30 Mar Ocean Cruising Club
The little black box in the picture is what enables me to communicate via voice, email, and text. It also enables me to send low resolution images via email and to download weather data from a variety of different sources. It is an Iridium Go! satellite wifi hotspot that connects wirelessly to my smartphone, iPad, and laptop.
Without the Iridium, there would be no real-time Facebook, Instagram, or blog posts. And In all likelihood, just about everyone reading this post now would know nothing about the 5 Capes Voyage.
I would not have this device if it were not for the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC). Without the OCC, being able to follow me as I sail my way around the world simply would not have been possible.
For years, I had aspired to membership in the OCC. In my opinion, it is the pre-eminent blue water sailing association in the world with a presence in nearly every major port you might wish to enter. The members read like a who’s who in the sailing world and they embody a vast warehouse of sailing knowledge and know-how.
Moreover, if I ever crash-landing in some far away, entirely unfamiliar port, an OCC Port Captain would be there to assist if assistance was required. For me in this trip, that implies a safety net of local knowledge that is priceless.
And they’ve got standards. High standards. Despite sailing nearly ten thousand miles in Seaburban, I didn’t qualify for full membership. I am an associate member of the OCC.
I applied for membership just before leaving and, not knowing any Club members personally, requested a sponsor. I was delighted to hear back that Ian Grant, a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the OCC, had agreed to sponsor me. Part of the application process required me to detail my sailing plans for the immediate future. That piqued Ian’s interest and he put me in touch with sailor and circumnavigator par-excellence Tony Gooch. Tony suggested I apply for the newly minted OCC Challenge Adventure Grant. I had thought that there was no way I would be awarded the Grant but applied anyway.
A week or so before departing, I was informed by the Club secretary that I had been chosen as the recipient of the Grant. I was honoured beyond words, dumbfounded, deeply grateful, and shocked all at the same time. The grant money enabled me to purchase the Iridium Go! device, the marine installation package, antenna, and pay for the required air time for at least the duration of the 5 Capes voyage.
You can read the official OCC announcement for the the recipient of the Challenge Adventure Grant here.
“There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit”
Gen. George C. Marshall
For enabling me to share my adventure with you, all the credit goes to the OCC. They have asked nothing in return for honouring me with the Grant. Additionally, Rick White, Port Captain in San Francisco has already bailed me out when I needed to divert there and Darah Nagle, Port Captain in Victoria would have bent over backwards to help me with last minute departure details had I asked. All without seeking credit or asking anything in return.
To the OCC executive, the Grant Committee, and the many members and volunteers worldwide who make it all possible, I thank you.
Follow my tracks in real-time:
About the Ocean Cruising Club
The Worldwide Community for Adventure Sailing Since 1954
The OCC is the “home port” for those who have sailed long distances across big oceans. With 48 nationalities represented among almost 2900 members, and Port Officers around the world, we have a more diverse membership and a more international reach than any other blue water sailing organisation.
The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats. A Full Member of the OCC must have completed a qualifying voyage of a non-stop port-to-port ocean passage, where the distance between the two ports is not less than 1,000 nautical miles, in a vessel of not more than 70ft (21.36 m) LOA; associate members are committed to achieving that goal. This standard distinguishes the OCC from all other sailing clubs.
Our membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organisation – in the number of circumnavigators, in the range of extraordinary voyages members have completed, and in the number of solo sailors and female sailors among our ranks. This is what sets us apart from other organisations, even as it draws us together as a group.
Learn more about the OCC at their website: