Keeping together: it is not really practical for everyone to sail in close convoy simply because boat speeds vary quite a bit. But 'paring off' seems to be a popular and practical idea. Generally we try to not leave inexperienced crews unattended.
Regarding communications on any of our cruises: on VHF, we use the standard procedure of making initial contact on CH 16, then switching to CH 72. If you have a dual watch facility you can 'cut out the middle man' and go straight through on 72. I have to say it is not unusual to hear one boat trying everything under the sun to make contact with another and failing, whilst everybody else in the north Atlantic has perfect reception! ( I have on occasion resorted to the mobile phone!)
Skippers will always of course make their own decisions about how and where their boats will sail, but should anyone seek information, there is a wealth of experience available from the membership. Just ask.
Whether a novice or an expert, if you would like to join in on a cruise at any time, please do so. If you are not yet a member, then likewise do come, and join the Association a bit later on if you enjoy the experience.