Dawgs at Hog Heaven


Jost Van Dyke

Weather Forecasting



The Salty Dawg Rally is a non-profit organization, with an emphasis on offshore sailing education, safety, and communication, and building camaraderie among the exclusive family of blue water sailors. The Rallies hosted by this organization are free to sailors with blue water experience and open the door to new friends and experiences while cruising various areas in the Caribbean. The Salty Dawg Rallies have quickly earned a place among the premier sailing events on the East Coast of the US and the Caribbean.

The Salty Dawg Rally hosts two primary rallies – the Fall Rally from Hampton, Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay or from Beaufort, NC transiting to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands or to the Bahamas. The Spring Rally departs from Virgin Gorda, BVIs to points along the US east coast or to Bermuda. Further details on these rallies, including on-line registration are available under the corresponding tabs.

The Salty Dawg Rally also hosts Seminars at the Newport and Annapolis Boat Shows, and a week of seminars prior to departure in Hampton. The purpose of the seminars is to further sailors’ knowledge and skills for safe offshore bluewater passages, and to better experience the joys of long term cruising. The Rally also posts safety, sailing and equipment reference material on the Rally’s website at Seamanship – Tips for Dawgs.

The Rally currently has over 40 marine Sponsors, who provide financial support and many benefits to the Salty Dawgs. New Sponsors are always welcome. Also, further benefits are available to those who join the Rally as Members. Most Salty Dawgs decide to join as Members to help support the Rally and take advantage of the valuable benefits offered with membership. Details on Membership are available under the Membership tab.

As you will see on this website, an underlying feature of the Salty Dawg Rally is the camaraderie and associated friendships of those who choose to be Salty Dawgs. View our Testimonials, Facebook pages and the Notices below to gain a feel for this lasting benefit. We welcome you to join the growing list of Salty Dawgs.

“March, 2015. It has been four months since we headed south with the Salty Dawgs. Joining this rally ranks among the best decisions we’ve made. The quality of the seminars and passage nets during the 1,500 mile passage were beyond our expectations. Prior to departure we were engaged by Coast Guard and professional safety lectures, weather discussions, and generous advice from sailors who have made this passage many more than our three times. Under way, the level of communication was impressive. There were two daily Salty Dawg check-in nets, and Chris Parker ran two daily weather nets plus a midnight email weather update. Every boat received personal attention in the middle of the Atlantic until the last boat arrived safely. The benefits didn’t stop after the passage. Our main reason for joining the Salty Dawg Rally was to become part of that cruising community, and we have been blessed. We continue to travel down island with other Dawgs who have become long-term cruising friends.”

-- Ed Ludlow & Judy Richterman, sv Judith Arlene -- [See More Testimonials]

Salty Dawg Newport Seminars a Hit

SDR Seminar

The Salty Dawg Rally’s inaugural blue water sailing seminars held September 16th at the historic Edward King House in Newport were a big hit. These seminars held just prior to the Newport International Boat Show join the Salty Dawg Rally quality seminars held in Annapolis and Hampton each year. The sailors who attended the Newport seminars raved about the depth and quality of the information presented by the noted speakers. Topics included preparations for an offshore blue water passage by George Day of Blue Water Sailing Magazine and Multihulls Quarterly, bottom paint selection and characteristics by Mark Andres of Sea Hawk Paint, planning your cruising sail inventory by Dave Flynn of Quantum Sails, selection and performance of different types of sailing lines by Skip Yale of Bainbridge, steering and pump systems by Will Keene of Edson International, and care, maintenance and selection of emergency equipment by Jim Connors of LRSE. Bill and Linda Knowles of the Salty Dawg Rally were also on hand to help in answering questions by attendees on blue water sailing and Read More…

Sign-up for 2015 Fall Salty Dawg Rally™ – Win Gill $250 Gift Certificate


Registration is now open for the free 2015 Fall Salty Dawg Rally™ to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean destinations. The Rally for experienced blue water sailors will depart, weather permitting, on November 2 from Hampton, Virginia and other points along the US east coast. Register by September 15th at Registration to be eligible to win a $250 gift certificate from Gill® North America. Vessel already registered are automatically entered in the drawing. With an emphasis on safety, communication and camaraderie, over 390 boats and more than 1,560 sailors have participated in the free Salty Dawg rallies since the organization was founded by blue water sailors Bill and Linda Knowles in 2011. The Fall Rally includes extensive planning and information prior to departure. Daily briefings by weather router and forecaster Chris Parker are provided to all who register, both before departure and offshore. Daily nets track location of vessels and offer help on any issues or questions that participants have. The Rally is able to provide this extensive range of Read More…

Blue Water Sailing Seminar September 16 in Newport, Rhode Island – Win a McMurdo PLB!


