From Bob Osborn, SV Pandora, President SDSA

 As I write this Brenda and I are aboard Pandora in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, enjoying the island with many other Dawgs.  

When the fleet arrived in mid-November, nearly 80 boats strong, we filled the Dockyard, and most of the boats in Falmouth and English Harbour were Dawgs.  Local businesses celebrated our arrival by hosting many events, enough to keep us occupied with daily fun for more than two weeks.  

As we arrive early in the season, before most other boats arrive, we have an outsize impact on the economy, and it is hard to imagine another destination where our presence would be as enthusiastically welcomed.  

Just a few short years ago Salty Dawg had a modest membership.  As we enter the new year, we have more than 1500, an enormous increase that has almost tripled our membership in so many years.   In addition to our paid membership, this newsletter is distributed to over 8,000 recipients each month.  

There is little doubt that our Homeward Bound Flotilla in the early days of the Pandemic, when we assisted nearly 200 boats get home under very difficult conditions, increased our visibility in the community. 

Another big growth area for SDSA has been the addition of the dozens of live webinars that we offer each year.  These educational events on many topics, free to members, are now a permanent part of our effort, and we continue to add topics every month.  With many more programs in the works throughout the year, there is much to look forward to whether you are in the planning stages for your first big voyage or an experienced blue water sailor.  Check out the early lineup at this link

As I speak to many of our members and those who are considering joining, one thing that comes up again and again is “community,” the chance to connect with, learn from and cruise with others who share your dreams.

If you have participated in one or more of our rallies, you already know how vibrant our community is from live events, online forums, Facebook and WhatsApp groups, all there to help you feel a part of things.  For 2024 we will have more rendezvous than ever with events in Antigua, Dominica, Bequia, The Grenadines, BVI, DR, and The Bahamas, and more are in the planning stages to round out the year.   The Dawgs that are in the Caribbean or Bahamas have loads of social opportunities to choose from and whether they are heading south toward Trinidad or north to the Bahamas, the US or Down East Maine, there will be organized events to attend.   

We are also working on other events for those who are not quite ready to set sail and are not able to get away for months at a time.  With events being planned in the Chesapeake and New England this coming summer there is much to look forward to.  

Our member map, that includes the location of most of our members, via AIS, pinpoints where everyone is on an interactive map.   With this map, you can see who is in your area so you can meet or organize “pop-up” events.  Check out the map at this link.

Consider organizing an event in your area.  It is a great way to meet folks and Tatja, our executive director, can make sure that it gets on the SDSA calendar.  I’ll be doing an event in Essex CT in early July to coincide with the Down East Rally, and it will be open to all so check out the calendar and join us.  

For those of you that have “been there and done that”, I encourage you to “pay it forward” by being a member and offering to help others that are anxious to learn from you.   Contact Tatja to get involved at [email protected]

There is no question that Salty Dawg is enjoying our golden years and there is lots to celebrate as we enter a new year.  If you are new to cruising, planning to make a big run or have been there, done that, Salty Dawg has much to offer and is better than ever.