by Louay Habib
After the inaugural 2013 Christmas Caribbean Rally, Sailing Rallies are pleased to announce that the 2014 transatlantic event is set to be even better. Once again the event is attracting a varied international fleet with five different nationalities already registered among the entries for 2014. CCR 2013 attracted a cosmopolitan fleet with entries from 11 different nations including Russia, Spain, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Argentina and Holland, and 2014 looks to be equally diverse.
Start of the 2013 Christmas Caribbean Rally
The CCR 2014 sees the debut from a French crewed yacht; Penn Er Karreg. This Dufour 445 and will be skippered by father and son team Pierre-Yves and Erwan Croix-Marie. Although Pierre-Yves has already crossed the Atlantic once, his dream is to sail the Atlantic together with his son. At 72 years old, he feels they cannot delay any longer! On their decision to enter the CCR, son Erwan commented 'We didn’t want a big race, it’s very important for us to share our passion with the other crew. Whilst sailing we come across very pleasant people and they always have interesting stories to tell. That’s why we wanted to find a rally with not a lot of boats. It’s important for security to know that there is an organisation and that they know where is our boat (I’ve got a wife and two small children!) And it seems as though conviviality is a very important part of the CCR, which is perfect because that is very important for us.'
The mid-December departure date of the rally ensured all the boats in the CCR 2013 had perfect trade wind sailing conditions. The first boat to arrive last year (a Rob Humpreys design 77’) completed the crossing in just 13 days. Weather forecasting and routing expert Mike Broughton will again provide his services to the rally fleet.
Mike & his brother Pete at the recent Transatlantic Forum organised by Sailing Rallies
Having witnessed first-hand the atmosphere in Lanzarote last year, Mike has given his own endorsement for the event by choosing to enter the CCR 2014 on his own yacht, Beneteau First 45 ‘Raven’. Mike commented 'I was really impressed with the spirit amongst the crews last year, which was skillfully nurtured by John and his team. The timing for me is perfect as I've got half of my crews on Christmas holidays from university/work, and at this time of year the trade winds will be better'. As a top navigator Mike has won many global titles, the most recent being second place in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race on Nikata, a Swan 82. Mike also races on the J Class Velsheda and Mini-Maxi Jethou. Taking a break from work the CCR will be a family affair for Mike, and his brother Pete cannot wait to get going: 'I am really very excited about completing my first Atlantic crossing on Raven; spending Christmas at sea with our family will make it a truly special occasion.' The CCR 2014 fleet will be lucky enough to benefit from Mike’s expertise in Lanzarote and will receive daily weather forecasts throughout the crossing.
The motivation for having a select number of crews speaks for itself. Mikaela Meik, Events Manager commented 'it’s so rewarding to see our participants form lifelong friendships. Having a smaller number of crew allows everyone to get to know each other well and enables a strong community spirit. With a limited number of crew we have a wide range of places available to us allowing us to manage a fantastically varied social programme.'
Mike Broughton briefing the CCR 2013 skippers in Lanzarote last year
The Christmas Caribbean Rally is an annual Transatlantic event, starting from Marina Rubicon in Lanzarote and finishing in Antigua. This year, the fleet will leave on 14th December. To be part of this unique event contact the Sailing Rallies team via www.sailingrallies.com. You can also follow the adventures of Pierre-Yves, Erwan and crew on their website.