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Old 08-05-2014
FarCry's Avatar
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Re: Caribbean 1500

For comparison, I sailed a long leg across the Pacific with the World ARC in March. Having zero previous experience in this type of rally sailing my preconception was that there would be boats around and help if really needed etc. Within 12 hours of departing a port on a 3100 mile leg no boats were within sight. On AIS of the 35 or so boats that left, only about one half were visible. One boat had some sort of catastrophic electrical failure a few hundred miles out and was able to hail another vessel on a hand held VHF. The responding boat was nice enough to keep them insight and when conditions settled, got on the disabled boat and partially restored a battery and a charging source giving them enough power to run lights and radios. Other boats never involved themselves with the twice daily radio net. So there was no way to know where they were and if they were OK. Other boats that found themselves stuck in fishing gear, destroyed sails and other issues were on their own because of their location. It's not like the rally people are coming out to see why you haven't checked in or to actually help in anyway. At port before departure and at the arrival port, there were many friendly rally personnel around helping with everything from finding a laundromat to acquiring replacement boat bits. The weather services provided by the rally were useless. Most had paid for private weather routing and compared notes between services.
My point in all this rambling? I see some value with generally having others around, generally going the same way at generally the same time if things really go bad. Rebel Heart anyone? I do not see the perceived safety net that some have described on this and other forums that I visit. You are out there, responsible for you and your boat. Just because the rally says we are starting tomorrow sure wouldn't stop me from looking at the weather and making my own decisions. Maybe I would leave today or next week. Boats travel in the same conditions at such different speeds. It's very challenging to actually stay together for even a few hours, let alone days. My understanding is that some of the educational seminars are very good. The hop from the US to the BVI maybe worth the $1000 to some. I've heard they are pretty good at organizing parties.

Last edited by FarCry; 08-05-2014 at 12:14 PM.
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