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Carib1500 and ARC Bahamas FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum size of boat and crew? 35' (10.67m) length overall (LOA) with at least two people on board. Smaller boats may be able to join us too - please contact us to discuss. 

How long will the rally take?  The ARC Caribbean 1500 passage from Portsmouth, VA to Tortola takes around 7-12 days; and the ARC Bahamas route from Portsmouth to Abacos takes 4-7 days, weather dependent. 

When does the rally start?  ARC Caribbean 1500 and ARC Bahamas start on November 4, 2018 in Portsmouth Virginia. The start will be postponed if the weather is bad.

Can I use my engine?  This is a cruising rally, so use of engines is OK!  Boats in the fun competition Cruising Division must declare their engine hours for their results to be calculated.  

What safety equipment do I need?  We have a list of mandatory and recommended safety equipment that we will inspect on board the boat before the rally starts. This includes:

  • Approved ocean liferaft with more than 24 hour equipment pack
  • 406MHz EPIRB
  • Lifejackets with crotch straps and spray hoods/face shields for all crew
  • Full flare pack, including white hand flares
  • Means of sending and receiving emails at sea

See Support & Safety for more information

What training should I do?  We recommend that the skipper (captain) and at least one of the crew should have done some safety and communications equipment, heavy weather sailing and emergency management training within the last five years.   

You can learn more about the rally and tips for preparing your boat and crew by attending one of our 2 hour boat show forums, or 2 day residential seminars. We also have a number of handy videos on our YouTube channel.

Do I need an SSB radio?  No, but the daily radio nets take place on SSB.   At sea you will be outside of VHF range most of the time.  You must be able to send and receive email at sea with an SSB and a pactor modem, or a satellite telephone.

Can I take my children?  Families with children of all ages have sailed with us, and all are welcome.

How do I find crew?  Personal recommendations are the best way of finding crew, but you can also register free on Ocean Crew Link to look for crew or respond to adverts. The Caribbean 1500 Facebook page is another good way to connect.

What about visas?  We will provide information about visas in the Rally Handbook, and the country information pages on are also helpful.  US and Canadian citizens won't need visas.

Can I take my pets?  We have no restrictions on the animals you carry on your boat, but you must comply with the laws and regulations for your home country and any countries visited by the rally. We will provide advice in the Rally Handbook, or look up the country information on

How many people take part?  There are usually 40-60 boats and around 200 people sailing in the rally, and as boats are docked together in Portsmouth, there is a great chance for people to mix and meet.

What about support on the rally?  There will be a team of friendly 'yellow shirts' in each rally port.  They will help with registration, local contacts, docking, excursions, social activities and emergencies.  You can also contact the World Cruising Club office at any time or call +1 (757) 778-8872

How can families at home stay in touch with the boats?  All boats will be fitted with a satellite tracker, which will display the boats positions on the online Fleet Viewer.  All boats can also blog for free on the rally website.