This Summer – Two New Events & An Old Favorite

Join the Salty Dawg Spring Rally to the US

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Feature photo 2 feb 2016


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 Preparing for Offshore.

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 Rally™ Fall 2016 Cruising Seminars


Note: Bonus Drawings for Those in Attendance The Salty Dawg Rally™ has once again scheduled a comprehensive series of free blue water cruising seminars to be held prior to the sailboat shows in Newport and Annapolis and in Hampton, Virginia, prior to the early November departure of the Salty Dawg fleet to the Caribbean. With an emphasis on safety, communication, education, and camaraderie, over 400 boats and more than 1,600 sailors have participated in the Salty Dawg rallies since the organization was founded in 2011. The series kicks off with a day of seminars at The Edward King House in Newport, Rhode Island on Wednesday, September 14th, the day before the start of the Newport International Boat Show. At the seminar a drawing will be held for a McMurdo FastFind 220 PLB, donated by Life Raft and Survival Equipment – LRSE of Newport. Talks will be offered on topics valuable to cruisers, including blue water passage preparations by George Day of Blue Water Sailing Magazine Read More…

This Summer – Two New Events & An Old Favorite

Summer Promo

The Salty Dawg Rally is hosting two new events on the Chesapeake this summer – the Rally to Maine, from the Southern Chesapeake to Newport and Maine, and a Southern Chesapeake Rendezvous open to all interested in blue water sailing.  This is in addition to the Rally’s 5th Annual Bristol, R.I. 4th of July Rendezvous.  It will be a busy and fun-filled Salty Dawg summer. The Rally to Maine departs Indian Creek Yacht & Country Club in Virginia July 11th, and arrives in Maine for some great “downeast” cruising July 18th or shortly after, depending on weather and boat speeds.  The rally provides the usual solid rally preparation assistance, weather services, offshore coordination, camaraderie and fun events for which Salty Dawg Rallies are known.  Vessels may also join the rally in Newport/Jamestown. The Rally to Maine will include great pre-departure events, exciting stops in Jamestown, RI (near Newport) and Mattapoisett Harbor, a transit through the Cape Cod Canal, Read More…

Join the Salty Dawg Spring Rally to the US


The 2016 Spring Rally departs the BVI on May 15 to head to various ports on the East Coast of the US or to Bermuda. Salty Dawg Rallies place an emphasis on fun, safety and building lasting friendships. They are a great way to meet other cruisers, and to sail offshore in company. You can register for the Rally and participate in all events at no fee. However, joining the Rally as a Member entitles you to many other benefits. Most participants also join as Members to support the Rally and to take advantage of these added benefits. The 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. For 2016 the Rally has expanded the set of activities at both Virgin Gorda North Sound and at Nanny Cay prior to departure. In North Sound, Virgin Gorda the Spring Rally will include a gathering for the Michael Beans pirate show, and on another day enjoy watching the Moko Jumbies perform at the Leverick bay Resort. Then Salty Read More…

VIDEO: Salty Dawg Raft-up January 2016


Ever notice how the Sargasso Seaweed clumps up and forms streaks in the open ocean? The wind just happens to form these streaks from independent clumps of weed growing and floating in the ocean. It attracts various sea life and becomes a floating ecosystem unto itself. Well, a funny thing happens, under very special conditions, when a group of Salty Dawg cruisers find themselves together in a bay. Much like the Sargasso weed, they form clumps of dinghies, just before sunset, usually loaded with cheese, crackers, bits of grilled vegetables, dips, chips, sausage, and other boater’s delights, accompanied with the liquid refreshments that the island’s bounty provides; in other words – a dingy raft up. It is a floating ecosystem of camaraderie and fun. Such was the case on January 18, 2016 when at 1700, dinghies and their captains, crew and guests from the sailing vessels: Flash, Sapphire, Kalunamoo, Allegro, Leahona, Casa Tu, Simplicity, Reality Check…found themselves clumped together in Francis Bay, USVI. 12 dinghies and 28 sailors in all. What a wonderful way to Read More…

The Fall 2015 Salty Dawg Rally Arrives in the BVI

2015 Arrival Party - Dawgs AllJPG

Nearly all of the 78 vessels and over 300 sailors in the Fall 2015 Salty Dawg fleet have now arrived in the BVI and Bahamas. With the unusual weather pattern this year offering limited windows for departure, several boats left around November 1st, a few cast off shortly after, most of the rest of the fleet departed around November 11th, and the final two boats left November 28th – a very broad window. The early boats had some windward work and a sporty crossing of the Gulf Stream, as Chris Parker warned them they would. Other vessels chose to wait for more favorable conditions, and departed later with mostly downwind sailing. And, the last boats are finding almost no wind, and a lot of motoring. The 2015 Fall Rally was another successful and fun event by the Salty Dawg Rally, with wide acclaim from those who participated. The Fall Salty Dawg Rally was once again by far the largest rally from the east Read More…

2015 Fall Salty Dawg Rally™ Now Underway – 78 Boats Participating

Virgin Gorda

The first group of 78 boats participating in the 2015 fall Salty Dawg Rally™ are now on their way to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean destinations. . The experienced blue water sailors, some with 12 or more passages to the Caribbean from the US, many with ocean crossings under their keels and crews with circumnavigation experience, departed today from Hampton, Virginia, and other points along the US east coast. Most will arrive at their initial destinations within the next 10 days. . The fleet ranges in size from 34 to 70 feet and includes boats from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. With an emphasis on safety, communication and camaraderie, over 470 boats and more than 1,890 sailors have now participated in the Salty Dawg rallies since the nonprofit organization was founded by blue water sailors Bill and Linda Knowles in 2011. . The Fall Rally included extensive planning and information prior to departure. Daily briefings by weather router and forecaster Chris Parker were Read More…

Salty Dawg Annapolis Seminars – Well Received


The Salty Dawg Rally Annapolis Seminars, now in their 3rd season, were attended by a full house of close to 100 sailors. The seminars were conducted on Wednesday October 7th at the Mears Marina Pavilion in Eastport, Annapolis, MD. This is the 4th year for these seminars on blue water sailing topics. Speakers included Dave Flynn of Quantum Sails with unique advice on offshore sail preparation, storm strategies and heavy weather tactics, Steve Madden of M-Yachts on rigging degradation and rig setup issues to look for, and Chris Parker discussing weather prediction services, weather patterns, and passage strategies. Also, Curtis Morris provided a very thorough review of SSB communications, Will Keene of Edson International offered sage advice on boat bilge pump and steering system issues and preparations for offshore sailing, USCG representatives addressed offshore emergencies and communications with the CG, Joan Conover discussed cooking offshore and use of the pressure cooker, Mark Andres of Sea Hawk addressed selection of bottom paints based on cruising locations and conditions, and Skip Yale of Bainbridge discussed attributes of Read More…

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…

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

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…