What has developed remarkably over the last 5 years is the increased number of organised rallies available for cruisers travelling around the world. There are a lot of reasons to get involved in these rallies, but in a nutshell they usually provide huge benefits and support. They are a mechanism for finding friends and like-minded people. The advantage of rallies is that the participants usually get together a few weeks before, they run seminars which are very informative on relevant issues such as weather, safety, radio, boat repair, navigation, etc. The manufacturers and suppliers often get involved in the rallies and are competing for the best reviews and references. The big boat manufacturers such as Beneteau, Lagoon, Bavaria, Jeanneau, Catalina can often be present as well as well as product suppliers in electronics, safety, sails, spar and rigging. They are there selling as well as checking boats for free, often completing repairs for no charge. This is a very unique and valuable experience. Rallies are great fun for families, they have children’s groups and organised children’s skeds/meetings amongst the fleet on passage and usually have organised parties on departure and arrival – great for meeting old friends and making new ones.
The most successful and original Rally is the ARC rally out of Europe which travels from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean every year in November/December, and is definitely one to put on your itinerary. There are over 250 boats participating every year in this event (usually about 20-30 Australian boats) and there would be probably double that if they had the space. The ARC also runs World rallies that circumnavigate the globe but often on quite a tight schedule and not suitable for those with lots of time and in particular not suitable for the smaller average cruisers.
The ARC type model has now been now duplicated all the way from Europe to Australia with various organisers running events Once you arrive in the Caribbean, there are a number of local regattas/rallies to join. For example the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta coming through from Panama, Mexico. You then join onto the Pacific Puddle Jump group coming out of the US West Coast. This group is about 150 boats strong which joins in with the remnants of the ARC rally sailing through Panama into the pacific.
The Puddle Jump West Coast US group rallies leave Mexico headed to French Polynesia in May June The Puddle Jump organisers then organise another fantastic event called the Tahiti>Moorea Rendezvous in June . This is a fantastic event a great introduction to Tahiti and her beautiful islands to the East You muster in Papeete with a fantastic group of sponsors and events and then sail through as a group to Moorea to join a week of seminars and fun events. Really good for families & kids – kayak/canoe races, tours organised etc.
After the Tahiti Rendezvous heading West the boats tend to go their own way but by this stage you have met up with so many boats and everyone has their groups so it’s very social and informal period exploring areas such as the Cook Islands Nuie, Tonga.
The next organised event to head for is in Fiji in September where you have the Musket Cove Regatta, usually about 100 boats participating. It’s fun and casual rally that once again puts friends and co-sailors together. It is magnificent fun – lots of fun events including cultural experiences, cruising or racing to nearby islands, sandbank barbeques, fun for the kids.
Next stop is New Caledonia, Noumea for the Go West Rally which is a major event that has been emerging over the last 3 years for about 100 entries. It starts in October and this year heads rom Noumea to a Queensland port. The good thing about the Go West Rally is that it is basically an introduction to Australia. As well as being involved in an incredible organised and fun event it provides seamless entry into Australia. Most participants in this rally go on to explore the East coast of Australia armed with all the great information the organisers provide.
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
The ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia.
The ARC is for everyone; families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Crossing the Atlantic together, but having their own adventures. More than just a boat race/cruise, the ARC is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities continued over the radio net at sea. It’s about arriving in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer, knowing you have achieved something fantastic – crossing an ocean on a small sailboat.
Every November since 1986 the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has set sail from Las Palmas, bound 2,700 nautical miles westward across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
This world renowned sailing event offers four days of World Class Racing, with trade winds coming from the North East, an average temperature of 25°C and crystal clear waters. This truly international event had a staggering 37 different countries represented during the Regatta. Courses will take participants along coastal races, as well as around the island, presenting the beautiful beaches, rock formations and other scenery. On shore participants and visitors will be able to enjoy the culture, cuisine and music from both the Dutch and French side. Often referred to as the crossroads of the Caribbean, St. Maarten is located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, approximately 150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. The island is a four-hour flight from New York City, two hours forty-five minutes from Miami and has direct airline connections with European major cities.
