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Good evening:  

I am passing along a statement from the family of Kathy and Ralph, released today, as they attempt to come to terms with this unimaginable tragedy. 

If anything good has come out of this it is the outpouring of support and love for our fellow cruisers who died so senselessly.  

On a more practical note, the program to raise funds to help the family deal with a badly damaged boat, travel, legal, funeral and so many other expenses that grow out of a tragedy of this magnitude is going well and if you are inspired to contribute, follow this link.

Bob Osborn
SDSA President


February 27, 2024
Statement from the family of Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel

We are incredibly saddened to hear the news that our parents Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are now presumed dead. We remain optimistic in the on-going search led by the St. Vincent Coast Guard.

We are coordinating with the United States Embassy, the governments of St. Vincent and Grenada, as well as other officials of the United States government, as they continue their work on this on-going investigation into the alleged crimes committed by these three suspects currently held in custody by Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.

We would like to say a few words about Kathy and Ralph that we wish all to know. We live in world that at times can be cruel, but it’s also a world of profound beauty, wonder, adventure, love, compassion, caring, and faith. Our parents encompassed all those values and so much more. If we have learned anything from this tragic event, it’s that we know they left this world in a better place than it was before they were born. Ralph and Kathy lived a life that most of us can only dream of, sailing the eastern coast of the United States, living on their home Simplicity, making friends with everyone they encountered, singing, dancing and laughing with friends and family – that’s who Ralph and Kathy were and that’s how they will be remembered in our hearts.

We are grateful to have been raised by the strongest people that we will ever know, and we hope that we can follow in their footsteps and strive to be even half as wonderful as them. So many people have reached out with love and encouragement, sharing stories and anecdotes of their memories of Ralph and Kathy, and those stories are what we want them to be remembered by. While the end of their life may have been dark, they brought light, and that light will never be extinguished from the hearts and minds of the people who knew, loved and cared so deeply about them.

We are ever hopeful that justice will be served.

In honor of Ralph and Kathy, we ask that everyone please take a moment to stop, pray and reflect on how lucky we were to have known them – hug your loved ones, spend time with your families, and console one another as we all collectively mourn.

With heavy hearts,
Nick Buro – Son of Kathy Brandel
Bryan Hendry – Son of Ralph Hendry



Many in the Salty Dawg family have offered support and the willingness to help in any way that they can, as we all mourn the disappearance of two of our long term members, Ralph and Kathy of Simplicity. 

The family has asked us to share the following with you and others and encourage you to forward this to anyone that you wish to get the word out as broadly as possible.

As you can imagine, the family faces considerable expense with all this and a close family friend has set up a gofundme fundraiser, listed at the end of this note. 

February 24, 2024

Bryan Hendry: Statement from the family

We want to reach out to the entire cruiser community to express our gratitude for everyone that worked to gather information from eyewitnesses and provide search and rescue support. It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible.

Thanks to all this input from this community we are able to develop a timeline of events. For the safety of the cruising community we are asking all cruisers, and anyone that is not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction, to stand down. The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches.

We also want to applaud the St. Vincent authorities for their quick actions in securing Simplicity and their brave, swift response that led to the apprehension of three dangerous fugitives. We greatly appreciate the coordination of the St. Vincent and Royal Grenadian Police forces and Coast Guards in investigating these events.

With love and eternal gratitude,
Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro

See previous News Release about Simplicity here.


On Wednesday, February 21, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association Executive Director Tatja Hopman was alerted by a cruising skipper that a member’s yacht, Simplicity, was anchored and abandoned off a beach on the south coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.

The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence. Contact information for the SDSA was posted and the skipper contacted the Association.

The good Samaritan contacted the St. Vincent coast guard alerting them of the situation; they in turn notified the local police. The Coast Guard took possession of Simplicity and the St. Vincent police are currently investigating with the U.S Embassy and the Grenada police department.

