Eye on the prize: The contenders primed for the Caribbean 600

The Caribbean 600 presents a challenge unlike any of the world’s premier offshore races. Circumnavigating 11 islands and contending with notoriously difficult currents and tradewinds is hugely demanding and offers one of the most intriguing offshore courses worldwide.

With the need to react quickly to the tricky course and changing conditions, wireless load sensors from Cyclops have proven to be huge assets in recent editions. Last year, Roy P. Disney’s ‘Pyewacket 70’ clinched line honours and emerged as the overall winner, using smartlink from Cyclops to monitor loads on its soft lines and hit its fastest settings. 

As this year’s fleet lines up, a focus will be on harnessing load data, reacting to live data on-screen to hit a fast gear as often as possible. So, here are some of the contenders optimised for Caribbean 600 gold:

Farr 100 ‘Leopard 3’

Since major modifications, including a new high performance rig, and under the leadership of Chris Sherlock, Leopard 3 has been on a roll, setting a course record in the AEGEAN 600, and winning line honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the Transatlantic Race. Having set the original monohull race record in 2009, Leopard 3 returns as a renewed threat, and a major favourite for another line honours win. 

Leopard 3 is equipped with smartlink wireless load sensors from Cyclops, helping the crew hit and repeat their fastest settings.

JPK 1180 ‘Sunrise’

Thomas Kneen’s 2021 Fastnet-winning Sunrise, returns to the Caribbean 600 after winning under IRC 1 in 2022. After that performance, we asked navigator Tom Cheney how smartlink benefitted the crew:

Tom Cheney

Navigator, Sunrise

“It’s a major reason we were able to push through and take the win. We’re conscious when using the Jib Top we could exceed the safe working load in the Bowsprit & Halyard Lock. smartlink was below the furler & we knew our Max Load so could push hard with confidence.”

JPK 1180 ‘Dawn Treader’

Dawn Treader lines up for the Caribbean 600 after a strong performance in the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race secured them 3rd overall. 

It will be the second time they line up alongside fellow smartlink-equipped JPK 1180 Sunrise, after a truly epic battle between the two saw Ed Bell’s yacht finish second under IRC 1 by just 11 minutes in 2022.

“Using smartlink to measure the loads on our furling sails gives us the confidence to push the boat consistently throughout the race.”

Ed Bell, owner/skipper, Dawn Treader
smartlink onboard Sunrise

CF 520 ‘RÁN’

With a seasoned crew led by Tim Powell, Niklas Zennström’s CF 520 RÁN is primed for a strong showing. 

Having won overall onboard Maxi 72 RÁN in 2012, Team RÁN’s first attempt in their latest yacht did not go to plan. Nevertheless, they go in as strong favourites for overall victory in many people’s eyes, and are helped along the way by wireless load sensing technology.

84′ Irens Catamaran ‘Allegra’

An awesome sight at full speed (30+ knots) in an offshore battle, Adrian Keller’s 84′ catamaran currently holds the Caribbean 600 title in the MOCRA class.  

Three MOD70s will hope to take it from her, but she remains favourite under corrected time. Allegra has harnessed Cyclops tech for some years, and is a prime example of a catamaran racer-cruiser optimised for offshore power, wireless load sensors allowing her to keep a close eye on loading limits, and nail efficient, consistently fast settings.

As the 2024 Caribbean 600 unfolds, Cyclops-equipped contenders give themselves the best chance of tasting victory–combining their experience and feel for yachting with data-driven insights. 

If you’d like to learn more about Cyclops technology, visit the website, or get in touch.

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