Caribbean 1500 rally founder dies


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.

By Ocean Navigator