The Salty Dawg Rally is comprised of blue water sailors. In order to join, you have to have completed at least one blue water passage. The thing I liked about it was that there was no formal inspection of your boat. This may sound foolhardy but each captain is (and should) be responsible for having proper safety equipment on board and a vessel that is prepared for the passage. After all we were going to make the passage in or out of the rally so of course we were going to make sure we were ready.
In the past during our other crossings we had a weather router. It was good to know that all that information would be provided to each skipper by well‐known weather router Chris Parker. We had always used him and felt comfortable with his forecasts. We were asked to file a float plan and a volunteer (Dick Giddings) managed them. He maintains a daily SSB radio schedule, as well as daily positions for everyone (via HF radio and Sat Phone).
Another thing I liked about the rally was even though the rally set a departure date, each boat was allowed to decide what their course would be and what day they would depart. There were boats departing from several different locations anywhere from one to two days ahead of the start date to several days after.
Before departure there was quite a bit of buzz about the planned activities and Carl and I were looking to it as a reward for all the hard work we had done to get La Creole ready. Most of the time we are very frugal but we decided not to hold back and enjoy everything that was offered.
The activities began with the Dawgs coming into North Sound (Virgin Gorda) on May 1st in preparation for the departure from Nanny Cay (Tortola) on May 15th. There was a performance on the beach in Leverick Bay by Michael Beans (by the way, not to be missed), and then it was off to a Beach Barbecue with a whole Pig Roast.We watched Mocha-Jumbies, the well-known stilt-walkers in the islands, perform and enjoyed a live band.
After resting up we moved to the Bitter End Yacht Club where we had a Pizza Party, Scavenger Hunt and rented a Hobie Catfor more fun on the water. We had a wonderful departure dinner at the Bitter End Yacht Club which is the home of the Salty Dawg Rally.
It was time to move on to Nanny Cay to begin getting ready for the trip north. But wait, there was more fun to be had with another pizza party, a party at Captain Mulligan’s and another departure party with a Beach Barbecue. By now we are tired and expecting Steve, Carl’s brother, to arrive to help us with the crossing.
Off to bed to get some much needed rest.
To be continued…