Smack- Assume you would leave from Texas to get to BVI and would do the southern coasts of Hispaniola etc. Multiple boats have been lost or gotten into serious troubles especially with land falls. I don't get your argument. If you did that trip you would be assuming some level of risk. You seem a stand up guy and would view the risk as yours and yours alone. ?Why is it different here? SDR doesn't say in any of their paperwork they are assuming any of the risks of the voyage. They may make suggestions but you are deciding to leave or not and when, you decide on your crew, how you prep your boat. This is just like any voyage. Why are you putting things on them that are not theirs?
This is the crux of the debate Out. Great question. The difference is that if I decide to do the trip and assume all the risk and responsibility on my own - that is my decision, and my decision alone. I, and I alone, determine whether I'm ready or not.
In the case of a rally such as the SDR, it is an outside entity stepping into that equation through their establishing a bar of experience required to take the trip, the perceived risk-reducing benefits of the rally (free weather routing, added experience of others, safety in numbers, etc.), the help in planning, the psychology of trust in an experienced organization to provide better collective decision-making than doing it just on your own...etc.
Additionally, when there is financial incentive for that entity which is reliant on number of participants - everything in the decision process gets much, much cloudier than making those calls for yourself and yourself only.
As I've just told Jon, I TOTALLY believe him when he says it's a dicey proposition to sail that route in November - and I TOTALLY agree that relative newbs (like me) have no business being out there at that time of year. However, the SDR says I can do it based on their experience requirements. As a matter of fact, I'm a veteran cruiser based on their standard for entry.
To understand my position on this, all you have to do is look at the actions taken by the NARC, who raised
their standard of experience for entry and participant boat size due to their past problems:
After last year we are recommending smaller boats with less experienced crew to head down to the Chesapeake Bay to depart with the caribbean 1500.
Where is Hank directing these newer sailors and why? The C1500 has all the stuff the SDR does not - all of which is VERY beneficial to newer sailors.
Jon has more experience then us both put together. I respect his opinion. But if he sails on my boat before leaving he and I need to decide who is captain. If its him then he is responsible for our safety. He does the routing, he decides when to depart, he reads the gribs and 500mb files.If its me then I am on the hook for those decisions. I would be foolish to ignore Jon and would like to think I would not do anything that would cause him concern. Still if I'm captain its my and only my responsibility. If we are in SDR its still the captains not the rally's responsibility. In fact I can't image a scenario where it would be the Rally's responsibility the way the rally is set up. That's one of its appeals. Jon says he would choose a different path. Read that and Street and there is much merit to their opinions. Now that is something I would like to hear more about.
This is another nuanced point - and a very good question. I'm not in any way trying to place culpability on the SDR. That's for the attorneys.
I AM saying that the way the SDR factors are now combined (I listed those above) - is, I think, a dangerous cocktail.
Just as Hank of the NARC has apparently done by pushing these less-experienced sailors to the C1500 (where there is more oversight) - the SDR would do very well to simply increase their bar to entry so that the fleet they assemble already know everything you list above, and, more importantly, know exactly what they're in for.
It really is an easy fix.