Everyone can participate in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and the level of racing has reached great heights and has met the levels of international racing standards in both monohull, as well as multihull racing. The competitive cruising class is also well represented, with participants who enjoy a more leisurely race.
With over 35 years of experience the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has established a standard that cannot be beat, but which can only get better. Organizers are working year round to ensure that the next 35 years will continue to bring St. Maarten, her beaches, culture, food and fun to the entire world through the sport of sailing. Sailor or non-sailor, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is an event that you have to cross off your bucket list!
Pacific Puddle Jump
Boats from many nations register with the rally (currently free of charge), and they depart any time between late February and early June from various points along the West Coast, with the largest concentration of passage-makers jumping off from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Balboa, Panama.
Latitude 38 helps to facilitate fleet coordination and information through our long time relationships with various Tahitian partners and government agencies. We work with Tahitian partners to put on the three-day Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous, scheduled for June. In addition, we maintain a database of safety and identification info on all registered boats which is a great benefit to search and rescue organizations in the event of an emergency.
Although Puddle Jump sailors set sail independently, they share information on preparation, weather routing, and inter-island cruising via radio nets and electronic communications before, during and after their crossings. Their arrivals in French Polynesia can be anytime in April, May or June. And due to the broad-based nature of the fleet, many crews will meet for the first time when they arrive in the islands.
The TAHITI Moorea Sailing RDV is an annual three-day event in June that aims to give a warm Polynesian welcome to cruising sailors while celebrating their successful ocean crossing. It gives the opportunity to our guests to discover, through a friendly rally, the charm of our islands, their warm-hearted inhabitants and the richness of the Polynesian culture.
Musket Cove is well known for its sheltered yacht club, marina berths, moorings and cruising grounds. And regularly attracts cruising and racing yachtsmen and women from all over our beautiful, big blue planet.
Press Release for 2017:
Sailors from around the Pacific and beyond are already signaling their intention to be part of the legendary Musket Cove Fiji Regatta, which will be staged from September 15-20 this year.
Such is the interest in this spectacularly colourful event, that organizers’ are confident the fleet size will exceed last year’s record of 101.
This will be the 34th running of the regatta, which is sailed out of Musket Cove Island Resort and Marina, an idyllic destination located on Malolo Lailai Island and amid the beautiful Mamanuca Islands west of Nadi. The region is widely recognized as being the sunniest in the entire South Pacific.
Musket Cove Fiji Regatta is famous for its traditional, warm hospitality, excellent racing and a “Fun Factor” that remains on “high” from start to finish. The program is simple: sail by day and party by night.
Among the many highlights during the week are the fancy dress Pirates’ Day set on nearby Beachcomber Island, the Musket Olympics, off-the-beach HobieCat racing, plus post-race parties and beach barbecues at the Musket Cove Yacht Club’s Island Bar.
For the sailors, the signature event on the water is the 20 nautical mile Round Malolo Lailai Race which starts and finishes adjacent to Musket Cove Resort.
Each year, many “landlubbers” also visit the island to experience the exciting atmosphere that accompanies Musket Cove Fiji Regatta. Musket Cove Island Resort offers special accommodation packages for the week.
The majority of competing yachts lie at anchor just off the resort, however some berths at the island marina and set moorings, are available. It is suggested that owners wanting to secure a marina berth or mooring should book early
Go West Rally
The Down Under “Go West” Rally is a destination rally and open to all vessels departing from ports in the SW Pacific with Australia being their destination. You do not have to depart from New Caledonia to join the “Go West” Rally.
Participants are free to depart from New Caledonia, Vanuatu or any other port in the SW Pacific.
The primary goal of the Down Under “Go West” Rally is to provide those who are heading Down Under with a professional and informative introduction to Australia, and to ensure participants receive current and accurate information before you depart and when you arrive.
There is nothing like local knowledge. We are Australians, and we actively cruise in Australia. We know what you need to know and if we don’t, we know how to find out!
We also work closely with rally participants & the Australian Border Control & Biosecurity to ensure that that all involved are fully aware of what is required before you arrive and what to expect upon arrival.
The FREE East Coast & Tasmania cruising seminars we provide during Welcome Week are highly recommended. These seminars are only open to rally participants and they will make sure that your time cruising in Australia is memorable for all the right reasons.