After more than a week’s weather delay, the new Salty Dog Rally, which is running from Hampton, VA to West End, Tortola, in the BVI, is about to get underway. The all-volunteer cruisers’ rally run by cruisers has attracted 35 blue water boats for their inaugural cruise in company to the Caribbean—far more than anyone expected when Bill and Linda Knowles, S/V Sapphire, announced that they were making the trip with a few friends this fall. Blue Water Sailing magazine stepped up to help get the rally going and is sponsoring the event and providing weather and routing through the capable assistance of Chris Parker (www.caribwx.com).
Dick Giddings, the voice of the Doo-Dah Net SSB radio network, which tracks cruisers and maintains their float plans, has volunteered to run the radio net for the event. Dick will be recording his daily radio conversations with the boats and you will be able to listen to these conversations as the boats make their way to the Caribbean. Check out the Doo-Dah Net by logging on to www.bigdumboat.com and clicking on Cruiseheimer’s Net and then Doo-Dah Net. The rally has the support of Blue Water Marine in Hampton, VA and is being assisted by volunteers in Hampton and by members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association.
Nine boats got underway on Sunday, November 6 and met the tail end of the gale that had everyone on the East Coast pinned down last week. They found 20-foot seas or more and winds above 30 knots, but with Chris Parker’s daily routing information, all have been able to avoid the worst of it out there and all are making progress to the Caribbean.
The Salty Dog Rally is a not for profit organization run by volunteers, cruisers and those who want to foster safe passages for blue water sailors. There is no fee to join a Salty Dog event outside the normal expenses of preparing a vessel sensibly for an ocean passage across the Gulf Stream.
A return rally from the Caribbean to Bermuda and then the East Coast is scheduled for May 15 starting in the BVI. Look for more information in a few weeks on the yet-to-be-created webpage for the Salty Dag Rally: www.saltydogrally.org.
And, look for daily updates on the current rally in the News & Notes column of Blue Water Sailing’s website, www.bwsailing.com.