Jost Van Dyke

Weather Forecasting



A note for all Salty Dawgs from rally founders Linda and Bill Knowles, s/v Sapphire:

We would like to thank all the current and past Salty Dawgs, our sponsors, volunteers and everyone who has contributed to the success of the Salty Dawg Rally. We have grown beyond our wildest dreams. We want to make sure the Rally keeps growing, but with growth also comes increased workloads and operating expenses. Our sponsors and many Dawgs have donated lots of benefits to those who have become Dawgs but not enough money to cover the growing expenses.

As you know, the SDR provides free rallies and seminars and is run by a team of volunteers. The Rally has doubled every year and the workload has quadrupled. Expenses include accounting and legal fees, a database to help with the administrative work, a part time employee, our website development and website maintenance and all the incidental expenses of running events in RI, MD, VA and in the BVI.

Last fall, we formed an SDR Board of Directors that is helping us carry some of the workload but we still need to raise more money to defray the ongoing operating expenses for the free rallies and seminars. In particular, we need to hire someone part time to manage rally entries and events.

Here’s how we plan to build cash flow that will allow us to provide fun and free rallies and events while still allowing the SDR to grow at its natural rate.

SDR Supporters:
We have formed different levels of Salty Dawg Rally supporters for those individuals who want to support the SDR with cash donations. These will be tax deductible when the Salty Dawg Rally becomes a Rhode Island based 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

• Sapphire Supporters: $1000 and up.
• Platinum Supporters: $750 to $999.
• Gold Supporters: $500 to $749
• Silver Supporters: $250 to $499
• Bronze Supporters: Under $250

See Supporter page for information on how you can help.

SDR Membership
In addition to creating SDR Supporter levels, we have decided to create one SDR Membership that qualifies skippers and their boats for all of the many discounts and benefits that we have arranged for over the last three years. We have also created a membership for crew and people who want to support the Rally. Join by August 31, 2014 and become a Founding Member.

You don’t have to become a member to sail in the rallies or use the services of weather router Chris Parker and radio controllers Judy and Dick Giddings. You are welcome to sail with us for free as always.

But, if you want to be able to purchase a Salty Dawg Burgee (available only to members with boats who are currently doing the Rally or have done the Rally) that will entitle you to all of the benefits, discounts and services that comes with the flag as well as all of the free benefits given by the sponsors, you can join as a member. The different categories are listed below.

FULL MEMBERSHIP: Join for the year at the $250 level and enjoy both the Fall and Spring Rallies and the fall seminars with all the benefits which include free charts, moorings, discounts, skippers bags, Salty Dawg Mugs, a 10% discount on SDR hats and t-shirts and more.

SUPPORTING MEMBERSHIP: Join at the $50 level to help support the Rally and receive the Salty Dawg Newsletter. Perfect for crew and people who want to support the Rally and still be a Dawg without actually sailing your boat in the Rally. Supporting Members are not eligible to purchase a burgee. Here’s how to sign up to be an SDR Supporter or an SDR MEMBER:

Go to the Membership page to join.

Benefits of Becoming a Dawg

The Salty Dawg Rally is a grassroots, non-profit organization, comprised of blue water sailors who have completed at least one blue water passage. There is no formal inspection of each boat, since it is the responsibility of each skipper to have proper safety equipment and to ensure that the vessel is prepared for the passage. Information including weather, Gulf Stream analysis, location of eddies, and daily weather forecasts during the passage is provided to each skipper by well‐known weather router Chris Parker, courtesy of Blue Water Sailing magazine. Volunteer Dick Giddings manages float plans for all of the boats in the fleet and maintains a daily SSB radio schedule, as well as daily positions for everyone (via HF radio and SatPhone). It is each skipper’s responsibility to decide the course and whether or not to set out for the passage. The Rally, with an emphasis on safety, communication, camaraderie and fun, opens the door to new friends and experiences while cruising various areas in the Caribbean.

Benefits of Joining the Salty Dawg Rally:

1.   Free to join.
2.   Free weather routing from Chris Parker provided by Blue Water Sailing Magazine.
3.   Free one year digital subscription to BWS for owners and crew.
4.   Free crew from Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO).
5.   Two free charts of your choice of the East Coast from NV Charts (excluding Bermuda).
6.   Discounted diving services by Don the Diver while in Hampton, VA.
7.   Discount prices at West Marine.
8.   In store discounts or Free delivery of provisions at Rite Way Food Markets in Tortola or Virgin Gorda all season.
9.   Free official Salty Dawg Mug by Bamboushay Pottery / BVI Painters.
10. 15% discount at Golden Hind Chandlery, BVI.
11. Discounted prices from Yacht Shots Photography, BVI.
12. 10% discount at Blue Water Divers, BVI.
13. Bitter End Yacht Club, BVI- free moorings on arrival until Dec 20, one night free dockage and much more.
14. Leverick Bay, BVI- discounted moorings and dockage thru the season and more.
15. Bluewater Yachting Center, Hampton, VA-discounted dockage.
16. Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Hampton, VA- special rates for family and crew.
17. Corporate rates at Enterprise Rent A Car.
18. Jack Martin & Associates of Annapolis, MD and Falvey Insurance of Kingston, RI have teamed up to provide an excellent combination of insurance pricing and coverage for the Dawgs!
19. Skipper Bags provided.
20. Seminars, Welcome Cocktail Party sponsored by Hampton Tourism and Convention Center, Pig Roast, Chicken Barbecue and much more.

For more information on the benefits of the Salty Dawg Rally, see our Benefits page.

Video: Salty Dawg Rally Fall 2013 on Il Sogno

Highlights from my 8 day (1,500 nautical mile) voyage aboard IL SOGNO from Hampton, VA to the Bitter End Yacht Club – Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. Song: Zimbabwe – Flume

Video: Salty Dawg Rally 2012 on Rum Runner

Filmed by John Kiedrowski aboard Rum Runner on the 2012 Salty Dawg Fall Rally. Catch this fun video , good for a laugh…   To see an extended version on YouTube, go to Rum Runner Extended Version.


The Salty Dawg Rally notes with great sadness the passing of Steve Black, 71, of Kilmarnock, VA, on March 17, 2014. Many of the Salty Dawgs began their offshore sailing careers with Steve Black, at his Passage Maker seminars, the Caribbean 1500 and the Bermuda Rally. Steve had been executive director U.S. Sailing and had organized the popular NOOD races in four regions of the country before founding the Caribbean 1500 in 1990. The Salty Dawg Rally is infused with the principles that Steve espoused in sailing: good preparation, good company, good spirits, and a clean wake. Steve emphasized safety and preparation, and much of his sailing time was single-handed. Everyone who ever sailed with Steve has a “Steve Story,” most of them true. Most […]

Salty Dawg Rally Update: Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013 — The vast majority of the fleet has arrived at their destination, and are enjoying warmer weather and celebrating their accomplishment with tropical drinks. This has been a very tough fall for passages south with complex weather patterns and a steady parade of troughs and low pressure systems. It has been a challenge to many and a learning experience for all. We owe many thanks to the US Coast Guard and Navy for their amazing assistance. Chris Parker has gone above and beyond providing individualized routing plans for the fleet. Dick and Judy Giddings have worked tirelessly to track and communicate with the boats. Joan Conover (SSCA) and her network have provided invaluable land based assistance to many boats. Our collective […]

Salty Dawg Rally Update: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — The Salty Dawg Rally is still in full swing with the vast majority of the fleet on their way to the Caribbean or Bahamas in milder weather conditions with occasional squalls. As of Tuesday, November 12, 12 boats had arrived at their destinations and seven were in or approaching Bermuda. In the aftermath of the challenging conditions last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, all of the major incidences have been resolved without life threatening injury. The SDR extends a huge thank you to the wonderful crews of the Coast Guard vessels, aircraft and shore side support for their professionalism, speedy work and cheerful attitudes. In all instances, these brave young men and women acted above and beyond the call of duty. […]

Salty Dawg Rally Update: November 8, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013 — The Salty Dawg Rally got under way this week from Hampton, Va., Beaufort, NC and other ports with boats in the 116 strong fleet departing as each skipper saw fit beginning on November 2 and on through today. November 4 had been set as the fleet departure date but the basic philosophy of the SDR is to have each skipper determine the schedule and course of their own vessels and to take responsibility accordingly. A strong front was forecast to pass over the mouth of the Chesapeake on the 4th and 5 so many skippers, heeding the advice of weather router Chris Parker, decided to start on Wednesday the 6 while others delayed their departures until the 7 and 8 […]

PRESS RELEASE: Salty Dawg Rally Breaks ‘Century’ Mark with 100 boats; Dominant Cruising Rally on U.S. East Coast

