Caribbean 600 casts off

Caribbean 600 casts off

The Falmouth Harbour venue in Antigua. Photo: Tim Wright /

The best way to describe the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Caribbean 600 is an island tour on steroids. This 600nm competition tests professional sailors and top amateur crews in a nonstop race around 11 Leeward Islands to see which boat will make it in record time.

It is grueling yet gratifying, and the course’s uniqueness is one reason that the February 23-27 regatta has grown from 25 competitors in 2009 to over 60 expected in 2015. The fleet starts and finishes in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, and tacks and jibes its way past Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Barth’s, St. Martin, Anguilla, Guadeloupe, and Les Saintes. Also attributing to this nautical event’s success is the class of competitors. High-tech canting keel maxi yachts, sport boats, island racers, multihulls, and Class 40 one design class make for sensational eye candy.

“Sailing enthusiasts can walk the docks and see the impressive array of boats from all over the world that are competing in the race,” says Becci Brooke, RORC secretary. “They can watch the boats start on February 23rd from Shirley Heights, and everyone is welcome to attend the final awards party on February 27th at 7PM on the lawn at the Antigua Yacht Club.”

Belly up to Cayman
Pack a big appetite for the Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival on February 7th, where more than 45 restaurants participate in the extravaganza on the open-air waterfront green at Camana Bay near Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. The menu runs the gamut from casual fare such as pizza, jerk pork and beef patties to more sophisticated dishes of lamb lollipops with mint cucumber salsa fresca, creamy truffle polenta, and kimchi and pork belly quesadillas, with popcorn ice cream and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Take a tasting break throughout the day to participate in a number of activities. There’s a mixology competition in a demo kitchen where chefs create favorite local and international dishes and the “heavy cake” competition—a native cake made from locally-grown cassava, coconut milk, sugar and spices. Live bands and a fireworks display cap off the evening. Tickets cost U.S. $60 per person. “No other event allows patrons to experience such an array of menu items from across the Cayman Islands and all in one location with the bonus of casting votes for their favorites. Attendance is a real treat for both residents and visitors to our shores,” says Tiffany Dixon-Ebanks, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating February 2015