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.