No boat/safety inspection, etc. This is pretty typical. But then we look back to distress/rescues in past rallies such as the NARC, etc. - and you have to wonder...The Salty Dawg Rally is a grassroots, non-profit organization, comprised of blue water sailors who have completed at least one blue water passage. There is no formal inspection of each boat, since it is the responsibility of each skipper to have proper safety equipment and to ensure that the vessel is prepared for the passage. Information including weather, Gulf Stream analysis, location of eddies, and daily weather forecasts during the passage is provided to each skipper by well‐known weather router Chris Parker, courtesy of Blue Water Sailing magazine. Volunteer Dick Giddings manages float plans for all of the boats in the fleet and maintains a daily SSB radio schedule, as well as daily positions for everyone (via HF radio and SatPhone). It is each skipper’s responsibility to decide the course and whether or not to set out for the passage. The Rally, with an emphasis on safety, communication, camaraderie and fun, opens the door to new friends and experiences while cruising various areas in the Caribbean.
Sounds like it's back down to three. One was a false alarm, another managed to rig something up and continue on when they weren't rescued as fast as they expected to be.
Because you don't need that kind of training to do this passage on your own. If you want to go, you go. Many do, some don't make it. Preparation+Luck, etc. If the rally organizers only purport to offer t-shirts, some weather routing and a party in the BVI's at the end, then the rest is up to the skipper.Personally, as a dude that has researched off-shore rescues quite a bit, I'm wondering why these kinds of rallies don't require Safety At Sea training like off-shore racing does. Or why don't they at least enforce ISAF rules?
Seriously, what's the difference in the need for this kind of knowledge between racer and cruiser? Aren't dangerous conditions in a sailboat the same for both? Aren't safety procedures for those sailors roughly the same? Sure, the cruiser is inherently more conservative - but does that mean they can, therefore, be less prepared?
Something's wrong here.
You only have to do a single rally or race with hundreds of boats to understand how big the ocean is. For the first few hours, it's sails all over the horizon. The next morning, you might see couple. The next, probably none. The notion of "sailing in a group" is a very loose notion out there.Because you don't need that kind of training to do this passage on your own. If you want to go, you go. Many do, some don't make it. Preparation+Luck, etc. If the rally organizers only purport to offer t-shirts, some weather routing and a party in the BVI's at the end, then the rest is up to the skipper.
I'm not a rally person myself, I'd rather pick my own weather windows and not have to worry about getting to a party by some time, but I do think that there is room for this level of event. Should folks be more prepared for what is a pretty serious offshore passage? No doubt. Is it the rally organizers' responsibility to make sure everyone is prepared? I don't really think so other than offering suggestions.
If the loss of boats in a given rally causes participants to realize that they are not actually much safer out there just because they are in a group, then that will probably mean fewer boats in the rally next year, with a greater emphasis on safety, which is a good thing. This will continue until the memory of the lost boats becomes shrouded in the mists of the distant past (typically ~ 5 years) and then once ill prepared sailors will start to fill the rally's numbers. Still, it's the skippers responsibility.
You can lead a horse to water and so forth.