Sailing requires no small skill, the lack of which is frequently the subject of both horror and humour as the yachting press floods the wires with stories of novices who fall foul of the sea having neglected to make adequate provision for the complications of boat handling.
Perhaps not enough is said about the sense of accomplishment felt by those who complete their first and indeed each subsequent passage. Sailing, it is agreed, offers a sense of escape and adventure and whereas it is now harder to justify leaving the phone off the hook, breakages and gear failure notwithstanding (for which channels of communication can of course be vital), it can be so good to get away!
Whilst the sailing fraternity is reasonably small and already pretty friendly, joining an association if you plan to go cruising can provide many benefits, not least the shared pool of experience offered by a group of hardy veterans!
John Franklin reports:
OCEAN CRUISING CLUB
“Having recently taken over as Commodore of the OCC I find I am humbled to be leading such a very vibrant organisation of like-minded adventurers, bound together by the common achievement of a 1,000 mile non-stop passage. The very nature of our membership qualification proscribes a self sufficient cruiser so my challenge is to sustain the values which the club represents through a period of rapid change in the external world, driven ever onwards and faster by the electronic revolution. The internet offers a host of useful tools, but can never replace the camaraderie of sharing adventures with fellow cruisers.”
For sixty years, the Ocean Cruising Club has been home to the most accomplished and experienced offshore sailors, those amateurs who dare to brave the ocean in small boats. Many of its early members are now legend: founder Hum Barton, Francis Chichester, David Lewis, Bill Tilman, John Guzzwell. Today’s members include many who have completed more than one circumnavigation, who have sailed to the most remote and challenging corners of the globe, who have passed under the Great Capes. A Club without a clubhouse, the OCC is the community for accomplished offshore sailors; one which recognizes and rewards their achievements, facilitates the sharing of hard-won experience with others who dare to dream and brings members together in the real world to enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded adventurers. People aspire to join, and when they do, they are inspired by the accomplishments of their fellow members. The sole qualification for full membership, the only ticket to entry, is to step aboard a boat up to 70 feet in length, cast off the dock-lines and make a continuous ocean passage of at least 1000 nautical miles as captain or as crew. Those aspiring to cross an ocean can join as associate members to gain access to the skills, knowledge and experience of the OCC’s 1,800 members. Many of the world’s most adventurous amateur offshore sailors have chosen to be members of the OCC.”
For more information, visit the OCC website at www.oceancruisingclub.org