I don,t think the rallys are good value, in fact you are much better doing it on your own back. you meet so many people so you are always sailing in company.I did the ARC.have crossed twice on my own and it is much better
has a good track recoerd re safety. this may help with insurance.i attended their soton seminar a couple of years ago. good value and informative. they seemed aparticularly helpful and friendly bunch. probably looking towards it in acouple of years.18 months is a quick circumnavigation but there are arrangements to leave the rally and rejoin subsequently
We've looked at it at length, and have several friends who have done it, and some doing it at the moment.
There are great advantages, that are largely obvious and by all accounts there is a lot of partying.
There are 2 down sides that have put us off.
1 the cost £10k is a lot of dosh and the next one is bound to be even more.
2 The speed which has two aspects, if you can't average over 5' or more you seem to miss events and have very short stopovers, then by the time you have sorted out problems and restocked you have very little time to see places.
Linked to this is the whole idea of round the world in 20 months, 3 weeks in the Caribean, no visit to the Andaman isles or Maldives etc. If going that far I'd want to see these places throughly. We left Gib about the same time as friends setting off on BWR they are now in India on the way back, were in Greece and we have still only seen half the things we want to!!
I thing the rally is really good for people in a sort of gap year or time out with a fast boat (several people seem to buy a boat for the trip then sell it) rather than for long term cruisers spending life on board.
I have never done any sort of rally but have been chucked out of a couple of harbors and marinas because of a rally having pre-booked them -
I have always been slightly surprised how expensive participation is - I think they are for fairly well heeled business people taking a period of time out and wanting to have it all organized for them.....
In exchange for marginally more security and having guaranteed berths - officials and paperwork organized you give up some freedoms. Much of the adventure is sanitized but if that suits why not?
Sailing is many different things for different people and therefore why not join a rally if you can afford it and it seems attractive... Its not blue water cruising it is a blue water rally..