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Salty Dawg Couple Missing Aboard Their Boat in Grenada PDF Print Email
Thursday, February 22, 2024 03:40 PM

On Wednesday, February 21, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association Executive Director Tatja Hopman was alerted by a cruising skipper that a member’s yacht, Simplicity, was anchored and abandoned off a beach on the south coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.

The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence. Contact information for the SDSA was posted and the skipper contacted the Association.

The good Samaritan contacted the St. Vincent coast guard alerting them of the situation; they in turn notified the local police. The Coast Guard took possession of Simplicity and the St. Vincent police are currently investigating with the U.S Embassy and the Grenada police department.

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are veteran cruisers and long-time members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association from its earliest days. Warm hearted and capable, they both contributed to building the SDSA and Kathy sat on the association’s board for two years.

Kathy and Ralph had sailed Simplicity in the 2023 Caribbean Rally from Hampton, VA to Antigua and were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribbean. The SDSA has a live member’s tracking map where boats can be followed as they cruise and Simplicity’s track shows that Kathy and Ralph were anchored in Grenada and then the boat moved directly to its last anchorage off St. Vincent.

Shortly after the incident was reported to police, news came out that three dangerous inmates had escaped from a Grenada prison and were at large. It is speculated that the escapees boarded Simplicity.

Wednesday afternoon, St. Vincent police reported that the three suspects had been detained.

Bob Osborn, SDSA President, speaking for the whole Salty Dawg family, said, “This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event – our hopes and prayers are with Ralph and Kathy and the family who love them. I have spoken to the families and have offered our deepest condolences and our assistance in any way possible. In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

For more information, please email [email protected]


Crew Member Passes Away During 2023 Caribbean Rally PDF Print Email
Tuesday, November 14, 2023 11:51 AM

Salty Dawg Sailing Association’s president Bob Osborn announced on Tuesday November 14, 2023 that a crew member aboard the 46-foot yacht Logos that was sailing with the SDSA’s Fall Rally from the U.S. East Coast to Antigua in the Caribbean had unexpectedly passed away while at sea.

On the afternoon of November 12, the skipper and owner of Logos, Tim Cayward, reached out to the SDSA shoreside support team concerned about his crew member Ralph Erickson’s medical condition stemming from severe sea sickness. The SDSA team, which cannot give actual medical advice, discussed several courses of action. Team member Kevin Ferrie communicated with Logos the available options, including evacuation, but this was rejected because Erickson was able to hydrate, seemed to be improving and had a strong pulse.

At 2 am Monday morning November 13, the shoreside team manager Tim Metcalf received a phone call from the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector 5, to inform him that they had been informed by Tim Cayward that Ralph Erickson had died in his sleep. The cause of death remains to be determined.

The SDSA Shoreside Team has been working closely with Cayward, the Coast Guard and the SDSA team in Antigua to coordinate with local officials and the U.S. Consulate there. The U.S. Consulate will take the lead following Logos’ landfall at Antigua’s English Harbour. Erickson’s next of kin have been notified of his passing.

Bob Osborn remarked: “Our hearts go out to Ralph’s family, to the crew of Logos and to all of Ralph’s friends and shipmates. He will be much missed. We will stay in touch with officials and the Consulate to help Tim Cayward and the Erickson family in any way possible.”

For more information contact:

Tim Metcalf
Manager, Safety, Communications, Tracking,
Shoreside Coordination and Emergency Response
Salty Dawg Sailing Association
(248)690-7192 (Home) · (248)496-8466 (Mobile) 
[email protected]

SaltyDawg Rallies to Maine and the Maritimes PDF Print Email
Friday, May 19, 2023 10:22 AM

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, famous for its Fall and Spring rallies to and from the Caribbean, also runs a summer Downeast rally from Hampton, VA and Newport, RI to Penobscot Bay in Maine. And, every other year the SDSA continues Downeast with a follow-on rally to Nova Scotia, with starts in Rockland, ME and Provincetown, MA. Both rallies are considered “stepping stone events” for skippers and crews who want to get into passage making in the company of other cruisers before making the long 1,500-mile passage from Hampton to Antigua in the Fall Rally. The Downeast rally departs Hampton on July 6 and sails straight to Newport where the larger fleet gathers for a July 11 departure for the 40-hour run through the Cape Cod Canal and across the Gulf of Maine to Rockland. After the festivities following the Downeast Rally, those sailing in the Maritime Rally will depart for Shelburne, Nova Scotia and from Provincetown, MA, and then further east along the Nova Scotia coast to the Bras d’Or Lakes and Baddeck. The sign-ups are open for both summer rallies and all cruisers who want to explore Downeast and Maritime cruising are invited to join the fun and get some offshore experience. Check out the rallies here.

Downeast Rally
Maritime Rally

Salty Dawg Summer 2023 PDF Print Email
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 01:07 PM

The Salty Dawg Summer is going to be a busy one.  

Salty Dawg Homeward Bound Rally Registration is Open     

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association has hosted a rally from the Caribbean to the U.S.  East Coast since 2012.  In 2020 The Salty Dawgs renamed it The Homeward Bound Rally, bringing hundreds of COVID-19 stranded cruisers to the United States for the summer.  The rally continues and this year there are some exciting changes.  In the past the rally began in St. Thomas, USVI, and it will still do so, but this year there are other options.   Rally participants can also choose to leave from Marsh Harbor, Bahamas or from Bermuda.  The rally includes weather routing by The Marine Weather Center, position tracking by PredictWind, and an extensive level of coordination and support by the SDSA support teams during the offshore passage.  

