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Salty Dawg Rally update

by Salty Dawg Rally/Sail-World on 15 Nov 2013
Salty Dawg Rally - update from organisers SW
The Salty Dawg Rally organisers have reported on the status of the rally after the challenging conditions which some boats encountered, offered their thanks to the rescue authorities and expressed their appreciation of the fine efficient work done by all to help those in distress. Here is their report:

The rally is still in full swing with the vast majority of the fleet on their way to the Caribbean or Bahamas in milder weather conditions with occasional squalls. As of Tuesday, November 12, 12 boats had arrived at their destinations and seven were in or approaching Bermuda. In the aftermath of the challenging conditions last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, all of the major incidences have been resolved without life threatening injury. The SDR extends a huge thank you to the wonderful crews of the Coast Guard vessels, aircraft and shore side support for their professionalism, speedy work and cheerful attitudes. In all instances, these brave young men and women acted above and beyond the call of duty.

In addition, the SDR extends a huge thank you to volunteers Joan Conover in Hampton, Dick and Judy Giddings of the Doo Dah Net and Tatja Hopman who is our SDR coordinator for their tireless efforts and resourcefulness. They all played vital roles in helping the Coast Guard and other ralliers assist those who found themselves in distress.

The rally requirement that each boat file a complete float plan provided the essential information that made assistance and rescues swift and safe. And the rally extends a huge vote of thanks and confidence to weather forecaster and router Chris Parker who gave the fleet as detailed and accurate a picture of last week’s complex weather systems and Gulf Stream currents as could be desired.

To be clear, there was no set start date for the rally. Boats left when they deemed it right for them, as is the philosophy of the SDR and any experienced cruiser.

Some left on November 2nd, some on the third, some on the fourth, against the tribal advice, many on the sixth, in hopes of splitting the two fronts, and the rest on the seventh and eighth. Each skipper was responsible for his decision and each skipper found the weather that decision rendered. Everyone knew it was going to be bouncy out there over the first few days.

Two boats, Ahisma and Wings, were abandoned and crew rescued by the Coast Guard due to hull damage and gear breakdowns. It is believed that Ahisma has sunk while Wings is adrift and awaiting salvage by the owners. The crew of Ahisma was first to reach land so they were able to meet their compatriots from Wings when that crew also arrived safely in a CG helicopter. Two boats were dismasted. Like Dolphins made their way back to Portsmouth, Va. and is looking to get a new carbon spar installed. Nyapa motored back to The Chesapeake Bay under her own steam.

Four boats had rudder problems. Wings is still at sea, adrift. Zulu and Jammin were towed in by the Coast Guard and are lying at Cobbs Marina waiting for repairs. And, Pixi Dust is in Morehead City, NC having her rudder repaired. Braveheart crew member who suffered a broken arm is being tended to in Morehead City, NC. For the boats at sea or in Bermuda, there have been reports of several torn sails and damage to deck gear and sailing systems.

Yet, each of these boats has been able to make jury rigged repairs at sea and were able to carry on safely which is a testament to the preparations, skills and determination of their skippers and crews. In summary, of the 116 boats that started the SDR last week, seven had serious gear failures and had to return to the U.S. for repairs or in two cases were abandoned. These emergencies are a cause of concern for all of the Salty Dawgs and will be addressed by the board of the SDR in the aftermath. More than 95% of the fleet managed the challenging conditions and put it behind them in a very seamanlike fashion.
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