The Calgary Chapter of Bluewater Cruising Association had its official inaugural meeting in January of 2000, with the new millenium (right after we discovered that our electricity still worked, computer systems were still up and running, and, most importantly, that we could still take flights to the coast). Unofficially, we had been meeting for years - through Bluewater Rendezvous on the coast; through other sailing associations in Calgary (Foothills Association of Cruising Sailors "FACS", Calgary Power & Sail Squadron, Chinook Boat Builders' Association, Calgary AIL Sail - it really is amazing how many there are out here, in God's country); and through chance encounters on one of the many, many flights to the coast that us poor, landlocked sailors must endure in order to live our dreams. (How many times have we noticed people whom we have seen on other flights, start talking to them, and lo and behold! they are crazies, just like us, owning boats that sit in marinas more than a 1000 km from where we live and work!)
Over the years, this loose affiliation of landlocked sailors has seen many members live the dream, and head offshore for exotic waters. But while we continued to feed our expensive addiction to ocean sailing, we envied our Westcoast colleagues their monthly meetings, guest speakers, and more formalized support system. And so, after some consultations and discussions with the Vancouver and Victoria Chapters, and much support from then Commodore Malcolm Wilkinson, we started our own Chapter.
With only 50 to 60 members at any one time (representing around 20 boats), and with fewer resources (in terms of "qualified" guest speakers and course instructors) to draw from, we usually have a turn-out of between 15 and 30 members to each monthly meeting (which we figure is pretty good!) We meet on the first Tuesday of the month from September to April at HMCS Tecumseh, 1820 24th ST. SW. (Please enter from 24St. SW) All are welcome. See the Calendar of Currents for futher details.
Participants in our very successful inaugural meet, which was hosted by the Calgary Chapter at Thetis Island Marina, Telegraph Harbour, during Thanksgiving, 2002, complete with complimentary keg of beer - hey, membership dues have to go SOMEWHERE. Neil Watson was the first Vice Commodore of the Calgary Chapter. After two successful years heading up the new Chapter, Neil bowed out of the position (while continuing to be an active member), and Stuart Briscoe took over the reins. As with any volunteer organization, new ideas and new energy are always welcomed and appreciated. Besides, we're all planning to go offshore, so someone has to be ready to take over when we go!
Our meetings are usually pretty casual but lots of fun, and social events are well attended. It's always very inspiring to sit in a room looking at gloriously coloured slides of exotic locations and hearing stories of secluded anchorages and cruising parties when it's bitter winter outside and you're not sure if your car will start ...
Many boats have left from Calgary. Here follows a less than complete list (in no particular order) of some of the families that have gone offshore from Calgary in the last few years - some are back, having had an amazing time, and some are still very much out there:
The Holts, the Arnolds, the Southwoods, the Bieris, Rick Dove, the Knight family, the Van der Ploegs, the Gallops, the Kirsteins, the Laerzs, the Homers, the Jearys, the Tranters, John Haigh, the Hutchinson family, the Poulsens, the Richards family.
Fostering seamanship and friendship for people with
an active interest in offshore cruising.