It’s only a few months until the Salty Dawg Sailing Association rally to the Caribbean arrives in Antigua and, as your port captain, I have been busy putting together a wonderful mix of arrival events. The Antigua Yacht Club, local business, national park service and government have been very supportive and that’s making my job a lot easier as I work to put things in place to make it worthwhile for you to make the run south with us.
The plan, upon arrival, is for the fleet to tie up in Nelson’s Dockyard for at least the week of festivities and we anticipate a very special rate as low as $.50 US/ft per day. We plan to kick off our events on November 13th or when the bulk of the fleet has arrived safely. The Dockyard is the only working Georgian dockyard in the world, once the center of the British Navy in the Caribbean. What a beautiful place to make landfall after a long ocean voyage with the Dawgs. It’s a feast for the eyes wherever you turn, including ruins of a British Navy sail loft and the current home of the aptly named Pillars restaurant, part of the beautiful and so historic, Admiral’s Inn. We will have our welcome cocktail party at Pillars. Rally participants at last season’s reception. Our arrival dinner will be held at Boom, poolside, overlooking the dockyard. Imagine yourself with an icy rum punch with all of your Dawg friends in this setting. Oh yeah… Want some shore time after a long voyage south or perhaps a spot for your crew and family to hang out for a few days. There are very special “Dawg Rates” at the Admiral’s Inn, starting at about $150/night US. Join the rally, contact them and identify yourself as a Rally participant to get these rates.
And, don’t forget that all of this is right in the dockyard, where you’ll be snugly tied up. This is a shot of the Oyster round the world rally when they stopped in Antigua. The harbor is a feast for the eyes with spectacular yachts from all over the world. The Antigua Yacht Club will be our host and they are there to help. Each boat will receive a skippers bag upon arrival with valuable discounts from many local business as well as information on what to do during your time in Antigua.
Just stop and see Nesie, who will help you with anything she can to make your visit to Antigua a fun time. The clubhouse is located in Falmouth Harbor, a five minute walk from English Harbor. Club members plan on throwing a welcome party for us, a special member guest event. They will even provide in some free food and drink to make us feel welcome. Last year we were greeted by the Minister of tourism as well as the Commodore. The event was very well attended by the Dawgs. There will even be a special member/guest Thanksgiving feast if you choose to be on-island for the holiday. Angie, who runs the clubhouse restaurant, plans a wonderful event with all the turkey and fixings at a very reasonable price. There will even be a band for dancing. This might have been the most popular event last fall. I even got a peck on the cheek when I presented Angie with a rally flag. That flag, is now flying proudly in the clubhouse. Here’s one of the staff, they love the Dawgs, sporting one of our “Ts”. But wait, there’s more, a total of ten special Dawg events, planned just for you. There will be an open house, complete with wine, beer and snacks at the North Sails loft in English Harbor. Other events include a local art gallery who’s throwing a “season opener” party to welcome us to the island. There will even be a reggae band on hand as well as free rum drinks and dancing.
The Royal British Navy Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda, (and yes, this proves that there is a club for just about anything you can imagine), will host a very special event in our honor at the beautiful Copper and Lumber in the Dockyard.
The Tot Club was founded in the 90s by a small group devoted to preserving the naval history of Antigua, including Mike, a colorful keeper of British Navy history on the island. Want to know what happened in British naval history on February 21st, 1885? Mike surely knows the answer. Join the group, and it’s not as easy as it seems, but if you do, you too can get one of the official “Tot club” shirts. I became a member this spring and wrote about the experience, that included a lot of rum tots in some remarkable places including a 150′ schooner, in this post.
An evening with the Tot club was one of our most popular arrival events. Each day at 18:00, year round, the Tot Club meets to celebrate British Navy history, toast the end of the working day and the Queen, of course. It’s a wonderful way to honor the history and tradition of the British Navy in a wonderful setting. You really won’t want to miss this. Some say that the “real Caribbean” begins in Antigua and Falmouth Harbor Antigua is a great spot to begin your winter season and journey south toward Grenada.
There’s lots more in store for you if you make the jump to Antigua with the Salty Dawg Rally in November. Departures are planned from Hampton VA and Essex CT. It’s a wonderful group and you will surely make great friends along the way.
One more thing. This post is only the tip of the iceberg as there are ten, count em, ten days of arrival events planned that you won’t want to miss.
Want to learn more? Visit the “official Dawg” site and apply today. And, if that’s not enough, the rally is very inexpensive. In addition, there are days if pre-departure activities including blue water seminars, dinners and weather routing by Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center, for the entire trip south.
If you take the trip to Antigua, this view could be yours, rum punch in hand as the sun sets below the western horizon. Don’t miss out.