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  #731  
Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Well, for a rally that has a list stipulating certain items as being "required" gear, I'm surprised that neither of those are considered to be such, yes...
I actually think wording on this distinction is quite good:

Quote:
The regulations are in two sections:

Section One - Mandatory Safety Equipment Requirements
This equipment must be carried and all items will be sighted during the safety equipment inspection prior to the start. Failure to comply may lead to disqualification from the Rally.

Section Two - Recommended Safety Equipment
Whilst equipment in this section is not mandatory the organisers strongly suggest that all the recommendations in this section are complied with. The Safety Equipment Officer will be available to discuss points made in this section during his inspection.
Sure lots of potential loopholes and squish, but I'd say it's pretty clear the recommendations are not something a prudent skipper should ignore.

Again, you well know by now that I think this is a very responsible approach on the face of things. The troubling thing is if vtsail is correct in that these requirements are dismissed in the T&C.

I'm trying to get my hands a copy of that to confirm.
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  #732  
Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Okay - I found it:

http://www.worldcruising.com/Office/...tions_Pack.pdf

So, vt, as to your statement that one could qualify by sailing 250 miles on a lake, I'm going to have to assume that someone at WCC specifically told you that. Because WCC is more specific than that in its language:

Quote:
C1500-5. QUALIFYING CRUISE
Each yacht (and at least the skipper and one crew) must have completed a qualifying cruise of 250 nautical miles in the twelve months preceding the start.
True, whether a "cruise" qualifies is up to WCC. But, up front, they've stated that this cruise/passage needs to be "off-shore":

Quote:
To join a World Cruising Club rally, you will need a seaworthy boat. We don't define the type of boat, but we do set some limits on boat length (see the FAQs in the rally pages), and we expect you and your boat to have completed an offshore passage in the year before the rally.
So, again, this T&C language is not inconsistent as they've stated what a "qualifying cruise" is on the website - then repeated that (more generally, yes) in the T&C - with specific distances being determined for each rally.

All that said, if your only experience was 250 miles in a lake and they accepted you - or specifically told you that they would accept such a person...it's a different matter.

So - did they tell you something like this? Or are you just reading the T&C more generally?
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 02-10-2014 at 06:14 PM.
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  #733  
Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
So, vt, as to your statement that one could qualify by sailing 250 miles on a lake, I'm going to have to assume that someone at WCC specifically told you that. Because WCC is more specific than that in its language:

True, whether a "cruise" qualifies is up to WCC. But, up front, they've stated that this cruise/passage needs to be "off-shore":

All that said, if your only experience was 250 miles in a lake and they accepted you - or specifically told you that they would accept such a person...it's a different matter.

So - did they tell you something like this? Or are you just reading the T&C more generally?
Not quite. I mentioned a couple of things, one is that all of my experience to date has been on the Great Lakes, AND that the act of getting one's boat to Portsmouth, VA is likely going to involve 250+ nm.
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  #734  
Old 03-19-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

I was checking in to see how the SDR was progressing with their board review of the rescue debacle - and didn't see anything. However, they are looking for more cash!

The Salty Dawg Rally

Quote:
SALTY DAWG RALLY – SUPPORTERS AND MEMBERSHIPS
A note for all Salty Dawgs from rally founders Linda and Bill Knowles, s/v Sapphire:

We would like to thank all the current and past Salty Dawgs, our sponsors, volunteers and everyone who has contributed to the success of the Salty Dawg Rally. We have grown beyond our wildest dreams. We want to make sure the Rally keeps growing, but with growth also comes increased workloads and operating expenses. Our sponsors and many Dawgs have donated lots of benefits to those who have become Dawgs but not enough money to cover the growing expenses...
Obviously, I'm fine with their becoming more like the WCC rallies if they also up the ante on the safety side accordingly.

Maybe that's what their board is really getting at after last year. They're just not specifically laying that out yet. Nothing good is really free, right?
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 03-19-2014 at 06:32 PM.
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  #735  
Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Some excellent, eloquent perspective from the smallest boat in the SDR fleet...

A friend posted this on another forum, portions of an email he received from a British couple aboard RUFFIAN, a Rival 34... Typical Brits, no whinging allowed, no seeking of someone else to blame, they just get on with sailing with a cheerful and positive outlook, and accept that sometimes bluewater voyaging can turn into a bit of a crapshoot...

