Rambler 100 and ICAP Leaopard have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
Thirty two other yachts from 15 different nations crossed the start line of the RORC Caribbean 600, off English Harbour in Antigua, Caribbean on 21 February. Most of the fleet is expected to finish over the next 24 hours.
The Rambler crew contained the entire compliment of the PUMA Ocean Racing team which will be competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.
PUMA skipper, Kenny Read said, "That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while. You do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this because there is no time to take any sleep. You're taking so many corners and turns, but it is also a gorgeous course, it's a dream-come-true type of event.
"Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St.Maarten, big breeze and massive breaking waves. It was huge fun and really cool, we came out of there doing 26 knots."
Rambler 100's George David (USA) has been sailing with Read for 17 years and commented, "Rambler 100 is quite a handful, it's like a Volvo 70 on steroids and this is a big fast race, which favours us.
"It is part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. The RORC Caribbean 600 has been a great race as part of that series. We never took this win for granted, we have carried out some optimisation towards the IRC rating and we really didn't know how we would perform as this is the first time that the boat has been raced to be IRC competitive."
The RORC Caribbean 600 and the Pineapple Cup (Miami to Montego Bay) are the first events in the 2011 Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS).
After these two races in the Caribbean, the series moves up the U.S. East Coast with the Annapolis to Newport Race. Right after comes the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport, Rhode Island to the Lizard, just west of Plymouth, England.
The European races then kick in with the hugely popular Rolex Fastnet Race, a new Biscay Race organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, from Cowes to Sanxenxo on the northwest corner of Spain and on to Malta for the Rolex Middle Sea Race organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
Participation in three races, one of which must be the Transatlantic race, are required to qualify for the AORS and IRC rating will be used throughout.