25th ARC Caribbean 1500 Wraps up at Nanny Cay Marina in the BVI

After a one-day weather delay, and a long passage at sea for some, the 2014 Caribbean 1500 – a special 25th edition of the annual event – wrapped up in Tortola with the final prizegiving on Saturday, November 15.

Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago

The calmest year since 2011 sees strung out the fleet and happy sailors.

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 prizes like Best Mustache, Best Logs, Best Fishing Story (won by Serenity for their very timely bribe of 4 pounds of fresh Mahi for the Yellowshirts lunches!), Youngest Skipper and more. In short, the prizegiving recognizes everything that makes an ocean passage so special.

Levent from Adagio easily took the loudest applause for the Movember Prize and won a goody bag of Movember branded t-shirts and beer cozies. All the men who participated included Rally staff Andy & Jake, lined up on the beach for a group mustache photo.

Lucky Strike, ironically considering their name, received the #13 banner that nobody seemed to want back in Portsmouth. Because of a very sick crewmember, they were forced to divert to Puerto Rico for medical help. Each crew at the party signed the banner in honor of Fred and his crew, and it will be mailed off to Lucky Strike next week, a reminder that despite their diversion, they were not alone.

Each boat also received a custom engraved plaque from Weems & Plath for participating in the rally and was recognized on stage for finishing the event.

“You’re all winners to us!” exclaimed yellow-shirt Mia from the stage.

The big winners in the Cruising Division were the Hanse 430 Avanti, who took Class A, and Opportunity, a Corbin 39 that took Class B. Southern Cross, a Lagoon 380 and a circumnavigator with the World ARC, won the Multihulls Division.

Avanti, a yearly entrant in 1500 since 2012, also took home the Steve Black Trophy for the Overall winner in the Cruising Division, an extra-special award this year given the rally founder’s recent passing in February.

“That’s it!” said a humble Jeremi Jablonski, skipper of Avanti. “I’m entering the Open Division next year! No more awards, you guys are too nice to me!”

ARC Bahamas Fleet

Yachts in the ARC Bahamas fleet started with the main Caribbean 1500 fleet after the week-long pre-departure program in Portsmouth, then diverted south and west once across the Gulf Stream bound for Marsh Harbor in the Abacos and a new finish port for 2014 at Harbourview Marina.

“We could have waterskiied on that last day of the trip,” said Dennis Schell, skipper of Sojourner, a Wauquiez Hood 38, and veteran of last year’s 1500 BVI route. “The water was like glass it was so calm.”

Sojourner brought up the rear of a five-boat fleet that included for the first time the J/World Annapolis boat Euro-Trash Girl. J/World is the new official training partner of World Cruising Club USA and sold six berths on the trip as a passage making course. Their ‘Ocean Preparedness Seminar’ held in Annapolis proved popular with this year’s rally fleet and is another reason to sail with 1500.

Perpetual Prizes for BVI Fleet

In the BVI fleet, The Tempest Trophy, Navigator’s Award, and the Hal Sutphen Seamanship Award mark the highest honors.

The Navigator’s Award, sponsored by Weems & Plath, was awarded to Second Wind for their prowess taking celestial sights, while the Seamanship Award went to the crew on La Madeline for their wonderful preparations, including live MOB drills with all the crew.

The Tempest Trophy was presented to the yacht that best displayed the ‘Spirit of the Rally,’ and was presented by Jeremi of Avanti, winner of the award in 2012. Jeremi took the place of Paul & Monica on Moonshadow, winners of the award last year, who were still at sea during the ceremony. The Tempest Trophy was given each year since 1990 to the yacht that best-combined seamanship, enthusiasm, and helping others.

This year, in part thanks to the surprisingly light air, but also testament to the preparations of the rally fleet, there were no stories of yachts helping one another at sea, so the award went to Corsair, the Bristol 57 who’s crew certainly earned it for their preparation and enthusiasm from Day 1 in Portsmouth.

“This was just so cool!” exclaimed Colin, the crewmember on Corsair. “Honestly one of the most fun sailing/racing events I’ve ever done!”

Late Arrivals

Though the prizegiving traditionally marks the official end of the event, thanks to a light-air passage, that wasn’t the case this year. Aviva, a Beneteau 43, motored through the cut at Nanny Cay Marina just as the evening was getting started on the beach, to roaring applause from the crowd.

“There is indeed something about being one of the last boats to arrive,” said Dorothy of Aviva. “That was really special having everyone cheer for us like that!” Dorothy, Fred, and crew made it up to the beach just in time to see the awards get underway.

But seven yachts remained at sea by the evening’s end. Throughout the following two days, they slowly trickled in, again to loud applause from the crews still in the marina, and a late arrivals BBQ party was held on the beach in their honor. The last yacht to arrive was the Bavaria 33 Amphitrite, who after 14 days at sea looked no worse for wear, and who’s crew seemed that they could have stayed out even longer!

BVI Events Program

Yachts began arriving into Nanny Cay late in the evening on November 10, with the 80′ carbon-fiber Falcon first to finish in just over 7 days. Nearly 24 hours passed before the next yachts arrived, with the Deerfoot 60 Crazy Horse – another World ARC veteran – narrow edging out the Amel 54 Lone Star.

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 also included a 4-hour round-the-island tour with BVI 360, with stops at the famous Bomba Shack, Cane Garden Bay and a birds-eye view atop the island. The bus was fully packed this year, and the tour proved very popular. So popular, in fact, that the crews were heard singing as they made their return into Nanny Cay Marina in the open-air jitney.

“This event more than met our expectations,” said Patty and Frank Fabian of the Leopard 48 cat Sunsplash. “And we had high ones! We’ve been following this since 2005, and have had the dream of retiring onto our boat since 2000, so 1500 had a lot to live up to. But I have to admit, we were close to tears crossing that finish line a few days ago. It was just so emotional to finally have fulfilled this lifelong ambition of ours.”

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. Yachts enjoyed an informative seminar on cruising down-island to the Leeward’s and Windwards, and already a few have signed up to return north next year with ARC USA.

The crew of Opportunity, winners of Class B, are only just getting started. 1500 marked the first of my legs as the crew sails her all the way to Australia.

But when it’s all said and done, what people remember most is just that – the people they’ve met along the way.

Carib1500 website

ARC Bahamas Website

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