ARC Caribbean 1500 First Arrivals in Tortola and Smooth Sailing at Sea

Late last night, the Hylas 54 ‘Wings’ crossed the finish line of the 2013 Caribbean 1500, and for the second straight year took Line Honors. After a passage of a little over 7 days – and that ran the gamut with weather conditions – ‘Wings’ is happy to be in the islands.

“We crossed the line a bit ago,” wrote the crew, “and are working hard to let our guard completely down in the form of Dark and Stormies. Really looking forward to raising a glass or two with all the Carib 1500 fleet in Nanny Cay next week.” 

Over the next few hours we expect a few more yachts to make landfall in the BVI. ‘Karina’ and ‘Altair’ have already made dinner plans with each other, and plan on anchoring out tonight before joining us at Nanny Cay Monday morning. ‘Te Mana’ and ‘Nexus’ should round out the finishers for today (Sunday).

Out at sea, the rest of the fleet is enjoying fine sailing under blue skies, and the increase in log submissions has been a telling indication of the calmer conditions after the rough start.

“The sun rising off TARA's bow was accompanied by a flurry of quiet activity,” wrote the crew of ‘Tara.’ “Flying fish in the distance, a bird resting on the rigging, and spotting a sailboat off the starboard bow were each the focal point of their individual moments. We've been motoring for 27 hours, since the wind died. TARA's engine is quiet, affords us a nice 7kt speed, ample charging for electronics, and plenty of hot water.” 

Someone asked the time during all of this, and true to the life at sea, the reply came. “No one really cares, but the answer rings out from stem to stern, ‘It's noon and it's AWESOME!’”

‘Free Spirit’ has been motor-sailing as well, and had some excitement yesterday encountering a cruise ship. 

“Our excitement yesterday was spotting the Norwegian Gem cruise ship, passing within 2 miles of our location. We contacted them to verify courses to ensure safe crossing, resisting the temptation to request a six-pack and bag of ice.” 

‘Sojourner’, now the smallest yacht in the rally after ‘Topaz’ diverted to the Bahamas, is bringing up the rear with ‘Andromeda’. After a call in today from the sat phone, they reported light winds, but enough to make 5 knots under full sail. And they’re doing their best to stay true to the nature of the event, avoiding the temptation to run the engine.

“We’ve recorded just four engine hours,” said Dennis today. “But now we’re all getting ansty to get in, so we’ll see how long that lasts.”

The boys aboard ‘Solstice’ has a different take on motoring, and have finally sorted out their engine problems after it kept overheating. Happy to motorsail in the light winds, they summed up a sailor’s relationship with his engine quite humorously.

“A quote for yesterday and bloody engines,” they wrote. “‘Now, motors, like women, are not all bad, but it must be admitted there is a great difference among them. I prefer the simple, clean, reliable ones, and admire the economical ones, and almost love the quiet ones that are small and don't smell...’”