Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – are you ready?

Oct 5, 2023

The ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) is one of the world’s most popular and well-known long-distance sailing rallies, sailing across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. The World ARC is an expansion of this event, for long-term sailors who wish to circumnavigate the whole globe! These rallies are arranged by World Cruising Club (WCC) and provide an opportunity for sailors to undertake long ocean passages in the company of other boats, making it a safer and more sociable way to explore the world’s oceans.

WCC provide a wide range of support and benefits to sailors participating in their ARC rallies, including safety seminars and training in preparation for the voyage, technical assistance whilst under sail, and advice on weather, logistics or medical problems that may occur. These should leave you feeling secure and safe whilst sailing, in particular if you are sailing with your family. Another benefit is that the World Cruising Club regularly arrange and host social events for their participants to help you meet other sailors or to welcome you to shore after a passage at sea!

Here’s an overview of both the ARC and the World ARC:

ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers):

The ARC was first organised in 1986 and takes place annually. It typically begins in late November or early December, and the main route of the ARC is from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia – a distance of approximately 2,700 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean! The event attracts a diverse fleet of cruising yachts and catamarans, from seasoned sailors to those embarking on their first ocean crossing so you’re bound to find someone to sail alongside.

World ARC:

The World ARC is an extended rally, that circumnavigates the globe – it typically takes around 15 months to complete, and starts and finishes in Saint Lucia. After completing the ARC, you could go straight onward and start the World ARC from St Lucia!

The route varies, and you do have freedom in where you choose to stop, but you might make visits to various destinations such as the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, South Africa or Brazil. The World ARC covers a wide range of ocean passages, so provides participants with an opportunity to explore many regions of the world and visit places you might only dream of!

Whilst many of the logistical aspects of these voyages are arranged and supported by the organisers, one thing you’ll need to ensure you have sorted is your insurance. At Topsail, we have access to insurers that could cover either the ARC or the World ARC and provide comprehensive insurance policies for offshore sailing. Find out more and enquire about your boat insurance with our team today.

We also offer a Yachtsman’s Travel insurance policy, which is designed to support offshore sailors with their travel insurance needs. This includes £5,000,000 coverage for emergency medical expenses, which would include airlift from your boat if required. We are pleased to have a partnership with the ARC offering a discount for your sailing travel insurance policies – contact World Cruising Club to request your exclusive discount code now!

You can get a quote or apply online for travel insurance with our team today.

Are you thinking of getting a boat?

Sep 28, 2023

Sailing, with its blend of adventure, skill, and connection to the elements, is a pursuit that has captured many of our hearts. Whether you dream of leisurely cruising the open waters, or embarking on a career in the marine industry, learning to sail is a rewarding and life-changing journey. Let’s explore how to start your sailing education, earn professional qualifications, and gain valuable hands-on experience – these tips can be helpful for both new sailors, and those of you who have been away from the water for a long while!

Begin with the Basics: Beginner Courses

Embarking on your sailing journey starts with enrolling in a beginner sailing course. These courses are readily available at local sailing clubs or schools and cater to individuals with minimal or no prior sailing experience. Ideally, you will experience a mix of sailing theory – delving into the fundamentals of sailing, covering topics such as boat handling, navigation, and essential safety procedures – and practical training. This can include spending time on the water practicing manoeuvres, experiencing different weather and tidal environments, and getting comfortable with the art of sailing.

Build a Strong Foundation: Professional Qualifications

Once you’ve acquired the basics, you’ll probably wish to pursue professional qualifications, to take your sailing skills to the next level. These qualifications will not only enhance your knowledge but will also open up opportunities for various sailing-related careers in the future. The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) provide a huge selection of courses, both theory and practical, and are very well respected in the industry. Recognised internationally, RYA certifications can cover a wide range of sailing disciplines, including cruising, racing, and navigation. Additionally, the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) is another well respected qualification for those based outside the UK.

Continue to Gain Experience Through Practice

While formal education is essential, gaining practical experience is equally vital in becoming a proficient sailor. Here are some suggestions to accumulate valuable time on the water:-

Crewing Opportunities: Join a local sailing club or community and offer to crew for experienced sailors. This provides hands-on experience and an opportunity to learn from seasoned sailors.

Charter and Rentals: Renting a boat or chartering with friends or family is a great way to practice your skills and explore different types of vessels and sailing environments.

