The ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) has become an iconic event in the sailing calendar and attracts many first time and seasoned Atlantic cruisers. Bringing together over 200 crews under the guidance of the organisers and a host of industry supporters, it creates a temporary community of oceangoing adventurers within the confines of the Muelle Deportivo in Las Palmas each November and it seems to be particularly popular with our clients.
Members of our customer support team travelled to Las Palmas to meet with those Pantaenius clients taking part in the 2018 ARC. We met both UK clients and a good number of clients from our sister offices. The Pantaenius group had the privilege of providing insurance for more than 60 of the yachts taking part in the 2018 ARC event.
For the Customer Support Team at Pantaenius, November means the start of the Atlantic Crossing season and we become very busy updating policies to cover our clients on their transatlantic adventures. For our policyholders it represents the culmination of planning and preparations that may have taken several years.
Being able to visit our clients in Las Palmas during this time has proven to be a valuable opportunity for our clients to ask any questions that they may have regarding their cover. There can be no doubt that discussing the insurance, in person, over a coffee can be more enlightening than hours pouring over the policy document.
It also gave us a greater understanding of the issues that our clients face whilst in the throws of preparations so far from home. Many of the challenges that participants face in the lead up to departure became apparent to us during the four days we spent on the pontoons. We saw, first hand, how limitations in communications can hinder last minute preparations. Most yachts were using intermittent WiFi connections and examining often complex information and documentation on small devices such as smart phones. We have taken this on board in a big way and we try and anticipate and understand this when sending information to clients who may be far from a working printer.
Clearly connectivity is now the name of the game, with many crews posting ‘blogs’ whereas once they might have kept diaries. Keeping in touch has never been more at the heart of the transatlantic experience.
It is interesting to note how concerns have changed over the years. Yacht owners undertaking the crossing today have greater access to modern technology to make the crossing safer and more comfortable. Gone are the days of relying on rain squalls and baby wipes to keep the crew clean. No longer do cloudy skies frustrate the navigator. Water makers, GPS, refrigerators, and even washing machines are now commonly found on board cruising yachts, though it was reassuring to see sextants bristling on the outer Muelle and fruit and vegetables hanging in nets.
Crossing the Atlantic in a sailing yacht is a dream for many yacht owners. Making the dream happen comes with a certain amount of risk in spite of the advances in technology and the level of support and quality insurance. We were interested to find out what concerned our clients the most about undertaking such a major passage. The response was varied. Though many expressed concern that a breakage could cut the trip short, most felt a great deal of confidence in the capability of the yacht to make the crossing safely and provide a secure home for its crew.
This key component, the crew, provided the other main concern for many of the clients that we spoke to. Would everyone get on? How would they cope with injuries? Do we have enough coffee?
The transatlantic adventure is no longer solely the dream of the retired. Many young families have also answered the call of the open ocean. This provides parents with a new set of concerns, not least the well being of their young crew and how they will adapt to the ocean routine. However, they are tougher than they look. We saw children being kept busy with jobs to do and when not involved in preparations, confidently leaping around pontoons and making new friends. Heads up, Pantaenius management. Here are the customers of tomorrow.
On Sunday 25th November 2018, the ARC fleet left to sail to the Caribbean leaving Las Palmas quiet. All of the stresses of the last minute preparations, worries, concerns and where to stow all the food, will be replaced by the inexorable routine of being at sea. And yes, some of you have already broken bits of yourselves and your boats. But that’s what we are here for. We may not be on board with you when you crossed the Atlantic but you can rely on us when you need us.
Jo and Julie would like to extend their sincerest thanks to all of the clients that took time to speak to us and invite us on board.
Bon Voyage from the Pantaenius Crew!
Pantaenius Customer Support Manager, Julie Allen, first embarked on her sailing career in the early 1990s. Her first Atlantic crossing, on board a 60ft staysail schooner, was as part of the 1994 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, when ocean crossings were all about water rationing, astronavigation and being out of communication for several weeks.
Six Atlantic crossings and seventy thousand miles later, she now uses her experience of having sailed throughout the world to be able to provide help to clients and to shape our services with the yacht owner in mind.
Jo Haley, Customer Services Executive (Superyachts), joined Pantaenius in 2009. Jo looks after some of our Superyacht clients including those who employ professional crew aboard their yacht. Jo’s role involves working with a range of brokers, yacht managers and captains as well as the owners themselves.
Larger and more complex yachts inevitably require more complex insurance solutions and Jo deploys her close attention to detail and strong administrative skills in advising on insurance requirements, issuing policies and dealing with policy changes. Jo has attained her CII Diploma in Insurance.