This unprecedented storm season and challenges from Covid-19 did not stop the Salty Dawgs from making their way to paradise in the annual Salty Dawg Fall Rally. Fifty boats left the cold for destinations including Antigua, the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, and Florida. Several boats suffered some damage in this year’s big seas—everything from broken booms, to flooded engine compartments, to hand steering a thousand miles—but persevered to make safe landfall. With weather guidance from Chris Parker’s Marine Weather Center and tracking from PredictWind, Shoreside Coordinators and Emergency Response teams kept in touch with the sailors and helped guide them through repairs while underway.
Clearly, the most challenging aspect of this year’s rally was COVID 19 and cruisers’ ability to gather and to enter into foreign countries. Social distancing was the rule of the day as they navigated a safe approach to dealing with the risk. The pre-rally social activities normally scheduled for Hampton, Virginia, were suspended for the year and the usual seminars in the Hampton area were handled via webinar and Salty Dawg Advisory emails. The rally organizers and shoreside staff worked to make sure that the cruisers, new and seasoned, knew the protocols around pre-departure quarantining, PCR testing, and Antigua entry.
Entry into Antigua was handled smoothly by the Antiguan port authorities and health officers, who visited each boat before sailors were allowed ashore. Activities at arrival ports were reimagined to allow social interaction and social distancing at the same time.
Caps off to the intrepid Salty Dawgs, their crew, and their shoreside support teams!