For 26 years, the Caribbean 1500 has been the way to get south to the islands. Now, as World Cruising Club USA continues to develop other events closer to home and farther afield, its rallies are truly the way to fulfill your ocean sailing dreams.
There are several yachts who’ve used ARC DelMarVa as both an inspirational stepping stone and a practical test in getting their boats and themselves ready for bigger and longer passages.
The 1500 is often that next step.
‘Rebekah May,’ a Prout 38 and the smallest catamaran in the fleet, arrived to Tortola in the middle of the night, sailing particularly fast for their little boat. “I had a pro onboard!” joked skipper Charles. “And we just had great wind,” he added.
Dave Hornbach who crewed with ‘Rebekah May’ is an old-hand at the 1500, a perfect match for Charles, who first got a taste of ocean sailing with the ARC DelMarVa Rally in 2015.
“I’ve learned over the years in the 1500 to go east,” explained Dave, who just completed his 7th Caribbean 1500 as a crewmember. “We did really well.”
‘Rebekah May’ is a wonderful example of a yacht that has taken full advantage of the network of resources that World Cruising Club USA has pulled together over the past few years in order to complete a successful passage to the Caribbean, and indeed even farther. Early on, Charles joined the weekend Ocean Sailing Seminar series in Annapolis and proceeded to spend the summer with our Corporate Members MRP Refits and Port Annapolis Marina outfitting his boat for the rigors of ocean sailing. Mike Meer at Port A completely re-rigged the boat, and Miles Poor of MRP added and refined some of the systems, including the new roller-furling mainsail.
Newly refit, ‘Rebekah May’ participated in the ARC DelMarVa Rally in June for a proper shakedown cruise and a taste of nighttime and ocean sailing on the leg from Portsmouth to Cape May. Charles found Dave Hornbach, a vastly experienced crewmember, through Ocean Crew Link, and here he is, nine months later, enjoying Tortola after a successful – and importantly – uneventful passage, using the knowledge and experience he’s gained through all of our events and seminars.
Like Charles, Joe Reed longs for bigger and better passages. He’s going around the world.
Photo shows Joe Reed & the Altair crew after another successful Caribbean 1500 passage. Joe is bound for St. Lucia and the start of World ARC in January 2017!
Joe has been an annual entrant in the Caribbean 1500 for years, and has even sailed in the rally multiple times on two different boats, both of which he’s owned. On Keep it Simple, his previous boat (a J/42), Joe and crew were annual contenders for the overall prize in the Cruising Division, sailing the sleek racer/cruiser fast and efficient. When former 1500 organizers Rick & Julie Palm bought a new Outremer 51 catamaran, Joe bought Altair, their Saga 48 monohull. In January 2017, he’ll take the start of World ARC in St. Lucia.
“Other than all the little things that broke, we had a great trip south!” Joe said of his latest landfall in Tortola last fall. “We broke the traveler and one slide on the mainsail track,” explained Joe, proud of the jury rig they made on the mainsheet control lines. “And a few things here and there.”
Joe is a former aerospace engineer for NASA and has an incredible personal history. He started his career with the Navy, designing software that guided ballistic missiles carried on submarines. Later, Joe was the lead ‘guy on the ground’ when the Space Shuttle mission to fix the Hubble telescope launched. The lead astronaut on the mission was out on a spacewalk doing the hands-on part of the job. Famously, the mission ran into a hiccup when that astronaut stripped the head of a screw holding a handrail that needed to come off before they could enact the repair. Joe came to the rescue.
“In real-time, while he’s on the space-walk, I sent a team into the lab with a handrail and we find out how much force it takes to break the fastener that’s holding it to the Hubble. We ran the test, took video of what actually happens when that bolt breaks, and then we called them up and said, ‘you’re safe, you can do it. Do it!’ They did it within two minutes and kept going, ultimately completing the mission successfully.”
Lots of people often compare ocean sailing to space travel - the recent book & movie The Martian could well have been written about a single-handed sailor instead of an astronaut - and in Joe’s case, the two are very much intertwined.
Since returning from the Caribbean with ARC USA in the spring of 2016, Joe’s been preparing Altair for the round-the-world adventure, making fixes, rebuilding the engine, getting new sails and organizing crew for the various legs.
Joe won’t be the sole American - including Altair, 10 US-flagged yachts will participate in World ARC in 2017, including 2015 Caribbean 1500 entrants Blue Summit, Lexington, and Misto.
“Like a lot of sailors, a round-the-world voyage has always been my ultimate dream, my biggest bucket-list item,” Joe says proudly. “The trip south with the 1500 this fall is going to be surreal - I’ve done it so many times before, but this will be the first where arriving into Tortola will be a beginning, and not an end.”