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Old 20-01-2017, 02:20   #1
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Rally

We are inexperience sailors and planning to sail to Caribbean this December on our boat. Is it worth joining the ARC to cross the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia?

Looking at their website, it seems a bit pricey to join the club. In fact, I am not sure if we are qualified to join them based on their required sailing experience. Having read some threads in this forum, it looks like a Atlantic crossing race rather than cruising. Then it may not be for us.

On one hand, we will get a lot of useful information and advice from them before crossing. on the other hand, it may be really crowded and chaos when thousand of boats are in the same marina. But then at least, we can get a place in marina via the club.

Any pro and cons to join ARC? Actually, we are thinking if it is for us.
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Old 20-01-2017, 02:53   #2
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Re: Rally

We helped an inexperienced couple participate in a rally. The weather and other information were valuable but easily obtainable from internet sources providing you had the knowledge to interpret the information. I cannot imagine paying a lot of money for freely available information. Participants feel more secure being in radio net but once the boats are at sea you are essentially alone.

In 2013 boats in the Salty Dawg Rally, from the US to the Caribbean, encountered major weather problems because they went to sea on a schedule.

However, if you cannot make your own 'go-no-go' decisions you should not be out there!

Good Luck
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Old 20-01-2017, 03:09   #3
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Re: Rally

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
In 2013 boats in the Salty Dawg Rally, from the US to the Caribbean, encountered major weather problems because they went to sea on a schedule.
To be clear, there was a prospective departure date and a somewhat unpredictable forecast. The weather router for the rally indicated that you could either leave on or before that date, and potentially miss the expected weather, or wait until after. Some boats left on that date and ran into heavy weather but many boats elected to wait until it had passed. The difference between the Salty Dawg and ARC events is that Salty Dawg requires previous bluewater experience and does less hand holding. It's also free. Participants make their own decisions about when to go, route, etc.

Aden, as far as the TransAt ARC goes, it depends on what you mean by "inexperienced". If you don't have the experience required by the organization then you should not do it, unless you have crew on board with the right experience and that would include (in my opinion) previous crossing experience.

Beyond general sailing experience, preparing your boat for a 2800 mile voyage, where for a significant part of it you're essentially 1000 miles from anywhere and far beyond the reach of aid, is an extensive process. Beyond actual outfitting and preparation, you need to be intimately familiar with every vital system on the boat and be able to service/repair it at sea. There's a lot to learn and do. Whether 1 year is enough time to prepare is a function of your aptitude, resources, and dedication and the outfit and condition of your boat.

The whole point of the TransAt ARC is to provide assistance to less experienced boats making the crossing. They provide seminars, weather routing (FWIW on that voyage), logistical support at both ends, and social events. There are some boats that treat it like a race, but the majority just use it as an organized vehicle for making the crossing. I would say that less experienced sailors probably get good value out of joining up given the level of support.

I've make that crossing a few times at that time, not as part of the ARC but arriving in Rodney Bay while the ARC boats were there or arriving. There is plenty of space, as many boats peel off and go to other destinations, and the marina there is a healthy size. There is a sailmaker there (who's swamped with work when the boats come in and always a bit grumpy), decent chandlery, etc. which is pretty helpful after a trip like that because stuff is going to break along the way. The ARC staff seem pretty busy in St. Lucia helping participants with logistical stuff and other support. That's what you're paying for as well.
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Old 20-01-2017, 03:35   #4
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Re: Rally

if you have to ask - - - "... you should not be out there!"
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Old 23-01-2017, 16:00   #5
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Re: Rally

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if you have to ask - - - "... you should not be out there!"
And so how are they supposed to gain experience? Better to know what you don't know and join a group than can assist with your learning then to blindly head off and run into trouble.
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Old 24-01-2017, 01:52   #6
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Re: Rally

Thanks for moondancer, rallyman and suijin constructive replies.

I think there are other Rallies crossing Atlantic. We will check them out and compare between them in terms of the membership fee and benefits,
ie Atlantic Odyssey
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Old 24-01-2017, 01:57   #7
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Re: Rally

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And so how are they supposed to gain experience? Better to know what you don't know and join a group than can assist with your learning then to blindly head off and run into trouble.
all those rallies instill a false sense of safety. anybody afraid of "being out there all alone" shouldn't be there!
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Old 31-01-2017, 09:18   #8
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Re: Rally

We like rallies. The first year we had our boat, we sailed from the States to the Caribbean by ourselves. The last two years we've gone with the Salty Dawgs. Everyone there picks their own start date, BTW. We originally did it to see if we would like a rally, and we do. We like already knowing people when we get somewhere and then meeting up again in different places. It's like having a moving neighborhood. It is not true that you can't get help at see. It's happened during the Salty Dawg rallies. Although, that said, I wouldn't count on it.

This year, I'm taking an all female crew on the ARC Europe. We'll end up meeting the fleet in Bermuda because I have author/reader conferences I have to attend and won't return until the day after the fleet leaves Nanny Cay. I'd rather be ahead of them then playing catch-up.

If anyone else is going I'd love to hear from you.

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Old 31-01-2017, 13:26   #9
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Re: Rally

Aden,

Since you already are showing the gumption to go on your own, I think that that is what you "should" do. The additional "safety" that some might tout for rallyes is only imaginary, and it encourages herd thinking, too. I think internet posts exacerbate one's nervousness, when people rant on and on about "safety issues."
I know this is an opinion that may draw fire.

It is mostly intangibles you will gain from doing it on your own: more confidence with your weather understanding skills, more confidence in your route planning skills, and, of course you shall have saved some money.

On the other hand, if you do the ralley, then you will be part of a social group that may not be easy to become accepted by. To that argument I would say, "if they do not accept you, and admire you for having done it by yourselves, would you want them for cruising buddies?"

The only reason to me to join the ralley is because you are drawn to it as "so much fun" that you can't bear to be left out. If it is only for an empty illusion of safety, forget it.

Ann
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