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post #573 of Old 12-26-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I have been very consistent that the ISAF thing is a very good thing to have in a rally (like with the C1500)...especially if the experience bar to entry is low.
I suppose this is as good an example as any, as to why you and I will NEVER reach any common ground on this issue... You keep repeating that bolded part, as if it were true, or that the SDR's bar is set lower than the 1500's... :-) If anything, by placing the sole responsibility upon the participants themselves, a good argument can be made that the bar is set higher, by definition, than for those who are willing to cede the decision-making re departure, and prep of their boat, to the Gurus of the 1500...

Your continual insistence that - simply because the SDR had no safety inspection - they are minimally concerned with 'Safety', is quite a stretch... I was not involved in the SDR, so of course can offer no first hand examples of the safety of the fleet being uppermost in the minds of the organizers, so perhaps it's best to hear from someone who actually participated...

By far, the best account I've found from one of the boats who ran into serious trouble, is from the blog of the family aboard NYAPA, the HC 38 that was dismasted... For the few who might still be following this thread, I highly recommend reading their account, linked to below...

Since what happened aboard NYAPA is ostensibly one of the consequences of what the SDR is doing wrong, please feel free to point out how they were "enticed" into doing the rally, examples of their "low experience level", what role "Group Think" played in their particular misadventure, or how a Safety Inspection might have averted the loss of their rig (despite having replaced all of their standing rigging a few months prior to departure).

First, their testimonial:

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for all your efforts in making the SDR happen. In our case, we had intended to go to the BVI’s on our own and joined the SDR for the social aspect and the communication network set in place while underway. I don’t think we would have joined if the SDR did not offer flexibility. Since John and I both tend to be independent thinkers this was essential for us. With that in mind, we left with the mind set that we were responsible for whatever would come our way and more came our way than we anticipated!

It was a great relief to me that the framework for communication was in place and we were able to connect with others and relay what was going on, receive weather information and it was, in general, just encouraging to have that daily communication. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this and I thank you for your being firm about the need for backup communications! We definitely had some communication snafus that we had to work around and through.

Since our return to the Chesapeake we have been so touched by the outreach of the cruising community, we have experienced nothing but kindness and understanding during a time when we felt pretty horrible at the loss of our rig. We are currently in South Carolina on the fast track for Florida where we will be doing repairs. It looks like the next week is bringing us some warm weather, hallelujah!

John and I once again extend our heartfelt thanks for all the support of the SDR, we wish you the very best in future rallies and hope our paths cross again some day!

-Amy Pollard, sv —yapa
And, why not, let's hear from the smallest boat in the fleet, the very experienced British couple aboard RUFFIAN:


The Salty Dawg Rally (SDR) has grown up from a little puppy into a full blown hound. In the Spring of 2013 we headed north with a loose collection of sailors where we found community, camaraderie and and a pool of unsurpassed knowledge. We joined them again in the Fall 2013 rally where we found the same sense of community and the same shared goal safely and successfully crossing oceans, but they had matured into something so much more.

We watched with horror in 2012 as the ARC fleet departed Las Palmas into shocking heavy weather and again in the Spring of 2013 when they left the BVI’s into 100’s of miles of no wind and vowed that the usual organised rallies were not for us. The SDR is no ‘usual rally’.

The SDR, through it’s generous sponsors, enabled us to have a safe and successful crossing from the BVI’s to North America on our 34ft yacht. Had we gone our own way and not had the support of the rally and it’s included weather routing from Chris Parker, we would have been battered by a storm that was not forecast by GRIB’s or NOAA in a timely fashion.

With the additional sponsors, the formal and informal gatherings to share information and expertise they were now able to welcome both world cruisers and those relatively ‘green’ to ocean passages. Having Chris Parker talk to the fleet about the weather we could expect on the journey south and safely routing us through the gulf stream proved to be invaluable and when the going got tough he proved to be a voice of calm and reason.

If we were to head to America again or indeed if the SDR’s were to spread their wings into northern Europe we would, without doubt, join them again for everything they bring to cruising experience.

Iain and Fiona Lewis, sy Ruffian
Finally, the account from NYAPA... Clearly, a rally that sets such a low bar as to "entice" sailors such as this to set off for Paradise with such a laissez faire approach to safety , has a problem... :-)


Last edited by JonEisberg; 12-27-2013 at 09:45 AM.
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