I love offshore sailing. Sun rises and sun sets, a sky full of stars, a chance to catch up on reading and disconnect from the world, dolphins in the bow wake and a hot cup of coffee at 3am; there is not much better. I realized this at the very young age of 12, at least that is the first time I remember standing watch and viewing Venus rise on the horizon, thinking it was an approaching freighter. Whether competing in a Bermuda Race, helping with a Trans-Atlantic delivery or sailing in a cruising rally, the opportunity to go offshore ranks high on my list. In 1992 I sailed my first cruising rally, the Caribbean 1500 on a C&C 37 owned by my client and friend Steve Perkins and 3 others on the crew. I remember arriving at the marina, sailing the rally, arriving in the BVI and thinking, Steve Black creator of the Caribbean 1500 is really on to something here! There is strength (and safety) in numbers, we are all in this together, we can learn from each other and share experiences and enjoy the mentoring of more experienced sailors. I remember being grateful for the experience and the hard lessons learned.
Fast-forward 23 years, I find myself on a Bowman 48' with my friends and clients Steve Perkins and Cindy Crane participating in the Fall 2015 Salty Dawg Rally again leaving Hampton, VA on our way to the BVI. 23 years older and wiser with thousand more miles under my belt and looking forward to joining another cruising rally. What I found was cruising rallies are also 23 years wiser and more experienced. This rally featured educational seminars, weather briefings, routing suggestions, online tracking, more social gatherings before and after and the numbers had also grown with 75+ boats participating. Looking around the crowded weather briefing and departure update I was really taken at the diversity of the participants. There were couples and friends, young and old, families, kids and dogs and of course the new to sailing adventure seekers and individuals looking to gain more offshore experience. I saw growth and excitement.