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Caribbean 1500 rally founder dies

Apr 25, 2014
Cruising sailor and Caribbean 1500 founder Steve Black at the helm of Madrugada during the start of the 2011 Caribbean 1500.

Cruising sailor and Caribbean 1500 founder Steve Black at the helm of Madrugada during the start of the 2011 Caribbean 1500.

Sara Proctor/World Cruising Club UK

Steve Black, founder of the Caribbean 1500 rally, died March 17. He was 71.

Black started sailing in his mid-30s in regattas hosted by the Grand Haven Sailing Club in Michigan. He had a love for single-handed sailing and made three single-handed trans-Atlantic voyages.

He set a multi-hull record in the Legend Cup with a time of 15 days aboard his Newick 40-foot trimaran. Black’s third single-handed trans-Atlantic voyage was in 1992 in the Europe I, where he sailed his 40-foot IOR racer, Caribbean.

After leaving a career in publishing, he served for three years as executive director of the U.S. Sailing Association in Newport, R.I.

Black’s greatest contribution to sailing has been the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally, which first set sail in 1990, with a fleet of 50 cruising boats sailing from Newport, R.I., and Norfolk, Va., to Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands.

The rally gave cruising sailors a chance to race together in a rally format with lots of socializing along the way.

Black retired from the rally in 2010. The 2014 rally this fall will mark the 25th edition of the Caribbean 1500.

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