Just out of curiosity I was looking at the list of this year’s ARC Rally boats and it makes some interesting reading…
I’ll sum it up this way… Lots of big expensive boats.
Now, I’m on record as being a non-fan of cruising rallies. Partly because I don’t feel a lot of folks sailing towards the same place at the same time is safer (the case could be made that it is actually less safe) and partly because I feel that the rallies distort the economics of cruising/cruising areas and insulate the participants from the cultures they’re visiting.
That said, cruising rallies are an excellent support tool for those who make use of them. Which is not to say that they are a real support for getting from one place to another like the ARC but more in a way that it supports the socioeconomic niche of the folks who do the rallies while hurting the other niches in the process. Not unlike the way interesting and artistic people move into a low rent area, change/evolve the area so it becomes hip, then find they can no longer afford to live there because, now that it’s HIP, wealthier people have moved into the area, distorted the property prices and, as a result, it’s no longer affordable.
Shoestring, limited means, or fixed income cruisers find it very hard to cruise and live in areas once those areas start catering and basing their prices and rates for folks with big expensive boats and price-is-no-object budgets. The big problem is that since the rallies are organized that it compounds the problem.
People who do rallies seem to love the experience and it is a good time (for that kind of money it should be) but not so much for those non-participants who have to pay the inflated rates for goods and services or are shuffled aside because the rally folks come first…
Speaking of rallies, Attainable Adventure Cruising has an interesting article and some very good comments on the subject that is well worth checking out.