Friday, July 24, 2015
Traveling with the herd
There's a trend in the sailing community where people travel in organized groups. The granddaddy of them all is the ARC rallys. They have different rallys that do everything from Atlantic crossings to circumnavigations of the world. On a smaller scale, Sail magazine is promoting a trip down the east coast on the ICW waterway.
These rallys cost money as someone has to pay for the organization. While there are some group discounts on different things, it's said that prices always rise when the ARC people are in town.
Group trips vary between the different sponsors. They usually insist on a certain level of safety equipment and provide some security by traveling in a group. However, some of that group security is probably an illusion. If conditions are bad enough that one boat is trouble, potential rescue boats will be having a hard time too.
It's not just on the water where people travel in organized groups. There's a subset of the RV crowd who travel the country in packs.
My lovely wife and I are unfit for that sort of travel. Heck, we couldn't even follow my in-laws from TX to Mo in a straight line. We ended up on a side trip in Arkansas and camped near Hot Springs. Fortunately we were able to call them on the cell and tell them we'd be delayed.
A group rally would be a huge waste of money for us as we'd never complete it with the group. We might be fine for a day or two, but then we'd discover something off the beaten path and we'd be off on our own. It might be as simple as really liking a place and deciding to stay longer. That's something we do all the time.
One problem with traveling in big group is that the group dynamics are more important than the people and places you meet along the way. They travel in a bubble. Once they get to know the people in their group they tend to only hang out with those people. No need to get to know other people. Besides, when a big group overwhelms an area, the locals either want to profit off them or avoid them.
A single person or a couple is more likely to interact with people in a more normal human way.
Our next sailing adventure will be even less prone to group travel. First of all, our boat is pretty small. That's a disadvantage as shorter boats are just slower. Add to the fact that we will be using an electric trolling motor instead of a more powerful gas outboard. That makes us much more dependent on the wind and tides. On the other hand our small boat allows us to get into places the bigger boats can never dream of seeing. In the shallow waters around Florida that's an awful lot of real estate.
There may be advantages to running with the herd, but for us it's just not worth it.