The “North American Rally to the Caribbean” (NARC), which is free for participants to join, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2019 when it once again brings together boats on their annual pilgrimage south to the Caribbean from the U.S. East Coast, organizing socials, discounts and shared weather routing. Scheduled for October 26 (or the best weather window near that date), the 20th Anniversary NARC Rally will offer departures from the longstanding participating port of Newport, RI and – for a second year – Cobb’s Marina in Little Creek, VA. The NARC Rally then hosts a stop in Bermuda before ending in St. Maarten.
“We are the only rally that offers an official stop in Bermuda,” said NARC organizer Hank Schmitt, who also is CEO of Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO), a crew network service. He explained that the route to Bermuda encourages participants to sail there rather than motor sail into the Southeast Trades without stopping. Schmitt plans to make each port visit special, especially the final stop in St. Maarten where five big sponsors have been invited “to lavish our new arrivals with ‘The Friendly Island’s treatment.”
The sponsors are IGY Marina, which will offer two free days of dockage for each Rally boat and a 10% discount for as long as the boat stays; Budget Marine, which will offer Rally entrants a 15% discount on purchases for three months and free sign-up for the company’s new WhatsApp service; Heineken Regatta, which will reduce the entry fee for early sign-up in the Island Time Division of the 40th Annual Heineken Regatta; FKG, offering free rigging inspection upon arrival and a 10% discount on any repairs determined as needed during that inspection; and Bobby’s Mega Marina, with a 10% discount on hauling/launching, pressure washing and chocking of Rally boats from November to the end of January.
The rally is free with no per-boat fee to sign up. There is a $100 per-person fee for the socials, which include a dinner at Benjamin’s in Newport; a Bermuda fish fry at the Dinghy Club; and a wrap party at the Fat Turtle at IGY Marina in St. Maarten. Shared weather routing comes from WRI, and discounts on dockage apply in Newport and St. Maarten. The head tax in Bermuda will be waived, saving participants $35 pp, and new this year will be a one-week option to stay longer in Bermuda and enjoy all that the island has to offer.
Sailors who do not have a ride and wish to participate can contact Schmitt and sign aboard a Swan in the OPO Offshore Swan Program to become a full working crew in the rally, sailing with a professional captain. For more information, contact Hank Schmitt at 1-800-4-PASSAGe, +1 631-423-4988 or visit sailopo.com. ■