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Old 26-08-2015, 02:57   #16
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

It's interesting to read that the take away is that this event is a waste of time for multiple reasons. And many of those reasons are totally valid. But I think the main thing that seems to make such an event compelling is the social aspect that many seem to need and I suppose is one of the main drivers behind "yacht clubs". Ocean sailors, cruisers are not anti social but they all seem to be "loners" to a certain extent... in their blood is to break away and do it on their own. ARC sorts of things are actually appealing to precisely the opposite.

I personally was never drawn to the idea... ie on a bucket list... because yacht clubs and such have no appeal to the sailor in me. Yet I did enter the Marion Bermuda event in '91 and did so because I wanted to set off and saw the event as a preparation for my departure the following Fall. I wanted to see how my boat did in the ocean... how I did... and having crew and going through the weather seminars, safety seminars and inspection seemed like a reasonable way to familiarize myself with an ocean passage. I could care less about the race and I've never competed against anyone but myself in any case.. '91 was a damn good test and boat and I seemed to come through fine and that cleared the way for 3 years of cruising and many offshore passages. Before that I was a coastal cruiser/weekend sailor.

My sense is that ARC participants for the most part have already done a decent amount of long distance sailing and cruising and ARC's primarily a race and a social event. And if that appeals to you... go for it. And you probably will find a yacht club too that suits you.
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Old 26-08-2015, 06:38   #17
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

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Hi there
We are planning to cross the Atlantic from the Med at the end of this year and need some advice. Can we do it on our own at the same time or should we pay the money to join Odyssey or Arc. Are there other alternatives I don't know about?
Being new to a long passage crossing and having no idea about the start and finish with marinas are we better off to just pay the $3000 AU and go with a group. My issue is that is a hell of a lot of dollars when I know thousands of people and boat cross every year or am I being naive. We are trying to get two crew organised to share the passage with us as well.


Would love to hear how others have done it and what's the best way to go. Part of our consideration is we are very flexible with our departure date so want the best safest but economical way if possible.

Thanks
Reet

Miss Catana
OK, so i've done it a dozen or so times. The ARC is merely a social group thing, makes a very big deal of it, life-changing voyage etc. which might be true for some.

Essentially you set off and less than 3 weeks later you find a caribbean island. I don't think you need to pay for a group thing cos the social thing is just ashore, before the start, really. And there's tons better (or at least the same but free ) advice hereabouts to do a crossing.

Official-wise - you just set off from the canaries. No stamp, no nothing. Well, if you're American you can go get a stamp but in fact if you go to a french island they won't care a hoot where you've been before, cos of course it's all uncivilised as far as they're concerned :-)

The "least hassle" islands to visit in the caribbean are the French ones. Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Martin, St Bart's. So i'd head to those ports, no officious horridness at all.

Setting off er... Columbus set off in September and was lucky - No hurricanes! Waiting till late November much more sensible, head south, go towards 20N 30W. 7-10 days later, land.

So essentially the long passage thing is very similar to the short passage thing, the main difference being a much longer time between putting away the fenders and getting them out again.

You would do well to get towards Gib now (hurry - National Day is Sept 10th and 100% of people wear red and white the whole day- very fun) then choose a time to do 600nm to the canaries altho you can stop en route. After this trip, you'll know what you want to do in terms of getting crew.

Crew-wise, the fewer you take the less hassle, really. The 40ft ARC race boats take 10 and charge them £3500 each, hot bunking. Urg. But that's $50k, not bad for 3 weeks work...

Single handed the routine is to get an alarm which wakes you every 20mins or so.

You could make a very big deal about food, but there again you won't die without food for 3 weeks. Stuff that doesn't need cooking, protein drinks, choc bars, all that.

There's essentially no limit to the number of good idea things - safety, medical, navigational, food and food prep to take along.
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Old 26-08-2015, 08:37   #18
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

I am not usually a "joiner", but I did participate in the Malts Cruise in Scotland. For £750, we had several evening events and several distillery tours.

It all paid off when my 8 year old slipped on a big rock and cut his knee to the bone. As the entire flotilla was monitoring VHF 74, when my wife called our boat asking for help, since she had the dinghy with our son, it was easy to ask the others for assistance.

While I and a Norwegian went to pick up my son in the Norwegian's dinghy, the regatta organizers were busy locating the nearest hospital and a taxi to take my son there.

If I had been alone with my family in a Scottish fjord with no VHF signal, no cell phone signal, we would have had a problem. Later a Scottish Coast Guard man told me that all I would have had to do is activate my EPIRB.

When my son found out that he missed a free helicopter ride to the hospital, he was annoyed.

I have crossed the Atlantic with a crew of three, not partaking in any organized flotilla, but I think with these organized events, one does get one's money's worth and the boats do look after one another.
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Old 26-08-2015, 09:21   #19
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

East to west across the north Atlantic is probably the easiest, most enjoyable sail you will make. No bad weather, little to no traffic, no navigational hazards, steady winds, with today's GPS a novice could make it in a stock Hunter and have little or no problems.

