Our friends aboard s/v Por Dos introduced us to the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) last year and we were intrigued. This was a club that acknowledged accomplishment, however modestly, and that shared experiences rather than lecture on the "need to haves" and "shouldn't dos". This was a club that valued idealism, eccentricity, generosity, and humility. This was a club whose members were going places and for whom membership status enabled a warm welcome into foreign ports. Brian and I wanted very much to become a part of this worldwide cruising community.
We learned more about the OCC via their website
; here we found a wealth of information and current cruising news. Throughout our travels we kept a keen eye for the famed Flying Fish Burgee hoisted on neighboring boats and we'd dinghy near to introduce ourselves as hopeful future members. When we'd reconnected with s/v Por Dos in Georgetown, Bahamas we were hooked - sign us up! Mark and Marta became our sponsors and we submitted our application for membership. There was one sole qualification, however, that we'd not yet met. To become a full member of the OCC one must have completed a continuous ocean passage of at least 1,000 nautical miles (measured along the rhumb line) in a vessel under 70-ft in length. Mark and Marta were certain, at that time, that we'd accomplish this feat within the next two years...I was skeptical.
Our OCC qualifying passage came much earlier and had been a factor in our plans when we cast off the mooring at Grand Cayman Island and set sail toward Bermuda. This passage was a total 1,732 nautical miles (roughly 1,200nm on the rhumb line). This passage was a huge accomplishment for us and we felt like sailors
when we landed in Bermuda. Now, we're full members of the OCC!
The OCC has been tremendously supportive and informative online; I've corresponded with several members via email and have become an active member on the Facebook page. This summer, Brian and I had our first opportunity to meet our fellow members at the OCC Maine Rally held in Camden, ME. Admittedly, we were a bit star-struck when we began meeting everyone in person and learning of their adventures at sea. They weren't just living aboard, they were cruising! They were crossing oceans, encountering new cultures, developing better systems for optimal sailing and they were doing it on small, sturdy boats that weren't outfitted with navigational gadgets, refrigeration, air conditioning...all the modern comforts of home. They were writing the books that now bring us inspiring tales at sea and now instruct us how to prepare for life on a sailboat. We now had a commonality with these wonderful people; we'd traveled 1,000nm at sea, survived, and are still enthusiastic about the next destination. We are adventurers!
Brian and I had a fantastic evening at the Camden Yacht Club getting to know fellow cruisers and sharing our aspirations with them. We're looking forward to contributing to our new community, taking advantage of the valuable resources and knowledge it offers, and spending time out on the water with new friends. And we'd love some younger sailers (that's us 30-somethings and 40-somethings) to join us so we can keep the OCC cruisin' into the future.