Tragedy on 2023 Caribbean Rally

Published on November 14th, 2023

The mission of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) is to educate sailors, build camaraderie, and facilitate offshore passages. They host the largest rally leaving the US East Coast each fall for the Caribbean, and it was on this trip when tragedy occurred.

SDSA president Bob Osborn reported on November 14 that a crew member aboard the 46-foot yacht Logos that was sailing with the SDSA’s Fall Rally to Antigua 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 when Erickson was able to hydrate, seemed to be improving, and had a strong pulse.

But at 2:00 am on 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 Cayward that Erickson had died in his sleep. The cause of death remains to be determined.

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

“Our hearts go out to Ralph’s family, to the crew of Logos and to all of Ralph’s friends and shipmates,” said Osborn. “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.”

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