getting to paradise

Always interesting when boats – this case 70 of them – decide to sail 1,500 miles to paradise…

salty dawgsThey are working like Dawgs – Salty Dawgs – getting to head south to the BVI. Currently, the boats on the Salty Dawgs Rally are in the Bluewater Marina in Hampton VA getting ready to tackle the Atlantic and head south to the promised cruising land.

Boats are being furiously readied with safety gear, SSBs, SPOT Trackers, cases of provisions, sewing machines and everything else needed for passage making. The West Marine is cleaned out, the riggers are exhausted and the beverage stores emptied as some 70 boats prepare to tackle the high seas in the next day or two.

Each year for the past few boats heading to warmer climes meet up in Hampton for a low key but extremely pro rally to take them safely south.  Combining important, highly detailed seminars with liberal pours of Dark n Stormy, the Dawgs make sharing info and honing skills a ton ‘o’ fun with a week of get-ready action prior to departure.

Since it’s Halloween, a costume party is definitely in order and the rum helped lube the outfits. Big winners were the crew of Persistence, a Leopard 44 who dressed as “Mixed Drinks” Mark Wormwood was the Black Russian, Bloody Mary the crew and so on. Bruce and Sharon Anderson from Basalt CO and his crew from his Perry 59 Free Range Chicken looked very foul-like.

Organized as a not-for-prof, the salty Dawg Rally is the brainchild of Bill and Linda Knowles, long time cruisers looking for a low cost rally that offered all the prep aspects of the top rallies without the heavy costs. The SD Rallies are free to sailors with blue water experience although a $250 volunteer membership gets you a raft of discounts from the 40+ sponsors.

They and their volunteers run seminars in Newport and Annapolis before the big annual gathering in Hampton. Their workshops get down and intimate with details from equipment checklists to float plans to who best to pay for that mooring ball in Bitter End to how to sweet talk the immigration people about your onboard pooch. And how to keep the customs folks away from your freezer. And more.

It all adds up to a rollicking and useful time plus a great way to share the passage south with a lot of skilled sailors who also share you passion funky Halloween costumes. To hook in contact www.saltydawgrally.org. – John Morris.