Please select your home edition
Edition
Abell Point Marina 728x90 Moor

ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet begins journey to the British Virgin Islands

by World Cruising Club USA on 5 Nov 2013
Starbust and Altria at the Start Line World Cruising Club © http://www.worldcruising.com
For the second straight year, good weather allows America's longest running sailboat rally, the ARC Caribbean 1500, to depart early.

The saying goes, 'Never waste a fair wind,' and for the second year running rally organisers World Cruising Club took the decision for the ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet to start their offshore sail to the British Virgin Islands a day ahead of schedule. On Saturday November 2, the rally left Portsmouth Virginia and the Chesapeake on a light northwesterly wind, broad-reaching into the Atlantic with several yachts flying spinnakers as they sailed on into the clear evening.

By Thursday evening, with the pre-departure social programme in full swing for ralliers, the organisers started creating a contingency plan for an early departure. The forecast indicated a tight weather window in which to get the fleet safely across the Gulf Stream in reasonable conditions and after consulting with Weather Routing Inc, a revised start time was proposed. An impromptu weather briefing was held at Ocean Marine Yacht Center to keep the fleet informed and by 0800 Saturday morning, the decision became official - the 2013 1500 start line would take place at 3:00pm off Hampton Flats.

'It was unprecedented last year,' said Miles Poor of Karina, the Tayana 55 who is a perennially entry in the 1500. 'And for it to happen again, only a year later Twice in 24 years That's remarkable.'

The organizers were able to make a starting line for the Cruising Division thanks to marina residents at Ocean Marine who generously offered to use their Sea Ray 32 Cloud Nine as committee boat. The starting gun fired at 3:10pm local time and the fleet was off under clear skies and a light northerly wind. 18 yachts competed for the starting line of the competitive Cruising Division, with nearly a dozen other yachts following as part of the Open Division.

The true value of a professionally organised rally was demonstrated when several yachts listed as participating in the Salty Dawg Rally also left with the ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet, against their organizers decision to delay their own start until Wednesday or Thursday, when they are likely to experience light contrary winds.

While 2012 saw an early departure due to late-season Hurricane Sandy and an early season winter gale, 2013 followed a more classic weather pattern on the east coast in November. Traditional sailing directions state to head offshore following the passage of a cold front, riding the northwesterly wind across the Gulf Stream and taking advantage of the fair weather produced by the high pressure that typically follows the front.

The weather forecast indicated the swift passage of the front on Saturday morning, following by brisk north-northwesterly winds that would quickly shift northeast in a couple of days and strengthen, as high pressure ridging takes hold offshore. Organizers deemed it imperative to get the fleet offshore immediately following that frontal passage to give the maximum amount of time to get offshore before the NE windshift.

For the first time in the rally's 24-year history, the ARC Caribbean 1500 pre-departure program took place in Portsmouth, Virginia. The finishing port of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, the historic city is well accustomed to hosting sailors. Early-arrival happy hours were held at Skipjack Nautical Wares on the waterfront, sponsored by Colligo Synthetic Rigging Systems and featuring food and beer from the local Bier Garden German restaurant.

The 1940s-era Commodore Theatre hosted the Welcome Reception, which included a free screening of Captain Phillips at the renovated dinner theatre, while the seminar program was held at the Renaissance Hotel. Over 100 crewmembers, friends and family turned out for the Bon Voyage Party on Friday night, despite the last-minute preparations for an early departure.

Only one yacht was unable to take the start. Lady Jane, a Wauquiez Centurion 43, remains in Deltaville, Virginia undergoing repairs to the transmission, and expects to head to sea sometime later in the week. Slow Dancing, an Island Packet, was forced to turn back 12 hours after the start after a crewmember became ill. They have returned to Ocean Marine Yacht Center and plan on meeting up and departing with Lady Jane.


Each boat in the ARC Caribbean 1500 is fitted with a satellite tracker, with positions updated twice daily and displayed on the rally website, enabling friends and family at home to follow the boats. Cruisers can also send blogs and pictures direct to the website, and the rally team will post news from the fleet every day on the website and Facebook page.

Every boat receives a plaque as a memento of their voyage, and prizes are given to the first arrivals and fastest boats on handicap, the best boat blog, biggest fish, plus special awards for acts of seamanship and the spirit of the rally. Weems & Plath has signed on to sponsor a new 'Navigator's Award' that will be given to the best-kept traditional captain's log. ARC Caribbean 1500 participants will again support 'Moustache November,' or 'Movember,' an initiative to bring awareness to men's health issues. Nanny Cay Marina is a big supporter.

Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82Southern Spars - 100Sail Port Stephens 2017 660x82

Related Articles

Ayr, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to meet Cyclone Debbie
Having intensified to a Cat4 TC now, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday mornin Having intensified to a Cat3 TC now and Cat4 when it will make landfall, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday morning (0400hrs). Thus far, there have been police enforced evacuations around Ayr, as it is expected that this will be the biggest event since the all-powerful TC5 Yasi hit back in 2011. There are also reports of residents refusing to leave
Posted on 26 Mar
X-Yachts advisory board announces ambitious strategy plan
X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined. Catering for a complete cross section of sailors prioritising Superb Sailing Pleasure, X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined.
Posted on 24 Mar
South African sailors rescued off WA coast
Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean, after their mast broke on the way to New Zealand. The stricken yacht was 1300km off the Australian mainland's most south westerly point. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the men had been sailing from South Africa to New Zealand
Posted on 19 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
Clipper Race crew safety brief
Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has prepared the following safety update for all Clipper 2017-18 Race crew Ocean yacht racing has its risks. But by far the best way to minimise those risks is a culture of safety and constant vigilance amongst all ocean yachtsmen, including Clipper Race Crews. Staying safe must be a paranoia.
Posted on 14 Mar
Lisa Blair crosses Cape Horn on 50th day of Antarctic circumnavigation
Day 49 was marked with Lisa's first sighting of land - the snow capped mountains of Chile - since departing Albany Sydney-based sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair 32, has today reached 50 days at sea and successfully crossed Cape Horn in her attempt to be the first woman in history to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.
Posted on 13 Mar
Thirteenth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Well I am anchored off Jamestown Saint Helena. Good place to be. So it is. Jon is at St Helena in the Atlantic - British ilse after some of the French ones he has been to. He's off seeing the island and catching up with his friends from the little Swarbrick, Liberdade. As usual, full of beans and living life, remembering heaps and always factual, given how much he reads on board. Yet another great tale, so dive right in...
Posted on 9 Mar
Twelfth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Jon's steady progress sees him arrives in St Helena in the South Atlantic I am on the ocean as I type. By the time you read I should be tied to a mooring Jamestown, British island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic. Since last writing it has been mild. Wind behind pushing me. My mainsail - always 1 reef & wee jib. Progress good and comfortable. One can get squalls, often more to the west than where I am. Night time squalls.
Posted on 2 Mar
Immortal
Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. The former music video producer’s first feature film was a cult star before going on to become a wee bit immortal, as per its main characters. The principal thrust of it all was a gathering of immortal souls, and in the end, there could be only one.
Posted on 28 Feb
A rare opportunity to sail in Canada!
Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. Sail the fabulous Vancouver Island, Georgia Straights and The Desolation Sound. This area regarded as the greatest wilderness and picturesque area in the world is open to a 16 day cruise with Sailing Adventures.
Posted on 27 Feb