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Old 07-11-2011, 07:11   #1
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2011 Caribbean 1500

The 22nd annual Caribbean 1500 Cruising Rally is scheduled to depart from Hampton Roads, Virginia, today at noon. This is the Rally's first year under the auspices of the World Cruising Club. Former owner, Steve Black, will be a participant this year in his Pacer 42, Madrugada. There are two fleets, one headed to the Bahamas and the larger one bound for Tortola, BVI.

Here's an excerpt from the final Skipper's briefing, held yesterday...
Quote:
...It was the weather and Gulf Stream reports, with colored graphs displayed in front of the packed conference room that drew the most questions, however. In addition to Andy Schell’s suggested waypoints to enter the Gulf Stream with the least current effect, staffer Rick Palm read a wind forecast that showed up to 25 knots against a 1.5 to 2-knot current when most of the boats enter the Stream mid-week.

A gale centered near the Bahamas is not meant to affect the fleet and lighter winds and headwinds are predicted as the fleet gets close to Tortola. When an audience member stated, “I read a report that there were 27-foot seas in the Gulf Stream yesterday,” event founder Steve Black wryly stated, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t leave then?”


The audience laughed but Black, with his subtle Papa Bear approach, assured the fleet. “The periods of those waves are nine seconds, so it is not as severe as it sounds,” he said after standing up from the front row. “The wind driven smaller waves atop the larger ones will be the only real bumpy part this time. “ Palm concurred, saying, “This is nothing you can’t handle.”
Here's the event website: Welcome to World Cruising Club: Caribbean 1500

And once they get underway, you can track the individual boats here: World Cruising Club Arc fleet viewer

Here's a bit more on the non-tropical Low sitting between the Bahamas and Bermuda. Member Blue Stocking posted this morning that Bermuda has experienced gale force winds for the last two days. The NHC has raised it's probability estimate of it becoming a tropical storm within 48 hours from 10% yesterday to 40% this morning. Here's what they had to say about it this morning...
Quote:
A NON-TROPICAL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED ABOUT 400 MILES SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA IS PRODUCING GALE FORCE WINDS OVER AN AREA EXTENDING SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES TO THE NORTH OF THE CENTER. THE ASSOCIATED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BECOME A LITTLE BETTER ORGANIZED OVERNIGHT...AND THE LOW COULD ACQUIRE SUBTROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO...
The forecasts I've seen call for it to begin moving west then north as another cold front approaches from the west. Even though the Carib1500 weather gurus don't believe it will be a negative for the fleet, it'll be interesting to see what routing strategies the BVI-bound skippers take.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:13   #2
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

This sounds like the perfect example of why it is a bad idea to sail on a schedule...

Wonder if any boats will opt out...
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:28   #3
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

This just in...

Quote:
The red and white AP flag is flying in Hampton, Virginia, as Caribbean 1500 event manager Andrew Bishop announced this morning there will be a two-day delay.

Looking at an intense and stationary low that is touching the Gulf Stream along the rhumb line to Tortola, Bishop decided not to send the fleet into what could be a very messy situation for the start of the 1500.

Crews are being briefed and all seem happy with the decision. There will be more updates reported here throughout the day and tomorrow. For now, the World Cruising Club staff is arranging some entertainment for the crews, with a possible visit to the Virginia Air and Space Museum and another party. Who can argue with that?
News articles from World Cruising Club: Caribbean 1500
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:36   #4
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

As a surly old Navy helicopter pilot once told me, " The only weather you can control when sailing is the weather you leave in!" Truer words were never spoken.

Good pilot, but as a member of my crew he ran us aground leaving the Chesapeake Bay on the Annapolis-Newport Race.....we've never let him forget it!
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:51   #5
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

We had already decided not to leave from Morehead City until Wednesday about noon, hoping not to get to the Stream until midnight.
Then it is on to Tortola. We are hooked up with the Alty Dog Rally but leaving from a different place. This waiting is getting on everyone's nerves. But we have patched the dinghy, done a final scrub of the deck, done the laundry and started eating o ur passage provisions. Sigh.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:31   #6
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

I was in Little Creek last year and aborted a passage to Tortola on the same day the Caribbean 1500 decided to go. This year, doing weather for a friend, I would have pulled the trigger on the day Carib1500 aborted. I think the Rule 62 tragedy has colored their decision-making.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:12   #7
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

Curious with the low pressure system 400 miles southwest of Bermuda why you would have pulled the trigger to go? Would not this system seriously affect a passage leaving from here? No disrespect just wondering since I am clueless when it comes to weather routing at the moment. It does not look like a good window to me.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:13   #8
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

There are quite a few first time offshore sailors in the fleet, and heading out into the path of a weather system that has a 40-50% chance of becoming a named storm isn't something most of them would choose to do. Actually I don't think I would either, though I've been out there in worse.

