Press

STEVE BLACK

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 of them Steve told on himself.

Anywhere cruising sailors gather, at least one of the crowd will have sailed with Steve. To him we owe this debt, he inspired us to cast off the docklines, explore, dream, discover.

Sail on, good friend, sail on.

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

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 heart goes out those adversely affected by the challenging conditions. It has been wonderful seeing the spirit of the cruising community come alive

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.

In addition, the SDR extends a huge thank you to volunteers Joan Conover in Hampton, Dick and Judy Giddings of the Doo Dah Net and Tatja Hopman who is our SDR coordinator for their tireless efforts and resourcefulness. They all played vital roles in helping the Coast Guard and other ralliers assist those who found themselves in distress. The rally requirement that each boat file a complete float plan provided the essential information that made assistance and rescues swift and safe. And the rally extends a huge vote of thanks and confidence to weather forecaster and router Chris Parker who gave the fleet as detailed and accurate a picture of last week’s complex weather systems and Gulf Stream currents as could be desired.

To be clear, there was no set start date for the rally. Boats left when they deemed it right for them, as is the philosophy of the SDR and any experienced cruiser. Some left on November 2nd, some on the 3rd, some on the 4th, against the tribal advice, many on the 6th, in hopes of splitting the two fronts, and the rest on the 7th and 8th. Each skipper was responsible for his decision and each skipper found the weather that decision rendered. Everyone knew it was going to be bouncy out there over the first few days.

Two boats, Ahisma and Wings, were abandoned and crew rescued by the Coast Guard due to hull damage and gear breakdowns. It is believed that Ahisma has sunk while Wings is adrift and awaiting salvage by the owners. The crew of Ahisma was first to reach land so they were able to meet their compatriots from Wings when that crew also arrived safely in a CG helicopter. Two boats were dismasted. Like Dolphins made their way back to Portsmouth, Va. and is looking to get a new carbon spar installed. Nyapa motored back to The Chesapeake Bay under her own steam.

Four boats had rudder problems. Wings is still at sea, adrift. Zulu and Jammin were towed in by the Coast Guard and are lying at Cobbs Marina waiting for repairs. And, Pixi Dust is in Morehead City, NC having her rudder repaired. Braveheart crew member who suffered a broken arm is being tended to in Morehead City, NC. For the boats at sea or in Bermuda, there have been reports of several torn sails and damage to deck gear and sailing systems. Yet, each of these boats has been able to make jury rigged repairs at sea and were able to carry on safely which is a testament to the preparations, skills and determination of their skippers and crews. In summary, of the 116 boats that started the SDR last week, seven had serious gear failures and had to return to the U.S. for repairs or in two cases were abandoned. These emergencies are a cause of concern for all of the Salty Dawgs and will be addressed by the board of the SDR in the aftermath. More than 95% of the fleet managed the challenging conditions and put it behind them in a very seamanlike fashion.

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 . Defying the weather models, the front slowed and grew more intense as it passed over the bulk of the SDR fleet on Wednesday night and Thursday. While it was rough out there and the Gulf Stream showed augmented current speeds, the vast majority of the boats and crews got through the first night in good shape and are now south of the Stream and on their way to the B.V.I. Due to the weather out there, some boats are diverting to Bermuda for a short layover. And, as they get father south and east of Hatteras, the weather continues to improve. You can check out the position reports for the SDR fleet by clicking on the link to the Salty Dawg SPOT Tracking Map.

There were several incidents and emergencies among the fleet in the first 36 hours in which five boats had rudder and rig failures, seasickness and one broken arm. The U.S. Coast Guard, working closely with SDR volunteers, are assisting the sailors in need of outside help quickly and efficiently. For more on the incidents in the fleet in the first 48 hours click on the link below that will take you to the Coast Guard’s Press Center.

http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1955938/VIDEO-UPDATE-Coast-Guard-rescues-4-assists-others-off-Va-NC-coasts

For more information from the fleet you can go to the Salty Dawg Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheSaltyDawgRally

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 www.saltydawgrally.com, or visit the Salty Dawg Rally Facebook page.

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 will be by reservation only, and is limited to 100 persons. Preference will be given first to current SDR participants (fall 2013 rally), then members from previous Salty Dawg Rallies, and finally to all other blue water sailors until the 100 person limit is met.

About The Salty Dawg Rally

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.


