Shattered cruising rally finally past the pirate zone, in Turkey

Blue Water Rally - happier days...
Peter Seymour
The shattered remains of the Blue Water Rally - one of the rallies thrown into confusion this year while transiting the Indian Ocean when the shooting death of four American cruising sailors by Somali pirates changed the game entirely - has reached safe haven in Marmaris in Turkey. But they didn't sail there.

In the mayhem that followed the death of the four cruising sailors and the kidnap of seven Danish sailors who are still in captivity, the two rallies were confronted by daunting decisions - whether to venture into waters which had become potentially lethal, to return to South East Asia, or to call for help from a yacht-transport shipping company.

At the end of February, on arrival into Salalah with the news of the killings of the Americans, most of the boats in the Blue Water Rally finally opted to have their yachts shipped to Europe, independently of the Rally.

Dockwise Yacht Transport LLC was contracted to ship the twenty yachts. Dockwise Yacht Transport LLC, a leader in worldwide yacht shipping, organized the mv Palmerton, owned by Combi Lift, a Danish owned corporation, to transport all 20 Blue Water Rally sailboats to Turkey.

However, it didn't happen instantly. Significant shipping delays resulted in the yachts having to wait in Salalah for three months, finally being shipped from Salalah, Oman on May 31, 2011, arriving in Marmaris, Turkey on 8 June 2011.

The skippers and crew of the transported yachts then organized an end of rally party in Marmaris, Turkey. The farewell evening was highlighted by a poignant, fond and moving toast to Phyllis, Bob, Jean and Scott of the sailboat Quest (the cruising sailors who met their deaths at the hands of Somali pirates. Eleven of the pirates have now pleaded guilty in a USA court.)

Much acrimony was created between the participants of both rallies - the Blue Water Rally and the TTT (Thailand to Turkey) - and the organisers, but all yachts in both rallies now appear to have survived their experiences, whichever of the three choices they made. The TTT Rally, or some remains of it, sailed the Gulf of Aden on a secret route and also gained the safety of the Red Sea(See http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/international/Convoy-of-cruising-yachts-successfully-transit-Somali-pirate-zone/81937!Sail-World_story).

Chris Mounsey, Managing Director of the Blue Water Rallies Ltd, which has ceased operating round-world rallies, commented this week, 'We understand the frustration and disappointment that some of the participants have and probably still do feel that the rally came to such a difficult and tragic end.'
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