Iain's remarks are in quotes, I've left some of Tom's comments interspersed, as well... And, I've taken the liberty to bold what I feel is the single most important point to be taken away from the events of last fall:

"“So I’ve ready stated that I’d never participate in a rally and safety is my main concern; so why did Ruffian participate in the SDR? To put it simply the SDR increased the safety of the passage. As part of registering, and I use the word registering instead of participating on purpose, you are given access to detailed weather routing by Chris Parker and this is the primary reason why I registered. Having access to this additional source of information and his extensive knowledge of the weather systems that are at work off the east coast of the US gave me another level of safety above that of pulling gribs at sea. Without registering with the SDR we simply could not afford to use the service that Chris offers and indeed we wouldn’t have missed it as we have never had the experience of a professional router on Ruffian. In addition the SDR does not prescribe a fixed start date, nor start or end location, therefore everything about the voyage is up to me.”

Iain goes onto their second SDR passage, November 2013.

"“After listening and watching the weather webcast and pulling our gribs we thought we’d have southerly winds of 20 – 25 knots for the first 3 days and this would then very quickly switch around to the north 25-30 knots until the end of the forecast. Ruffian would then be so far east and south we would expect to be encountering the effects of the Azores high and the trade winds meaning that the breeze would gradually shift from north to east giving us a reach south to the BVI’s. Ultimately this is exactly what we got.

Now none of the above sounds particularly difficult but if you mix it with not having done a big passage at sea for a few months and the effects of the Gulf Stream and a few squalls then you realize that it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Even we underestimated how difficult the first few days would be, in the first 60 hours we were constantly on deck, constantly wet and hand steered all the time. I think that we lived through this (although at one point I did get really quite worried and wanted to bail out) as we cut our teeth racing yachts around the English Channel, a seriously challenging place to sail a yacht. To date this offshore passage is still the most difficult that we have completed.”"

Iain and his wife Fiona, also a veteran ocean racer of decades, don’t take this passage lightly. It’s a big one and will always have it’s risks of lot’s of breakage and worse. He doesn’t blame the SDR,…

"“In reverse order let us deal with my opinion about why no blame for ANYTHING that happened should be leveled at the SDR.

The SDR simply provides a non prescriptive framework for you to put together all the components to make a successful ocean passage, but it doesn’t take any of the responsibility away from the skipper in ensuring that he, his boat, and his crew is ready to sail offshore. There are no kit inspections, no kit requirements (with the exception of the ability to report your position), no experience prerequisites (with the exception that the skipper must self declare that he and his boat have sufficient experience), there is no fixed start date and no fixed start or end location, so with all this flexibility and the responsibility and indeed the decision sitting with the skipper whether he feels it is safe or not to go to sea how can anything be levelled at the SDR? Remember they are simply providing a framework to complete the passage not a guarantee that you’ll be ready for it.”"

So why the criticism? He lists several reasons, here’s a few.

"“Many people, their relatives and friends, do not like living with the decisions that they make and saying ‘we were sent out’ takes the responsibility away from the skipper and into the hands of a 3rd party, in this case the SDR. Let’s face it though, no-one left into the forecast weather with a gun against their heads, no-one had to leave and the wider community needs to realize that we all take responsibility for our decisions.

The criticism perhaps comes down to bad communication from the SDR to the wider community and the community understanding exactly what the SDR does and more importantly does not offer. The SDR gives a simple framework where everything rests with the skipper. If everyone ‘out there’ realises that everything that happens to every boat on the ocean is down to the skipper then we would all be in a better place.”"

Well said. With 200 boats out at once in those conditions -which must be expected on that passage anytime of the year- Iain feels breakage onboard boats WILL happen. And don’t we know that?

I much appreciated the time my friend Iain took to send me his experience. He sums his 2 SDR’s up here,…

"“On one final note, would I do the SDR again? On balance I absolutely would as it continues to enable me to increase the safety of my vessel while at sea with the weather routing that it provides and takes away none of my responsibility to make sure that the crew and boat are ready to go to sea and I am happy with the conditions I will encounter.”

Humble folks, he doesn't even mention that they lost their engine early on last November, and sailed the entire SDR. Iain and Fiona out of Newcastle UK on RUFFIAN, their Rival 34', in Rockport Harbor last summer.



A friend and two time participant critiques the Salty Dawg Rally; Two thumbs up!

Here's a link to their blog... It's a good one:

The yin and yang of the world of offshore sailing. | A little boat and a big ocean.
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  #736  
Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Good write up. I'm glad they had way more experience than required by the SDR to participate. Looks like they would have been in real trouble had they been single-passage newbs.
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  #737  
Old 04-01-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

I did the SDR rally in 2012 to get to the BVI's. IMHO it did increase the safety of our trip for several reasons...