Paying for the illusion of security has made a lot of money for a few people. But you also get to party with other folks who are paying the price as well.

To most people, sailing is a freedom from bureaucracy. Telling you when to go, where to go, what to take, and charge you for it seems to run contrary to that freedom, but then there is that illusion of safety.

I sleep a lot better off watch if I know there are no boats within 20 miles of me, and if you feel chatty there are plenty of transatlantic cruising nets to gain a little comfort from if you like to keep contact with the ‘outside world’.

But the parties are good!

Of note, the winds are better late December and early January.

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Old 26-08-2015, 09:32   #20
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

Weird about all the profiteering in play... Yet another reason not to get involved in this "event". I suppose the main hurdle in this run is watch keeping and single handing is tough, double is better but still rough... Perhaps you want something like 4 on and 8 off and the crew coming on watch can have time do prepare some eats. But you don't get to spend and time with the off watch...they're sleeping! You can take one crew and it works fine.
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Old 26-08-2015, 09:43   #21
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

I agree, with a crew of 3 you will get plenty of rest, and you don't have the extra food and social dynamics that a fourth crew will mean.
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Old 26-08-2015, 09:47   #22
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

I did it 2 years ago with a friend of mine who was in a similar position as you. He had never sailed long-distance before and was nervous about it so he and his partner were keen to do it as part of the ARC or the Atlantic Christmas Rally for safety reasons and camaraderie. I managed to convince them not to do it as part of either of the rallies and they were very pleased that they didn't for several reasons. 1) It is expensive. 2) It has become a bit of a race. 3) Most importantly, they/we were able to pick our own schedule and leave when we wanted. That year the ARC left in crappy winds (the trades hadn't properly set in yet). The mini-Trans-At had left just before them and had been similarly afflicted. There is a lot of pressure on the rally partakers to leave on schedule because boats have crew on them with flights to catch etc. and commitments with the marinas and other people at both ends.

Furthermore, you don't really gain that much in terms of safety from being part of the ARC fleet. If something goes seriously wrong and you have to abandon ship there will be various boats and ships around regardless who can pick you up within a few days. If you are seriously disabled but not in a mayday situation then there's not much anyone can do about it however close they are and once you're a day or two out of the Canaries you are going to the Caribbean whether you like it or not. Even if you end up drifting the whole way you'll make it in just over 2 months. In my opinion, the ARC is good for people that like the idea of being part of something greater than them (i've done rallies and loved them - they can be a lot of fun) and people that are not confident in their abilities and think it'll be easier if they are surrounded by other people for reassurance. If, on the other hand, you just want to get from A to B and enjoy it on your own terms, it doesn't have much to offer you, and certainly in our case we thought it ended up being actually safer doing it by ourselves because we were able to wait for a good weather window.
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Old 26-08-2015, 15:24   #23
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

If you have been sailing in the Med for a few years you will have collected contacts with other cruisers who will be crossing at the same time, without the benefit of the ARC. As you travel the path to the Canaries, and through the islands, you will meet more. So when the time comes you will have a group of cruisers to share the experiences with, you will probably get involved in a NARC radio net, party with folks on both ends of the passage, and generally not be alone. You will leave when the weather is right, not on a schedule, and if you wait a bit you will enjoy Las Palmas without the ARC mob. The year I was there (2008-2009) the weather never really did set up well so we (a large group of NARCs) enjoyed Christmas in Las Palmas and New Years in Santa Cruz. I cannot imagine what the ARC could possibly have offered that would be worth nearly what it costs. YMMV

What drives me crazy is the argument that one is safer with the ARC - utter nonsense, and a dangerous thought at that. If you (the captain) are not confident that you and your boat are prepared for the passage then you shouldn't go - ARC or not. If you have SSB or satellite communications you can always call for help in a real emergency. It is often possible to raise another vessel with the VHF. In practice, other than advice over the radio, or possibly passing over medicine or similar, there is not much anyone can do to help a cruiser in distress other than pick up the crew from an abandoning vessel or liferaft. The only real security is in a prepared vessel and crew, and the confidence that whatever the problems a solution can be found.

I recommend leaving Gibraltar in Setember. Consider going to Madeira first - a very interesting stop but short of berths so get reservations if you can. There is some anchoring available but not much that is protected should the winds reverse to the south. It was a great place to haul and paint the boat prior to the crossing (the fishing fleet is out and the huge and professionally run boatyard is nearly empty). Sail to the NE-most end of the Canaries and work your way through the islands, arriving in Las Palmas after the ARC has left. The Canaries are a fascinating destination in their own right, with varied landscapes.

The so-called "Milk Run" is not guaranteed. We rarely saw the sun, had repeated squalls throughout the passage, experienced rough seas with quartering seas from North Atlantic winter storms interacting with the following wave train to repeatedly poop the cockpit, and as a result had a wet and rough trip. The trim tab broke, taking out the wind vane and also the amplification for the autopilot, which itself broke a couple of times as a result of the high loads (thankful for spares!). It is imperative to be prepared for such a passage, even though it is not the most likely outcome.

