Group will track rally participants

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NOV. 5 — The safety of participants is unquestionably a priority at this year’s Caribbean 1500 Rally.

All participating sailboats will be equipped with transmitters that will allow satellite tracking of their positions as they travel 1,500 miles over the course of seven to 10 days from Hampton, Va., to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, according to a news report from the Cruising Rally Association.

Each yacht will have Axonn wireless transmitters that will broadcast their respective positions six times a day by the Globalstar satellite network. Those interested can go on the Caribbean 1500 Web site, www.carib1500.com, and see the positions courtesy of Magnalox software. Magnalox also provides tools that allow the viewer to superimpose boat tracks and positions on graphic and satellite image maps, according to the report.

“I appreciate the dedication of our three cooperating technology companies to bring an added level of safety to our rally participants,” said Cruising Rally association president Steve Black in the report. “The equipment is miniaturized, rugged, easy-to-mount and affordable. We will be able to track our boats over the whole route between the United States and the Caribbean.”

More than 950 yachts and 4,500 sailors have participated in this rally since its creation by Black in 1990. Before their scheduled departure yesterday, sailors spent several days in Hampton undergoing safety inspections, workshops and weather briefings. Black said the Cruising Rally Association plans to use the Satellite Tracking System in all of its future rallies, including the Atlantic Cup for boats sailing back from the Caribbean next spring and the Bermuda Cup rally to be held in June.

— Elizabeth Ellis