The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Going Offshore? Join Your BCA Chapter's Fleet Group!

Cameron and Marianne McLean, Vancouver Fleet Coordinators

Seabird 37
September 12th, 2023

In September each year a number of Bluewater Cruising Association members get together to form the Fleets – one on Vancouver Island, one in Calgary and one on the Lower Mainland. The Fleets are for 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.

Goals of the Fleets

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, as well as topics covered, include:

  • 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
  • Heavy Weather Sailing
  • Psychology of Cruising
  • Rigging and Rigging repair
  • Sail Selection and Sail Repair; and,
  • Medical Problems Offshore

Each year’s Fleet works with the Chapter Education Watchkeeper to set up sessions such as these.

Some Fleet programs include Weather Groups, where members research and present weather topics and plan virtual voyages based on weather patterns. It’s a great way to learn to read weather information and apply the knowledge to a specific journey.

Perhaps the most important objective of the Fleet is to get to know the people who will be sharing their offshore adventure – people with 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, the Fleets have a number of social events during the year with no specific program other than getting to know one another better.

Fleet Schedules

Throughout the year, the regular meetings of the fleets are held as follows:

  • Vancouver Fleet: meet on the last Tuesday of each month
  • Vancouver Island Fleet: meet on the third Wednesday of each month (except in September)
  • Calgary Fleet: meeting schedule TBD

Fleet Fees

The fleet fees range between $50-$60 per boat, per year, depending on the Chapter. This fee covers the boat and all crew, so all crew is welcome to attend the meetings! Fleet fees are payable online (you must login to access the page).

Vancouver Fleet

The first meeting of the Vancouver Fleet of 2024 will be a Zoom meeting at 1930 hours on Tuesday, September 26. This meeting will feature the crew of Palomita, Greg and Lori Bernard, with their program: 21 Things We Learned Sailing to Mexico. In the future we will attempt to set up hybrid Zoom in-person meetings at the Scottish Cultural Centre.

A notice about joining the Vancouver Fleet of 2024 will be sent to all members of the Fleet of 2023 with a questionnaire and registration form. A similar message will be sent to all BCA Vancouver members. These will be sent out some time in early September.

If you would like to join the Vancouver Fleet of 2024, fill out the questionnaire and registration form, and pay the Fleet dues of $50 on the website. This fee covers the boat and all crew.

Vancouver Island Fleet

The first meeting of the VI Fleet of 2024 will take place on Wednesday, September 27, at Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the Chatham Room starting at 1830h.  This meeting will be a hybrid meetings for those who can’t make it to RVYC.

The VI Fleet also forms a weather group each year. This year, the group will meet virtually on the fourth Wednesdays of the month at 1830h from October until the end of February.

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