- Chris Parker detailed and personalized weather routing
- Daily checkins and position tracking; someone with a clue was watching me.
- Chance to meet, greet and swap ideas with other skippers more experienced than me.
- Daily weather briefings and discussions shoreside as the departure date approached.

The SDR is pretty loose with dates. In 2012 there was some weather out there. The organizers, whose boat is similar in performance character to mine, opted to wait a bit. Some people did not, they all arrived safely but they took a pasting off shore.

Some of the early ones had to go then, it was the skipper's call and they were fully informed on weather. The reason some "had" to go was a matter of crew schedules. They had bodies on board with plane tickets back from the BVI's that had to be back for day jobs. That situation adds a heck of a lot of risk.

But there is no set departure, no one tells you you have to leave before you are ready. And there is no exhaustive check list of equipment you must have, no matter how impractical it might be for your boat (you try and find a way to mount a manual bilge pump in my center cockpit!).

The other understanding is this rally is not for first timers. Now the question becomes how much experience is enough?

When I did it I'd made one 1000+ mile trip, albeit as skipper on my own boat delivering from Florida to RI. And a few overnight sails, RI to Maine, Maine the Chesapeake, etc. My wife and kids had only done the latter.

Was that enough? Maybe, we had no problems but we never saw more much more than 30 knots on our trip to the BVI's, and that only in short squalls. I felt comfortable doing it but I was very edgy about the weather and went with the much more conservative late start with most of the fleet. A few more thousand miles later and I'm not sure I'm any safer now than I was then, but I tend to be conservative.

When you do the rally they tell you "You are the skipper of your boat, you make the calls." I am comfortable with that. Given the size of the rally and some of the snot they did hit < 5% of the fleet breaking things isn't too bad.
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  #738  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Good write up. I'm glad they had way more experience than required by the SDR to participate. Looks like they would have been in real trouble had they been single-passage newbs.
I think any "single-passage newb" could have been in real trouble whether they were participating in the Salty Dawg Rally, the Caribbean 1500, or making the passage on their own... :-)

Another account of the trouble a presumably experienced delivery crew encountered on a large, high quality, well found yacht - the Alden 54 ZULU...

Trouble aboard Zulu in the Gulf Stream | Cruising World

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  #739  
Old 04-01-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Rather ironic that the purported value of joining the rally - the weather routing service - is made necessary because of the schedule imposed by the rally itself. That is called circular reasoning.

It is abundantly clear that folks join these rallies because they feel safer in the herd, a questionable rationale.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Rather ironic that the purported value of joining the rally - the weather routing service - is made necessary because of the schedule imposed by the rally itself. That is called circular reasoning.

It is abundantly clear that folks join these rallies because they feel safer in the herd, a questionable rationale.
The weather routing service is valuable weather you are sailing by your self or in a rally. Of course you can subscribe to Chris Parker on your own, or you can sign up for the rally and get it for free. I found his attention to you during the rally to be excellent.

As far as the schedule goes, THAT is generally set by people's insurance companies and geographic restrictions. The rallies tend to go at the first opportunity with clear weather after the insurance companies wave the "All Clear" on the hurricane season. In other words they are heading down the same time that people would head down anyway; after hurricane season and before winter really kicks in.

The exact dates are picked around the weather and no one is required to sail by them.

As far as "herd mentality" we took about eight days and a little to get from Hampton to the BVI's. For four of those days we didn't see a single boat. After the first few hours we never saw more than one boat at once.

However we talked to boats every day on the SSB, my wife answered some medical questions for a rally member, and someone was watching for us and other boats in trouble. There would have been other boats reachable in a short time if we or others needed help.

Sure, we could do it ourselves without the rally. We could even do checkins with things like the Mobile Maritime Service or other similar nets. And pay for weather routing. No question on that. But organizing in a group tends to be a bit more...organized, and provides better coverage when other people are watching your back.

There were also a number of significant financial benefits to joining the rally when we got to the BVI's, from savings in stores and fuel to free or discounted moorings.

When we cross the Pacific this year it will be with the Pacific Puddle Jump, a "Rally" in the sense that people are heading in the same direction at roughly the same time. SSB nets are done with checkins, but people leave from all over the West coast of central and South America over a window of 2-3 months and arrive via all sorts of routes.

Is it a "herd" mentality to join the radio checkins and take advantage of the Bond Exemption services offered to rally participants?
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