Sailing Rallies Around the World

Every year, nearly 50 cruising rallies take place around the globe. There are rallies that cross the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream and even the Indian Ocean, routes that circle the Baltic, the Delmarva Peninsula and the World.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
The modern rally scene has come a long way since Jimmy Cornell’s first ARC in 1986

The modern rally scene has come a long way since Jimmy Cornell’s first ARC in 1986

Every year, nearly 50 cruising rallies take place around the globe. There are rallies that cross the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream and even the Indian Ocean, routes that circle the Baltic, the Delmarva Peninsula and the World. There are free rallies and paid rallies, inshore rallies and offshore rallies, rallies for racers and rallies for a cause.

The rally concept, however, hasn’t always been so seemingly ubiquitous. In fact, the first modern cruising rally occurred just 28 years ago, in 1986, when Jimmy Cornell started the first Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), a transatlantic trip that aimed to help European sailors get to the Caribbean in company for the winter. At the time, Cornell, originally from Romania, was working as a reporter for the BBC and sailing the globe with his family, frequently reporting back on his travels. After seeing the ARC quickly gain popularity, Cornell founded the World Cruising Club and expanded his offerings to include round-the-world rallies as well; he himself led five such rallies between 1986 and 2000. After Cornell sold the World Cruising Club to Andrew Bishop in 1998, the organization continued to grow and adjust to the times. Today, the World Cruising Club runs no less than 10 rallies every year.

After taking a decade off to focus on his writing (Cornell’s World Cruising Destinations and Cornell’s Ocean Atlas are widely considered the global cruisers’ bibles), Cornell came back on the rally scene with a new concept: “Odysseys.” These long-distance sailing events include a transatlantic, a transpacific and two round-the-world rallies, one focused on ocean health and one on amateur racing. All Odysseys place an emphasis on ocean awareness through ecological projects.

rally

Over the years, a handful of other entrepreneurial rally hosts have also started events, expanding the breadth of rallies as well as the definition. For example, Steve Black’s Caribbean 1500, from Hampton, Virginia, to Nanny Cay, Tortola, has now led hundreds of boats south every year (the World Cruising Club acquired the rally three years ago and continues the tradition) while Hank Schmitt’s NARC Rally (North American Rally for Cruisers) has provided a free southbound rally from Newport, Rhode Island, to the Caribbean for 15 years. On the West Coast, Latitude 38 has been loosely organizing two rallies for the past 20 years: the Pacific Puddle Jump, which sails to French Polynesia, and the Baha-Haha, which takes a fleet of cruisers and racers from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. This year, SAIL is jumping in with a rally of its own: the Snowbird Rally down the Intracoastal Waterway.

The following rally preview provides a global perspective of the coming year’s major rallies. For a truly intimate view of the rally experience, we’ve included first-hand looks at three great fall rallies here in the United States: the storied history of the ICW and how the Snowbird Rally fits into it (page 38); an on-board look at the stormy running of the 2014 Delmarva Rally earlier this year and an explanation of the safety checks that go into all World Cruising Club events, highlighted by a look at the Caribbean 1500.

Since Jimmy founded the first sailing rally in 1986, these events have been making distance cruising more approachable for sailors of all stripes, from all ports.

Related

sailingabove-2

Swan Flyer: A Hot New One-design

In a racing scene that’s bristling with innovation, legacy builder Nautor’s Swan refuses to be left behind in its quest to dominate the champagne end of one-design sailing. Arriving hard on the heels of the radical Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ClubSwan 50, the ClubSwan 36 offers a ...read more

Maiden sets out for Uruguay during the 1989-90 Whitbread race

Making Maiden and the 1989-90 Whitbread Race

As recently as the late 1980s, the idea of an all-female sailing team in the Whitbread Round the World Race (the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race) seemed laughable to many. How could women handle the competition? They weren’t strong enough. They wouldn’t be able to take the ...read more

01-LEAD-J99

Four Very Different New Boat Designs

Following up on the J/121, which won a SAIL Best Boats award in 2018, the new J/99 represents a similar concept in a smaller package. Specifically, the new 32-footer’s deck layout and rig have been optimized for smaller and even doublehanded crews, with an eye toward meeting the ...read more

Dinghy Suggested CROP

Ask Sail: Dinghy Dilemma

DINGHY DILEMMA Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a ...read more

Groupe Beneteau charging its boats in NEOLINE vessel

Transporting Sailboats Under Sail

Transporting sailboats under sail? That sounds like a cool concept, and it’s one that looks set to become reality in 2021 when shipping company Neoline brings its sailing cargo ships into service. Groupe Beneteau has committed to transporting boats between Europe and the United ...read more

01_vor120612_ross_0644

Sailing Master Ken Read

Images trigger memory. Preparing to interview the golden boy of American sailing, I thought I would find a picture that would show Ken Read at the peak of his sailing career, his heyday, to share and have a warm and fuzzy start to our conversation. It was a commanding image from ...read more

New-engine-being-lifted-over-stern

Know how: Replacing the Auxiliary Power System

One of the most complex tasks undertaken during Passion’s refit was the complete replacement of her auxiliary power system—engine, V-drive and fuel tanks. I needed more horsepower, which drove the need for more fuel capacity and a larger V-drive to handle the higher engine ...read more