The Salty Dawg Rally™ will host a free blue water sailing seminar on Wednesday, September 16, at the historic Edward King House in Newport, Rhode Island, just before the Newport International Sailboat Show. Seating is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, email linda@saltydawgrally.org. Attendees will also have an opportunity to win a McMurdo Fastfind 220 Personal Locator Beacon (pictured right) in a free drawing sponsored by Life Raft & Survival Equipment, Inc. (LRSE). The Newport seminar, sponsored by Dufour Yachts and Northpoint Yacht Sales, will feature expert presentations on topics of interest to cruisers. • Blue water passage preparations, presented by George Day of Blue Water Sailing Magazine and Multihulls Quarterly. • Bottom paint selection and characteristics, presented by Mark Andres of Sea Hawk Paint. • Offshore sail repairs, presented by Dave Flynn of Quantum Sails. • Selection and performance of different types of sailing lines, presented by Skip Yale of Bainbridge. • Steering and pump systems, presented by Will Keene of Edson International. • Selection and care of emergency equipment, presented by Read More…

Selection of PR and Marketing Firm


The Salty Dawg Rally™ announced on July 23rd it has chosen Home Port Marine Marketing to provide marketing and PR services. Bill Knowles, President of the Salty Dawg Rally, said “We are very excited to welcome aboard Home Port Marine Marketing. They will be handling communications and marketing of the Rally’s Seminars, Boat Show booths, Fall and Spring Rallies, and the various Rally-related events held throughout the year. We feel this is a very important step up for the Salty Dawg Rally as it continues to grow.” With an emphasis on safety, communication and camaraderie, over 390 boats and 1,560 sailors have participated in the Salty Dawg Rallies since 2011. Established in 2001, Home Port Marine Marketing is headed by former BoatU.S. product marketing executives Jim Georgiadis and David Pilvelait. For more information about Home Port’s marine product marketing, publicity and promotion services, visit www.homeportmarine.com

NOAA 2015 Seasonal Hurricane Outlook Announced


The numbers are in! Take a look at the 2015 Seasonal Hurricane Outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane season forecast agrees with earlier forecasts of a season with fewer named storms than historical averages in 2015.  NOAA, which released it forecast in June, calls for a 70 percent likelihood of: • 6 to11 named storms (including May’s Tropical Storm Ana) • 3 to 6 of which would become hurricanes • 0 to 2 major hurricanes – those of at least Category 3 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, and slightly above 2014’s numbers of 8 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 of which were Major hurricanes. The Colorado State University (CSU) forecast issued June 1 called for eight named storms, including three hurricanes, one of which is predicted to attain major hurricane status.  The CSU outlook is headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach in consultation with long-time hurricane expert Dr. William Gray and is based on a combination Read More…

Video: Salty Dawg Dinghy Drift

Salty Dawg’s across the Caribbean are regularly holding local, impromptu gatherings with Dawgs they met in one of the rallies. These happen in one of the Dawg’s cockpits, on a local beach, in a waterfront restaurant, or one of the many nearby bars. It can be a gathering of 3 to 30. In mid-January 12 Salty Dawgs and 6 Dawg-wannabe’s from 9 yachts gathered for a dinghy drift (let’s call it a ‘Dawg Drift’) in Francis Bay, St. John, USVI. Salty Dawgs from Dream Chaser, Flash, Kalunamoo, Rum Runner, Sapphire, and Zipporah participated, as well as guests from Lonestar, Reality Check, and Unicorn. Pleasant easterly winds, tasty snacks, refreshing drinks, and good company made for a delightful time. Passing boats honked horns in appreciation of the strange craft passing by, maybe never having seen a drift of dinghies lashed together into one, bobbing mass of fun. The pack broke up at sunset so all could arrive back at their home yachts before the twilight disappeared. It was a hit and will be repeated, we’re sure. Read More…

Salty Dawg Rally Update: December 2014


The 67 strong fleet in the 2014 Fall Salty Dawg Rally are in the B.V.I. and Bahamas and thoroughly enjoying life in the sun. The passage south started on November 3 and was a fairly slow one with some head winds, a trough of bumpy weather and then not much wind once south of the Gulf Stream. Weather guru Chris Parker, who gives the daily weather briefings and helps skippers with routing, had his hands full trying to find wind for the fleet. In the end, fuel management was the seamanship issue of the passage. The SDR recommends that every boat in the rally carry enough fuel to motor 500 miles or more. That is just prudent seamanship on a passage of 1,300 miles.  The SDR fleet all got in fine under power and most boats had fuel to spare. One SDR boat, Sea Tiger, had the opportunity to go to the aid of a boat sailing in the Caribbean 1500 that had run out of fuel. Sea Read More…



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 Read More…

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

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 before we depart,” Linda Knowles relates. “As one friend, Capt. Bob Philburn noted, there are enough boats in the rally that if they were lined up end to end, the line would be close to a mile in length.” The Salty Dawg Rally is free for all participants, founded by Read More…

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 www.svgoldilocks.com

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.