We sold our Moody 33 ‘Azrar III’ at the beginning of 2008 to buy a blue water yacht with the intention of exploring distant and not so distant shores while we were still relatively young, fit and healthy. So we hung up our business suits, bought ‘Pipistrelle’ and set off to enjoy early retirement and to draw on the not inconsiderable experience we had both gained by sailing the classic yachts ‘Overlord’, ‘Sea Scamp’ and many other cruising yachts and dinghies over the years!
The Offshore Cruising Club (OCC) is centred around ‘Overlord’, a 10 berth 58 ft Bermudan sloop, built in 1936 in Germany. With a membership of over 200, from experienced sailors to those who have never set foot on a yacht before, we have cruised on her in various parts of Europe – Bob as Skipper, Elaine as Watchleader. We also took an active interest in club affairs, with Bob being Commodore for two years, and Elaine serving on the Committee variously organising refit or social events. For more information about the OCC, go to www.sailoverlord.org.uk.
After giving a presentation about Overlord and the Offshore Cruising Club to the Gerard’s Cross Sailing Association (GXSA) before we set off, we were invited back to talk at one of their winter meetings, about our journey on Pipistrelle, specifically our passage across the Pacific in 2011. The GXSA calls itself ‘the off-season club for boating enthusiasts’, with meetings, courses, as well as a social and summer sailing programme. Find the website under www.gxsa.org.uk.
Having crossed the Atlantic on Pipistrelle in 2009 with the ARC, we both met the criteria to join the Ocean Cruising Club (also abbreviated to OCC). Membership is granted only to those who have completed a continuous ocean passage of 1000 nm or more in a vessel not exceeding 70 ft (LOA). Since joining this august association, we have encountered fellow members flying the distinctive blue and yellow ‘Flying Fish’ burgee in far flung places, which has often resulted in convivial exchanges both of wide ranging, challenging cruising experiences and ships’ liquid stores! For more information about the Ocean Cruising Club, go to www.oceancruisingclub.org.