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Salty Dawgs enjoying Thanksgiving on the beach
Salty Dawgs enjoying Thanksgiving on the beach

Rally Forth

In this month’s All At Sea, we take a look at the season’s crop of sailing rallies, from the east coast of the USA and from Europe to the Caribbean, and we have come up with some interesting news. Jimmy Cornell, the man who founded the highly-successful Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) and then sold it off, is back with three new transatlantic rallies.

I think it is fair to say that the ARC has changed beyond recognition since Cornell started the event so perhaps the new rallies come as no surprise.

A spokesperson for organizers Cornell Sailing told All At Sea that their latest rallies would embrace the original concept by returning to a “non-competitive and non-commercial spirit.”

Over the last few years some sailors have criticize the ARC alleging that it is now too commercial and more like an Atlantic race. It remains to be seen if Jimmy Cornell’s grandly named Atlantic Odyssey rallies prosper. The company certainly has the organizational skills to make them succeed and Jimmy Cornell has his finger on the pulse, especially when it comes to long distance cruising. Are there enough sailors wanting to rally across the Atlantic to support so many events? There must be risks involved, after all the Caribbean Christmas rally fell by the wayside, although I hear it might only have been put on hold for a year.

You can read all about the 2015/16 rallies on page 52.

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A story about kids putting messages in bottles and throwing them into the sea pressed all the right buttons. Do we ever grow up? I like to think that tucked away in the corner of even the most macho sailor’s heart is a trace of a child who wants to play; one who still believes in magic and that adventure can be had without being nose down in an electronic consul. I’m going to own up: I have been known to put a message in bottle and throw it into the sea. And I once found a message in a bottle, it was part of a scientific study, but it was still a thrill when I plucked it, barnacled and oil-stained, from amongst the seaweed on a Brittany Beach. Inside the bottle was a form asking me to fill in the details of where and when I had found it and post the information to a university in America (no internet back then). A few months later I received a thank you note from the researcher and a little certificate to mark the occasion.

If you have a story about a message in a bottle, then I would love to hear from you (p65).

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My wife and I are still toiling to repair our boat after the horrific damage caused by hurricane Gonzalo last year. I try to get to the yard two or three times during the week (deadlines permitting), and again on Saturday and Sunday. Spending just two hours a day on the boat is long enough to move the project forward and doesn’t suck the enthusiasm out of me. People continue to ask if we regret rebuilding her or do we wish we had walked away. What I do wish is that we had insured the boat; at least it would have eased the financial burden. I look back on the morning after the hurricane when we went to the beach hoping to see  the boat riding to her mooring knowing it would be more than a miracle if she was. When we found her, a mile away, dismasted, holed, but still afloat, a whole set of emotions came into play. I don’t know what hurt most, the damage to the boat or the wreck it made of the pride I held in my seamanship. Yes, there have been times when we wished we had walked away, but now, working side by side, we are painting the interior and, if anything, the damage to the boat has brought us closer together. That’s something money can’t buy.

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