Previous sailing rallies organized by Jimmy Cornell

pdf Download “Rallies and Races, the chapter on the various rallies that Jimmy Cornell has organised over the years as published in his book “A passion for the Sea”.
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, Gran Canaria – Photo: Jimmy Cornell

As the founder of the highly successful ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) transatlantic rally, Jimmy Cornell is credited with having devised the offshore cruising rally concept. Now in its 27th year, the ARC continues to be the largest, and most popular, transocean event in the world.

In the last 27 years Jimmy Cornell has organized over 30 successful international events, among them the Hong Kong Challenge, Expo 98 round the world rally and Millennium Odyssey.

These events scored several notable firsts:

  • ARC 1986: the first transatlantic rally from east to west: Gran Canaria to Barbados;
  • ARC 1986: the largest transocean sailing event with the participation of 204 yachts (Guinness Book of World Records 1987);
  • TransARC 1988: the first transatlatic rally from west to east Antigua-Bermuda-Azores;
  • Europa 92: the first round the world rally (1991-1992):
    The success of the ARC in 1986 served as an inspiration for the first round the world rally, something that had never been done before. Every round the world was used as a platform to promote and celebrate some of the most significant dates of our times. Being a great believer in the European concept the first round the world rally was called Europa 92 to celebrate this burgeoning political union that promised to bring peace and prosperity to a continent that had been divided and at war for so many centuries.Europa 92 started from Gibraltar at the beginning of January 1991, Gibraltar’s far seeing government doing everything possible to support this international event, whose aims coincided so closely with Gibraltar’s own endeavours and hopes.
    After stopping in the Canaries, the rally crossed the Atlantic, passed through the Panama Canal in February and, via the Galapagos, headed for the South Pacific, which was reached at the start of the safe winter season. Visiting a number of island nations en route, the rally reached the Torres Strait and entered the Indian Ocean. From Bali the route turned north to Singapore, before crossing the North Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and eventually to a grand finale in Gibraltar.
  • America 500 (to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World in 1492): the largest sailing event of the 1992 quincentenary celebrations (146 yachts);
  • The Hong Kong Challenge (1996-1997) started in London and was the first round the world race to reach the Pacific via the Panama Canal. The event marked the historic moment of the return of Hong Kong to China.
  • The Expo 98 (1997-1998): the first round the world rally to complete a circumnavigation via the Cape of Good Hope; it was sponsored by the Global Exhibition Expo 98 and the 36 participating yachts carried around the world its message “the oceans, a heritage for the future”. The rally started in Lisbon and finished in the Portuguese capital on the day of the opening of Expo 98.
  • The Millennium Odyssey (1998-2000) was the largest round the world sailing event and the first sailing event to visit Antarctica. It celebrated the arrival of the new millennium by carrying around the world a symbolic flame which had been lit at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in August 1998. Each of the 50 participating yachts carried on board a millennium lamp whose flame was delivered to 32 countries around the world. The rally ended in Rome at Easter 2000 when the flame was handed over to Pope John Paul II.

    Stu Conway, Stampede, sailed in the Millennium Odyssey:

    The first time I got my mitts on a tiller, I knew I would be heading over the horizon someday. When courting my wife Julie, my plan was to do a circumnavigation by the time I reached 50. Our lives, raising a family, and careers took hold, but eventually we closed in on departure. I proposed to sail to the Caribbean, cruise for a few months, and if the lifestyle suited, continue west through the Panama Canal.

    Julie wanted more structure. The rally format grabbed her attention. Best decision we ever made. While I had read all of Jimmy’s books, Jimmy’s organization, the preparatory seminars, the presentations from experienced sailors on every facet of blue water voyaging, the checklists, the rigging inspections, the requirement that all participants do a 500 mile offshore passage for practice, the opportunity to ask nagging personal questions – everything underscored our sailing experience and, with a well-found vessel, prepared and gave us the self-confidence to go. The twice daily protocols for SSB radio roll calls, the weather packages provided for each passage, the expediting of entry/departure formalities, our “handlers” talking us through every landfall, the good will we met everywhere because we were part of Jimmy’s rally – these made our circumnavigation easy.

    We always had access to the wisdom and experience of Jimmy and his associates, who took our every need seriously, knowing that in the final analysis, we would be out there facing whatever conditions Mother Nature threw at us, perhaps relying on such shared knowledge and experience. Phenomenal way to see the world!!!

    Easter 2000: Jimmy Cornell hands over the millennium flame to Pope John Paul II
pdfMore: Download “Rallies and Races, the chapter on the various rallies that Jimmy Cornell has organised over the years as published in his book “A passion for the Sea”.