We take the safety of participants in all of our rallies very seriously. Over 450 boats and 1,800 people sail in World Cruising Club rallies each year. The job of a rally organiser is to provide a safe framework for participants, and to provide them with the information they need to make safe decisions for their boat and crew.
All participants will receive a comprehensive Rally Handbook when they join the rally. This includes valuable information and advice for preparing your boat and crew to voyage safely offshore.
“Fantastic organisation and support, fabulous fun and well organised. It adds an enormous level of safety” Bob Ramsay, yacht Texas T (GBR) ARC 2011
We require all of the rally boats to carry a minimum quantity and quality of safety and communications equipment, and to have undertaken training in using that equipment, heavy weather sailing techniques, and managing emergencies. Our team of experienced safety equipment inspectors will come onboard and check your equipment before the start of the rally, and of course, we’re always happy to help new cruisers talk through decisions about safety and communications at sea.
We expect the boat to carry a range of safety equipment that is fit for purpose and ready to use. Our requirements are based on the ISAF standards, and include: an offshore liferaft with a more than 24 hour pack, 406MHz EPIRB, a means of sending and receiving email at sea (satellite phone or SSB/pactor), AIS receiver and man-overboard equipment. We also require every person onboard to have an inflatable combined lifejacket-harness (PFD) with a spray hood, crotch strap and safety line.
Click here to download the World Cruising Club Safety Equipment Requirements (2020)
ARC Racing Division
Boats taking part in the ARC Racing Division (las Palmas - Rodney Bay) are required to comply with World Sailing (ISAF) Offshore Special Regulations (OSR), Category 1. Click here for the requirements.
Safety Equipment Inspection in ARC 2012 - film by WCC/Kieran Higgs
The communications equipment fit varies between our coastal rallies (ARC Portugal, ARC Baltic, ARC Channel Islands, ARC DelMarVa) and our transocean rallies (ARC/ARC+, ARC Europe/USA, Carib1500/Bahamas) and our round the world routes (World ARC). Full details are included in the entry condtions and safety equipment requirements for each rally given in the rally information pack. Click here to get the relevant information pack.
For coastal rallies, each boat needs to have a VHF radio and AIS.
For transocean rallies each boat also has to be able to send and receive email whilst at sea. This is done either via satellite (Iridium/Inmarsat), or via SSB (HF) radio fitted with a pactor modem. Click here for a simple guide to communications equipment choices. For the round the world route (World ARC) boats also need SSB (HF) radio for boat-to-boat communication, in addition to email at sea. The SSB needs to have DSC calling.
All boats should have an MMSI for radio calling (VHF) and for transocean they need AIS (can be class A or B). For World ARC the AIS must be a transponder (sends and receives).
Our communications equipment page explains the options.
Each boat has to have two people on board, including the skipper (captain). We recommend that the skipper and at least one other person on board should have undertaken training within the last 5 years on a range of topics including using the safety and communications equipment, heavy weather sailing techniques and managing emergencies. The World Sailing Offshore Sea Survival and related courses are ideal.
Our training partner in the UK is Hamble School of Yachting. They provide a wide range of at-sea and classroom courses, and offer special discounted weekend sea safety courses for World Cruising Club rally participants. For more details, call Hamble on +44 (0)23 8045 2668. The World Sailing link above provides details of training centres outside of the UK.
Every rally boat should reach the start port under her own keel, or to have completed a qualifying passage in the year before the start. The length of the qualifying passage is specific to each rally, and details can be found in the Conditions of Entry. This passage helps to identify any problems with the boat and equipment before the start of the rally.
Stay in Touch
Every boat will be fitted with a satellite tracker for the rally, so family and friends can follow your progress. In an emergency we use the tracker to remotely monitor the boat, relaying location information to the emergency services. Having a satellite phone or SSB radio with Pactor modem allows the boat to receive the emailed rally weather forecasts, and also to send blogs and pictures to be published on the rally website.
Our rally team will be with you in port, ready to welcome you in and to help with any problems; from finding an engineer to recommending a restaurant. When you are at sea we monitor progress via the satellite trackers, send email weather and position reports and act as the central point of contact in an emergency.
Most people join a World Cruising Club rally for the security and peace of mind of an organised event; for the camaraderie and friendship of a large group of like-minded people; and for the fun of sailing in a fleet of boats. It’s as much fun for experienced sailors as for those new to ocean sailing.