The southeast coast of the United States offers a wealth of idyllic cruising grounds. However, when the desire strikes to venture further offshore to ports south such as those in the Caribbean, one question may be what is the best way to accomplish this goal as safely as possible. Many southeast sailors choose to cruise in an organized rally.
“I did a lot of research and concluded that the teamwork and association with a rally was the way to get started as a ‘blue water’ cruiser,” says Jamie Wendell, from Annapolis, Md., who learned about rallying while in the yard retrofitting/repairing his Tayana Vancouver 42, Mystic Shadow. “I want to travel the world, and I thought a rally would be a great way to get the indoctrination I need. I think meeting other folks who have taken rallies to heart really got me excited and pushed me to this point. I set a goal to be ready for this fall’s ARC 1500. I should just make it.”
Phillip Worrall, who bases his Caliber 40, Rum Runner, out of the Chesapeake Bay enjoys the “camaraderie, social and instructional events and reconnecting with rally mates sailing in the Caribbean.” Worrall started with the DelMarVa 400 Rally around the DelMarVa peninsula in 2009, then cast off to the Caribbean on the ARC Caribbean 1500 and in recent years including this one, sails in the Salty Dawg Rally.
“Sailing as part of a rally forces you to be organized and be prepared,” explains Jeff Carpenter, from Fairfax Station, Va. He has sailed on other people’s boats as crew and skippered his Jeanneau 54, Club Carp, to the Caribbean in both the Salty Dawg and ARC Caribbean 1500 rallies. “There are seminars and an inspection process that help you to avoid overlooking the little things like tapeing the lifeline pelican hooks shut and making sure your life raft and flares are up to date.”
What is the best way to prepare if you’re thinking of casting off in a rally this fall?