A high standard of safety yes. That is a given, but who sets this standard? Who is responsible for ensuring any given boat is 'safe'? What you say sounds good on the surface, but the issue is that what you are fundamentally talking about is taking responsibility for safety away from the skipper and giving it to a regulatory body.
I disagree that a rally 'creates a false sense of security'. I think anyone who is in a rallly to feel 'safe' when they otherwise wouldn't is an idiot. CAT 1 regs won't stop you being an idiot.
(PS - As "Mr. BFS", I have always advocated sailing big...pushing your envelope. Absolutely. But I've always advocated doing it safely. The bigger the sail, the higher your standards of safety and preparedness need to be. There's absolutely no conflict here. It's really just common sense...unless you want be believe an unprepared skipper should forever sail into serious trouble simply because he has the right to.)
The bigger the sail the higher my standards of safety are. I don't need ISAF, YA, RYA, Rally organisers to set them for me. These guys mean well but by their nature can only be a blunt instrument. I know the regs backwards, I have researched every aspect of them, and applied them as I believe appropriate to my boat, knowing it is my ass on the line.
Dress it up how you want, we differ on this Smack because you believes regulation equals safety. I don't necessarily.
You know me, Chall. I don't mind the disagreement at all.
Who sets the standard? ISAF is a great start. It's really pretty simple. And just like a race, it IS still up to the skipper, but the organizers - just like in a race - do some level of verification that the boats/skippers/crews are in compliance (spot checks, whatever...).
IF this "racing-level" standard of safety was an approach that rally organizers adopted - rallies would be invaluable in that they would become a great way to up the game of all participating cruisers.
As it is, it's essentially a sponsored crapshoot.
Again, my argument is putting absolutely nothing
on you as an individual. My argument is putting the onus on the organizers of sponsored rallies. Period.