The October 9 time schedule, topics, and instructors are as follows:

SDR Fall Seminars:  October 9, 2013 | Mears Pavilion, Annapolis, Md.

TIME

COMPANY/AFFILIATION

SPEAKER

SUBJECT

9:00-10:00
Quantum Sails
Dave Gross
Offshore Sail Settings/Repair
10:15-11:15
Communications Specialist
Curtis Morris
Communications Offshore & More
11:30-12:30
SSCA
Joan Conover
Offshore Pressure Cooking
12:30-13:30
Lunch
13:00-13:30
Ocean Cruising Club
Sid/Rebecca Shaw
Benefits of the OCC
13:30-14:00
Seven Seas Cruising Assoc.
Joan/Greg Conover
Benefits of the SSCA
14:15-15:30
M Yachts
Steve Madden
Safety Prep for Blue Water Passage
15:45-16:45
Corey Mitchell
Offshore Emergency Medical Care

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 a Dawg!” Bill and Linda Knowles, co-founders of the rally.

West Marine, headquartered in Watsonville, California, is well known as the nation’s largest supplier of boating-related products and services. BENETEAU America, headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, is the U.S. division of one of the world’s finest yacht crafters. Founded in Croix-de-Vie in Vendée in France more than a century ago, BENETEAU has launched more than 42,000 yachts that have sailed the seas of the world. Earle Yachts, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a family owned company founded on principals of integrity, cooperation and hard work, a brokerage firm that specializes in working with clients throughout the buying or selling process and advising current and future owners.

These firms join a long list of SDR sponsors that include nv-charts, Blue Water Sailing magazine, the Bitter End Yacht Club, Jeanneau North America, Hylas Yachts, and many others.

About The Salty Dawg Rally

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 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.

For more information about joining the Rally or becoming a sponsor, visit www.saltydawgrally.org.

GoldilocksVideo

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

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 sailors attended the send-off party, and many thousands more have been following the fleet via email and satellite tracking. As a lead sponsor of the event, BWS is happy to say that our readers are out there doing it.

This year, BWS supplied the fleet with goody bags, lined up the services of Chris Parker, who delivers excellent weather and routing to the fleet, and offered each Salty Dawg a free one-year digital subscription to BWS through Zinio. If you haven’t yet seen our digital version, check it out at www.zinio.com/bluewatersailing.

For us, being involved with the Salty Dawgs is simply good fun and good citizenship. The sailors who take part are the kind of people who write for us and give the magazine the authority you expect on a wide range of topics—from seamanship and sailing skills to provisioning, electronics and more. Experience does matter.

That’s why we bring you the most experienced lineup of editors and writers with offshore experience in the sailing world. On staff, we have people who have sailed more than a quarter million offshore miles. And our stable of regular contributors is unmatched. Longtime columnist Bill Biewenga told us when asked that he had stopped counting at 400,000 offshore miles. Regular contributors John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal, whose seminars BWS has sponsored for the last decade, have cumulatively sailed 583,000 miles across the blue water. And columnist David Burch has logged more than 70,000 miles at sea.

So when you pick up your copy of BWS at the newsstand or retrieve it from the mailbox, you know that the articles, how-to pieces and reviews that lie between its covers are guided by voices of experience that you can trust. Whether you are sailing along the coasts or voyaging across oceans, you need information that will keep you safe, techniques to build your skills and real stories to inspire you to do more. And that’s exactly what we bring you every month.

We are happy to have you sailing with us. Look for our collector’s edition 200th issue in March!

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, he puts the word out to emergency services. The stories are too numerous to mention where a cruiser has been unable to contact home except via Dick Giddings. Dick is a vital contributor to both the DooDah and Cruiseheimers   To read the entire Press Release Click Here…

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 longer, depending on the boat, the wind and sea conditions and the sailing style of each skipper. Many of the Dawgs arrived at the Blue Water Yachting Center in  Hampton, Virginia days before the scheduled November 4 departure. Rally organizers had erected a tent and hosted events featuring helpful and practical seminars and presentations.

Key speakers included Charles Daneko of Winslow Life Rafts, Joan Conover of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), David Gross of Quantum Sails, and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Curtis Morris, an expert on single sideband radio transmission and procedures. But, it wasn’t all study. “We had great departure parties under the tent that included a pig roast, chicken barbecue, chili cook off, and a pot luck dinner,” Linda said. “These were all held after a general meeting and weather briefing. The whole-pig roast and chicken barbecue was prepared on site by Mobile Pig-Nic BBQ catering, and a rum bar was offered by Phil Worrall, owner and captain of Rum Runner, a rally participant.”

