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Old 14-01-2020, 17:16   #1
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Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

We are experienced offshore sailors with a well found boat (well a production catamaran actually, so you decide). We will be in the Chesapeake during hurricane season and are debating whether to do the Salty Dawg (probably to the Bahamas instead of the Caribbean) in early November to get the boat south. We enjoy rallies (having done three Baja Hahas). We plan on harbor hopping going North late May so we may not need to see everything again in the fall. We are west coast based so will sail west in the end. I was wondering what CF thought of the Salty Dawg rally. My only concern at this point is the semi fixed start date. Appears they really don't wait for a weather window.
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Old 14-01-2020, 17:47   #2
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

We did the SDR to the Virgins a few years back. The main draw for us was it was free to enter, we got free 30 days mooring in BVI and we got the info from the weather router. It was a bad weather year for the rally and there were a number of maydays and lost rigs a few days out. Last time I put a lot of faith in a router.

The pre passage parties and seminars were good. The organization was pretty decent. We met folks who we still run into now in SE Asia.

If you are only going to the Bahamas, I think it is safer and easier to work yourself down the coast to Florida and then jump across. No need to head out into the North Atlantic in winter, unless you are pressed for time.
Heading to the eastern Carib and leaving from Norfolk or Beaufort then starts to make sense.
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Old 14-01-2020, 17:56   #3
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

Paul - thanks tons for that. I've been south before on a smaller (shorter rigged) boat so we did some ICW which was fun. Our current boat is too tall. The coastal route back south will be determined after we see how much fun going north is. Any "must stop" places going along the coast?
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Old 14-01-2020, 18:12   #4
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

We are west coasters, PNW, and found the US east coast very cruiser friendly. Tons of interesting spots, especially if you like US history and coastal birds. Easy provisioning, lots of anchoring. We enjoyed Fla to Maine, with good stops in the Chesapeake, DC, New York City, Boston.
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Old 14-01-2020, 20:01   #5
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Talking Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

We are west coasters too. Our boat is in the Chesapeake and we aim to go with the salty dawgs after hurricane season...hopefully
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Old 14-01-2020, 20:26   #6
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

No need for rally if going to the Bahamas.. Do you want to do a four day offshore trip, or a series of 30-36hour trips?? We do the latter...lower Chesapeake to Beaufort, b to Charleston, c to st Aug.. St Aug to keys. All offshore. Hang for a while, then cross to Bahamas on a good window.

Make your own schedule... Unless you like traveling in packs.
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Old 15-01-2020, 09:28   #7
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcj View Post
No need for rally if going to the Bahamas.. Do you want to do a four day offshore trip, or a series of 30-36hour trips?? We do the latter...lower Chesapeake to Beaufort, b to Charleston, c to st Aug.. St Aug to keys. All offshore. Hang for a while, then cross to Bahamas on a good window.

Make your own schedule... Unless you like traveling in packs.
Can second this plan. We go to Beaufort, SC instead of Charleston and often use Lookout Point as a stop instead of going into Beaufort, NC but the hops are easy to manage a good weather window and if you want to bail out midway you can.
Our neighbors in the marina left just a little after us from the Chesapeake this year and while we set out two gales at anchor in Lookout Point and the Beaufort River he was caught out in both of them and got beat up pretty bad. I wouldn't have left for that trip with the forecast we had but it shows there are windows even between big storms that pop up.

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Old 15-01-2020, 09:47   #8
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

Last fall, the SDR did have a specific Bahamas portion of the rally that went to Harbour Island, Eleuthera. Think they had ~20 boats.

It seemed like a success, so they will most likely have it again for the upcoming Fall 2020 rally.

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Old 15-01-2020, 10:44   #9
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

we were a part of the SDR this year to the Bahamas and found it to be informative and a lot of fun. They use Chris parker for weather routing, but the decision is ultimately yours on when you want to leave. It is not a pack of boats going, the ocean is large and once you are more than a day out you very likely will not visually see another boat until you get close to the Bahamas. Once there, they have get togethers etc. a lot of fun. For what they offer, it is a small price to pay. It is your decision if you would like to hop down the coast or go direct, however it is a good way to get some true Bluewater experience.
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Old 15-01-2020, 11:45   #10
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Re: Salty Dawg Caribbean Rally thought

Did the SDR to BVI's in 16. They have a "tentative" departure date but are very strong on go when you feel its right. Think my year the departures were spread out over 3 or 4 weeks. No problem from the organizers standpoint. This is a real offshore trip and you will probably get hit with at least one weather front. Much different than the HaHa (have done 5 or 6 of those). One way or the other you need to be ready for it.



They have upped the price and equipment requirements. I have SSB and InReach which was fine then but now they also require email capablity. If you already have that no problem, but I don't and didn't want to spend the $ for a one time use. Did the trip from Norfolk to BVI's at the same time and chatted with several of the Rally boats while enroute.



Went to the Keys and Bahamas from Chesapeake last year. My insurance only requires that I be north of St. Mary's until Nov 1 so I could leave the Chesapeake earlier. Advantage of leaving earlier is you won't be freezing in the Chesapeake in October. I'm from So. California so not used to those temps.



If going to the Bahamas I definetly say go down the coast. There are lots of great stops and you can do all day trips except for one overnight getting around Hatteras. Event that is not too bad if you start from Virginia Beach.


One big difference of east vs. west coasts is weather. On the east coast it changes every few days so if a calendar is not an issue you can always be reaching or running, regardless of whether you're going north or south.



One note on the Bahamas, they are pretty cool in the winter months. I would suggest heading to the Exumas or even further south early then working north.



Enjoy.
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