All posts by George Day

PRESS: Captains Log by George Day (Blue Water Sailing)

Experience Matters • With this, our 198th edition of BWS, we are happy to bring you a new logo on the cover and a new layout inside. By renewing the look of the magazine, we are setting our sights on the future with confidence. We know that offshore sailing and cruising will always have an enthusiastic following that wants and needs a high quality magazine that speaks their language.

This was never more evident than at the start of this year’s Salty Dawg Rally, which sails from Hampton, VA to the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI—a distance of some 1,300 blue water miles. A total of 59 boats showed up for the early November start of this free, all-volunteer event. More than 250 sailors attended the send-off party, and many thousands more have been following the fleet via email and satellite tracking. As a lead sponsor of the event, BWS is happy to say that our readers are out there doing it.

This year, BWS supplied the fleet with goody bags, lined up the services of Chris Parker, who delivers excellent weather and routing to the fleet, and offered each Salty Dawg a free one-year digital subscription to BWS through Zinio. If you haven’t yet seen our digital version, check it out at www.zinio.com/bluewatersailing.

For us, being involved with the Salty Dawgs is simply good fun and good citizenship. The sailors who take part are the kind of people who write for us and give the magazine the authority you expect on a wide range of topics—from seamanship and sailing skills to provisioning, electronics and more. Experience does matter.

That’s why we bring you the most experienced lineup of editors and writers with offshore experience in the sailing world. On staff, we have people who have sailed more than a quarter million offshore miles. And our stable of regular contributors is unmatched. Longtime columnist Bill Biewenga told us when asked that he had stopped counting at 400,000 offshore miles. Regular contributors John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal, whose seminars BWS has sponsored for the last decade, have cumulatively sailed 583,000 miles across the blue water. And columnist David Burch has logged more than 70,000 miles at sea.

So when you pick up your copy of BWS at the newsstand or retrieve it from the mailbox, you know that the articles, how-to pieces and reviews that lie between its covers are guided by voices of experience that you can trust. Whether you are sailing along the coasts or voyaging across oceans, you need information that will keep you safe, techniques to build your skills and real stories to inspire you to do more. And that’s exactly what we bring you every month.

We are happy to have you sailing with us. Look for our collector’s edition 200th issue in March!

The SALTY DAWG RALLY

SALTY DAWG RALLY 2012 by George Day • Little did Bill and Linda Knowles of Bristol, RI know what they were getting into when, in the summer of 2011, they contacted a few friends who would be sailing from the northeast to the BVI in the fall to see if they wanted to sail in company. From that small conversation, the Salty Dawg Rally was born.

Now, in 2012, it promises to be one of the largest offshore rallies anywhere. The original rally left Hampton, Virginia in the fall of 2011 and saw 33 boats in attendance. Unlike other rallies, the Salty Dawg Rally (SDR) is free and run by a dedicated group of volunteers and supporters. BWS stepped up to be the rally’s first sponsor and contributes weather and routing services from Chris Parker to all who sail in the fleet. This boat-by-boat, in-depth weather service is a real safety aide.

Volunteer Dick Giddings stepped up to manage float plans for all of the boats in the fleet and maintained a daily SSB radio schedule. It  as often the case that ralliers spoke with their weather guru at least once a day via radio and then checked in with Dick, who maintained daily positions for everyone. For those without HF radio, it is possible to communicate with a SatPhone as well.

The 2011 southbound event to the BVI was such a success that Bill and Linda had no trouble attracting a fleet of 15 Salty Dawgs to join them for a rally home to the East Coast in May.

In the true island spirit, the people of the BVI have embraced the Salty Dawgs. In the days leading up to this spring’s May 15th start, there was a pizza party and BBQ at Nanny Cay Marina, and Deputy Governor V. Inez Archibald made an appearance at the send-off party to wish the sailors well and voice her government’s support.

Other local business have also offered to be sponsors of the event, including Road Town Wholesale (Rite Way Market), Bomboushay Pottery & BVI Painters, Yacht Shots BVI (marine photography) and Voyage Yacht Charters (discount fuel).

As Bill, Linda, and their growing family of volunteers and sponsors look forward to the 2012 southbound Salty Dawg Rally (scheduled to start from Hampton on November 4th), a lot of activity is in progress. A new website has been launched at www.saltydawgrally.com, where you can get current news, an entry form, a float plan, information on sponsors and special SDR deals. And, once again, BWS will sponsor Chris Parker so everyone will have access to the best weather forecasting available.

In Hampton, the boats will be based at the Blue Water Marina and will start gathering around November 1st. Those who want to enter should be experienced offshore sailors with at least one offshore passage under their belts aboard the boat they are sailing. There is no safety inspection because it is expected that each skipper and crew will be thoroughly prepared and equipped with the safety gear, fuel capacity and spare parts they need for an extended offshore passage.

The Hampton West Marine will offer ralliers discounts. eDesign of Newport, RI is working with the Knowles to develop the new website, and Mike Martell is handling PR and communications. Other sponsors include Thurston Sails, Hampton Marine Services, Falvey Insurance, NV-Charts and Downunder Diving.

For those skippers seeking crew, Offshore Passage Opportunities, another SDR sponsor, has members who are ready, willing and able to sail south.

A fun, free, grass-roots rally for cruisers, the Salty Dawg Rally is the sensible way to sail in company to the Caribbean this fall, complete with parties, cruising comradeship, personalized weather forecasting, daily radio schedules and a welcoming destination in the BVI at the far end.

For more information or to get involved with the SDR, visit www.saltydawgrally.com or email Bill and Linda Knowles at svsapphire@aol.com.