Newsletter 53

December 2023 Newsletter 53

From the Helm: I am proud to be a Salty Dawg

By Bob Osborn

In past issues, I have written about the remarkable work our volunteers do to make Salty Dawgs the vibrant organization that it is. There are literally dozens who give freely of their time to help us achieve our educational and support missions for those who aspire to make long ocean passages.

Whether it is organizing or hosting the many webinars or working with businesses that provide financial support for SDSA or making sure that our rendezvous run smoothly, your fellow Dawgs are there to help. As I reflect on this years’ successful Caribbean Rally, with nearly 100 boats heading for points south, it is the many volunteers who make up our shoreside and emergency response teams working with Tim Metcalf that truly define our motto, “Sailors helping sailors”. 

As you would expect when so many boats and crew head out on a major blue water journey, issues come up and this year was no exception. Along with expected weather challenges and mechanical failures, there is always plenty to keep our shoreside volunteers on their toes as they monitor the fleet 24/7 for the duration of the rally.

This year the rally was marked with a sad milestone, the death of one of our own at sea. We all know that being far from land and easy access to help requires accepting risk and when one of the crew members aboard Logos fell ill, the skipper reached out to our shoreside support team for assistance. Over the course of many hours, the shoreside team laid out the skipper’s options and offered sage advice. Despite careful monitoring of the sick crewmember, the worst happened and longtime sailor Ralph Erickson passed away.

By the time Logos made landfall in English Harbor, Antigua, I was able to meet them at the dock with local officials who handled the situation with sensitivity and dispatch.

No one wants to face a tragedy at sea but we all should be impressed with the support that Tim and others in his group provided to ease an impossibly difficult situation. Tim and I have spoken to Ralph’s family and can report that they too were thankful for everyone’s efforts, both within SDSA and from the government of Antigua.

Please join me in wishing Ralph’s family our heartfelt condolences and an earnest thank you to all those ashore who helped smooth the way for the skipper and crew of Logos.

I am proud to be a Salty Dawg every day.


In Memoriam



On Monday, November 6, Ralph Erickson, a crew member on the Outbound 46 “Logos,” died during the Caribbean Rally. His son, also Ralph, recalls that everything he did revolved around sailing. He introduced his sons and his brother to sailing, along with a cousin. He had sailed the Eastern seaboard, Bermuda and the BVI. The Erickson family grieves for him, as does the SDSA family.

2024 Caribbean Rendezvous
More events this year than ever before!
        DOMINICA (Feb 1-8)                MARTINIQUE  (Feb 9-14)              BEQUIA (March 29 - April 2) 
Our First Rally & 2 Years Later


Written by Stephanie and Jim Seal

"What's that Honey? You want to go Cruising on Hero in the Caribbean in 5  years? 
Can I quit my job?  Sure, I'll go..."

Skip ahead 5 years, it is October 28, 2021, Jim heads off to get a haircut, and I’m standing in the produce
section of the Hampton Food Lion with a man who has agreed to crew for us, who I just met in person the
day before. We are provisioning for our 1500 mile passage from Hampton to Antigua. Our start day has
been moved up by two days due to weather and I can’t decide if it’s better to buy one head of iceberg
lettuce or three heads of Romaine. It’s then that I burst into tears. What have I done? What am I about to
do? Our crew starts juggling heads of iceberg. He’s about to trust us and our boat out in the deep blue sea
for two weeks and now he’s working like hell to cheer me up and assure me that everything is going to be

That was the beginning of our first long passage.

Hydorvane: An Interview with the Curry's

Diane MacDonald-Mackenzie talked to Sarah and Will Curry, owners of Hydrovane

Please share a bit about the History of Hydrovane

Hydrovane was one of the first commercialized self steering windvanes on the market in the late 1960’s. British engineer Derek Daniels spent two decades developing the system, and it quickly gained recognition in England and Europe for its clever engineering and robustness. Various models culminated in the VXA2 Model that is still manufactured today and continues to be developed to steer bigger and heavier monohulls and catamarans (ie, modern cruising boats).

Energy Afloat: Lithium, Solar and Wind Are the Perfect Combination

By Bob Osborn, SV Pandora

This article was previously published at

After years of thinking about upgrading the house bank to lithium on Pandora, our 2007 Aerodyne 47 sloop, we decided to move forward and ordered four 210AH batteries from Blue Heron Batteries.  I decided to go with that brand since I know the principal Hank from my years on the board of The Salty Dawg Sailing Association and trusted him to provide a quality product and support, which was particularly important to me given the horror stories I had heard about fires and other issues associated with lithium batteries.

Caribbean Updates

Pictures, people.  We need pictures.  

Do you have a beautiful photo of a neighboring boat underway?  Did you catch a really funny moment while during your crossing?  Who caught a fish?  Did you attend any welcome events once you arrived?  Have you had any fun?  The Salty Dawgs want your photographs to use in all our mailings, press releases, and social media.  Please share them with [email protected] 

Thank you. 


Now That We’re Here, Where Should We Go? 

Go north.  Go south.  Where ever you go, we’ve got you covered.  And you’ll find Dawgs there!  P.A.Y.S. will host a Salty Dawg Rendezvous in Dominica February 1 – 8, 2024.  Meet up in Prince Rupert Bay to enjoy the natural beauty of this special island.  Cobra, William, and the rest of the P.A.Y.S. team have organized a fun-filled week with tours, barbecues, sporting and community events (and  chocolate).  

Next sail just a little south to Forte de France, Martinique for Carnival.  Carnival is the Caribbean Mardi Gras and this year it starts on February 9 and runs through the 14.  Be prepared for outrageous costumes, hilarious themes, very loud music, and more fun.  Anchor in F-d-F or across the bay in Anse Mitan and take the ferry across.  SDSA events will be ad hoc, as there is so much to do without any planning.

But Wait, There’s More.  I am looking for hosts for the Bequia Rendezvous (March 28 – April 2) around the Easter Regatta and the Carriacou Rendezvous (late April).  These harbors are natural gathering places and there are so many fun things to do that it’s a great place for a rendezvous.  I will help you plan, but we can’t be in these islands on these dates.   If you’re interested, please contact me at [email protected] 


And A Great Time Was Had By All 

The Arrival Events for the Caribbean Rally were outstanding this year.  Bob Osborn worked with local vendors and service providers to arrange warm Antigua Welcome for the Antigua fleet with an exhausting array of parties, receptions, and events.   Daily updates were provided by Bill Woodroffe (Kalunamoo) and Lynn Hoenke (Roxy) on the morning net (vhf 72 at 8:30), along with some bad jokes and amazing treasures of the bilge.


Caribbean Passage Photos
Thanksgiving Regatta in Antigua

Eighteen teams of two (or three) competed in this year’s Salty Dawg Thanksgiving Day Regatta at the Antigua National Sailing Academy.  In three heats of six boats, they parried their way around the course.  The top two from each heat then vied for the trophy and title of Salty Dawg Champ.  Congratulations to Team Cheeky from Four Pete’s Sake for taking first place and to runners up, Team GypSea, from GypSea.  Two teams, Wahoo and Off-Piste included children, and Off-Piste made it into the finals!  

Congratulations to the competitors for a job well done and a race well run.  And a huge “Thank You” to the Sailing Academy for their help in setting up and running the race. 


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