Participate in Regattas: If you’re interested in competitive sailing, consider joining regattas or local races. This not only sharpens your skills but also introduces you to the camaraderie of the sailing community.

Sailing is a lifelong learning journey. Even after obtaining professional qualifications, there’s always room for improvement and specialisation. Consider advanced courses, such as celestial navigation, weather forecasting, or racing tactics, to further hone your skills and knowledge. But, starting with beginner courses, pursuing professional qualifications, and gaining hands-on experience will set you on a positive course toward becoming a competent sailor. Remember, sailing is not just a skill; it’s a lifestyle that will give you a deep connection with the sea, a worldwide community, and a lifetime of memorable experiences.

If you would like to purchase Yachtsman’s Travel insurance to ensure you are protected whilst you learn to sail, you can find out more here: https://topsailinsurance.com/travel-insurance/yachtsmans-travel-insurance/ or contact a member of our team today.

Sailing: Make it a family adventure

Sep 8, 2023

When you’re raising a family with young children, long-distance sailing can feel like it is a whole world away. However, it’s entirely possible to sail the seas as a family with proper planning in place, a positive attitude, and a commitment to creating lasting memories. Let’s explore the joys and challenges of family sailing and learn how to make your family voyage a success.

Safety first! Before embarking on a long sailing journey with your children, it is even more important than usual to ensure that your boat is well-prepared for the adventure. This includes:

Purchase life jackets that fit your children properly, and ensure they are comfortable wearing them. Familiarise your children with safety procedures, such as what to do in case of emergencies, and involve them with life on the boat to help increase their confidence.

Make your boat child-friendly by securing objects that could be hazardous or easily toppled. Use non-slip materials on deck to prevent accidents and educate your whole family on potential accidents and how to avoid or minimise the risks.

Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and know how to use everything in it. Ensure you have any necessary medications your children may require onboard, and arrange an emergency solution too – such as a 24 hour assistance helpline.

Set realistic expectations. Sailing with children is not a vacation in the traditional sense, and it’s important to set achievable goals and expectations. Be prepared for a slower pace – children may require more time to adapt to life on board and there will be ups and downs in the process. Create a flexible itinerary that allows for unexpected stops, and plan activities that cater to their interests. These can include fishing, snorkelling, stargazing, and wildlife watching – to name a few! Encourage creativity with art supplies and books, and use the opportunity to nurture their love and appreciation for the natural world.

One of the greatest advantages of sailing with children, is the educational opportunities it presents. Use the journey as a chance to teach them about geography, marine biology, meteorology, and navigation – they will see things from a completely different perspective than at school, as they learn by adventure. Involve them in tasks like chart plotting and weather observation, making learning an integral part of the journey.

Now, regardless of their lifestyle most children thrive on routine and structure. Create a daily schedule that includes meals, schoolwork or some form of education, playtime, and family activities. Having a routine can help children feel more secure and settled on board and help them to engage with the journey. Sailing can also be isolating, so it’s essential to maintain some level of social interaction for your children. Connect with other sailing families or locals when you make port stops – this is a great way to meet new people – or consider satellite communication tools for virtual play dates with friends back home.

Sailing with children is an adventure filled with unpredictable moments and flexibility and adaptability are key to making the most of these experiences. While sailing as a family does require thorough preparation and commitment, the rewards are huge and long lasting. With safety as a top priority, a sense of curiosity, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances, your family can embark on a life-changing journey that creates cherished memories for years to come.

If we can support your families sailing adventure, get in touch with our team today!

Does the replacement of rigging impact my boat insurance?

Jul 24, 2023

Different insurers approach the replacement of rigging in different ways. Here we are going to explain the two different concepts and consider the benefits of each.

My boat insurance policy stipulates a fixed period replacement

This means, typically the insurance will contain a clause or endorsement wording similar to the following:

It is a condition of this insurance that the rigging is replaced every X years. 

X would be a number typically between 5 and 10 years. Alternatively, the policy could contain an exclusion to the rig cover along the lines of:

Absolutely no cover for claims caused directly or indirectly from the failure of the rigging if the rigging is over X years old.  

Again X would be a number typically between 5 and 10 years. The benefit of this approach as a boat insurance customer is complete clarity.   The insurer specifies when and how often the rigging should be replaced and as a yacht owner, your insurance schedule tells you the exact time frame that you need to comply with to have cover.

