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Old 14-10-2015, 10:52   #1
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ARC Europe

I've seen the threads on crossing from Europe to the Caribbean, but not from the Caribbean to Europe. We're thinking of joining the ARC Europe rally for next May, and I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with them? We're heard things both good and bad.

Maje
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Old 14-10-2015, 12:04   #2
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Re: ARC Europe

Hi Tom and Maje,

We are already an official entry for ARC Europe 2016. We have heard mostly positive comments regarding ARC Europe, or any of the ARC's for that matter. We will be crossing for the first time, and like the psychological boost that the rally gives us. We are also looking forward to the ARC crew helping us with procedures required for our check-ins in the Azores and Portugal. The ARC organized two weeks in the Azores is also a big draw.

As we are a family of four, we are also hoping to meet some other cruising families and increase our network of friends cruising similar areas that we will be cruising for the next couple of years.

Looking forward to hearing comments from those who have done it before, but we are sold. Hope you join us!
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Old 14-10-2015, 12:07   #3
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Re: ARC Europe

Thanks for your response. We're about half way over the fence, but wanted some more information.

Maje
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Old 14-10-2015, 13:23   #4
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Re: ARC Europe

Tom and Maje,
I've made this crossing a few times myself, as well as others here....and I rate a west-to-east crossing of the Atlantic right up there with the greatest adventures on the planet!!
(and it's not as dangerous as driving across the US at holiday time!!

1) Before you make any decisions about a west-to-east Atlantic crossing (even a SW-to-NE route from the Caribbean), you should probably look very closely at the various ways / pitfalls / issues, etc....
No matter whether you choose to go with a rally or not...

And, this means not believing everything in the "guide books", "route guides", "crossing guides", etc., nor "rally info", etc...
But, rather delving into the details of voyages from recent real-world passages....
And realizing that "sailing to a schedule" (whether it is your own schedule, or that of a "rally"), is a sure way to ask for trouble!!

Here are some recent threads discussing these matters in some detail....with lots of real world info from those that have made these passages themselves (me included)...

[please note that each of these is a different posting, with additional info...even if the show here with the same name!]

azores 2014 how safe is it?

2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

2015 Another bad year in the Azores..?

ssb-hf network from bvi-bermuda-azores??



2) As for "rallies" in general and specifically about the ARC Europe....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom and Maje View Post
I've seen the threads on crossing from Europe to the Caribbean, but not from the Caribbean to Europe. We're thinking of joining the ARC Europe rally for next May, and I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with them? We're heard things both good and bad.

Maje
First off, a half-dozen facts of life at sea, offshore:
a) You are on your own!
b) No matter how close another sailing boat is to you (and they're not likely going to be that close, after the first day), there is little that they can do to help/assist you, and vice versa!
c) You can easily communicate with other vessels underway across the ocean (as well as shore stations), via HF radio ("SSB"), whether you are in a "rally" or not!
d) Sometimes the "safety in numbers" fallacy can be dangerous, as it allows "group think", etc....as well as a sense of "following the herd"
e) In regards to heavy weather avoidance, while leaving from the NE Caribbean can be better than leaving from the US east coast, the timing is still important for both!
f) May is usually too early for an easy / uneventful west-to-east passage...



3) And, further in regards to the ARC Europe...
a) There is usually no meteorological reason to head to Bermuda (whether leaving from the BVI's or the Chesapeake) at all!!
The only reasons are;
-- for the Chesapeake group to meet up with the Caribbean group, and foster a sense of camaraderie...
-- to break up the long voyage across the Atlantic into shorter passages...
-- (and foster a false sense of added security)

b) Leaving the first week of May (May 7th), places many in the path of many continental Lows / Fronts, as the come off the US coast...
Even leaving Bermuda on May 17th is pretty early, and can still place you in the path of some nasty weather!

c) The 3 main reasons for the timing of the ARC Europe are to:
-- Allow even the slower boats to make it to their stop-over ports before leaving again on the next passage...
-- Allows the entire fleet (even the slower boats) to arrive in Europe / Med, in early summer (middle June)...thereby allowing the owners a full summer of cruising...
-- Allow those who fear either their insurance coverage or the small threat of tropical weather, to get north and east of these arbitrary locations prior to July 1st, or as early as possible...

{please note that while many insurance policies have significant costs for coverage of "named windstorms" when inside an arbitrary "box" / "zone", this is almost always only from July 1st thru Nov 1st (rather than for the entire 6 month official hurricane season), and then it only precluded coverage from these "named windstorms" when inside the "box", but still allows all other coverage...}




Sorry, there is more...but I gotta' go...

fair winds...

John
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Old 14-10-2015, 13:57   #5
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Re: ARC Europe

Thanks for the information, John.

We're pretty independent and aren't into group think. However, the idea of getting to know a group of people who will be in approximately the same place at the same time is a draw for us.

Maje
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Old 14-10-2015, 14:12   #6
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Re: ARC Europe

There is currently an ARC here in mauritius.

Before they arrived, there were 30 boats in the marina as many boats were rafted up 2-3 deep to accommodate everyone.

The ARC apparently paid off a politician who then forced all the other cruising boats to leave so that the 13 boats from the ARC can take all the space to themselves without any needing to raft up.

Further, the ARC boats come in at night and go directly there without stopping at the customs dock which is not possible for anyone else. Finally, I cannot even talk to anyone in the ARC because one look at me and they look away unlike most normal cruisers. It's too bad for them because I have some spare parts for sale and I can fix almost any kind of opencpn problem.

So many other people are disgusted with this ARC, and myself I am considering what to with them. Why they think they have the right to spoil every place they go like a plague of locusts.
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Old 14-10-2015, 14:24   #7
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Re: ARC Europe

Maje,
You're very welcome!

No worries, everyone has a different plan / different ideas...not better, just different!
And, I'm not trying to bash the ARC....it's just not my cup of tea!


And, know that there are others sailing the Atlantic and you will find 'em in the normal places (BVI, St. Marteen, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Augustine, Chesapeake, etc...)


BTW, just an fyi....ARC Europe is planning 6 weeks (including a few days in both Bermuda and Azores), for a passage that would usually take 4 weeks (and less than that if leaving from the BVI)....based on 6 kts average..
So, if you left 2 - 3 weeks later than this rally group, you could still make Europe / the Med about the same time as they would, and probably have a less eventful voyage!



Fair winds..

John
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Old 14-10-2015, 15:06   #8
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Re: ARC Europe

John,

We had friends who left from St. Martin and arrived in the Azores in 15 days. At this point we're leaving out options open. I do know that there is meeting about the Atlantic crossing in St. Martin in late April or May. We missed it because we were already on our way back to the States.

Maje
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