The longest-running ocean crossing rally in North America, the '1500' is a must-do for many cruisers. The ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet sails from Portsmouth, VA at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Nanny Cay on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The start port and dates make the most of the available weather to maximise your Caribbean sailing, and their week-long pre-departure program will get you relaxed and ready for cruising.
Without a doubt the most difficult part of getting to the Caribbean is timing the weather window before departure. Fall on the East Coast is squeezed between late summer hurricane season and early winter gale season. By joining the 1500, you can rest assured that the ‘experts’ are there to take the pressure off of that decision. Their support team consists of professional ocean sailors working closely with our weather forecasters at WRI to ensure the fleet makes it across the Gulf Stream and into warmer waters in the best possible conditions.
The rally has two routes; the passage from Portsmouth to Tortola takes around 7-12 days; and the ARC Bahamas route from Portsmouth to Abacos takes 5-7 days, weather dependent. It is scheduled to start on November 2nd from Portsmouth Virginia. The start will be postponed if the weather is bad.
The boats taking part must be over 10.67m in length overall and must have two people on board. They have previous had participants ranging in age from 6 months to mid eights and families are welcome to participate as well. They can also use their engines as it is a crusing rally. Boats in the fun competition Cruising Division must declare their engine hours for their results to be calculated.
The number of vessels taking part ranges from 40 to 60 boats with about 200 people sailing in each rally and as boats are docked together in Portsmouth, there is a great chance for people to mix and meet.
There will be lots of fun activities organised ashore to help members relax, meet fellow cruisers and to enjoy the preparations for sea. The social atmosphere of the rally will continues at sea, with the daily Radio Nets. These are the glue that keep the rally together, and a way for crews to share thoughts on the weather, swap fishing tips and request advice.
All boats will be fitted with a YB satellite tracker, which will display the boats positions on the online Fleet Viewer. It will update members, families and friends with their exact location every four hours so they can view their progress on a rally of a lifetime!