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The 2012 Caribbean 1500 Finishes on a High Note

By World Cruising Club — last modified Dec 18, 2012 07:56 PM
Record Early Departure sees all boats in Nanny Cay for Prizegiving

Published: 2012-12-18 00:00:00
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Bahamas , British Virgin Islands , USA

The 2012 Caribbean 1500 - the 23rd edition of the annual event - wrapped up in Tortola with the final prizegiving celebrating the achievements of all the crews.

The 1500 is unique in that prizes are not only awarded for the first three places in each class of the Cruising Division, based on corrected time, but also for fun and inventive things like 'Best Fish Story', 'Best Diver' and 'Best Bruise'! In short, the prizegiving recognizes everything that makes an ocean passage so special.

The big winners in the Cruising Division were the Shannon 43 ketch Serenity, who took Class A, and Keep It Simple, a J/42 that took both Class B and the Steve Black Trophy for the Overall. Baloo, an Outremer Cat, won the Multihull Division.

Yachts in the ARC Bahamas fleet had planned to re-group and wait out the weather in Beaufort, NC, after departing Hampton with the main fleet. Susie Q andMariannina elected instead to sail direct, and had following winds and seas for the duration of their passage, with Mariannina barely edging out Susie Q for line honors. Irish Rover, T'ai Chi and Turbo's Tub did in fact regroup in Beaufort, and made landfall in the Abacos a few days later.

In the BVI fleet, The Tempest Trophy was presented to the yacht that best displayed the 'Spirit of the Rally,' and was presented by rally veterans Rick and Julie Palm of Altair, who explained its origins.

"It was the first year of the event," explained Rick, "in 1990. There was a yacht called Orbiter in the rally that year." he continued. "Orbiter lost her rudder west of the Gulf Stream. It was blowing 40 knots in the stream - we were listening to the drama on the radio - and another yacht, Tempest, stood by for 18 hours until the Coast Guard could come and rescue the crew of Orbiter."

The Tempest Trophy was given each year since then to the yacht that best combined seamanship, enthusiasm, and helping others. This year the yacht Avanti - who lost their crew two days before the start but decided to sail double-handed anyway and not miss the weather window - was given the award. On the second night out,Avanti - who had radar equipped on board - guided Heliathrough a series of squalls just east of the Gulf Stream.

"They were amazing," said Rob, the skipper of the family boat Helia. "Jeremi [skipper of Avanti] just called us up on the radio and said 'follow me!', and we steered clear of the worst thunderstorms that night."

"You all really helped us," Jeremi said to the crowd humbly after receiving the award. "It's really everyone who makes this event special, we all deserve this one this year," he concluded.

BVI Program

Yachts began arriving into Nanny Cay late in the evening on November 11, with the Hylas 54 Wings first to finish in just over 7 days, followed closely by Karina and Altair. Each night as yachts continued to arrive events were held on the beach in Nanny Cay marina, including several cocktail hours, a pizza party and a couple beach barbecues hosted by Peg Legs. Horizon Yachts held a popular and informative seminar on cruising the BVI.

The program of events in Nanny Cay expanded this year to include a 4-hour round-the-island tour, with stops at the famous Bomba Shack, Cane Garden Bay and a birds-eye view atop the island.

Every yacht that departed Hampton with the fleet made it into Nanny Cay with time to spare before the final evenings prizegiving.

"It was an overwhelmingly positive year for the 1500," said rally vets Miles and Anne Poor of Karina. "And the decision to leave a day early was the best move the organizers have ever made."

Indeed the impact that this year's event has had on the participants will be felt throughout the Caribbean sailing season and perhaps for years to come. Martin of the Australian boat JAC has put out an open request for any C1500 crews to join him on various legs as he sails the boat onward in the Caribbean this winter and eventually to Australia next spring, a huge homecoming for him. Following the prizegiving, he along with Jen and Scott from Pendragon, rendezvoused with a local dive shop to dive one of the wrecks near Tortola.

The 1500 after all, is about the people. They are what make the event so special.

Caribbean 1500 Event Notes

  • Start:  Caribbean 1500 departed Hampton Virginia on Sunday November 3, 2012. The start is weather dependent, and this year the fleet departed a day ahead of schedule to ensure a favourable weather window.
  • Finish:  There are two fleets within the Caribbean 1500 - the main fleet sail 1500 nautical miles to Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola BVI.  The ARC Bahamas fleet sail 975 nautical miles to Green Turtle Cay, Abaco Bahamas.
  • The Caribbean 1500 is a fun rally for cruising yachts, with the option of joining a handicapped fun racing division.  All boats are allowed to motor, although motoring times are taken into account when calculating the results for the fun racing divisions.
  • Entries:  Caribbean 1500 Official Entry list - www.worldcruising.com/carib1500
  • Tracking: All boats were fitted with satellite trackers, allowing family and friends to follow them online. All boats were also able blog and submit pictures en-route.
  • The fastest passage to Nanny Cay was 5 days, 0 hours, 3 minutes and 42 seconds, set by Steve and Linda Dashew's custom 78' Beowulf in 2001.  Most boats will make the passage to Nanny Cay in 6-11 days and to Green Turtle Cay in around 5-7 days.
  • The first Caribbean 1500 set sail in 1990 and has sailed every year since, making it the largest and longest-running sailboat rally in North America.
  • The Caribbean 1500 is now organized by World Cruising Club (WCC).  The rally was founded by Steve Black of Cruising Rally Association in 1990.
  • World Cruising Club (WCC) specializes in organizing cruising rallies for yachts on a worldwide basis. Best known among the events, is the ARC - the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - an annual rally for cruising yachts that has been crossing the Atlantic since 1986. www.worldcruising.com/arc
  • World Cruising Club events are open to any vessel at the organizer's discretion.   Private boats and charter boats are welcome.  There are no age limits for skippers or crew.
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Set in one of the finest and most central locations in the BVI, Nanny Cay is located on the South side of Tortola, between the capital Roadtown and West End. We are proud to provide the very best marine services and facilities possible in what after all is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world today.