Dr. Jeff Masters of wunderground.com thinks it's going to intensify a bit, but not become a hurricane.
Quote:
Forecast for 98L
98L will drift slowly west or northwest today and Tuesday. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts wind shear will fall to 20 - 30 knots on Tuesday, which should allow for some increased organization of 98L. The computer models show little or no development of 98L, with none of our reliable models predicting 98L will become a hurricane. NHC gave 98L a 40% chance of developing into a subtropical storm by Wednesday in their 7 am EST Tropical Weather Outlook. I'd put these odds higher, at 50%. Since 98L is probably already generating sustained winds in excess of 39 mph, it will likely be named immediately if it gains enough organization, and skip being classified as a subtropical depression. Bermuda is the only land area that need concern itself with 98L, as a trough of low pressure is expected to absorb 98L and lift it quickly to the northeast on Thursday.
Jim, as you well know, one can pretty much count on gale strength winds at some point during that passage, but they normally come as a result of being overtaken by the next cold front coming off the east coast, not a low pressure system already out there and spinning up in strength. The rhumbline goes right through the center of it's current position, and the system is expected to move W, then NW then NE between now and Thursday, keeping it in play for the 1500 fleet.

I think they made a good decision. Plus, they can finish off the leftover booze in the party tent!
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Old 07-11-2011, 13:16   #9
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
Curious with the low pressure system 400 miles southwest of Bermuda why you would have pulled the trigger to go? Would not this system seriously affect a passage leaving from here? No disrespect just wondering since I am clueless when it comes to weather routing at the moment. It does not look like a good window to me.
One need not run the rhumb line. Unless one PLANS to run through the middle of the system you can get some nice breeze staying West of the Gulf Stream around Diamond Shoal until below the Low and then head East. Some care and attention to the barometer will keep the wind favorable and at or around 35 kts.

Jeff Masters deserves great respect for his analysis but we are not his audience.

For both the Bahamas group and the BVI group I'm more concerned about the next cold front. Had they left today the Bahamas group would be in GTC before the front crossed over them. The BVI group would pretty much be South of the substantial effects. Oh - the Low is only 1005.

Too late now, and they don't listen to me anyway. *grin*

Hud's point about the experience level is well-taken but that didn't seem to effect the decision to leave last year. They delayed two or three days then and the fleet ran into some nasty bits.
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Old 07-11-2011, 20:08   #10
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

actually, they delayed for a whole week last year, mainly because hurricane Tomas had to decide which way he was going before the fleet could leave.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:02   #11
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

With TS Sean expected to become a hurricane, the departure has been put off until Friday...

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The start of the 2011 Caribbean 1500 has been delayed yet again. Weather routers WRI updated the staff today with further information on tropical storm 'Sean', and have advised the fleet that Friday is the best weather window. A cold front is set to absorb 'Sean' by Thursday evening, which should make for brisk northwesterlies and clear skies for Friday's departure. Stay tuned for further information.
I heard somewhere that historically there's been a delayed departure for about half of the rallies.
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:12   #12
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

At first I had planned on sailing a couple of days after the 1500, then the commissioning took longer than expected... so perhaps now with the delays due to weather I might almost catch up after all. Looking at the weather systems and taking the slower boats into consideration, this delay really does make sense.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:06   #13
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

As of this morning, the rally plans to depart on Friday. A friend of mine is in Hampton Roads waiting for the weather. His weather router, Commanders Weather, suggests the same timing.

They'll start off with some gusty NW to W winds, but a High will move offshore fairly quickly on Saturday and things should lighten up considerably.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:59   #14
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The Leaderboard

I'm looking the tracking web site and wondering what the "Teams" are.
Carib 1500, Div I, IV and V?

World Cruising Club Arc fleet viewer

I figured out that the top two links link to the Carib 1500 Bahama Class and the other the Tortola group.
How does a boat qualify for a class?
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:15   #15
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Re: 2011 Caribbean 1500

Looks like monohulls leading the pack, so far.

Just an observation.
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