The Salty Dog yacht rally is coming to Alaska this summer. Wrangell is the official end point of the rally and will be the hub of boats and merriment for four days in June. KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver has more.
Former commercial fisherman and Salty Dog Rally Alaska founder Dawny Pack says this event is a long time coming.
“This is Dawny, aka Naknek Sea gal, and it’s a 15 years plus dream. All my years out of Southside, Naknek, Bristol Bay, Egegik, Clark’s Point and running downhill, we always loved breezing by Wrangell and the great, fabulous Wrangell Narrows. Since I’ve converted, about 18 years ago, to the yachting white boat from commercial, it’s been a dream to get all these yahoos to come up to Alaska,” says Pack.
Pack says yachters from around North America will join together for this epic trip up the Inside Passage.
And by around North America, she means—around—North America.
“Oh my gosh. God only knows, because they’re boats. They go around the world everywhere, right? So, we’ve got Florida, some in Mexico, some in California, Oregon, Washington…one guy is in New York. So, he needs to hurry up and get around. He’ll come over on either Seven Star or United Yacht Transport—one of the transport companies out of Fort Lauderdale over to Vancouver. So, they’ll just cruise through the Panama Canal and just flop over here,” says Pack.
All the boats will…flop up to Seattle, where the rally begins on June fourth.
From there, the group will head up the Northwest coast, stopping in Anacortes, Sidney, False Bay, Campbell River, Port McNeill, Cape Caution, Bella Bella, Green Inlet and Prince Rupert.
The rallyers will first set foot on Alaskan soil two weeks later in Ketchikan on June 15th.
Then, they’ll bring their boats and, Pack says, their personalities to Wrangell, arriving two days later.
Wrangell is the official end point of the rally. But—just the beginning of the festivities, according to Wrangell’s Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore.
“So, we’re working with the tribe to do a Chief Shakes tribal house tour and performance, and then also do a traditional foods dinner. So hopefully that will work out. There’s going to be a golf tournament with a barbeque dinner and some entertainment offered. The charter guys will be offering different types of tour trips and we’ll get them signed up for some of those things. Bonnie Demerjian has offered to lead a bird walk. There are some other activities that we’re looking at trying to do spaced throughout the four days that they’re going to be here,” says Rushmore.
Rumor has it there’s also a poker night and pub crawl in the works.
With about 16 boats already registered for the rally and hopefully double that as the final count, that’s gonna be lot of people visiting these small communities looking for good times and good memories. And that’s good for Wrangell’s economy.
Carol Rushmore says the cost of the special activities are either being donated or paid for by the yachters themselves.
“So, it’s providing us a great deal of recognition in other parts of the country, through the yachting community itself about what we’ll have to offer here and what we’ll be able to provide. Plus they will be here for over a four-day period, visiting downtown, taking tours, doing the things that visitors do while they’re here,” says Rushmore.
Chamber of Commerce office manager Cyni Waddington says she hopes the rallyers will support local businesses while they are in town.
“The Chamber is one of the sponsors for the event because we’re hoping that having all these people come to town will promote our economy,” says Waddington.
She says it’s good timing for the rally as fourth of July prep will be in full swing, with food booths, activities, and of course, royalty raffle tickets.
Rally founder Dawny Pack says that’s why she chose Wrangell for the big party.
In exchange for being a welcoming community, she hopes the rally will bring money and recognition.
“The town has just been so supportive so we’re very happy to breeze by and make Wrangell our official hub. There’s a lot of boots on the ground, a ton of support, a ton of encouragement in the lower 48 and through Southeast Alaska, and it’s just been a long, long dream that’s finally coming to fruition,” says Pack.
So, put your sea legs on, the Salty Dog Rally Alaska arrives in Wrangell on June 17th.
There will be an optional extra salty leg to Petersburg and Juneau from the 21st to the 24th for those who want to keep on yachting.
For more information or to enter a yacht, go to saltydograllyalaska.com.