Hampton, Virginia, USA — What began as a small group of friends sailing south together in the fall, a little more than three years ago, has grown to become the dominant cruising rally – The Salty Dawg Rally – on the U.S. East Coast, according to co-founders Bill and Linda Knowles. With more than 100 boats registered this year to depart from East Coast ports in early November, the 2013 Salty Dawg Rally broke the ‘century mark’ of 100 boats shortly after this year’s Newport International Boat Show, where the Knowles had a booth. “The first fall, in 2011, we had 32 boats join; last fall we had 59 boats, and so far this year we have more than 100 boats, and more may join […]

PRESS RELEASE: Salty Dawgs Plan Fall 2013 Cruising Rally, Seminar Program

Bristol, Rhode Island, USA – The Salty Dawg Rally (SDR), a free cruising rally that has quickly grown to be the most popular one of its kind on the U.S. East Coast, announces the fall 2013 schedule, and has attracted more than 70 registered boats already, according to Bill and Linda Knowles, co-founders of the rally. A day of free seminars will be held at the Mears Pavilion in Annapolis, Maryland, on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the day before the start of the Annapolis Sailboat Show. The pavilion is a short walk from the show location. The seminar program is sponsored by Sea Hawk Paints. This is the first annual seminar for the Salty Dawg Rally and although there is no fee to participate, attendance […]

PRESS RELEASE: West Marine, Beneteau America, and Earle Yachts Sign on as Salty Dawg Rally Sponsors

Bristol, Rhode Island, USA – Three well-known names in the recreational boating world have signed on as sponsors of the Salty Dawg Rally, according to Bill Knowles, rally co-founder. West Marine, the nation’s largest boating supply retailer, premium yacht builder BENETEAU America, and Florida’s Earle Yachts, a major brokerage firm, have all joined in support of the Salty Dawg Rally (SDR), the U.S. East Coast’s most popular annual cruising rally for sailing yachts heading south to the Caribbean in the winter. “We’re delighted to have our new sponsors aboard,” Knowles said, “Our valued sponsors bring a great deal of benefit and support to our cruising members who make the passage south, and then back north again every year. Now there’s no reason not to be […]

Video: Salty Dawg Rally 2012 on Goldilocks


Colleen Korona and Michael Briggs sailing from Hampton, VA to Tortola, BVI on a Shannon 38 sv Goldilocks with The Salty Dawg Rally 2012. 1500 Miles, 15 Days. Last of the rally to arrive. Check out our blog at

PRESS: Captains Log by George Day (Blue Water Sailing)

Experience Matters • With this, our 198th edition of BWS, we are happy to bring you a new logo on the cover and a new layout inside. By renewing the look of the magazine, we are setting our sights on the future with confidence. We know that offshore sailing and cruising will always have an enthusiastic following that wants and needs a high quality magazine that speaks their language. This was never more evident than at the start of this year’s Salty Dawg Rally, which sails from Hampton, VA to the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI—a distance of some 1,300 blue water miles. A total of 59 boats showed up for the early November start of this free, all-volunteer event. More than 250 […]

PRESS: Ocean Cruising Club announces 2012 OCC Awards

OCC Award of Merit – To a member or non-member for performing some outstanding voyage or achievement (may award more than one per year). Dick Giddings – is one of the unsung heroes of the cruising community. “Disabled, living on the smell of an oilrag.” For many years he has given selflessly and unstintingly of his time and effort to create a safe passage for cruisers by contributing to a radio network that covers N. Atlantic and the Caribbean waters (which is where a huge number of OCC members land up!). It’s a check-in service that distributes NOAA weather information but even more importantly provides contact between cruisers and shore as well. He keeps a watchful eye on cruisers and if they don’t log in, […]

Salty Dawg Rally Fall 2012 Round Up

From Blue Water Sailing By Capt. Mike Martel • Following departure activities in Hampton, Virginia, and a few days of weather delays before departure, all 58 cruising boats of the Salty Dawg Rally arrived safely at their various destinations, with the majority going to the B.V.I., according to Bill and Linda Knowles, co-founders of the rally. “The weather on the trip down was generally pretty good, with a few days of lots of wind and some without any wind, but all in all, it was a very successful passage by all  oats,” Bill related. “There were no injuries, no damage, and no serious issues. It really was fun for all,” he added. The passage can take anywhere from a week to 14 days, and even […]

CRUISING DISPATCHES: Who Let The (Salty) Dawgs Out?

