In September of every year a number of members of BCA get together to form the Fleets – one on Vancouver Island, one in Calgary and one on the Lower Mainland. These are people who are planning to leave for offshore in the following year or soon thereafter. They meet monthly or more often depending on the program they set up for the year. The members themselves decide the program based on their needs and interests.
One of the objectives of the Fleet is to increase the participants’ basic knowledge of whatever is necessary to prepare them for safe and comfortable voyages. Examples of sessions presented in years past are:
- Presentations and panels of BCA members who have recently returned from offshore
- Use of Pactor modems for email and weather files
- Mast climbing
- Ham and SSB
- Storm tactics and safety at sea
- Psychology of cruising
- Rigging and rigging repair
- Sail selection and sail repair
- Medical problems offshore
Each year’s Fleet can work with the Education Watch to set up sessions such as these.
Another objective is to make the members aware of sources of useful and innovative equipment available. A committee of the Fleet is in contact with various suppliers collecting information on equipment available at good prices.
Perhaps the most important objective of the Fleet is to get to know the people who will be sharing their offshore adventure – people whom they will be meeting in foreign ports, people who will happily help each other out in times of difficulty, people who will become long-time friends. With this in mind we have a number of social events during the year with no specific program other than getting to know one another better.