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are veteran cruisers and long-time members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association from its earliest days. Warm hearted and capable, they both contributed to building the SDSA and Kathy sat on the association’s board for two years.

Kathy and Ralph had sailed Simplicity in the 2023 Caribbean Rally from Hampton, VA to Antigua and were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribbean. The SDSA has a live member’s tracking map where boats can be followed as they cruise and Simplicity’s track shows that Kathy and Ralph were anchored in Grenada and then the boat moved directly to its last anchorage off St. Vincent.

Shortly after the incident was reported to police, news came out that three dangerous inmates had escaped from a Grenada prison and were at large. It is speculated that the escapees boarded Simplicity.

Wednesday afternoon, St. Vincent police reported that the three suspects had been detained.

Bob Osborn, SDSA President, speaking for the whole Salty Dawg family, said, “This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event – our hopes and prayers are with Ralph and Kathy and the family who love them. I have spoken to the families and have offered our deepest condolences and our assistance in any way possible. In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

For more information, please email [email protected]



Salty Dawg Sailing Association’s president Bob Osborn announced on Tuesday November 14, 2023 that a crew member aboard the 46-foot yacht Logos that was sailing with the SDSA’s Fall Rally from the U.S. East Coast to Antigua in the Caribbean had unexpectedly passed away while at sea.

On the afternoon of November 12, the skipper and owner of Logos, Tim Cayward, reached out to the SDSA shoreside support team concerned about his crew member Ralph Erickson’s medical condition stemming from severe sea sickness. The SDSA team, which cannot give actual medical advice, discussed several courses of action. Team member Kevin Ferrie communicated with Logos the available options, including evacuation, but this was rejected because Erickson was able to hydrate, seemed to be improving and had a strong pulse.

At 2 am Monday morning November 13, the shoreside team manager Tim Metcalf received a phone call from the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector 5, to inform him that they had been informed by Tim Cayward that Ralph Erickson had died in his sleep. The cause of death remains to be determined.

The SDSA Shoreside Team has been working closely with Cayward, the Coast Guard and the SDSA team in Antigua to coordinate with local officials and the U.S. Consulate there. The U.S. Consulate will take the lead following Logos’ landfall at Antigua’s English Harbour. Erickson’s next of kin have been notified of his passing.

Bob Osborn remarked: “Our hearts go out to Ralph’s family, to the crew of Logos and to all of Ralph’s friends and shipmates. He will be much missed. We will stay in touch with officials and the Consulate to help Tim Cayward and the Erickson family in any way possible.”

For more information contact:

Tim Metcalf
Manager, Safety, Communications, Tracking,
Shoreside Coordination and Emergency Response
Salty Dawg Sailing Association
(248)690-7192 (Home) · (248)496-8466 (Mobile) 
[email protected]


The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, famous for its Fall and Spring rallies to and from the Caribbean, also runs a summer Downeast rally from Hampton, VA and Newport, RI to Penobscot Bay in Maine. And, every other year the SDSA continues Downeast with a follow-on rally to Nova Scotia, with starts in Rockland, ME and Provincetown, MA. Both rallies are considered “stepping stone events” for skippers and crews who want to get into passage making in the company of other cruisers before making the long 1,500-mile passage from Hampton to Antigua in the Fall Rally. The Downeast rally departs Hampton on July 6 and sails straight to Newport where the larger fleet gathers for a July 11 departure for the 40-hour run through the Cape Cod Canal and across the Gulf of Maine to Rockland. After the festivities following the Downeast Rally, those sailing in the Maritime Rally will depart for Shelburne, Nova Scotia and from Provincetown, MA, and then further east along the Nova Scotia coast to the Bras d’Or Lakes and Baddeck. The sign-ups are open for both summer rallies and all cruisers who want to explore Downeast and Maritime cruising are invited to join the fun and get some offshore experience. Check out the rallies here.

Downeast Rally
Maritime Rally

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