Each spring Steve Black organizes a rally that comprises cruising sailors desiring to return to the United States in tandem. This rally, known as the Atlantic Cup, concentrates on returning winter cruisers to the states for a summer of sailing in their local waters. Many of them will come back to the Caribbean next winter in Black’s 18th Caribbean 1500 Rally. The rally this year was held at Village Cay Marina, Tortola with fourteen yachts present for the trip back from Tortola to Bermuda and on to home ports.
I had the opportunity to speak with the captain and crew of VicRic, a 523 Beneteau. This is the third Atlantic Cup for captain Jay Ricketts and crew member Jamie Maconachy. “Through both the Caribbean 1500 Rally, from the US to the BVI, and the Atlantic Cup return, I have been able to see and visit a Caribbean that I never knew existed,” says Ricketts. “We have sailed most of the islands during the last three winters and it is really quite wonderful.
“I love participating in the event and also I enjoy having friends sail with me. Steve has done a great job for the sailing world by encouraging them to venture off shore. Also the stress on safety is an excellent part of his program.” Crew member Maconachy agrees. “I got on the boat one person and got off another—the camaraderie they have in the Atlantic Cup is really great.”
A former single handed OSTAR racer, Black began organizing cruising rallies some 18 years ago and seems to enjoy it as much today as he did in the late 1980s.
“This year’s Caribbean 1500 was the largest ever with more than 75 yachts participating” says Black. “Likewise, our return trip, The Atlantic Cup, is also becoming more popular. Each year more Americans and Canadians have made the passage south, as well as the return north, and each year the size of the boats and number of crew members has also grown. The average boat is now over 48 feet with a crew of four to six sailors.
“The winners this year were Bill and Dianna Quinlan from Special Delivery. The Atlantic Cup Rally from the Caribbean in May and our Bermuda Cup Rally in June have helped to prepare many of the boats and crews for the 1500. Over half of the skippers have participated in one of our earlier rallies and nearly all have at least one crew member who has done the trip before. This will do a lot to insure the smoothest possible trip.”