During the past couple of months, it has again been a great privilege to meet those BCA members who are casting off the dock lines and transitioning from “Dreamers” to “Do-ers”, as they set sail south towards Mexico and beyond. The presentation of the leaver or bon voyage packages is a long standing BCA tradition and a highlight of the year for me in my role as Commodore. And, not surprisingly, the presentations also bring back a flood of memories as I remember and relive our own experience as we prepared and then set sail for French Polynesia 10 years ago.
There is always such a rush when BCA members have the opportunity to congratulate the leavers and wish them “fair winds”. This was the case at the May Rendezvous, VI June BBQ and Vancouver Fleet BBQ, and exciting to hear their plans for the first year. It is also incredibly heartwarming to hear the “thank-you’s” expressed by the leavers to the Fleet Coordinators; in particular, mentors, watchkeepers (especially Education) and the Association in general. BCA is undoubtedly a unique organization in the cruising world!
Other, more private presentations have been held in Sidney boat yards, and on the docks in front of The Empress (just prior to VICE). All going well, there will be one or two more by October.
This year, it seems virtually everyone is setting sail from the west coast and heading to Mexico, where there will be numerous other BCA members (the “currently cruising” bunch) to extend a warm welcome and share the best kept secrets, tips, tricks and techniques for enjoying all that Mexico has to offer. From there, cruisers are planning to head to the Caribbean, South Pacific and beyond – we wish all of them Godspeed, fair winds, following seas, and the hope to stay in touch.
The “Fleet of 2016” joins another approximately 50+ BCA boats from all three Chapters that are already “currently cruising”. The BCA burgee flies proudly in anchorages and marinas around the world, and can often be found hanging in club houses and bars, left by sailors grateful for the welcome received and assistance rendered.
Many cruisers remain members of BCA while exploring the world and are happy to share their adventures, either by giving permission to BCA to list their blog on our website (check out the cruising blogs here) and/or by writing articles for Currents (an easy way to reduce membership dues). Those of us who remain at home thus have the opportunity to follow along and share in the joys and inevitable frustrations that come with passage making and living aboard.
Lastly, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that life has inevitably interfered with the cruising plans of other members who had planned to leave in 2016. We assure you of our continuing support as they hope for a departure in 2017. And I am sure that all of us, regardless of whether we are dreamers, doers or doners, have nothing but good wishes for all who are setting sail. We look forward to hearing of your adventures; we stand ready to offer help and advice when asked for, and we look forward to welcoming you home sometime in the future.
Feature photo: Price and Gail Powell (boat name not yet public); and Greg Harms and Alice Kloosterboer, SV Anduril