In 2000 we took over organizing a fleet of Swans heading south each fall. With the fleet as our base we decided to offer an invitation to anyone else that would like to join us and depart in the same weather window. The first year we had several boats join our weather briefings and our social functions. Oddly enough most of them were other delivery skippers and crews looking to join a fun group to sail south with. With such a good response, we have made it an annual event and we have had more private boat owners than delivery crews the last three years averaging about 20 boats. In 2009 we had 31 boats!! Next year should be even bigger.

If you are planning to head south this fall, we invite you to join our fleet. If you would like to join in the camaraderie and pre-departure ritual of WOW (Waiting On Weather) and share in a few discounts, then please do sign up or contact us with further questions. We have included several reasons to join our rally with an example of how much an average size boat and crew would save by sailing south with us. Join in the fun. Sail in a mixed fleet of professional and amateur sailors making the annual classic passage from Newport to the Caribbean each fall.

We will be assembling at the Newport Yachting Center the last week in October. The night before departure is included in your entry fee. For those arriving early, and if we have to wait on weather before departure, we have negotiated a big discount for the NARC Fleet. The week before departure is only $1 per foot per night. This is the same place they hold the Newport Boat Show. And costs $4.50 a foot in season. We will have a skippers meeting and social before departure and a recommended itinerary for any delay we have in Newport. There is a weather briefing given in person by Susan Gennet of Real Weather before departure and then everyday after that, if we have a delay. She also gives us updates while in route. Everyone is invited to these weather briefings usually held at the Newport Yacht Club.

This year we plan to depart Sunday October 31st, or the best weather window right after that date. This gives us time to participate and join in the Halloween Party in Newport, which is always a treat.

It usually takes 4 to 5 days to sail to Bermuda in the fall. We will then spend up to four nights and three full days in Bermuda if there is not a long delay departing Newport. The next leg to St. Martin takes from 6 to 7 days. The past three years we have been delayed in Newport from one to three days. It is best then to reserve up to 18 days for this trip, although it may be done in as little as 14 days.

This year we encourage all boats to join us for a closing Rally party in St. Maarten at the Simpson Bay Marina. Even if you are planning to end your passage in the Virgin Islands or another island, we encourage everyone to come to St. Maarten first. It is the best place to provision in the Caribbean, has the best repair facilities for marine work in the area and is the easiest and cheapest island to flights to and from.

Boats should assemble in Newport at the Newport Yachting Center by Wednesday October 27th, Friday Oct 29th for pro skippered boats). You may arrive up to one week early and still get the same discount per foot for that time. There will be a social that Saturday night and a skippers meeting in the morning. If there is a weather delay, we will have a skippers meeting each morning right up until we decide to leave Newport. Weather forecasting will be obtained from Susan Genett of “Real Weather” service, Newport RI. If there is a weather delay we will have suggestions on some great ways to kill time in Newport. If you have not been to Newport before we can offer many suggestion on what to see and what to do.

In Bermuda there is a $35.00 per head tax that is collected at the customs dock in St. Georges Bermuda. Boats in the NARC Rally do not have to pay this fee since the Bermudian Government has been kind enough to waive the fee for our event. While in Bermuda we will be hosted by the St. Georges Sports and Dinghy Club. If you like we can contact the St. Georges Dinghy and Sports Club for med-style mooring at $1.25 per foot. (Discounted from $1.50 per foot.) It is a nice club, with hot showers, laundry, and a short walk to town. While in Bermuda we will have a welcome Happy hour on Friday for those boats that arrive early, Saturday Night will be the first official Gosslings Rum “Dark & Stormy” Party and Sunday will be our Annual Fish Fry. All these events are included in your entry fee for the NARC.

Rules & Regulations

The Rally is open to any seaworthy boats of any size. We work with the assumption that anyone planning to go offshore to the Caribbean in the fall understands how to get his or her boats ready and will be prepared before departure. In order to personally assist each skipper we will be organizing an adopt-a-boat program between a professional captain and an amateur skipper to help answer questions not only about the boats preparedness but also about the voyage ahead.

Although all the boats will be departing together we are looking at two types of crews heading south in the fall. The first are the professional skippers delivering boats south and second the amateur sailor taking his/her boat to the Caribbean for the winter. We are taking advantage of this mix of talent to organize the rally and to help others learn the difference between sailing and sailing offshore.

Pro-am Division – This will be several Swan skippers, and any other delivery skipper, being paid to take a boat south either as a full time captain or on a delivery.

Amateur/Owner Division – Boat owners taking their boats south. As part of the pre departure “check-in” (check-out?), each professional skipper will be introduced to a skipper in the amateur division and together they will go over the “checklist” of recommended preparedness for sailing offshore. Any gross deficiencies will be reported to the rally organizers and we will take steps to see what we can do. This will also be a good time for the amateur skipper to ask questions one-on-one with a professional skipper, go over charts and the approach to Bermuda, and any other questions that he/she might not ask in a public forum. 

Rally Benefits:

A) Only $1.00 per foot dockage in Newport before departure and while waiting on weather. (In season it costs $4.50 per ft). Dicount Dockage in Bermuda $1.25 per foot and Discount Dockage in St. Maarten (TBA).

B) Socials in Newport, Bermuda and St. Maarten are included in the $150 per crew fee

C) Weather routing service included with meetings and handouts for the Gulf Steam for each boat.

D) The $35.00 per person head tax in Bermuda is waived by the government for our event.

E) We will organize “Duty Free” fuel delivered by Tank Truck in Bermuda for a saving of up to 40% on the over $7.00 per gallon pump price if we have enough boats taking on fuel. (Minimum 500 gallons)

F) Daily radio net.

G) Meeting lots of like minded people heading south….Priceless

Sample savings for a 50-foot boat

Dockage in Newport -$1.00 per foot per night, which is a savings of $3.50 a foot per night while docked in Newport the week before October 31st or staying after that date if we are delayed by weather.

Three full meal socials – plus two other socials and the give-aways.

Weather Routing Service – Normally costs you $350 to $400

Head Tax waiver in Bermuda – With 4 crew you would save $140.00. The larger the crew the larger the savings.

Duty Free fuel savings – If you have a 100-gallon tank you would save $200.00

A bigger boat or a boat with more crew would save even more. In addition if anyone is looking for crew for the trip south we can help you find experienced crew through the services of Offshore Passage Opportunities as explained in our newsletters.