Salty Dawg Rally sailors reach BVI

The fall Salty Dawg Rally fleet arrived in the British Virgin Islands after departing in early November from Hampton, Va., and other points along the East Coast.
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The fall Salty Dawg Rally fleet arrived in the British Virgin Islands after departing in early November from Hampton, Va., and other points along the East Coast.

Some of the participating sailors have 12 or more passages to the Caribbean from the United States, and many have ocean crossings under their keel and a crew with circumnavigation experience.

The 78-boat fleet with more than 300 sailors ranged in size from 34 to 70 feet and included boats from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

The arrival dinner at the Bitter End Yacht Club featured a lively array of sailors from the rally.

Organizers said this year’s El Nino led to high-pressure systems passing farther south than normal, with east winds as far north as 26 degrees and large areas of high pressure with low wind. Additionally, the energy from these systems led to stalled low-pressure troughs just north of the Caribbean that at times had tropical characteristics.

With an emphasis on safety, communication and camaraderie, more than 470 boats and 1,880 sailors have participated in Salty Dawg rallies since bluewater sailors Bill and Linda Knowles founded the nonprofit group in 2011.

The Rally includes extensive planning and information before the boats depart.

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