A couple more from Facebook...Nigel Collin Studdart
Thanks Bill interesting story and a collection of eclectic eccentrics who share a common passion for the horizon is a good way too view it. I agree with many of the comments. My own qualifying passage was in a home built ferro boat, with a Casio watch and plastic sextant for navigation and no engine, only other instruments were a compass and a lead line along with a VHF. Had a transistor radio for DF. I was broke and left with 50 quid in my pocket and a great deal more enthusiasm than experience. Was it safe almost certainly not. I learned a great deal. It was a life changing trip and one I will never forget and treasure the memory of. The world has changed my son and family just sailed from the med to NZ in a super maramu. In my days a boat that size would have been considered close o a super yacht!. I have every respect for them and they're achievement a second generation of adventurers as a family with young children its never easy and there is no off watch,. Electronic charts, GPS and AIS have all made it safer but still boats run on reefs sometimes following green dots on large scale charts. The OCC has endured through all this and become bigger and when I look at rallies like the one Suzanne Chappell organised through some tricky waters, better, I have nothing but respect for its members and the ethos.
Thanks for the responses, but having started the debate we’re now about to sail away from our ‘decent wifi connection’ – though not a thousand mile passage, unless we bypass Palmerston Reef – so I would like to try and clarify my own position before departure:
My interpretation of the qualification rules was a best guess/memory and if I'm wrong or they’ve formally been changed at an AGM, then fine, I will happily accept the changes and shut up.
I certainly don’t object to anyone using the engine when necessary – without it we might still be drifting along, becalmed in the Guianas Current. Nor per-se to their making the qualifying passage on a professionally skippered vessel. I know that the ARC Atlantic in particular includes many such boats and provided that the prospective member has ‘actively contributed’ to the making of that passage, then welcome aboard. My indignation with the chap whom we met in the Caribbean stemmed more from his attitude rather than his having had the pro-skipper & crew: “No we left all the night watches and rough weather stuff to the crew, if I’m paying them why should we sit up half the night?”
I’m not a natural yacht-club member (I guess that already shows?) but from the OCC website: “Every full member has made a 1,000-nautical mile offshore passage in a vessel of 70 feet or less…This standard DISTINGUISHES us from all other sailing clubs” That statement is what makes us different and was a major factor in why I joined; having the ‘right’ boat, home address, old-school-friends or indeed a large enough bank balance just doesn’t cut it for joining the OCC, you HAVE to make that 1000 mile offshore passage.
I’m all for being welcoming & inclusive, but for the OCC to remain a club ‘distinguished from all other sailing clubs’ then the passage requirement must be maintained, the question then of course is what do we consider to be ‘compliant’? Beyond the ‘1000 miles’ distance certainly isn’t the issue; having now done both I can confirm that qualifying via the 1300-1400 mile trip from the US east coast to the Caribbean is a whole lot tougher than for those pussies (like us!) who qualified by sailing there from the Canary Islands. In some respects I wouldn’t even discount the Mediterranean or other ‘seas’ from in part counting towards the thousand miles; coming east to west especially through the Med is hard work and certainly the very worst storm that we ever sailed (OK, hove to) through was in the Med between Sicily and Sardinia.
Nailing my colours to the mast, I believe the key word is ‘offshore’ and that for a passage to fulfill that requirement, it should for a substantial part of it take you beyond (at the very minimum 24-36 hours) easy access to a safe harbour; if you can bail out at will, then it’s not ‘offshore’