From Blue Water Sailing by Joy Smith – Boat captains and their crews were smiling at the southbound Salty Dawg Rally party held at Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Virginia on November 2, 2012. And why wouldn’t they be? The tent was warm, the food plentiful and delicious, and the atmosphere warm and welcoming, thanks to founders Bill and Linda Knowles (and their mascot, Brie). Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Knowles opted to delay the Rally start by two days to allow the 59 boats signed up to safely reach Hampton and prepare for departure for the warm waters of the Bahamas, the BVI and Saint Martin. The no-charge passage includes professional weather routing by Chris Parker, as well as SSB daily position checking and […]

PRESS RELEASE: Salty Dawg Rally Arrives Safely in BVIs after Successful Passage

Dawgs in BVI

Bristol, Rhode Island, USA – Following departure activities in Hampton, Virginia, and a few days of weather delays before departure, all 58 cruising boats of the Salty Dawg Rally have arrived safely at their various destinations, with the majority going to the BVI, according to Bill and Linda Knowles, co-founders of the rally. “The weather on the trip down was generally pretty good, with a few days of lots of wind and some without any wind, but all in all, it was a very successful passage by all boats,” Bill relates. “There were no injuries, no damage, and no serious issues. It really was fun for all,” he adds. The passage can take anywhere from a week to fourteen days, and even longer, depending on […]

PRESS: Salty Dawg Rally for the Experienced

From All at Sea Caribbean by Gary Bown. As the November edition of All At Sea hit the stands, excitement was building at the Blue Water Yachting Center in Hampton, Virginia, where crews in the Salty Dawg Rally were just hours from the start of their sailing adventure! The Salty Dawg thundered onto the rally scene in 2011 and was an instant success. Why? All At Sea set out to investigate. The Salty Dawg Rally was founded by cruising enthusiasts Bill and Linda Knowles of Bristol, Rhode Island, with their Jeanneau 54DS, Sapphire, and their Jack Russell terrier, Brie, the original ‘Salty Dawg’. When Bill and Linda talk about the rally their enthusiasm is contagious. “The Salty Rally became a registered non-profit organization in the […]

PRESS: Salty Dawg Rally & Ocean Cruising Club

Salty Dawg Rally, Ocean Cruising Club Agree to Work Together, Promote Common Goals Bristol, Rhode Island, USA – The Salty Dawg Rally, a ‘grassroots’ free cruising rally for blue-water sailors, and the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), a distinguished international club for cruisers, announce an agreement to work together to promote common goals, following a meeting at the recent U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD. Salty Dawg Rally (SDR) co-founders Bill and Linda Knowles and the OCC agreed to find ways to collaborate to promote safe, competent, enjoyable cruising of the world’s oceans and ports of call. The Knowles met with Sid and Rebecca Shaw of the OCC in Annapolis; Sid and Rebecca are USA Southeast Regional Rear Commodores of the OCC. “We’re excited by the […]

PRESS: New, Free ‘Salty Dawg Rally’ Going ‘Viral’ in the Cruising World

The new grassroots, Salty Dawg Rally, has literally ‘gone viral’ in the cruising world. Or so it seems to co-founders Bill and Linda Knowles, whose workload in organizing this year’s cruising rally to the Caribbean has become almost overwhelming. Boats are joining, and at the time of this writing, there are approximately 35 boats signed up and more are expected before the Rally’s departure from Hampton, Virginia in early November. On top of that, more than 25 sponsors have thrown their generous support behind the rally, providing goods and services to the participants, familiar names including Quantum, Hylas, Jeanneau, Winslow Life Raft, nv-charts, Blue Water Sailing, and others. Why all the fuss? The Knowles are long-time sailors familiar with Caribbean haunts, and they and their […]

PRESS RELEASE: Salty Dawg Rally Sponsorship List Growing Fast

Bristol, Rhode Island, USA – The Salty Dawg Rally’s list of sponsors providing goods and services to the rally and its participants has grown remarkably, according to Rally founders Bill & Linda Knowles. The list has grown to more than 25 sponsors including such well-known names in the marine world as Quantum, Hylas Yachts, Jeanneau North America, and more, all of whom are prominently listed on the Salty Dawg Rally web site, “We appreciate all of our sponsors, from the large yacht manufacturers to the smaller providers, Bill Knowles, Co-founder of the Rally, states. “Each sponsor brings something unique and of real value to our participating Rally members.” “For example, nv-charts provides up-to-date chart sets in paper and digital format to all of our […]