On November 4, despite a short weather window and anticipated heavy seas, nine of the rally boats departed; the majority waited out the weather and got underway November 9. En-route, Salty Dawg Rally boats kept in touch with daily check-ins monitored by volunteer Dick Giddings, who 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). Information including weather, Gulf Stream analysis, location of eddies, and daily weather forecasts during the passage was provided to each skipper by well-known weather router Chris Parker, courtesy of Blue Water Sailing magazine.

There was a morning and evening radio chat and check-in among the rally boats each day. Visitors to the Salty Dawg web site were able to read daily logs from the fleet, and listen to daily radio chat recordings. A Salty Dawg SPOT tracking map was used to allow visitors to the website to track the daily and hourly progress of all boats in the fleet in real time, as well as their GPS locations.

Rally members wrote about catching fresh fish en-route to supplement their stored provisions aboard. “After we arrived, the generosity of the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin
Gorda, a rally sponsor, was impressive and all of our members who attended the arrival parties were exceedingly grateful to them,” Bill Knowles said. “The Bitter End Yacht Club welcomed us all with free moorings, discounted room rates for spouses and friends, use of the swimming pool, and provided an arrival party and dinner. The generosity of our many sponsors has been simply overwhelming.”

The Salty Dawg Rally is a ‘grass-roots’ rally, free for all participants, and leaves Hampton, Virginia and various other ports in the fall, headed for the British Virgin Islands (B.V.I.) and other destinations in the Caribbean. The rally returns to the participants’ various home ports in the spring. The return rally is scheduled to depart Tortola, B.V.I. from Nanny Cay Marina, on May 15, 2013. More information will soon be available at www.saltydawgrally.org. 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.

For more information about joining the Rally or becoming a sponsor, visit www.saltydawgrally.org.

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 chats, courtesy of Doo Dah Net. Fleet tracking and reporting is also available on the Salty Dawg  website.

At the three-day event crammed with seminars and presentations, the tent sizzled with enthusiasm and camaraderie. Key speakers included Charles Daneko of Winslow Life Rafts, Joan Conover of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), David Gross of Quantum Sails, and retired Air Force Colonel Curtis Morris, an expert on single sideband radio transmission and procedures. Throughout the rally, Bill and Linda passed on frequent weather updates from Chris Parker and relayed information about discounted prices and services they procured from local area vendors in Virginia  and the BVI.

The outpouring of donations to the Salty Dawg Rally was phenomenal. An original promoter of the event, BWS publisher George Day donated  logo-printed ditty bags, which volunteers stuffed with information, while NV-Charts provided chart kits for Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Joan Conover of SSCA offered shuttle service to folks requiring groceries and supplies needed for the passage, as did the local West Marine store.

Evening events included a chicken barbecue and a whole-pig roast, prepared on site by PIG-NIC BBQ restaurant, and a rum bar offered by Phil Worrall, owner and captain of Rum Runner. A raffle plumped with lucrative prizes included an inflatable kayak and a wooden pelican, replicating the image on the Salty Dawg website, which was carved and donated by Jim O’Connor, owner and captain of Moriel.

Despite a short weather window and anticipated heavy seas, a convoy of nine Salty Dawgs slipped their leashes and set sail on November 4th. While waiting out an expected storm, the more cautious Dawgs continued rally festivities with casual potluck dinners and a chili cook-off until their departure on November 9th. An arrival celebration will take place at The Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda.

A formidable newcomer to the rally business, the Salty Dawgs formed just one year ago with 32 boats, breaking the traditional mold of paid attendance by offering the same kinds of support and information at no charge. Incorporated as a non-profit organization, the rally is funded by donations of time, money and services offered by a growing number of participants and sponsors, both local and worldwide.

Anyone considering joining the Salty Dogs on their northerly trek from Tortola, BVI to Bermuda or a home port in May 2013, or heading to the Caribbean next fall, should register at www.saltydawgrally.org.

Joy Smith is the author of The Perfect First Mate and Kitchen Afloat (www.joysmith.net).

Dawgs in BVI

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

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 the boat, the wind and sea conditions, and the sailing style of each skipper.

