I've had the privilege to meet Donna Ferron a number of times. I can assure you that she is a lady, and certainly younger than I.
Back on subject ...
I have to dis-agree with many of the posts here. I sailed with the Salty Dawg Rally last Fall of 2012 and I have to say it was very well run. They first off have Safety in mind. They work closely with numerous orgs to ensure participates are qualified, trained etc... They work VERY CLOSE with Chris Parker to ensure that conditions are right before leaving.
That has been my experience. I'd point out that the 2012 Salty Dawg ran on the heels of Super Storm Sandy. I was supposed to speak at the pre-departure seminars but couldn't get down after Sandy. The Knowles and their supporters made the Salty Dawg work.
I don't think any reasonable person can find fault with the Salty Dawg. Personal responsibility is emphasized in every interaction with the rally.
A review of the NDBC records indicates no unusual or exceptional conditions that should have been of any particular concern/difficulty for any boat equipped to make the planned voyage.
Which goes to my earlier point. It isn't about the boat, it's about the crew. Frankly this is why I like the Yachtmaster credential over the USCG Master's license for recreational boats. The US Coast Guard gives you a test. The MCA takes you sailing.
Point taken. But, there's no guarantee that it will happen every time. I know it doesn't with me. No idea why (except for that morning after the Buffalo wings and alcohol, but that wasn't repeated.). But there are times in rough weather when I have no problems at all.
So far I've been sea sick once. It was a real surprise as I had never been sick before, absent one episode that was definitely the flu. When I was sea sick the conditions were not nearly as bad as the worst I have been through before. I managed to keep the crew fed throughout although it may well have not been my finest hour in the galley. I kept up nav and weather but when someone had to crawl onto the foredeck to address damage from boarding seas it was my good friend Adam Plourde who took care of things. I am and will always be grateful to Adam for his contribution.
Powering through sea sickness myself was based on the example set by Carlos Mendoza who sailed with me from Goteberg to Horta. Carlos got sick as Falmouth sank below the horizon. He couldn't keep anything down, including water. Ice chips kept him hydrated, mostly. I have pictures of Carlos flaked out on the sole. Nevertheless he never missed a watch. The ultimate solution to seasickness (sitting under a tree) was attained in Horta. Carlos lost over 20 lbs in 18 days (we still call it the "Carlos Mendoza adventure diet") but it still took a long discussion about dehydration and offshore rescue to get him on a plane. I figured if Carlos could do his part for two-and-a-half weeks of misery I could do a few days.
When we arrived in Bermuda Carlos was on the dock waiting for us and made the trip to Norfolk and on to Annapolis.
Two take-aways from my rambling: sea sicknesses can hit anyone and it is really bad, and I am truly blessed with good friends like Adam, Carlos, and Chip (whose exploits deserve their own thread, if not a book).