25th Caribbean 1500 Heads to Sea

Updated Tuesday, Nov 4, 0730: Lucky Strike, despite being the last boat out of the marina and over an hour behind the fleet, has taken the lead offshore as the boats enter the Gulf Stream. Lucky Strike, the 50' Newick trimaran, is cruising along at 10 knots. If conditions persist, they should be WAY ahead over the next 24 hours at that pace!

Conditions were much more favorable for the start of an offshore passage today with the sun shining and winds 12-15 knots out of the NW. Crews mentioned they were pleased that the start had been delayed 24hrs.

The morning of the start there is always plenty of activity on the docks with everyone wishing each other well and getting those last phone calls in to home. With the start line being 10 miles further up the Elizabeth River off the Hampton Flats, boats slipped lines early to get up there with plenty of time to spare before the midday start. Some of the yachts in the Open Division, that will not be taking the start line, had already started to head out into the bay and offshore as the start line was being set up.

In no time at all, the 41 rally boats that have filled up Ocean Marine this past week with colourful code flags have headed out to fog horns blasting and cheers from the docks. Things are a little quieter here now with just the trimaran Lucky Strike, who had a small problem with their AIS antenna and wanted to get that repaired, and Alchemy who are securing some last minute items. As the committee boat returned to the dock, both Lucky Strike and Alchemy were under way, the marina empty. 

The committee vessel today was the 40’ tender to New Zealand megayacht T6 and thanks to the yacht’s Chief Mate Clint  for taking us out to the start (at a cool 35 knots!)

Weather conditions at the start set up well for a downwind run out the Bay and into the Atlantic, and indeed many of the boats flew their spinnakers across the line, making for a festive sight. 
There were three starts in all, separated by ten minutes. Southern Cross led the multihull fleet over the line, while Sojourner took the Bahamas class start. Euro Trash Girl, the J World Annapolis boat, quickly took the lead as they smoked across the line under spinnaker, the first boat to do so. In the second start, for the Class B yachts, the Valiant 39 Chanticleer only very narrowly edged out the Corbin 39 Opportunity, who got their spinnaker up just after the start, a great big Canadian flag design that they proudly flew out into the Bay.

Class A was even more hotly contested, with Wine Down leading the way, followed by Serenity. In total, 29 boats took the starting line, with just Lucky Strike and Alchemy the only two Cruising Division yachts to get away late. The remaining 9 boats sailed in the Open Division, and had left earlier this morning.

Once out of the Chesapeake Bay the majority of the fleet will be sailing the ARC Caribbean 1500 route to Tortola in the BVI and can expect a passage of around 8-11 days, whilst 5 boats are sailing the ARC Bahamas to Marsh Harbor, a shorter passage of around 4-6 days. 

Whilst underway each yacht is fitted with a Yellowbrick GPS tracker and you can follow their progress using the Fleet Tracker. Also click here to read all of the blogs coming in from the boats to find out what life is like at sea.