Many of the Dawgs arrived at the Blue Water Yachting Center in Hampton, Virginia days before the scheduled November 4 departure. Rally organizers had erected a tent and hosted events featuring helpful and practical seminars and presentations. Key speakers included Charles Daneko of Winslow Life Rafts, Joan Conover of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), David Gross of Quantum Sails, and retired US Air Force Colonel, Curtis Morris, an expert on single sideband radio transmission and procedures.

It wasn’t all study, Linda Knowles says; there were fun events as well. “We had great departure parties under the tent that included a Pig Roast, Chicken BBQ, Chili Cook Off, and a Pot Luck Dinner,” she says. “These were all held after a general meeting and weather briefing. The Whole-Pig Roast and Chicken Barbecue was prepared on site by Mobile Pig-Nic BBQ catering, and a rum bar was offered by Phil Worrall, owner and captain of Rum Runner, a Rally participant.”

Despite a short weather window and anticipated heavy seas, nine of the rally boats departed November 4; the majority waited out the weather and got underway November 9.

En-route, Salty Dawg Rally boats kept in touch with daily check-ins monitored by Volunteer Dick Giddings, who 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). Information including weather, Gulf Stream analysis, location of eddies, and daily weather forecasts during the passage was provided to each skipper by well-known weather router Chris Parker, courtesy of Blue Water Sailing magazine. There was a morning and evening chat and check-in among the Rally boats each day.  Visitors to the Salty Dawg web site were able to read Daily logs from the fleet, and listen to Daily radio chat recordings of the check-in with the Doo-Dah Net. A Salty Dawg SPOT tracking map was used to allow visitors to the web site to track the daily and hourly progress of all boats in the fleet in real time, as well as their GPS locations. Rally members wrote about catching fresh fish en-route to supplement their stored provisions aboard.

“After we arrived, the generosity of the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, a Rally sponsor, was impressive and all of our members who attended the arrival parties were exceedingly grateful to them,” Bill Knowles says. “The Bitter End Yacht Club welcomed us all with free moorings, discounted room rates for spouses and friends, use of the swimming pool, and provided an arrival party and dinner. The generosity of our many sponsors has been simply overwhelming.”

The Salty Dawg Rally is a ‘grass-roots’ rally, free for all participants, and leaves Hampton, Virginia and various other ports in the fall, headed for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other destinations in the Caribbean. The Rally returns to the participants’ various home ports in the spring. The return Rally is scheduled to depart Tortola, BVI from Nanny Cay Marina, on May 15, 2013. More information will soon be available at www.saltydawgrally.org.

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.

For more information about joining the Rally or becoming a sponsor, visit www.saltydawgrally.org.

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.

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 State of Rhode Island and is working towards becoming a 501c3 (American tax-exempt nonprofit organization) in 2013,” says Linda. “The Rally also became an official Burgee Member of US Sailing. We now have an official Salty Dawg Burgee and we have a newly launched Salty Dawg Rally website. We also had our first Annual Salty Dawg Rally 4th of July Celebration in Bristol, Rhode Island.”

The Knowles carried news of their rally to several boat shows on the Eastern Seaboard this year where they “picked up new sponsors and generated a lot of interest among future ralliers.”
What makes the Salty Dawg Rally so popular?

“There are several reasons for this. The most obvious is that it’s free!” says Linda, before adding “then there are benefits to boot!” She says sailors like to take charge of their boat. They want to feel responsible and be the captain of their vessel. They can sail safely in a group with weather routing and daily check-ins and not have to take out a mortgage to do it. They can experience the fun and friendships that are made and last a lifetime.

The rally takes the yachts from Newport to the British Virgin Island, Bahamas, or ‘other various locations’. While the organizers want the event to be fun, not an endurance test, they recognize the challenges the sailors will face offshore.

First time ralliers Hank and Seale George are seasoned cruisers who over 30-years have logged 160,000 blue water miles including five voyages to the Caribbean. One of the reasons they chose the Salty Dawg Rally was because of its flexibility.

“We liked the idea of a low key rally, since we prefer to select our own departure windows, schedule, and route,” says Hank. The couple are sailing Flash, a Catana 471 performance catamaran. Hank notes the boat is well equipped for offshore passages, with storm-sail, light air sails (screecher and two spinnakers), SSB, Sat phone, liferaft, EPIRB-Cat II, sea drogue, parachute storm anchor, flares, etc.

