This is a question that we pondered on a few years ago before our first Atlantic crossing. Now we find ourselves here again, but for the World ARC. The circumnavigation.
I was adiment that we were going to cross the Atlantic on our own, without a buddy boat or the security of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. For one thing it was going to save a few quid and we did not have to get our boat up to the high standards required.
But it was also about achieving this 3,000 nautical miles journey on our own. In our own time and making the decisions that would, hopefully, make landfall on a Caribbean island.
We spent some time in Las Palmas interviewing skippers, families and the ARC directors from the Cruising Club to find out why people wanted to cross as a group.
There are great reasons to go with the ARC. Safety in numbers is one. The festival that wraps around the event from the pre start seminars, the sundowners in the make shift bar at the local sailing club, to the galla dinner before departure. Not to mention the arrival celebrations and the awards.
Others felt that they needed the support and instilled confidence to cross this wild Atlantic Ocean. I had none of those feelings.
Last Saturday I was sitting in a seminar at the Southanpton Boat Show for a presentation by Jeremy Wyatt, on Why to Circumnavigate with the Cruising Club, the World ARC.
For me there are two ways of sailing around the world. The slow boat that stops for what ever reason. Just because you like the place, and that is fine. Or you follow the weather and the trade winds that will blow you around from east to west in about 15 months.
Both are appealing. But with the slow boat it is easy to get lost in time, then the time runs out, and you never achieve the goal of becoming a circumnavigator.
Slowly I came around to the idea of doing this with a group, the safety at sea, the bureaucratic support and the comradeship that will come by testing yourself alone but with others.
They do build in free passage time so you can plan your own routes to the next start gate. And then they send you off on the next leg across the next wild ocean.
Fifteen months later, after 27,000 miles you will pop back up in the Caribbean and claim you prize. All sounds rather easy.
It will cost more that a few bob but so will sailing around the world anyway, so why not?
What are your thoughts?
The dyslexic writer