Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Friends – New and Old

Law partners and friends: Dennis and Loretta
While in Rodney Bay Marina, we reconnected with sailors from previous Rallies. We had just tied up to the dock when friends from Switzerland came up in their dinghy to say “hello” and catch up. We first met the owners of S/V Callista in our first Caribbean 1500 Rally in 2010. We haven’t seen them since then. Just after they left, a couple arrived on the dock to welcome us. It was David and Julie from S/V Mahalo. We had sailed with David and his crew in another Caribbean 1500 Rally. In fact, we have David’s crew joining us on the leg from the Galapagos to Marquesas. This will be Tom’s third trip on S/V Trillium and we look forward to meeting Tony from Wisconsin.

WARC Welcome Party
The World Cruising Club provided several evenings of entertainment and opportunities to meet other boat owners and crews. These events are a welcome break from the frantic list of tasks to be completed before the starting date. We had a great crew who worked well as a team to get Trillium ready to sail again. Loretta had to head back to cold and snowy Detroit. Vicky and Peter arrived and had a car available for provisioning, which was a great help. Ron arrived and jumped right into the preparations. This is Ron's third time on S/V Trillium. It is great to have returning crew members.

A job or two for everyone!
There was laundry to do (always), propane to fill, provisioning, skippers’ meetings, weather briefings and the like to fill the days. Of course, rain always managed to burst out of the clouds every few hours. Last minute shopping at the local vendors on the marina property topped off our fresh items.

Just before we were to cast off, we had a lovely surprise. Harold and Christel from S/V Sophie appeared on the dock! We had not seen this German couple since Caribbean 1500 Rally 2010. We had taken them with us to dinner and had a chance to get to know them a little. Then I followed them as they participated in World ARC 2012. Seeing them again was a nice surprise. They gave us several pointers about the circumnavigation that have already paid off.

There is much discussion about whether “to rally or not.” There are always pros and cons to every decision, but for us there are a number of reasons we choose to sail with the World Cruising Club:

  • While there may not be “safety in numbers”, there is comfort in knowing you are not out there alone. In port or anchorage, we fly our WCC flags so we can find each other.
  • The WCC takes care of many of the legal formalities with the various ports of call. Yes, we pay a hefty fee to sail with them, but we avoid hiring agents and many of the hassles of checking in with Immigrations and Customs. These formalities can take several days when sailing independently.
  • We enjoy the daily roll call so we know the position of everyone in the fleet. Sure it helps to know where they are if you a serious about winning a leg, but more importantly, we know who is near us for assistance if needed. It is always fun to see one of the Rally boats appear on the AIS screen. Then we call them on the VHF to chat.

Personally, we like the rally format because of all of the personal connections like the ones above. It is more fun when you come into an anchorage or marina and see someone whom you have met before. Catching up on each others’ travels makes for good conversation. And the smiles say so much!

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