This past autumn many of the SDSA Caribbean Rally participants wanted to stop in Bermuda on their way south but weather made that option difficult, so Bermuda is now an added option for the north-bound Homeward Bound participants.  After an April 29 departure dinner in Antigua the rally boats will head to their northern departure points on or about May 1.   Cruisers gathering at the departure points can expect the usual Salty Dawg pre-departure social and security meet-ups.  Boats meeting up in the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands will head to the US on or about May 10.  The Bermuda to U.S. departure date is scheduled for May 14.  

As always, the Dawgs have a busy summer sailing season scheduled with rallies up the US East Coast from Annapolis to Nova Scotia with the Downeast Rally and the Maritime Rally, and rendezvous in Essex CT, Newport RI, and Rockland ME.   The summer rallies are a great way for sailors to gain off-shore sailing experience while they have a great time meeting Salty Dawgs and learning about their mission to help sailors become cruisers.  Use this link for information on the rallies and this link for information on other events.   

All Salty Dawg rallies and events are led by seasoned sailors who volunteer their time and knowledge to help cruisers realize their dreams.  The Salty Dawg Sailing Association is a Rhode Island registered 501c 3 non-profit organization dedicated to fostering safe seamanship, safe passage-making, and camaraderie in the cruising community.   

Eight Bells for Rick Palm PDF Print Email
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 02:49 PM

Eight Bells for Rick Palm: Gramp Rick's a Good Guy

Richard Victor “ Rick” Palm died on February 28, 2023 at his home in Hardyville VA. His friends and family will remember him for his spirit of adventure and his dedication to “giving back” to those who shared his passions. His passions were many but sailing across oceans and wood-working top the list. He believed strongly in experiential learning and seeks to leave his legacy to programs that encourage kids to learn with their hands.

His epitaph was unknowingly created by his Grandson Owen years ago at age three, when he earnestly confided in his father, saying… “Grandpa Rick’s a good guy.” Out of the mouth of babes!

Rick was born near Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1945 in what was then known as a “foundling home.” His birth name was Rayburn Hoddinut; his Birth Mother was from Newfoundland. At six months old, he was adopted and renamed by Victor and Pansy Palm from Brooklyn NY. He became a US citizen in high school and lived in Brooklyn until he enlisted in the Air Force in 1967. A highlight of his childhood was the family’s annual summer vacation in New London CT where he learned to sail.

His sailing adventures spanned over 50 years and took Rick and his wife Julie around the world, across the Atlantic twice, to and from the Caribbean a dozen times, and up and down the coast of North America from Nova Scotia to the Keys. He relished nothing more than helping coastal sailors prepare for their first offshore passages, both with the Caribbean 1500 and the Salty Dawg Sailing Association. He was honored to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Salty Dawgs in 2022.

Whether refining his Crocodile Dundee/Indiana Jones image in the outback of Australia, reeling in a gigantic mahi-mahi in the middle of the Gulf Stream, or installing the latest must-have gadget on the boat, Rick attacked each new venture with gusto, dedicated to expanding the “bandwidth of his brain,” as he would often say.

On land, Rick developed his skills as a wood turner and wood worker. He taught wood turning at The Woodturning School in Damariscotta ME and served on the board of The Apprenticeship, a boat-building school, in Rockland ME. On his lathe, he created works of art ranging from pepper mills and bowls, to platters and Christmas tree ornaments. He and Julie built furniture each winter, starting with Craftsman designs for their home in Maine and evolving to more modern pieces for their home in Virginia. Isolation during the pandemic was no problem …. Just an opportunity to build a Peapod rowing boat in the shop.

He frequently said that he was “working to live” rather than “living to work,” but that being said, he enjoyed a long and successful career in sales and marketing management for several health care companies. When he and Julie took a “mid-career sabbatical” to circumnavigate in 1990-1992, Rick discovered that managing a sailboat around the world was excellent training for starting his own business. So, when they returned, he started a business assembling computer cables in the Boston area. He earned his private pilot’s license and flew up and down the East Coast, servicing customers from Alabama to New England. He sold the company in 2002.

Dedication to family was a dominant part of Rick’s life. While his parents died before he was in his 30’s and he was an only child, he adopted Julie’s family quickly, enjoying sailing trips with her Father and raising Julie’s son Ted as his own. Nothing pleased him more than watching his two grandsons Owen and Eli mature into young adults. Rick tried valiantly to encourage Ted, Ted’s wife Rebecca, Owen and Eli to share his passion for sailing. Only Eli seems to have taken the bait and has enjoyed many Junior Week adventures at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville. The Virgin Islands, both British and American, were special family cruising grounds on vacations none will ever forget.

Recently, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Rick was clear … he wants to be remembered as a part of the intimate relationship he and Julie forged together in their 40 year marriage. Whether as a duo sailing across oceans, as four hands working in concert on a furniture-building project, or, in the end, as focused problem-solvers facing the challenges of his advancing cancer, they learned to complement each other’s very contrasting styles. “If there are two ways to do something, Julie will do it one way and I’ll do it the other,” he would often say, and then add “And over time, we learned that the give-and-take result was better than either of the ways we each started with.”

In the seven years since Rick was diagnosed with cancer, he became a “poster boy” for how to live with cancer as a chronic disease. Nothing stopped him from participating in family events, designing creative shop projects, or going places on the water. He learned from the many medical professionals who teamed up to add quality years to his life and was probably the most compliant patient they ever had. Hoping to advance treatments for future cancer patients, he participated in a clinical trial for a new immunotherapy drug after the FDA-approved options available to him had been exhausted. In the end, he made the decision to stop treatment and enter hospice care on his own timetable.

To those wishing to acknowledge Rick’s life, please consider contributing a donation in his name to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to the restoration and protection of the Bay … one of Rick’s favorite cruising grounds.

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