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 here at Nanny Cay.
Yachts began arriving into Nanny Cay late in the evening on November 10, with the 80′ carbon-fibre 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 – narrowly edging out the Amel 54 Lone Star.
Each night as yachts continued to arrive events were held on the beach at Nanny Cay, 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.
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 into Nanny Cay 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 honour. 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!
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 prizes like Best Mustache, Best Logs, Best Fishing Story (won by Serenity for their very timely bribe of four 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.
In the BVI fleet (there is also a Bahamas fleet), there are also three perpetual prizes – the Tempest Trophy, Navigator’s Award and the Hal Sutphen Seamanship Award.
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, crewmember on Corsair. “Honestly one of the most fun sailing/racing events I’ve ever done!”
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. The 1500 marked the first of may legs as the crew sails her all the way to Australia.
The Caribbean 1500
The longest-running ocean crossing rally in North America, the ‘1500’ is a must-do for many cruisers. The ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet sails from Portsmouth, VA at the mouth the Chesapeake Bay to Nanny Cay. The start port and dates make the most of the available weather to maximize the Caribbean sailing experience, and the World Cruising Club runs a week-long pre-departure program to get participants relaxed and ready for cruising.