Monday, January 31, 2011

Maybe it's not just me...

I've always had a sneaking suspicion that the reason I was not a big fan of cruising rallies had a lot to do the fact that I never did well in larger groups, and going sailing was about getting away from people as opposed to a social exercise... and well, there is the whole curmudgeon thing.

One blog podcast I follow, Follow the Boat, has some interesting observations about a rally that they are crossing paths with in India in her post entitled "The Sooner These Miserable Sods Leave, The Better". Kinda says it all, does it not? Interesting to read what the rally organizers are saying about the miserable sods same group.

The thing about rallies is they quickly become a clicque, mob, posse, gang, group and that process insulates them from the places and people they run into along the way. More often than not, it is also made worse by the fact that the group is managed and shielded from a lot of local color (for their protection, of course) not unlike one of those bus tours of Europe we all used to make fun of...

Some years back when the ARC came into Las Palmas and the local marina became the "ARC marina", it was very clear that the other fifty or sixty non-ARC boats and their crews were persona non grata. While we met several cruisers in the ARC who were really nice folks as individuals, when in "the group" they tended to resort to group think and, since we were not ARC, we simply did not exist or worse.

A funny thing about that year's Atlantic crossing class was that the divide between the ARC and the Non-ARC became so unfriendly that one boat we knew started making burgees and t-shirts that were for the N.A.R.C. (Not-A-R-C). These became so popular that even some of the ARC folks were trying to buy them as all the cool cruisers were wearing them (apparently they did not get the joke!).  One ARC participant mentioned to me that he wished he could come to some of the NARC parties as they seemed like a lot more fun than the ARC shindigs. He seemed seriously confused when we pointed out that of course he was welcome as unlike the ARC functions all sailors were welcome. The NARC parties were nothing special, as getting together with other cruisers was simply part and parcel of what cruising was about...

Funny thing is that now there really is a NARC rally which in my mind is easily one worst acronyms anyone could pick for a rally as no one I have ever met likes a narc!

All fun aside, like a lot of other cruisers I know, we give all of the various rallies a wide berth as they tend to suck the fun right out of a place, lower the tone, and leave something of a bad taste with non-rally sort folks (for example: last year, anchored cruisers were told they'd have to leave an anchorage as a group of boats from the so-and-so rally was arriving and they'd need the room). Lucky for us, all of the various rallies publish their plans and they are pretty easy to avoid (even if you screw up and are entering an anchorage with a bunch of boats with matching pink burgees you can always turn around and bugger off before you suffer any permanent psychic damage)!

In the nothing-is-black-and-white-and-there-are-exceptions-to-all-rules department, I should point out that I have heard nothing but good things about the Baja HaHa