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...
I totally agree with you, Jon. I just wish the SDR would say the same.
Well, to use your own words, you need to "get an idea what "get[ting] yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness" actually means." In this regard, rallies actually can serve some purpose - by affording the opportunity to gain offshore experience, by sailing as crew, on someone else's boat...
You're right... By sailing with someone more experienced, aboard their boat... It's a delusion to think someone is gonna learn anything from other more experienced sailors in the fleet, once boats have left the dock...
Again, I totally agree with you. That's why I do the off-shore races and deliveries as crew. I've learned a hell of a lot - with a hell of a lot still to learn before we take our own boat across to Florida next summer.
Well, that's the rub, of course... I have a real problem with the notion that these rallies can realistically be run "for the benefit of those with less experience". It's an absurd notion, that the sea might make 'concessions' for newbies. It's been stated earlier, and I believe you voiced agreement, that unless one has the confidence, skills, boat, and crew to undertake such a passage entirely on their own, they have no business making the trip, period...
Of course, many newbs don't want to hear this, of course... "I just bought a brand new Bluewater Beemer with a Joystick Docking option, why can't I sail straight to Paradise NOW?"
Again, agreed. And this is why I have a problem with the low standard for entry to rallies like the SDR. They're basically telling that newb, "Why, you can! Just join our rally!" That's been my problem with it from the beginning. I think it's somewhat dangerous and irresponsible.
This takes us to another elephant in the room, something I alluded to earlier, the rush to accelerate the learning curve today, and the dismissal of the notion of any sort of Offshore Sailing Apprenticeship...
Sounds like you need to start a rally Jon. That one I'd join.
There were seminars and gatherings up and down the US East Coast starting long before the intended departure date so that participants would have time to integrate what they learned from the presenters and from each other.
I'd probably follow that with a list of things he or she should learn: weather forecasting, routing, sail trim, enough fluid dynamics to really understand sail trim and hull performance, some basic marlinspike skills, basic mechanics, communications skills, navigation. I might dig out some checklists for the boat but the focus is on understanding, knowledge, and skill.
So what is the list of those SDR seminars, Ausp? That would be very helpful to the debate. Strangely, they don't seem to be listed on the SDR website...which makes it even harder for a less experienced sailor to determine the value of the rally in terms of learning. Here is a list of the events from the website:
Nov 2, 2013 • Hampton, VA • Chicken BBQ with Stell and Snuggs performing.
Nov 1, 2013 • Hampton, VA • Whole Pig Roast with Mike and Amy Aiken performing. Rum Bar, featuring Pain Killers, provided by Phil Worrall on Rum Runner.
Oct 31, 2013 • Hampton, VA • Dark n Stormy Cocktail/Costume Party courtesy of Hampton Tourism and Convention Center. Caribbean Music with steel drums by Donna Lange.
Oct 29, 2013 • Hampton, VA • Check-in for the 2013 Fall Salty Dawg Rally begins at the Dawg House (aka the Bluewater Pavilion).
Oct 10 – 14, 2013 • Annapolis, MD • We will be at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, Tent H8.
Oct 10, 2013 • Annapolis, MD • Join us at our 2nd Annual Annapolis Rendezvous, sponsored by Jack Martin Insurance and Falvey Insurance at Mears Pavilion (519 Chester Avenue, Annapolis, MD) on Thursday, October 10th, 6pm.
Oct 9, 2013 • Annapolis, MD • Full day of seminars sponsored by Sea Hawk Paint, Mears Pavilion, Annapolis, MD. By RSVP to first 100 people.
"Up and down the US East coast"? Really? I see one day
of seminars in Annapolis - for only, maybe, 1/3 of the total participants (likely less depending on actual attendance).
I assume that because you, like Jon, would tell a person without much off-shore experience that they shouldn't do this trip
(unlike the SDR) - those seminars covered all of the topics you list above to your satisfaction - in addition to one very important one you left off...safety? So, as of October 10, that newb was now qualified for the trip and you would have encouraged their departure over a Dark-n-Stormy, a Painkiller, and some roasted pig?
When anyone offers an opinion there are so many unspoken assumptions and boundary conditions that differences between the opinions of people with open minds provide an opportunity for discussion and mutual learning. We seek to learn and consider from one another. We may not change our disparate opinions but we do give thought.
That's absolutely true for most of us. On the other hand, a tender few get in a huff and call the person they disagree with a "troll". How do you feel about those people, Ausp?