25 yachts sailing from the Caribbean to USA

The 2011 Atlantic Cup start off Nanny CayThe popular Atlantic Cup cruising rally set off on Sunday May 1st from Nanny Cay in bright and breezy conditions.  The 25 yachts are heading for St George’s Bermuda before turning west to Hampton VA and other east coast ports.
This is the first year that the Atlantic Cup has been run under the umbrella of the World Cruising Club, organisers of the world’s largest trans-ocean sailing event, the ARC which crosses the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia every fall.  The Atlantic Cup was previously organised by Steve Black of the Cruising Rally Association.  Steve is sailing this Atlantic Cup in his Pacer 42 Madrugada.
Atlantic Cup Starts
On Sunday May 1, the 25 Atlantic Cup yachts set out on the 850nm passage to Bermuda.  The fleet is split between yachts enjoying fun compeition, and those cruising in company. Crossing the line first was Richard Graver’s Hanse 400 Susie Q (NY), closely followed by Syrena (NJ), Brigadoon (CT) and Nepenthe (MA) and the rest of the fleet, some with spinnakers set.
Passing through The Narrows between the US and British Virgin Islands, the Atlantic Cup fleet made a striking sight against the green islands and blue skies.  With a good weather forecast, the crossing to Bermuda should take 5 or 6 days.  Yachts are already sharing their experiences at sea by blogging on the Atlantic Cup website  www.carib1500.com. Follow them online to read the stories of the rally.
Boats Like Ours, People Like Us
In total, more than 90 sailors and 25 boats from 4 countries (USA, Canada, Great Britain and Australia) will take part in the Atlantic Cup.  Skippers and crew range in ages from their late teens to the over 70s, with the average age being 54 years. 
The average boat size is 14.5m; with the smallest being Lagoon 380 Southern Cross (USA), and at the other end of the spectrum, Canadian Hylas 70 Magnetic Sky is easily the largest boat.  All major boat builders are represented in between, including Hylas, Taswell, J-Boats and Jeanneau.
Some sailors are returning veterans, for whom the conviviality of the Atlantic Cup is a fitting end to an annual season in the Caribbean.  Veteran boats include Joy for All (CT), Sapphire (RI), Special Delivery (FL), Napenthe (MA) and Namaste (VT).  Other boats are starting a cruising adventure on the east coast, and what better way to get to know north American sailors and the best cruising areas than to join the Atlantic Cup?
S/Y Aurora
The Stevens 47 Aurora, owned by David Craig of New Hope PA, was dismasted on May 03 at 0200 local time, following a rigging failure.  David and crew Robert Pool and Emil Plecko were unhurt, and were able to secure the broken spar and return to Nanny Cay marina 14 hours later.  Throughout the operation Aurora was monitored by the World Cruising Club team using the satellite tracker fitted to the boat at the start of the rally.
Cruising Destinations
Nanny Cay once again hosted the ralliers before their departure.  “The rally returns to this popular marina and resort for its excellent facilities and helpful staff, and because the Virgin Islands are a popular cruising destination,” said the WCC organisers.
The SGDSC in St George’s, Bermuda has hosted the rally for many years, and the sight of the fleet leaving through The Cut stirs hearts ashore and afloat.
After leaving St George’s, the Atlantic Cup boats head for the US east coast, with Hampton hosting a ‘safe arrivals’ party.  Hampton will become the home of World Cruising Club rallies in north America as it is also the start port for the Caribbean 1500.

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