In a period of  six weeks, more than four-hundred yachts sail across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.  The largest group of yachts consists of the ARC, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.  In 2005, the ARC had over two-hundred and thirty yachts signed up to make the trip TOGETHER -  although together doesn't really mean together, except at the start.  Together means they do it at the same time, sort of.  The only time they really are together is in the Canary Islands when they start the rally, and they leave on the same day from Las Palmas.


Since the yachts range is size from thirty-five feet to over one-hundred feet, it doesn't take long for the boats to disperse as they sail over the horizon.  We were told that the ARC costs one-thousand two hundred euros per yacht and one-hundred and fifty euros for each person on board.  If we had joined the ARC, it would have cost us $2000 in fees.  We didn't join, and saved $2000 worth of freedom chips..


Instead, we formed our own rally which I call the NARC - the Non Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.  There are several hundred yachts in the NARC, and everyone leaves whenever they choose, and there are no entry fees.  The NARC flotilla is extremely diverse with yachts of all sizes and designs - monhulls and multihulls, and they come from dozens of different countries, and they have crews from an equal number of nationalities.  They didn't join the ARC for many reasons, but the two biggest are that they didn't want to spend the money, and they didn't want to be forced to leave on a specific date irrespective of the weather.


In former times, the ARC provided benefits to cruisers such as weather routing and theoretical safety in numbers.  But times have changed, and weather routing is accessible to even solo cruisers who don't belong to any group.  Email, weather fax, and satellite communications are now commonplace  on yachts, giving easy access to weather information and weather routing.  In fact, there is so much easily accessible free weather information that the average cruiser has to contend with severe information overload.


Groups of yachts form transatlantic radio nets that collect and disseminate weather information free of charge.  For people who want professional routing, every evening they can check in with Herb Hilgenberg on Southbound II from Canada, and he will give them a precise weather analysis and customized prediction based on their specific latitude and longitude.  If you don't have good weather information and good weather routing on your yacht, it's your own fault because it's cheap and available.


Starting a two-thousand seven hundred mile passage across the Atlantic is no small task, and it's not to be taken lightly.  Your boat needs to be in good condition, and you need to avoid gross and serious weather blunders that can be dangerous, or at least make your voyage uncomfortable.  Crossing the Atlantic involves significant weather risk because the trip takes two to three weeks, and weather predictions are not accurate for more than two or three days in advance.


So what's a person to do?  How do you deal with the possibility of tropical storms, hurricanes, strong cold fronts, and other potential nasties during the voyage?  And what if there is no wind at all, and you need to motor for one-thousand miles?

You obviously need some basic contingency plans, but you also must accept the fact that the weather is out of your control once you set off.  Fortunately, God gave you a brain, and when you cross an ocean, you need to turn it on and use it. 
Crossing an ocean is mostly common sense.  For us that meant putting extra fuel on board.  We added enough jerry cans and fuel bladder tanks to extend our motoring range to about one-thousand four hundred miles, which means we could motor one-half way across the Atlantic if necessary.


This year the eastern Atlantic has been windless.  The trade winds were disrupted in December by Tropical Storm Delta and Hurricane Epsilon, and this has been the most active year for hurricanes in decades.  So we prepared ourselves to motor across windless zones if need be, and if a hurricane pops up, we would immediately head south and motor into the doldrums, since hurricanes don't usually go there.


We download weather faxes twice a day to be sure there are no threatening weather systems near us, and we download grib files to see the predicted wind direction and speed for the next several days.  We put all this information into our heads, add a dash of common sense, whisper a prayer, and see what emerges from the hopper.  We then decide whether we will raise our sails, furl our sails and start the engine, go into a holding pattern, or head south and hunker down if severe weather threatens.


There are old sailors, and bold sailors, but no old bold sailors, at least not among our friends.  Our goal is to become old sailors, and leave the bold to other people, like the ARC which leaves port on a specific date irrespective of the weather forecast.


ARC or NARC.  The choice is yours.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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