For the passage the George’s have invited two experienced sailing friends to go with them along with Breezy and Misty, their two four-legged Salty Dawgs who have being blue water sailing for the past nine years.

For the rally organizers, safety is the number one priority. Float plans, an active SSB net and weather routing are just part of the safety procedures. “We also encourage each boat to get a Spot Messenger,” says Linda Knowles. “And this year we plan to have a site that will track the boats as a fleet.”

Long-distance sailors Beth and Paul Winchell and their Beneteau 57 Black Swan are also rallying for the first time. After studying promotional material, they thought the rally offered the best value for money. “The Salty Dawg Rally has no fees but provides weather routing, something we always use for a trip to the Caribbean (at a costs of around $350). In addition the organizers have negotiated fuel and grocery discounts,” say the cruisers.

The Winchells were not starting with the boats in Virginia, but taking part from their home in Beaufort, NC.

Seasoned ‘Dawgs’ Pablo and Tatja Hopman and daughters Remi (7) and Mia (10) have taken part in two ‘Salty’ rallies—to and from the Caribbean—aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 37 Borealis – one of the smallest boats in the fleet.

“The Salty Dawg Rally is perfect for independent minded cruisers looking for camaraderie, planning and en route support in a low key atmosphere,” says Tatja. “We particularly appreciate the autonomy to make our own decisions on departure and arrival locations as well as dates.” Recalling the last rally, she says, “Having access to Chris Parker for weather was great and SSB passage support of Dick Giddings and the DooDah net was invaluable.”

Aside from the thrill of voyaging, first time ‘Dawgs’ and old hands alike say they are looking forward to the social activities prior to departure and on arrival in the BVI.

“We expect, as we’ve always found cruising, to meet many interesting folks, continue to link up as we cruise the Caribbean this winter, and no doubt stay in touch for a long time after this winter,” says Hank George. “The cruising community is special, and these friendships are priceless.”
For information about the Salty Dawg and the return rally to the U.S. in the spring, visit: www.saltydawgrally.org

Gary E. Brown is the Editorial Director of All At Sea and a presenter on Island 92, 91.9 FM, St. Maarten He is the author of the thriller/sailing adventure Caribbean High and the Lucky Lady Cookbook. For details, visit: garyebrown.net

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 opportunity to work together with the globally-recognized premier cruising organization for blue-water sailors,” said Bill Knowles, co-founder of the Salty Dawg Rally. “Both organizations are dedicated to promoting prudent seamanship, safe passage-making, and fostering a true cooperative spirit within the cruising community. We also share the requirement that our members be true blue-water sailors who have completed qualifying passages for membership. We’re honored to work with OCC, whose distinctive blue and yellow burgee with a stylized Flying Fish is a welcome and respected sight in any anchorage.”

About The Salty Dawg Rally

The Salty Dawg Rally is a ‘grass-roots’ rally, 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 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. For more information about joining the Rally, visit www.saltydawgrally.org.

About the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC):

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) is an international club, administered from the UK, for cruisers, founded in 1954 by the late Humphrey Barton. The OCC promotes long-distance cruising in all its forms. The sole qualification for membership is the completion of a continuous ocean passage of at least 1000 nautical miles, measured along the rhumb line, in a vessel under 70 feet, and is open to anyone aboard, either skipper or certified as competent by the skipper.

The Ocean Cruising Club maintains an active and vibrant network of over 150 Port Officers worldwide to assist members in their undertakings, and also has a number of Roving Rear Commodores worldwide tasked to “fly the flag”. To draw members together, the OCC organizes a number of cruises, rallies and get-togethers in different areas of the world. For more information, visit www.oceancruisingclub.org

 

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 Jack Russell Terrier, Brie, the original ‘Salty Dawg’ for whom the rally is named, have been making the seasonal trek back and forth to the BVI for some years in their Jeanneau 54DS, Sapphire. They sailed in another rally, but something seemed missing, according to Bill. They didn’t like paying a steep fee to participate, and a sense of camaraderie seemed lacking. So in the summer of 2011, they contacted a few friends who would be sailing from the northeast to the BVI in the fall to see if they wanted to sail in company; and from that conversation, the idea of starting the Salty Dawg Rally was born.

