The idea for a cruising rally from the U.S. to the Caribbean specifically for experienced sailors came to the mind of Bill and Linda Knowles during the summer of 2011, as they sat in the cockpit of their well-cruised Jeanneau 54, Sapphire, with crew, their 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Brie. That fall, the concept turned concrete with the launch of the first Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean. The November 2011 issue of All At Sea’s article about the Rally quotes Linda as saying, “We hope the Salty Dog Rally will become a tradition that will continue year after year.” Knowles, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack in her home in Vero Beach, FL on November 14, 2020, at the age of 71, indeed saw her dream come true.
“Since the founding of the original Salty Dawg Rally by Linda and Bill Knowles, two underlying principles were instilled then and continue today as the organization has added memberships, seminars, rendezvous gatherings and other rallies, and they are, the Salty Dawgs are about sailors helping sailors and keeping it fun!” says Hank J George, president of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA).
Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Eden, NY, Knowles and her husband of 36 years spent the last 15 of these living on their sailboat and cruising from the Northeast to the Caribbean. The initial rally has grown to become the SDSA, with over 800 members and many events each year. Linda served as Vice President from 2013 until her death. A Celebration of Life was held virtually on December 5, with family and friends. In memory of Linda, and her passion for helping sailors and the communities they visited, the family requests that donations be made to the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, a 501(c)(3) organization, at the following link www.saltydawgsailing.org/donations/