The downside to this is that so many variables can come into play that might make it unfeasible to replace your rigging at a specified time – including the quality of rigging, your maintenance schedule, and use of the vessel – including stress and frequency of use.

My boat insurance policy doesn’t mention the rigging

This is actually the more common approach from insurers and is used partially because there are so many variables at play; this is a more flexible option. That doesn’t mean that you can just leave your rigging forever though and not check it, expecting insurers to pick up the bill when it fails.

These policies instead will typically have exclusions that relate to failure due to wear and tear – sometimes referred to as Gradual Deterioration.  This therefore allows you some flexibility on the replacement of rigging, but the onus is on you as the owner to make sure it’s checked and doesn’t deteriorate to the point where it’s going to fail.  Remember the onus isn’t on you to do the checking, but instead to arrange for suitable inspections – there are plenty of professional rigging companies that will carry out a rig inspection on your behalf.  Always retain copies of any invoices, as these may well be useful if you do suffer a rig failure.

These are the two main approaches insurers will take, so look out for details of rigging coverage at your next renewal or ask your insurer now. Here’s some more information that might be helpful:  

Know your rigging needs replacing?

We’re all aware that costs for pretty much everything are on the rise, but do not ignore it.   When a rig fails, insurers will often employ a specialist to determine the cause of the failure – you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re not covered for the failure of the rig and any subsequent damage caused.

Off on a long sailing trip?

Extended sailing trips, oceanic passages or extended blue water sailing are all likely to put more stress on a rig than the occasional day sail.  In these cases, insurers are likely to explicitly ask you when the rigging was last inspected and replaced, and if it was not recent, they may ask that this is re-checked again.

Final thoughts?

Rig failures are some of the most horrific claims that we see on boat insurance policies, even for the most experienced owner.  Failures are catastrophic and will put both the vessel and crew in immediate danger.   If you’re in any doubt at all get a professional to inspect the rig and advise you. Speak to your insurer if you would like to know more about their position on this and what your options are.

Safeguarding Your RIB: Understanding the Importance of RIB Insurance

Jul 3, 2023

If you’re the owner of a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), you know how important it is to have the proper insurance coverage in place to protect your investment. A RIB is not only a significant financial investment, but also a valuable tool for recreation, fishing, and other water activities. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what to consider when purchasing RIB insurance and how to ensure you have the right coverage in place.

Know your coverage needs

The first step in purchasing RIB insurance is to determine your coverage needs. This will depend on a variety of factors, including the value of your boat, how you use it, and where you operate it. Some common coverage options to consider include:

  • Liability coverage: This protects you in case you cause damage to another person’s property or injure someone while operating your RIB.
  • Physical damage coverage: This covers damage to your RIB in case of an accident, fire, theft, or other covered events.
  • Personal injury coverage: This protects you in case you or your passengers are injured while operating your RIB.

Shop around for quotes

Once you know your coverage needs, it’s time to start shopping around for insurance quotes. Be sure to get quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare coverage options and prices. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best option, as it may not provide you with the coverage you need. Look for an insurance company that specialises in boat insurance and has experience insuring RIBs.

Agreed value

It’s also a good idea to consider an agreed value policy, which guarantees that you will receive the full value of your RIB if it is declared a total loss. All Topsail policies are insured ion an agreed value basis.

Read the policy carefully

Before you purchase RIB insurance, be sure to read the policy carefully to ensure you understand what is covered and what is not covered. Pay attention to any exclusions or limitations in the policy, as well as any deductibles you may be responsible for. If you have any questions about the policy, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent for clarification.

Review your policy annually

Once you have purchased RIB insurance, it’s important to review your policy annually to ensure it still meets your coverage needs. If you have made any significant changes to your RIB, such as adding new equipment or upgrading the engine, be sure to notify your insurance company to ensure your policy remains up to date.

In conclusion, purchasing RIB insurance is an important step in protecting your investment and ensuring you can enjoy your time on the water with peace of mind. By knowing your coverage needs, shopping around for quotes, considering additional coverage options, reading the policy carefully, and reviewing your policy annually, you can ensure you have the right coverage in place for your RIB. You can speak to our team at Topsail Insurance to understand more about your RIB insurance here.