Yachting World's Toby Hodges is among the experts sharing their advice in a new series of Bluewater Cockpit Conversations from ARC organisers World Cruising Club

ARC rally organisers World Cruising Club are running a unique series of events from 25-28 May, which should be essential watching for any aspiring bluewater cruisers looking to buy a yacht or make the leap to liveaboard life. The event will be called ARC Bluewater Cockpit Conversations and will feature Yachting World‘s own Toby Hodges.

Bluewater Cockpit Conversations, will be forums held online and will gather previous ARC skippers, yacht surveyors, brokers and refit specialists to share their expert advice.

Toby Hodges, Yachting World‘s boat test editor, will be among those passing on expertise on how to choose the right yacht for you, and there are also sessions on buying and refitting a yacht, as well as inspiration on amazing places to cruise from couples who have done just that.

Jeremy Wyatt from ARC organisers World Cruising Club explains further: “I am often asked by aspiring bluewater cruisers ‘what is the right boat for the ARC?’. This is a very broad topic and it is not easy to give a short answer. So instead we’ve brought together a cross-section of experienced bluewater cruisers and industry experts to share their knowledge and help people focus on what will be right for them and their style of sailing.

“We know from previous live events held with our partners at Berthon International Yacht Brokers, that people really enjoy the chance to hop-aboard our open-boats and have face-to-face conversations with our ARC skippers and industry experts. This year we are creating a virtual cockpit and inviting curious cruisers out there to grab a seat and enjoy our special cockpit conversations.”

A record number of boats are expected to cross with the ARC in 2021/22

Expert advice

The ARC Bluewater Cockpit Conversations is a free to attend event running over four consecutive evenings from 25-28 May. Each will feature a theme, with different skippers and industry experts in the Cockpit to chat and answer live questions from the online audience.

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The four sessions are based on real experiences around the topics of: how to choose the right yacht for bluewater, how to buy a boat, planning your refit, and cruising amazing places.

Supporting the live sessions are a series of pre-recorded webinars that the sailors can watch at their leisure, and some well-chosen inspirational videos from real-life cruisers enjoying their adventures and sharing further experiences and viewpoints on how they achieved their bluewater dream.

The forum aims to replicate the experience of looking around different yachts, with walkaround views from partners Berthon.

The programme also includes a chance to look around some select offshore sailing boats, both from the hand-picked bluewater cruisers featured from the Berthon brokerage, and the boats sailed by the previous ARC sailors.

Yachting World boat test editor Toby Hodges will be sharing his experiences with an update on some of the new boats currently available which represent typical family offshore cruisers. Brokers and ARC skippers will share their thoughts on features and functions important for bluewater cruising, whilst the surveyor and refit experts will discuss aspects of boat ownership and budgeting that are not usually found in the sales brochures.

World Cruising Club have been organising the ARC for well over 30 years, and will be sharing some of their knowledge and experience, bringing confidence and inspiration to hopeful new cruisers, whether they already have their dream boat, or not.

Joanna Saayman, had this to say after attending a previous event “Having the opportunity to sit one to one with the ARC organisers who have seen every boat, every budget and every family setup and discuss our own personal hurdles with such positivity has given us the confidence to persevere and realise that it isn’t a pipe-dream, but a real possibility.” Joanna and husband Darryl subsequently bought a Beneteau First 42 and set off on their own bluewater adventure of a lifetime, crossing to the Caribbean with the ARC in 2019.

How to watch ARC Bluewater Cockpit Conversations

Join us in the cockpit for our virtual Club Nights, where you can ask questions of the experts and our ARC skippers, all from the comfort of your own home or office. Join in the cockpit conversation about choosing the right boat; planning and budgeting for a refit; coping with surveys and VAT.

How to buy a boat – Tues 25 May, 17:30 to 19:00

Gathering in the virtual cockpit are Berthon broker Alan McIlroy; yacht surveyor Robin Milledge; marine finance expert Chris Garner; boat owner Donald Begg, and insurance expert Dave Andrew. The panel will discuss different aspects of the boat buying experience and answer live questions.

Choosing the right yacht – Weds 26 May, 17:30 to 19:00

Giving their views on what makes a good bluewater cruising boat and sharing their own boat experiences will be offshore sailors and recent “dream boat” purchasers Mark Burton and Cecilie Hammersland; Serial boat owner Simon Ridley; Yachting World’s boat test guru, Toby Hodges, and Nigel Wilkinson from delivery and yacht management company PYD.


Toby Hodges will be sharing his expertise from testing hundreds of yachts. Photo: Paul Wyeth

Refitting for Bluewater Cruising – Thur 27 May, 17:30 to 19:00

Answering questions on all aspects of refitting for bluewater sailing will be yacht project manager Will Spencer; refit specialist Andrew Fairbrass from Berthon Spain and Jeremy Smart from North Sails.

Amazing places to cruise – Fri 28 May, 17:30 to 19:00

Cruising couples joining us in the cockpit to share their top-tips and bluewater tales are Chris & Helen Tibbs (Wauquiez 40); Jim & Ann MacDonald (Moody 42) and Nicola & Casper Craven, (Oyster 43).

To wrap up the four evenings, we hope you can join our final Friday evening social – grab a glass, or a cuppa – and squeeze into the cockpit with our skippers for some inspirational cruising tales.

To register for this free to join series visit www.worldcruising.com/training

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