Crew of Broader View Hamburg

Three days and three nights

Broader View Hamburg at the RORC Caribbean 600

Friday 23th February 2018, Antigua Yacht Club

This is the first initial report from the Broader View Hamburg's participation in the 2018 edition of RORC Caribbean 600 offshore race. It is being written after the first night onshore since passing the finish line at Fort Charlotte yesterday, Thursday 22nd February at 14:55:15 local time after three days and three nights at sea.

A first compact crew of five assembled in Le Marin Harbor in Martinique on Sunday February 11th, where the Broader View was key side at the refueling Pier. We started preparing and getting provision on-board, and enjoying the laid-back rhythm of the South coast of Martinique. We sailed to transfer from Martinique to Antigua from Wednesday 14th to Thursday 15th, covering the 200+ miles in about 24 hours. We arrived midday at Falmouth Harbor, Antigua.

The rest of the crew joined during the next days, and we all settled in to make preparations for the race, changing the cruising main sail to the racing sail, checking the safety equipment and finishing the supplying of provision for the course. We also had a couple of ship meetings, discussing aspects of the race and navigation and getting through maneuvers to establish routines. As there were to non-German speakers on-board (Frédéric and Arnaud), we also went through some nautical terms in English and German, to make sure that communication would still function on deck when things would heat-up when sailing. “Ready to tack” and “klar zu vende”, were both used, as well as “wave” and “velle” used for each other, among others.

After a preparation meeting at the race office and welcome party on Saturday, we set sails on Sunday for a couple of hours to test some sail maneuvers outside of Falmouth Harbor, and start getting to know each other on-board. We established 2 watches of 5, with Frank and Alexander as watch leaders, keeping skipper Georg out of the watch system. Watches were set to 4 hours at day, and 3 during night. On that same evening, Georg, Alexander and Frank went to the Commodore’s reception organized by the RORC.

We left key side on Monday 19th, to present ourselves in front of the RORC gate boat to allow them to count the crew before heading out of the harbor to meet the amazing fleet about to start the race, seeing Rambler R88 and other magnificent boats sailing around us.

The first warning signal was at 10:50 for a first group start at 11:00 local tome. Our group IRC1 was set to start at 11:10.

During the race, we experienced constant westerly trade winds, intensified by being squeezed between a high pressure system on the Gulf of Mexico and a stable system on the North of South America. This gave established wind in the range 25 to 40 knots, gusting to 50 during short and intense squalls, bringing along heavy showers.

We covered about 660 miles in 76 hours, at an average of 8.8 knots. The race course was very varied, with changes of heading leading to periods of beating and reaching. The racing main sail was used with 2 reefs, and the J5 was used first and replaced by the 80% spinnaker for a downwind leg. We rounded Redonda, the last Island before the last beating leg towards Antigua on the morning of Thursday 22nd after a night with strong winds, and boat speeds up to 23 knots.

After contacting the race boat Ocean One on VHF when approaching we crossed the line on a last tack. The race committee welcomed us at quay side, congratulated us, took a picture of the crew on-board our small world on the big Caribbean Sea for the last 3 days with a Caribbean 600 banner, and brought a well deserved and very appreciated tray of Carib beer :)

They also noted that we were the first ones to actually deliver the Declaration form to the race committee within less than three hours. The race results will be shortly published by the RORC:

Sitting in a chair at the Antigua Yacht club, everyone around looks exhausted yet happy to have completed this wonderful 10th edition of the race, some others are telling how they had to give up in Saint Barth, calling the conditions “a total disaster”. The English crew next to us is telling the same stories of constant hard sea and heavy winds, with no time to rest or dry neither boat nor crew.

Congratulations to all competitors, finishing this race course in those conditions is a victory in itself, and will stay as a strong shared experience for all of us.

Fair winds and following seas,

Arnaud LE BRETON on behalf of Skipper Georg Christiansen, and the crew of Broader View Hamburg

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