Nov 24, 2022
The Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally boats bound from Newport, RI, Hampton, VA and other ports in the Mid-Atlantic region are now all underway. Some 70 boats, flying flags of registry from the U.S., Canada and several other nations are at sea and bound for Antigua in the Easter Caribbean.
The mid-November start follows a November 1 weather delay for the Antigua fleet. But, on or around November 1, the Salty Dawg Bahamas fleet of close to 30 boats did get underway and all arrived at their destinations in good order. Most of the Bahamas fleet ended up at Marsh Harbour, Abacos where end-of-rally festivities took place. It is worth noting that tropical storm Nicole passed over the Abacos after the SDSA fleet arrived without causing incident to any of the boats.
Most of the Antigua fleet got underway on Saturday November 12 after weather guidance from rally weather consultant Chris Parker gave the green light to depart, and he offered detailed routing for boats to cross the Gulf Stream safely and manage the first half of the trip under a strong northwesterly flow. At the time of this release, some 70 boats and approximately 200 crew were at sea, with majority poised to enter the trade winds beginning on Friday, November 18. The first boats in the fleet are planning to arrive in Antigua this weekend, November 20.
Reports of incidents from the fleet were very few considering more than 100 boats are involved. Here are reports from two boats that had to withdraw from the rally due to rudder and autopilot issues. Big Adventure reported hitting an object in the water two days out that damaged their rudder. The SDSA Shoreside and Emergency Response Team worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to get them towed back to the Chesapeake Bay for repairs.
Irish Tango, which was headed back to the Chesapeake for repairs to its autopilot was referred to the U.S. Coast Guard by a nearby ship and, working with the SDSA Shoreside Team, was towed into port for repairs. Reports on Irish Tango’s incident have appeared in the press and social media but the SDSA confirms that Irish Tango is in port, despite an arduous return to the Bay in a strong northwest blow.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to running safe and seamanlike rallies and fostering seamanship education (including dozens of webinars per year) and the camaraderie of the cruising community.
To learn more about the fall Caribbean Rally and the Salty Dawg Sailing Association long on to www.saltydawgsailing.org.