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West Coast Sailors Go for Caribbean Honors

If Lloyd Thornburg thought his Gunboat 66 Phaedo, which has been based out of Newport Beach for nearly two years, was fast, yesterday’s ‘record’ run was an eye-opener about how fast Phaedo3, his new MOD70 trimaran, can go. 

Team Phaedo
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It didn’t take long for Lloyd Thornburg’s newest member of Team Phaedo, the MOD70 trimaran Phaedo3, to show her stuff prior to today’s start of the Caribbean 600.

In one her first practice sails with the Newport Beach/St. Barth/Santa Fe resident aboard last weekend, Phaedo3 set an unofficial around-Antigua record of 2h, 44m,15s, crushing the official record of 4h, 37m, 43s held by Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 monohull Sojana. The Phaedo3 crew was led by legendary French skipper Michael Desjoyeaux, who skippered the MOD70 #3 when she was Foncia. Nobody kept track, but the day’s top speed was believed to have been 34 knots.

The Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca sailed on the MOD70 Orion when she cruised at 34 knots, but that was on the flat waters of Banderas Bay. In the open waters of the Caribbean/Atlantic, it would have been an entirely different experience.

But today’s another day, and Thornburg and his all-star crew have started the Caribbean 600, which, in its seventh edition, can argue for being the best middle-distance race in the world. Among the 68 entries, George David’s spectacular new Rambler 88 will be making her major race debut. The fleet is packed with excellent boats and hardcore crews eager to weave around 11 islands of the Caribbean.

Doug Baker of Long Beach, who has always loved racing in the Caribbean, and who for a long time raced two big sleds under the Magnitude name on the West Coast and in the Caribbean, is back for another Caribbean 600 — and Voiles de St. Barth in April — with his Kernan 43 True. Check out the accompanying video to see what tradewind sailing aboard True, which started life as a 1D35, is like in the Caribbean. It’s warm and it’s wild! You might note that nobody is wearing a PFD.

"We will finish Thursday, we hope early," Baker told the press. "Our main worry is too much wind, as this boat is tender."

The official forecast calls for 15-17 knots of wind, with 7-ft seas. Phaedo3 has to finish by about noon on Wednesday to break the record. We figure she’s gonna get it — barring a breakdown. Shortly after the start she was sailing at 28.9 knots.

There are three ways to follow the Caribbean 600: The website, Facebook and boat tracking.

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After crossing 3,000 miles of open water, it’s nice to be greeted by a friendly face — and Polynesians are known for their warm, welcoming nature.
Paul Recktenwald’s J/88 Lazy Dawg, racing in the Sportboat 30 division, and Gary Redelberger’s Farr 36 Racer X in PHRF 1 beat to weather in Saturday’s westerly.