Industry mourns founder of Caribbean 1500 rally

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Steve Black, a Midwesterner who did not take to sailing until his mid-30s but became an iconic figure in the industry, died of cancer Monday at the age of 71.

His long and varied career included stints running an educational publishing company, three years as executive director of the U.S. Sailing Association and managing the Sailing World National Offshore One-Design Regattas in four regions around the country.

His role as founder of the Caribbean 1500 rally, which offered snowbirds the safety of cruising in company to the Caribbean, will be his most lasting legacy.

The impetus for the rally came from Black’s observation that cruising sailors outnumbered offshore racing sailors, but there were virtually no organized events for cruisers like him. The Caribbean 1500 offered the chance to sail in company, combined with preparatory seminars taught by sailing experts, an SSB radio safety net at sea, collaborative troubleshooting during the voyage and plenty of fun and socializing.

Black retired from the 1500 he created in 2010 after 21 years — the longest-running ocean-crossing rally in North America — and handed over management of the annual rally to the World Cruising Club. The rally has since been renamed the ARC Caribbean 1500.

“Steve is the reason I’m doing what I’m doing today,” Andy Schell, event manager for the ARC Caribbean 1500 and an offshore delivery skipper, said in an online remembrance on the World Cruising Club website. “He put me on a 1500 boat back in 2006, which was my first offshore passage, and helped me make connections in the ocean sailing world. Steve was a huge inspiration. It’s an honor to be managing the 25th Caribbean 1500 this year and carry his legacy into the future.”

For the 2014 ARC Caribbean 1500 this fall, the fleet will leave Portsmouth, Va., at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and cruise in company to Nanny Cay on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The start port and dates have been set to make the most of the available weather to maximize Caribbean sailing.

Related

Will You Exhibit at Shows This Year?

This month’s Pulse Report survey asks if inventory levels and other concerns will be a factor in boat-show participation. Take the survey here.

ABYC Releases ‘Largest Update’ of Standards

The 61st supplement of its Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft includes electric propulsion and electrical systems.

Fort Myers Tech Receives Training Support

Yamaha and the Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay donate to the college’s new maintenance certification program.

LCI Reports Record Q2

The parent of OEM supplier Lippert Components saw a 108 percent increase in net sales to $1.1 billion.

Cox Marine Addresses the Supply Chain

The diesel outboard manufacturer brings all sub-assembly production in-house to obviate delivery issues.

Boat Shows and Dealer Week Are Calls to Action

Shows are one of the best ways to connect face-to-face with customers, and MRAA’s signature conference can give insights into achieving retail success.