Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Caribbean 1500
I'm planning to do this or a similar rally one of these days. The social time is a big part of the draw, especially with those that have made several of these passages. While one can certainly gain access to all the same professional weather and nav resources on their own, I suppose it's a convenience for them to do so for you. I think I like the daily check in, but it's not the biggest deal. If you're in the raft and your EPIRB isn't working, it would seem like a nice safety feature. Whether in front or behind, one of the things I love the most about being offshore is getting away from other traffic. No stand on rule negotiations, no worries about taking your eyes off the upcoming 1000 yards full of lobster pots. I agree with the poster that has no interest in being in a pack.
However, I fully agree that there is both peer and schedule pressure, with these events. You can not join these to pay someone else to make decisions for you. Further, you must be willing to walk away from your entry fee, stay ashore, miss the arrival party, etc, if you aren't comfortable with the window.
There are several activities that require the same risk mangement decision making. Ed Viesturs wrote a great book on the subject, " No shortcuts to the top". I highly recommend it.
Ed has climbed Everest a half dozen times, every single 8000 meter peak, without oxygen, etc. On his first attempt to summit Everest, he turned back when just a couple hundred yards from the summit, because he reached the time of day he knew he needed to be headed back down the mountain to be safe. Most would set the same safety time before they began their accent, but many would ignore it, if that close. Understand which you are before entering one of these rallies, or making an open water passage at all.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.