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

Virgin GordaThe 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 provided to all, 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 support and services at no cost to participants due to the many seasoned blue water sailors who volunteer their time to staff the rally and the generous donated time, products, services and funds from over 40 sponsors.

Salty Dawg Annapolis Seminars – Well Received

UntitledThe 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 different type lines and their best applications. An attentive audience asked thoughtful questions, gourmet sandwiches were offered for lunch, and with a sunny fall day most had plenty of input for their preparations to sail south. Reviews and subsequent testimonials by attendees were all positive about the learning experience provided by the seminars. The Salty Dawg Rally offers a series of seminars in Newport, Annapolis and Hampton to help blue water sailors better prepare themselves and their vessels for offshore passages.
It was great meeting all of you and the attendees at the Seminar in Newport…….a very good program with a lot of knowledgeable speakers as well as attendees!  The information shared among everyone and the networking were quite valuable to any avid sailor. Thank you for providing these beneficial opportunities to us. ……and happy sailing, Doug Stephens.


Salty Dawg Newport Seminars a Hit

SDR SeminarThe 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 the Salty Dawg Rally.

All who attended were complimentary of the speakers and of the Rally for conducting the seminars. The word is spreading about the high quality of the seminars offered by the Salty Dawg Rally, with the next seminars to be held October 7th in Annapolis, Md. at Mears Marina.

Dorothy Mammen, winner of PLB at Newport Seminar

Dorothy Mammen, winner of PLB at Newport Seminar

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

epirbThe 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 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 Jim O’Connor of LRSE.

So come if you can, and pass this along to friends who may have an interest in learning more about blue water sailing.

Selection of PR and Marketing Firm

HomePortLogoThe 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

named-hurricane-franThe 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 of 29 years of statistical predictors.

Hopefully, this will make things easier for Salty Dawgs as they work their way south to the Hampton, VA in preparation for an early November departure.

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. Click on the YouTube video to see some of the highlights.

Salty Dawg Rally Update: December 2014

Caris-Bequia-May-2012The 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 Tiger was able to rendezvous with Southern Cross north of the B.V.I. and handed over enough fuel for the vessel to make landfall safely. When the skipper of Southern Cross offered to pay for the fuel, Sea Tiger’s crew declined the money. But, when candy bars were offered instead, the deal was done!  For their generous and thoroughly seamanlike assistance, the crew of Sea Tiger was given the first ever SDR  St. Bernard Award.

Following the arrival of the fleet at The Bitter End, where the SDR members get free moorings until December 19, the festivities began in earnest. Sundowner parties became a daily event at The Bitter End, Leverick Bay, Biras Creek and Saba Rock.  The Bitter End Yacht Club plays host to the SDR fleet and on November 19 put on a gala dinner for a modest fixed price for more than 80 dawgs. A good time was had by all.

The Dawgs had planned to have a potluck Thanksgiving feast on the beach in front of the Sandbox Beach Bar but due to the planned arrival of a cruise ship, they shifted the date to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Sixty five Dawgs gathered on the beach and in the bar and shared a wide range of delicious offerings.

Members of the Salty Dawg Rally are eligible for a wide range of services and discounts through the rally that includes discounted fuel from Voyage Marine in Soper’s Hole, discounts at supermarkets in Road Town and, of course, the free moorings at The Bitter End. The Salty Dawg Rally is sponsored by leading companies in the sailing industry that have come together to help the non-profit SDR organization put on free rallies and educational seminars for offshore sailors and cruisers. Blue Water Sailing and Cruising Compass are proud to be co-founders of the Salty Dawg Rally and the sponsor of Chris Parker’s weather services. which are provided to the rally fleet for free.

George Day, Publisher

Blue Water Sailing and Cruising Compass


SaltyDogA 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 safe 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 are based upon an annual year that begins on September 1 and 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

Please look at the Supporters’ Page on the website to see all of the individuals who have stepped up so far. But we really need more.

SDR Membership

In addition to creating SDR Supporter levels, we have decided to create Individual SDR Memberships that qualify skippers and their boats for all of the many discounts and benefits that we have arranged for over the last three years.

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.

Click here to go to the “Become A Member” 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

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 cruising enthusiasts Bill & Linda Knowles of Bristol, Rhode Island, with their Jeanneau 54DS, Sapphire, and their Jack Russell terrier, Brie, the original ‘Salty Dawg’. The rally leaves Hampton, Virginia and other U.S. East Coast ports in the fall, headed for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other ports in the Caribbean, and returns to the participants’ various home ports in the spring. Members of the Rally receive sponsor-supplied products and services. The Salty Dawg Rally is 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.

Why has the rally become so popular, and so quickly? Camaraderie and benefits, according to Bill Knowles. “Our Rally improves constantly due to an increasing number of sponsors, and the benefits that they bring to participants not merely in gifts and merchandise, but in sponsored educational programs and seminars that we hold. Participation in the rally is free, but more importantly, due to the length of time spent together in the fall, friendships are developed that last forever. Our Dawgs are always running into each other in other ports up and down the Caribbean!” he adds.

This year’s rally includes events, seminars, dinners, and entertainment prior to departure. For more information and updates, visit, or visit the Salty Dawg Rally Facebook page.


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

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.