Martin and I became members of this great association in 1987, on the recommendation of Helen and Erik Kjemperud of Eventyr, neighbours of ours in Spruce Harbour Marina, where we lived aboard our Nor Siglar at the time. Martin, who was born on the south coast of Norway with salt water in his veins, was dreaming of going offshore, while I, who am “just a country girl” having grown up on a farm inland Norway, had no idea what bluewater sailing was about. All I knew was that I got seasick easily, but love to travel, so if I could only beat the seasickness, the idea certainly appealed to me as well. And then we joined BCA and the rest is history.
So what has Bluewater Cruising Association meant to us? First of all, at the monthly meetings, we found a wealth of information, especially through stimulating slide shows by returned offshore sailors, who inspired us to follow our own dreams. To me, these talks were particularly useful and confidence building in someone who was not at all sure if offshore sailing was for her. More often than not, I was left to think: “If she can do it, I can too!” And that clinched it for me. Once I had reached that important threshold, we set a date for our departure – the single most important piece of advice we received from Doers and Doners and something we strongly recommend to today’s Dreamers. Do it! Just Do it! Otherwise you may end up with dock fever and never leave.
Besides being an important motivator, BCA’s many specialized courses were extremely useful as well. We followed most of them, i.e. Celestial Navigation by Ted Long, and the diesel engine course by Ken Wright, ham radio and radar, weather and First Aid, just to mention a few.
In the late 80’s, there was no “Fleet” yet. In fact, Cam and Marianne McLean were dreamers themselves, planning to go offshore around the same time as us. However, the Vancouver Island Cruising Experience (VICE) was launched at about that time and we were among the first to take part in it. The year was 1990 and I think we were about ten boats to head due west from Race Rocks to find Cobb Sea Mount. Only three finished, but I believe Nor Siglar was the only one to actually locate the sea mount. And that was without a GPS! The VICE was a good test for us to see what bluewater sailing is like, and we would highly recommend it to all dreamers. We discovered what equipment worked and what didn’t, what we still needed to get and for me, most important of all: I found out that I still get seasick, but felt I would be able to cope with it anyway. So one year later, we cut the lines and took off – in no small measure due to BCA being instrumental in providing us with the much needed encouragement, know-how and last, but not least – camaraderie. These ingredients obviously meant a lot to us and was exactly what was needed to help us get off our butts and fulfill our own dreams.
Once out on the Deep Blue Yonder, we devoured all the information we could get from Currents, especially articles from Doers. We found them incredibly informative, exciting and inspiring. In fact, they were so useful and up to date that we often followed in their wakes. At that time, we did not have internet, of course, so Currents was worth its weight in gold. We looked forward to getting the latest copies every 3-4 months or so, when we picked up our mail parcel at the local American Express office, or some marina somewhere. How times have changed…
Our own adventure took us around the world for nine years and resulted in our book “9 Years on the 7 Seas with Nor Siglar”. We wanted to share our experiences, hoping to inspire dreamers much the same way Doers and Doners had done for us. If you don’t already have a copy of our book, or any of the eight others in our Seven Seas Adventures Mini Series, they can be found on www.amazon.com (Search: Anne E. Brevig) – both in print and digital formats.
When we returned to life ashore, we wanted to give something back to BCA, and ended up giving a multitude of slide shows, participating in discussion panels, helping out at boat shows and being mentors to dreamers. I also took on the role as coordinator of the Ocean Cruising Adventures Series when Liv Kennedy, founding member of BCA, retired a number of years ago. It is a well-known fact that OCA was the fore runner of BCA when it was launched back in 1978.
Martin and I have now been members for 31 years and would have loved to take part in the anniversary celebrations. On that special day, however, we will be away cycling the Galloping Goose Trail. But we will be sure to raise a glass or two to you from wherever we are, remembering the good old cruising days and many, many dear friends.
So here’s to fair winds and following seas to a wonderful Association for many years to come!