The Origins of the Salty Dog Rally

The BWS-sponsored Salty Dog Rally was a huge success in its first year. This story from All at Sea, written prior to the Salty Dog’s departure last month, covers what it’s all about:

If you’ve sailed offshore to the Caribbean at least once, then you’re invited to join a brand new cruising rally. The first annual Salty Dog Rally is being organized by Bill and Linda Knowles, who cruise from New England to the Caribbean each year aboard their Jeanneau 54, Sapphire, with 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Brie.

“We’ve done the Caribbean 1500 Cruising Rally a number of times, but this year’s departure date of November 7th is one reason why we decided to start our own rally,” explains Bill Knowles. “In my opinion, this is too late. A three or four day delay could set departure back to November 11th or 12th. Add the seven to 10-day trip and you are into Thanksgiving week. Many people have previous commitments for this week and it’s possible to lose crew. We plan to leave earlier, weather permitting, on November 1st instead.”

Secondly, Knowles adds, “We’ve done the trip for so many years with the 1500 that we thought it would be fun to do on our own with other experienced sailors.”

The fact that the Salty Dog Rally is only open to experienced sailors lent to its name.

“Our dog Brie has at least 20,000 ocean miles under her belt, so you could say she’s an experienced sailor or real salty dog,” says Knowles. “We really liked the name and thought it perfect for the rally.”

The term “salty dog” does indeed mean an experienced sailor, according to the Dictionary of Navy Slang.

The idea for the rally took root this summer. It grew into reality when Blue Water Sailing signed on as sponsor to provide free weather routing services and organizations like the Seven Seas Cruising Association helped to spread the word.

“The goal is to have a good time,” says Knowles. “I’m not charging anything because I don’t want to be financially responsible. It’s an ‘on your own in a group’ type of rally.”

For the complete story, go to

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