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post #574 of Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
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,
As if it were true? Are you serious, Jon? You're right, we will NEVER reach common ground if you're not going to be honest about your position. The bolded part was this:

"...especially if the experience bar to entry is low"
And earlier in this thread when I asked your personal opinion on this bar to entry for the SDR, you said this:

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Well, here's what I would say:

Don't do it... A newbie without much offshore experience has no business sailing his own boat from Newport direct to the Caribbean in November...
So which is it? Is the bar to entry for the SDR (or even C1500) low for this trip, or is it not?

Personally, I agree with your above quote. It's your (and Ausp's) double-sidedness on this issue that's so confusing - i.e. - it's somehow okay for the SDR to have a standard that's exactly the opposite of what you actually believe. You both either want it both ways, or you're just not willing to stand up for your viewpoint against the SDR (for some "strange" reason).

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
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...
I don't believe I have said anywhere that the bar for entry to the SDR is significantly higher or lower than the C1500. That's a comparison you keep desperately trying to make. Not me.

They are both low in my opinion. But only one of them provides some level of back-up for that (the C1500 via its ISAF-based standards and inspections).

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
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...
For the millionth time - it is the SDR's low bar to entry combined with the lack of demonstrable safety standards that is the problem. They need to change one or the other. And, unless you're changing your position yet again, you agree, at least, with the bar to entry issue. So, yes, I can easily state my opinion that with this combination - the SDR is not concerned enough with safety.

So, you can TRY to make the argument above that "by definition" the bar for the SDR is set higher due to its laissez faire approach - but here's the comes back to enticement.

What is FREE worth to most people? If you really want to keep comparing the two, start with comparing the COST OF ENTRY and tell me about the level of overall commitment required on the part of a skipper in one vs. the other. Sorry, Jon, this "by definition" argument of yours doesn't hold up even for a second.

Let's look at the quotes you brought from those blogs for the real benefits of the SDR:

What you bolded:
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.

What you didn't:
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.
Social aspect I can understand - but why do "independent skippers" that have no need of outside "gurus" telling them what to do need the communication network of a rally? Is it just the social needs of the lady aboard? Or is it something more (see below)?

What you bolded:
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this and I thank you for your being firm about the need for backup communications!
So you're all for the SDR gurus "being firm about the need for backup communications" - but this approach is suddenly bad when the C1500 does likewise on this and many other areas?

Again, you're not being consistent.

What you didn't:
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.
Hold on to this bolded piece. It's important.

And from the second example...

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.
Pretty typical expectations of what a rally provides. That last part though - how exactly is that tapped prior to the run? If it's such an important aspect of the rally, how does the less experienced skipper benefit from it prior to the roasted pig and Painkillers? And if "a pool of unsurpassed knowledge" is so important, why is there so much resistance to one of the best pools of this on the planet - the one that the C1500 uses? One rally is very clearly meeting that need. The other? Who knows?


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.
Is this the independent skipper you're talking about? Seriously? Is there maybe some enticement in there? Then this...

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.
Now to the NYAPA thing...

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
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).

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... :-)
I think I'll just let the NYAPA skipper/crew say it for me...

The biggest regret we have through all of this is we did not heave to immediately and check to see what was going on with our rigging. We payed for this mistake in a big way, yet it could have been much worse so we are also grateful that it didn’t include a serious injury or loss of life. When something major happens to your boat like this, it makes sense that other things are going to go also, we weren’t completely prepared for this. Over the years John and I have attended a number of off-shore seminars and the one thing that gets repeated over and over is to have a back up for the back up. Now I get it. When we lost our parachute anchor we could have cried and we learned the hard way not to skimp on important gear.
Now, what is the primary point of knowledge they list? Their experience you and Ausp seem so smitten with? No - seminars. "Now they get it." What if the SDR offered all their participants more of these learning opportunities and safety standards so everyone involved could also "get it".

Look - at the end of the day, here is the SDR enticement I see in all the accounts you list above: Free Weather Routing Services.

This is the crux of all of it in my opinion - for those "independent skippers" (more or less experienced) who don't want to go the route of an expensive, rigid rally like the C1500.

You, the skipper (at whatever level of green you may be), don't have to pay a dime to enter. You can do whatever you want, take your boat in whatever shape it's in, not have anyone (like Jon or Ausp) telling you that you're likely not experienced enough for this run at this time of year, or tell you how to run/equip your boat (apart from the occasional insistence on back-up communications, etc.). You don't have to pay for any expensive upgrades for safety - AND you get FREE weather routing AND the perceived comfort of being in the group (plus other tchatchkies like free mooring, etc.).

This, my friend, is enticement in every sense of the word (as is clearly shown in those quotes you provided above). The problem comes in those less-experienced skippers who are looking for the SDR to "enable" their safety. It's unequivocally lacking in this area.

Think whatever you want about the SDR, but it's undeniable that the USCG reaped the unfortunate rewards of this generously sponsored laissez-faire approach on November 7-8.

Last edited by smackdaddy; 01-01-2014 at 01:58 PM.
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