Greg
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Old 26-08-2015, 15:44   #24
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

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The so-called "Milk Run" is not guaranteed. We rarely saw the sun, had repeated squalls throughout the passage, experienced rough seas with quartering seas from North Atlantic winter storms interacting with the following wave train to repeatedly poop the cockpit, and as a result had a wet and rough trip.

Greg
We had the same last year. Spent three weeks down below deck because everytime we'd get comfortable in the cockpit, a random wave would slap the transom and we'd get drenched with gallons of seawater. Tested the companionway boards when we got pooped (amazing geyser squirting through the drop boards when a wave breaks on your stern!). And we saw the sun for only a few days, the rest were all stormy, rainy and dark.

But, it was all doable and nothing the ARC would have helped.


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Old 26-08-2015, 19:56   #25
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

So this is pretty dumb, but i can't figure out how to post a new question, need some help, Thanks, doug.
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Old 27-08-2015, 03:20   #26
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

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So this is pretty dumb, but i can't figure out how to post a new question, need some help, Thanks, doug.
not dumb at all - you have to scroill to the bottom of all the replies and there's a button marked "new thread" - not easy to find ....
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Old 28-08-2015, 21:13   #27
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

once offshore it would be rare to ever sight another boat in the fleet until the morning you arrive at your final destination. It's a big ocean.
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Old 08-02-2016, 06:16   #28
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

I know this is a long time coming BUT I am here to follow up and say thanks for all the great advice.
We choose to sail the Atlantic on our own, or own with two crew in tow and this proved to be the very best decision for us. When we left Mindaloo two boats left the gate at the same time and once we overtook them we didn't see another boat for the entire 12 days of the crossing. Unless far away lights from a container ship on the final two nights count.

IT was great and we didn't miss the parties or social events or radio calls and we loved having the additional cash in our pocket. Re the racing that happens in the ARC we didn't miss that but I am sure if we had participated it would have been a fun aspect.

The best part of doing it on our own was when we were the Verde Islands we ended up staying 3 weeks almost not a few days in Mindaloo Marina. Cap Verde's is spectacular to visit and each island held there own appeal. This fact alone was rich reward for not travelling with an organised group.

Our boat and all aboard did a stellar job and none of us felt less for our crossing experience. Hand and heart - I can say the answers forwarded in this forum gave me a huge boost and I wanted to say Thank YOU for advice and positive views. There is no right and wrong way to cross, we all need to find the right path for us and our boat.

I did a follow up post if anyone is interested in Miss Catanas trip. The video editing continues so a video will be following. What’s It Like To Sail Across The Atlantic | Miss Catana

cheers
the Miss

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Old 08-02-2016, 06:59   #29
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pirate Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Miss View Post
I know this is a long time coming BUT I am here to follow up and say thanks for all the great advice.
We choose to sail the Atlantic on our own, or own with two crew in tow and this proved to be the very best decision for us. When we left Mindaloo two boats left the gate at the same time and once we overtook them we didn't see another boat for the entire 12 days of the crossing. Unless far away lights from a container ship on the final two nights count.

IT was great and we didn't miss the parties or social events or radio calls and we loved having the additional cash in our pocket. Re the racing that happens in the ARC we didn't miss that but I am sure if we had participated it would have been a fun aspect.

The best part of doing it on our own was when we were the Verde Islands we ended up staying 3 weeks almost not a few days in Mindaloo Marina. Cap Verde's is spectacular to visit and each island held there own appeal. This fact alone was rich reward for not travelling with an organised group.

Our boat and all aboard did a stellar job and none of us felt less for our crossing experience. Hand and heart - I can say the answers forwarded in this forum gave me a huge boost and I wanted to say Thank YOU for advice and positive views. There is no right and wrong way to cross, we all need to find the right path for us and our boat.

I did a follow up post if anyone is interested in Miss Catanas trip. The video editing continues so a video will be following. What’s It Like To Sail Across The Atlantic | Miss Catana

cheers
the Miss

Miss Catana
Nice one 'Miss'..
I'm one who has never 'Got' the ARC thing myself.. okay the lead up can be fun ( a boat I delivered to Gran Canaria for the owner to do the ARC in) if your that way inclined but to 'Granny' for my taste.. and if your Not trying to do the World in 2 yrs.. you miss a helluva lot..
Glad its was as it should be.. A Grand Experience to savour over the years.

PS:... Just went back and read what I posted before you set off..
Jeez I'm an ******* sometimes..
There's some very nice people do the ARC.. mainly for the sense of security a publicised big annual event brings.. so much attention focused on it and the Yellowbrick tech..
Babies and toddlers plus mom and dad.. that bit I Do Get..!!
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:25   #30
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Re: Is It Rude To Tag Along

I totally get the ARC.
I went on half a world ARC before I bought this boat and I loved it.

Its pretty damn exciting to be doing 3,000nm races. Its exciting being in a port with a bunch of friends. And its great having the back up and support in far off places.



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