What it takes to set free and go

Published on October 13th, 2020

With life onshore hampered by the COVID-19 disease, perhaps you’ve considered a life afloat. ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) organizer Jeremy Wyatt explains what it takes to set free and go.


Getting ready to live the dream can be daunting. For anyone embarking on a bluewater adventure, especially if it is the first time they have set off for an extended period of offshore cruising, the months and weeks preceding departure can be stressful. There is a never-ending list of jobs, while you balance work and family life, and the clock seems to speed up as departure day approaches.

Having been involved with the ARC rally as an organizer for over 20 years, I know that getting boat preparation right is essential to enjoying your time away and being able to relax. To help with the blizzard of tasks and to bring some order and focus into the crucial pre-departure preparation time, it helps to break your efforts down into smaller segments.

We have compiled an ARC bluewater checklist, drawn together from our collective years of experience of the rally team, and this knowledge will hopefully help give some focus to your tasks and tame the beast that is your boat jobs list.

Rule number one is ‘set a date to leave’. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. Having a date to leave will instantly make your adventure more real. You may not have left work yet, but this is the project you’ve contemplated for years. Writing a date on your calendar makes it a definite plan, and by telling family and friends you’re leaving on a specific day there is less room for slippage.

Rule number two is ‘learn to love lists’. You will have them for all sorts of things, and no doubt devise your own system and method for them. By planning and segmenting these you can stay focused and on track with your chosen timeline. The advice that follows is given in the context of a six-month countdown. It assumes a level of previous experience, and I’m going to look at key areas of preparation for your boat and your crew, and organizing your own life. Full report.

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