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Salty Dawg Fall Rally to the Caribbean introduces options for New England departure

by Salty Dawg Sailing Association 7 Jul 16:02 UTC
SDSA Board Member and Fall Rally Port Captain for Essex, CT Bob Osborn returns Pandora to the Essex Yacht Club after a winter in the Caribbean © Salty Dawg Sailing Association

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) has expanded routes for its Fall Rally to the Caribbean, the largest organized fleet of boats cruising-in-company from the East Coast to the Tropics each year.

For the first time, a departure point in Essex, CT offers advantages for those not planning to cruise through the Chesapeake Bay to the primary starting venue in Hampton, VA.

Departure Options:

  • Hampton VA - November 3
  • Essex CT - October 31
Destination Options:
  • Antigua - Falmouth Harbour
  • British Virgin Islands - Gorda Sound
  • The Bahamas - Green Turtle Key, Abacos
Essex CT Departure

"The Essex Yacht Club is rolling out the red carpet for the rally," said Bob Osborn, SDSA board member, and Fall Rally Port Captain for Essex and Antigua.

Located five miles up the Connecticut River, EYC invites rally participants to enjoy a charming quintessential New England village with easy access to marine businesses and provisions.

Highlighting the Pre-Departure event schedule will be keynote speaker Tom Whidden, America's Cup Hall of Fame sailor and three-time winner of the America's Cup.

Seminars, weather briefings by Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center, and social events are also part of the Pre-Departure Schedule.

The route to the Caribbean for the Essex fleet will be divided into two legs.

  • The first leg, approximately six days, will start in Essex on October 31 and end in Bermuda. The Bermuda stop allows time for crew change, provisioning, re-fueling and social activities for the fleet.
  • As weather permits, the fleet will leave Bermuda to continue to the Caribbean and meet up with the rest of the Salty Dawg Fall Rally fleet that leaves from Hampton, VA on November 3.
Hampton VA Departure

Since the inception of Salty Dawg Fall Rally to the Caribbean in 2011, Hampton, VA has been the primary departure point for the fleet. The non-stop passage from Hampton to the Caribbean is usually 7- 10 days. With the Gulf Stream lying only about a day sail from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, departure from Hampton can be timed to minimize adverse conditions during the crossing.

In Hampton, Rally participants can look forward to a full week of preparation support, educational sessions, and social events designed to jump start long term friendships. Highlights include a helicopter rescue demonstration by the US Coast Guard Command Center 5th District, Portsmouth, VA and a Halloween Rendezvous, sponsored by the Hampton Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Activities in Hampton begin October 27 and the fleet is scheduled to depart on November 3, weather permitting.

"The Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean offers great benefits to rally participants selecting all options for Departure and Destination locations," said Director of Rally Management Rick Palm.

Those who join the Fall Rally will appreciate a wide range of advantages including:

  • Fun, friendships, camaraderie.... social events to give you an introduction to like-minded cruisers who will become life-long friends.
  • Weather routing services, pre-departure briefings, and daily updates by Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center.
  • On-line tracking on the Salty Dawg "Follow the Fleet" web map hosted by OCENS.
  • Shoreside coordination and communication by experienced Salty Dawg volunteers.
  • A radio net facilitating communication among the boats in the fleet.
  • A cruise-in-company support system where veteran participants offer advice and counsel to others.
  • The lowest possible entry fee with the greatest possible payback as a result of the support of over 40 sponsors and dozens of experienced cruisers who volunteer their time.
With an emphasis on safety, communication, education and camaraderie, over 650 boats and more than 2,500 sailors have participated in Salty Dawg rallies since the organization was founded in 2011.

For more information on the Fall Rally to the Caribbean, visit the SDSA website.

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