The first rally departed Hampton last fall with 32 boats, and returned with 15 in May of this year. Word began to get around. In addition to new boats joining the Salty Dawg Rally, many sponsors have become active participants. With their support, we were able to launch its new web site, www.saltydawgrally.org, designed to be the central informational portal for cruisers wishing to join the rally, attend events, obtain float plans, and keep abreast of the fall 2012 Rally. The URLs and domains for the Rally were secured courtesy of sponsor Blue Water Sailing Magazine and Editor and Publisher George Day, who was in fact the rally’s primary sponsor.

Where does the ‘magic’ that has made the rally so popular come from? “It’s a lot of things, really, all working together,” says Bill Knowles. “First of all, it is apparent that the timing was right for the development of this type of grassroots Rally. There is no cost to the owner to join, however, they must have completed a minimum of one previous Blue Water passage. Another reason is our focus on safety and education. We stress safety but we don’t impose rules. For example, 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. Chris Parker, well respected weather analyst, sponsored by Blue Water Sailing Magazine, provides daily weather forecasts to each participant, a Gulf Stream Analysis, and an update as to the location of the warm and cold water eddies. We want everyone to have a safe trip and have enough information to make prudent decisions for themselves and their vessel. Volunteer Dick Giddings of the land-based Doo-Dah Net / Cruisehiemers Net, manages float plans for all of the boats in the fleet and maintains a mandatory daily check-in at 5pm EST via SSB radio.

“The simple fact that it is free to join, and the real value of goods, services, and discounts provided by our sponsors, adds up to many hundreds of dollars in savings for our rally members,” Linda Knowles says. “What could be better than a safe trip with new friends, lots of fun events, great benefits and participation free, on top of that?”

The Knowles recently took delivery of their new Salty Dawg Rally burgees and hats. These will be available to purchase with the proceeds going to offset the cost of doing business.

“The only real requirement that we have is that our participants be blue-water sailors, and by that we mean sailors who have completed at least one blue water (offshore) passage,” Knowles says. “It’s laid back, so to speak, and friendly; we’re an all-volunteer team. We are dedicated to promoting prudent seamanship, safe passage-making, and fostering a true cooperative spirit within the cruising community.”
The rally kicked off its 2012 season with more boats, more sponsors, new web domains, and a joyful pre-departure barbecue party in Nanny Cay, Tortola that drew accolades from the Government of the Virgin Islands. In the days leading up to this past spring’s May 15th start, there was a pizza party and BBQ at Nanny Cay Marina, and Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald joined us at the send-off party to wish the sailors well and voice her government’s support.

For the fall 2012 departure, the boats will be based at the Blue Water Marina and will begin gathering around November 1st. “We expect each skipper and crew to be thoroughly prepared and equipped with the appropriate safety gear, fuel capacity, and spare parts they need for an extended offshore passage,” Knowles says.

Sponsors will also pitch in. The Hampton West Marine will offer ralliers discounts. Nv-Charts will provide free up-to-date chart sets of each participant’s region of choice. In the islands, local business sponsors offering discounts and services include Road Town Wholesale (Rite Way Market), Bomboushay Pottery & BVI Painters, Yacht Shots BVI (marine photography) and Voyage Yacht Charters (discount fuel), as well as others. For those skippers seeking crew, Offshore Passage Opportunities, another SDR sponsor, has members who are ready, willing and able to sail south.

“Our Salty Dawg Rally is a non-profit organization, with an emphasis on safety, communication, camaraderie and fun. The Rally opens the door to new friends and experiences while cruising various areas in the Caribbean. That’s a big part of why we’re devoted to making it grow,” Bill Knowles concludes.

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, www.saltydawgrally.org.

“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 boats,” Linda Knowles says. “Quantum has provided each boat with a high-quality Skipper bag. Offshore Passage Opportunities helps our members  get crew for their boats at no charge.  In all, participants in our Rally not only don’t have to pay a participation fee, but benefit from the generosity of Salty Dawg Rally sponsors. It is a tremendous incentive to join us,” she adds.

The first sponsor to sign on at the founding of the Rally was George Day, Editor of Blue Water Sailing Magazine, and others followed quickly thereafter as news of the Rally began to spread.

The Salty Dawg Rally is a ‘grass-roots’ rally, free for all participants, and leaves Hampton, Virginia, Beaufort, NC, and other ports  in the fall, headed for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other ports in the Caribbean.  In mid – May the Salty Dawg Rally will head North.

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 boats, 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 Spot Messengers and Sat Phone).

For more information about joining the Rally or becoming a sponsor, please email: sponsor@saltydawgrally.org