The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Leavers: Very Special Members!

Marilyn Sanford

Young Sun 43 CC Cutter
September 11th, 2022

I have loved my years with BCA.  I joined in 2013 (if memory serves me right).  I joined because I was interested in exploring an offshore experience and because I wanted to learn more about sailing, to prepare myself for a possible offshore venture and to connect with like-minded people.

I have not been disappointed.  BCA has taught me so much.  Not just about sailing but also about sharing knowledge and a great sport.  Interestingly, I suppose because I live aboard, it seems odd to call it a sport.   To me it is an integral part of living on the coast, allowing me to explore our beautiful coastline including its history, communities and the fascinating creatures and vegetation that grow in and close to the shores.

Until I put the offshore packages together for 2022, I hadn’t understood the full implications and value of this treasure we call BCA or the commitment to an offshore experience.  With almost no exceptions, the Commodore personally presents the packages.  The Commodore also provides a letter of introduction, which can be used to secure moorage, or for introductions or support of credibility for various uses along the way. This really brought home the depth of commitment that BCA  has to its members and to the commitment the members have and are making.  I learned that ‘leavers’ are important part of what BCA is all about.  Although I have really loved the relationships, sharing and learning, what drives the organization is providing a foundation for those willing to venture beyond our shores, risk the uncertainties that are implicit in this venture and who are committed to learning all they can to help make this the safest and richest experience possible.

I realize too that BCA is working to extend its reach and to embrace local sailors as well, who may want to make larger journeys in local waters, or who want to learn more to enrich their local journeys. That said, there are many young sailors who are committed and are preparing for this venture, some taking their families.

Being involved in preparing the packages made me think about the adventure ahead for these sailors, to put myself in their shoes and consider how BCA could help them along the way.   Sally Holland joined me and, I think, I speak for us both.  It was a great feeling to be assembling this token of BCA’s support and commitment.

Preparing the packages involves reaching out to suppliers to get their support and ideas.  Because this was right after COVID many were struggling and were unable to help.  However, North Sails did support this venture, as they have in the past.  This year they provided a quality and functional case for the gifts, a case that could be easily repurposed for documents and important information on the cruise.

I was amazed to learn that North Sails has supported BCA in one form or another for many decades.  A heartfelt thank you goes out to North Sails for its contribution.  Many of the offshore sailors use(d) their services and leaned on their expertise to help ensure the critical ‘machine’ of their yachts was rigorous and effective, in both light winds and sometimes unavoidable storms.

In total, this year 24 boats received packages, eight from Vancouver, fifteen from Vancouver Island and five from Calgary.  As I understand, this was a larger group, likely due to some deferrals given the impact COVID had on leaver plans in 2020 and 2021.  Needless to say, I look forward to reading stories from this year’s leavers in Currents and wish them all a safe and adventurous journey.


  1. David John Mitchell says:


    Thank you very much for all of your hard work in supporting our leavers, now Doers. Your efforts have and continue to make a world of difference!

    Take care,

    David Mitchell
    Bluewater Cruising Association

    1. Marilyn Sanford says:

      Thanks David.

  2. Cameron+McLean says:

    It was a huge job for you and your committee, Marilyn, and a job well done. Your work was a service to all of BCA.
    Many thanks

    Cameron McLean
    Vancouver Fleet Representative

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