The eighteen sailboats in this year’s Atlantic Cup offshore sailing rally from Tortola to Bermuda departed in brisk northeast winds for the 850 mile passage. Sailors enjoyed two days of reaching winds before high pressure filled in and motoring began. The Atlantic Cup is an annual event sponsored by the Cruising Rally Association. It provides friendly competition, shared weather information, crew lists, and twice daily radio chats to boats returning the US and Canada from their winter cruising grounds.
Special Delivery, a Taswell 58 sloop, sailed by Bill and Diana Quinlan of Jacksonville, FL was first to finish, as well as, the Overall Handicap Winner for the event. The Quinlans are veterans of 7 previous rallies and are past winners of the Caribbean 1500 Rally. Gil Smith and his crew on Joy For All, a Farr 50 were the second boat to finish in class 1. Class 2 was won by an all English crew aboard the Island Packet 485, Pelekan. The owners, Drs. Tom and Jos Hollway, were veterans of last year’s Atlantic Cup. Second place in Class 2 went to Colin and Kathleen Kilgour from Toronto, Canada. The Kilgours, including their children Mitchell, Gillian, and Clair, took top honors in the Caribbean 1500 last November.
The Atlantic Cup fleet was hosted in Tortola by Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. Ralliers made good use of the marina’s yard services, hotel, two restaurants, chandlery, fuel service, and docks. It is an ideal departure site for an event like this providing a wide range of marine services in one location.
The ralliers received a warm welcome and awards dinner at the St. Georges Dinghy and Sports Club in Bermuda at the end of the rally and most departed for the eastern seaboard of the U.S. within 48 hours of arrival.
The fleet was divided into three divisions. In addition to the Rally Class, there were two Cruising Classes. Four boats entered the Cruising Class to enjoy a cruise in company to Bermuda. Three others sailed together directly to the United States from Tortola in 8-9 days. All classes received the same safety, weather and communication benefits. The four boats in the cruising class (Karina, Kia Orana, Namaste, and Romany Life) that sailed to Bermuda received awards that recognized their achievement of safely completing the open ocean passage.
The Cruising Rally Association returns to Nanny Cay later this year with the Caribbean 1500, slated to start on November 1. The 2010Caribbean 1500 Rally will be the 21st annual running of this event making it the largest and longest-running offshore cruising rally in the Americas. Steve Black, president and founder of the Cruising Rally Association, anticipates a record entry of returning ralliers.
With wireless transponders on each yacht, positions were broadcast via the satellite network six times each day, every four hours. Each boat’s track was displayed on the Caribbean 1500 website (www.carib1500.com) using software customized to incorporate features from Google Earth. The transponder program is sponsored by Davenport & Company, LLC.
The Cruising Rally Association, founded by veteran solo sailor and sailing event organizer Steve Black, is widely supported by a number of leading companies. These include Davenport & Company, LLC, Nanny Cay Resort & Marina, West Marine, Blue Water Sailing Magazine, Switlik, OCENS, ICOM, and World Cruising Ltd.
For more information on future rallies and seminars, visit www.carib1500.com.