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.

What is Bluewater Cruising?

Sep 19, 2023

When insurers refer to “Bluewater cruising” for boats, they are talking about a specific type of sailing or boating activity that involves navigating and sailing in open ocean waters, often far from coastlines and in potentially challenging conditions.

This term is important to insurers because it represents a higher level of risk compared to coastal or inland sailing, and it can affect the terms and pricing of boat insurance policies.

Key characteristics of Bluewater cruising include:

  1. Open Ocean Navigation: Bluewater cruising typically involves extended voyages that take boats far from land and into the open ocean. Sailors may be out of sight of land for extended periods.
  2. Challenging Conditions: Cruising in open waters can involve facing a wide range of weather and sea conditions, including storms, heavy waves, and unpredictable weather patterns.
  3. Self-Sufficiency: Bluewater cruisers often need to be self-sufficient for extended periods since they may not have easy access to ports or assistance in case of emergencies.
  4. Long-Distance Travel: These voyages can cover long distances, sometimes spanning across oceans or involving circumnavigation.

Insurers use the term “Bluewater cruising” to differentiate between different types of boating activities when underwriting boat insurance policies. Because Bluewater cruising carries higher risks compared to coastal or inland sailing, insurance policies for such activities may have higher premiums and more stringent requirements, including safety equipment, vessel condition, and the qualifications and experience of the boat’s crew.

It’s essential for boat owners planning Bluewater cruises to understand the specific requirements and coverage offered by their insurance policies and ensure that they meet all the insurer’s criteria to maintain coverage while engaging in this adventurous and challenging form of boating.

We’d be delighted at Topsail Insurance to quote for any of your Bluewater requirements whether that’s a trans Atlantic crossing, cruising the southern Pacific Islands, the Caribbean or anywhere in between please get in touch with our team for a quote.

Top 10 tips for preparing your yacht for an Ocean Voyage

Jun 12, 2023

Preparing a sailing yacht for an ocean crossing requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are the top 10 tips to help you prepare for a successful voyage:

  1. Safety First: Prioritise safety by ensuring your yacht is equipped with all necessary safety gear, including life jackets, life rafts, flares, EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), and a well-stocked first aid kit. Conduct safety drills with your crew to familiarise them with emergency procedures.
  2. Navigation and Communication: Ensure your yacht is equipped with reliable navigation equipment, such as GPS, electronic charts, radar, and a compass. Install a VHF radio and consider having a satellite phone or SSB (Single Sideband) radio for long-range communication.
  3. Weather Monitoring: Stay updated on weather conditions before and during your voyage. Equip your yacht with a weather monitoring system or satellite weather receiver to receive regular forecasts. Familiarise yourself with interpreting weather patterns and know when to take appropriate action.
  4. Rigging and Sails: Inspect and maintain your rigging, including shrouds, stays, and halyards. Check the condition of your sails and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Consider carrying spare sails for different wind conditions.  Depending on the age a professional rig inspection may be a sensible option.
  5. Mechanical and Electrical Systems: Ensure that your yacht’s engine, generator (if applicable), and other mechanical systems are in good working order. Carry essential spare parts and tools for repairs. Check the electrical system, including batteries, wiring, and charging equipment.
  6. Provisioning: Plan your food and water supplies meticulously. Stock up on non-perishable food items that provide adequate nutrition for the duration of the voyage. Calculate water consumption and carry enough fresh water or invest in a water maker for long trips.
  7. Fuel and Energy Management: Calculate your fuel requirements based on the engine’s fuel consumption and estimated voyage duration. Carry extra fuel for emergencies. Consider alternative energy sources like solar panels or wind generators to supplement your energy needs.
  8. Crew Competency: Ensure that all crew members have the necessary skills and experience for an ocean crossing. Conduct training sessions and drills to improve sailing, navigation, and safety skills. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each crew member.
  9. Maintenance and Repairs: Conduct a thorough inspection of your yacht to identify and address any maintenance or repair needs before setting sail. Check the hull, deck, rigging, plumbing, and electronics. Carry spare parts, tools, and repair materials.  Older boats may benefit from an inspection from a professional marine surveyor and will likely be a requirement of your insurance before you embark on a long trip.
  10. Legal and Administrative Considerations: Check the necessary paperwork and permits required for your voyage, including passports, visas, and boat documentation. Ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage.

Topsail Insurance would be delighted to help you arrange suitable insurance for trans-Atlantic crossings, transpacific crossing and indeed any long-distance sailing or blue water cruising that you may have planned.

Get in touch with our team here.