party on the Friday. Leave Spirit of Juno on Saturday 24th Feb or earlier if you wish. Cost is same as last year, £1875 with saving of £125 for early sign up.

We will be alongside in Falmouth Harbour so you can stay on board from the Sunday (although reasonably priced accommodation is also available and some team members are going to be accompanied by WAGS).

 

Cruise before the race from Grenada to Antigua with several stops. Eight days on board, so with a day or 2 at each end you can give a loved one a great holiday bvefore selfleesly staying on for a few more days to help with the race.

Bits missing, special requirements etc
We are interested in what you can do and, with training, what you can achieve, Juno is a spacious, solid boat so give Paul a call and we will see what we can do.

Other Races with Paul
Spirit of Juno will also be competing in the Antigua to Bermuda Race in May
Helsal 3 will be seeking to win her class again plus take divisional line honours and first Tasmanian yacht home in the Sydney to Hobart
Volvo Round Ireland is our big race at home and we will also be competing again in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. To facilitate this we will base Wild Spirit in Troon SW Scotland for the summer and will have a trip out to St Kilda.

Caribbean 600

After 2015s success Spirit of Juno raced again in 2016 and was first Sea School yacht home. The growth in popularity of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600 race has been spectacular, it has already overtaken the Round Ireland Race and it is predicted that in 5 years’ time it will have more entrants than the Sydney to Hobart.

Like the Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart many amateur racing sailors want to complete a C600. If you only have one opportunity to do it then Spirit of Juno is a great choice as she is a tough yacht and has a very high probability of finishing. We include a good training programme with the Team joining by the Tuesday before the race, getting to know the layout and training hard for 4 days. Sunday is held in reserve and the party at the Antigua Yacht Club in Falmouth Harbour on the Saturday night is really something.

 

Juno A6

 

Caribbean 600 2015 race report

JC started it all. “I want to do the Caribbean 600 for my 50th birthday”.
He is a regular Wild Spirit race team member with Fastnets and Round Ireland’s with us so I thought about it.

The logical step was to do it on another yacht in 2014 before putting a package together; along came a 55 foot classic Swan wanting a watch leader/ safety officer, so off I went. Then having selflessly spent 10 days in the Caribbean racing plus researching, we put together a package with On Deck for 65 footer, Spirit of Juno a former Round the World racing yacht.
Why such a big beast? Quite simple really, most of the team think they will only do one C600 so, as in the Sydney Hobart, we go for a yacht with the highest probability of finishing if the weather gets bad. The other thing is to find people who can make things happen in the notoriously laid back culture of the Caribbean and On Deck can do this as they are there all year round, whereas the rest are just passing trade. This might seem a small thing but when you need a sail repairing the day before the race it really matters.

Having ‘done the deal’ with On Deck dates were important as the Virgin Flights on Tuesday’s were cheaper than the rest, so 2 weeks it was, and then of course the WAGS decided they would come and have a holiday. So as I type this I overlook the Pool and across the Bay towards Juno as she lies alongside next to the Yacht Club where the superb prize giving party was held last night.

Arriving from a cold, wet UK to 27C of Antiguan sunshine is always a pleasant start and those staying on board went to Juno, whilst I did some shopping, followed by trying to find where I was staying, in a remote house, on a very dark Island, with extremely limited road signs. On Deck had sent a Mini Bus for the on-boarders and I think next year I will be on it even if I then pick up the Hire Car by the boat.

Wednesday morning was handover and in the afternoon we started training. This was the first time I had sailed a Farr 65 and was immediately impressed by how easily she handled. The team were impressed by the on board accommodation which was really good for our limit of 16.
The wind blew steadily from the East at 20 Kts and we tried the Genoas and main, practiced tacking etc but only really had the opportunity to fly the kite once. The second new kite stayed in its bag though we did wool it up before the start.

JC 50th cake

JC and his 50th Birthday cake on the last day of the race.
By the time we finished training on Saturday the wind was still 20 kts and forecast for 25 at the start on Monday. Great for us and we enjoyed the party on Saturday night. Sunday had very sensibly been scheduled as a rest and recovery day.

The C600 is less than 10 years old but at the current rate of growth it will probably be bigger than the Sydney Hobart in 5 years’ time. The start is under Shirley Heights with its commanding view of the entrance to Nelson’s dockyard. The sun shone, the wind blew and the helicopter hovered overhead taking pictures. We crossed the line at 10 kts almost taking out a spectator boat before tacking onto the first leg North past Barbuda. Juno handled beautifully in the big swell and the team settled into their roles. We rounded the mark and set off on a downwind leg putting up a kite; for a while all was well, but in the dark the kite blew and when we hoisted the new A2 kite the tack was 3 metres above the Bowsprit. This meant we could not have spiked the Tack easily in a Squall and there were plenty about so we were back on to the Genoa.

The C600 is renowned for its spectacular scenery including the active Volcano on Montserrat, it is all known for its multiple changes of course and in particular the problem of coping with the wind shadow off Guadeloupe. We gambled and went inshore and successfully fought our way through a few wind holes with Kathy trimming the Genoa expertly whilst Oli Navigated.

We had lost ground in the leg South of St Maartens but once we rounded the Iles des Saintes we had a great run in over 20 kts as we beat North East again. At one point we were hit by one of the wettest squalls I have ever encountered which effectively washed me and my clothes. Normally you dry quickly after a Squall but this called for my one set of dry spare clothes.
Back past Antigua we sped North up to the Barbuda Mark and then had a great run down to Rotonda, known as Rat Island, overtaking Scarlet Oyster and EHO 1. Rounding Rat Island is always tricky due to wind shifts plus an off lying rock and we were more cautious than the other 2 yachts, so they were level with us again for the long beat back to the finish line.

Now it was close and in the dark we tacked back and forth before crossing the line just behind Scarlet Oyster and just in front of EHO1. Then it was JCs 50th birthday and party time, as we arrived back alongside the Beer. Bubbly and Rum Punch came aboard; the next bit is blurred but we managed the prize giving party on Friday night and collected our Trophy, before most of the team partied on into the night.

We crossed the line 24th out of 68 entrants, saw a Whale, a Turtle, Flying Fish plus numerous Dolphins, made lots of friends and had a great time.

I am skippering Spirit of Juno again for 2018 and we already have some repeat bookings.
The only problem I now have is convincing my wife I really was working.