Been off doing boaty things so it's taken a while to circle back.
Right up front:
I am the current
President of SSCA. Last year I was Treasurer.
Here is my story:
I've been a member of SSCA since 1992. For most of that time I was pretty passive. I sailed and otherwise boated, read the Bulletin (mostly), went to work every day, and didn't think about it too much. Heck, it was only $55/year. In 2006 I bought Auspicious and sailed across the Atlantic. That life-changing event drove me back into the marine
industry from which I came and I started to volunteer for a little here and a little there.
I thought I saw the handwriting on the wall that SSCA was not as relevant to real cruisers as it once was. Still, it was only $55/year.
Early in 2011 I got a phone
call from a good friend (who participates in CF also) who was being pressured to run for the Board. Jon figured if he could talk me into it he was home free. I was busy and agreed. I did some research
and wrote up my bio emphasizing the importance of relevance to the modern world of cruising.
I got elected. Poor planning of bathroom breaks made me Treasurer. I learned more and saw results from my work. It was fun. Last December I was elected President. I'm still focused on relevance.
Here is the SSCA story:
In 1952 six cruising couples in San Diego
formed a disorganization to share information as they crossed the Pacific. With a warped sense of humor
that I greatly appreciate they decided, surrounded by yacht clubs in San Diego
, that they would ALL be Commodores. Over time, the Bulletin we publish became well enough regarded that people who weren't yet cruising wanted to read it also so we added subscribers later renamed Associate members.
Y'all had a lot to contribute. My thoughts in line.
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler
We found the SSCA to be our biggest advocate when we left for Europe
in May of last year. Norfolk's Joan Conover, an SSCA Cruising Station Coordinator, and her husband Greg, were longtime cruisers on their boat Growling Tiger.
SSCA is a volunteer-driven organization. You had the fortune to meet some really special ones. Joan is the SSCA Cruising Station for Hampton VA and also the Cruising Station Coordinator for the several hundred cruising stations we have around the world. Greg is a past Board member and was VP of SSCA in 2011 and 2012.
Originally Posted by Waterway Guide
I agree...and I'm a member. The SSCA "Gams" have some of the most informative presenters and topics you'll find anywhere...and they're a whole lot of fun! You'll meet cruisers from all over the world.
We have sponsors. I'm going to miss important people here but let me give examples. Jack Dozier and Mike Ahart, both of Waterway Guides, pay their $55/year just like other members. So does Al Golden of IMIS. In addition they, and other sponsors pitch
in to keep the Bulletin going, Gams to be great events
, and other activities and services to work for cruisers.
Other notables pay their $55/year also, like Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger, Jimmy Cornell, Nigel Calder, and Kathy Parsons.
Originally Posted by MarkJ
You can join a club that tells you how to do it, where to go and what to see.....
I don't think SSCA does that at all. We give you ways to read about what others have done so you can make your own decisions. We give you means to ask people who have gone before you what they experienced so you can make your own decisions. Our relationship with Lee Chesneau (who pays his $55/year) is a good example: he speaks to the extent of preaching about self-sufficiency in weather
forecasting and route
Originally Posted by Randyonr3
That was at the start of the seven seas "U" project
. For months it was played up to be an added part of what was already a great org. I couldn't say enough about them until the project
went into motion, it turned into a money
hungry organization, where most all information by the "U" program.
The $10 or 15 or 20 for a webinar goes three ways. It pays the costs of the technology to support the webinar itself. There are real costs associated with that! It provides some beer money
for the presenter. It provides a small revenue stream to SSCA that helps keep dues down. If you aren't interested in a topic you don't have to pay for it.
As it happens I'm one of the four most prolific presenters at SSU and I can assure you that what I get doesn't keep up with my beer budget
Originally Posted by Randyonr3
Odd thing as most all the people working the boat shows and fairs are working for free.
I don't think that's fair at all. Volunteers at boat shows pull (mostly) a two hour shift and get a ticket to the show for the whole day. For most of us that's a pretty good deal.
Most of the Gam workers are entirely volunteers. What's wrong with that.
SSCA isn't a profit-making organization. We're a 501c7 not-for-profit corporation. The Board and Officers are all volunteers.
Originally Posted by boatman61
Info these days is just a click away on just about every subject needed... Noonsite & CF to name a couple.
Agreed. SSCA has to be relevant or we will fade away. We're working hard at that. I'll tell you that in my opinion, obviously not objective, is that our biggest failing is not communicating our services and value proposition well enough. I'm STILL finding things we do and offer I didn't know about. That's frustrating. We're working on that.
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi
We have been members and even Commodores for years but let the membership expire when it started to feel too bureaucratic.
I'd like to hear about that. Public, PM, e-mail, whatever you like.
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy
We were members for many years but the organization is in my opinion a dinosaur and really has little to offer to others except for maybe the new cruisers.
Hi Chuck! Relevance is important. The world has changed. SSCA must change with it or get out of the way.
Originally Posted by Nicholson58
We are on the Great Lakes
; joined SSCA two years ago; flown the flag everywhere and never had anyone say hi. Perhaps it will be more useful blue water
Really good point. We're beating the drum loudly in our membership to fly the burgee and look for other members. We're especially pushing our Commodores to look for Associates to provide support, the lessons of experience, and to recommend qualifying Associates for Commodore.
Originally Posted by Bash
To become a "commodore" you have to meet distance requirements, be sponsored by two members, SUBMIT A PHOTO,
submit a letter of introduction
a burgee, be a member for more than a year, and have your name published in four succesive bulletins without anyone blackmailing you.
First I've ever heard of a problem with the photo
. Educate me. Blackballing hasn't happened in my memory. I'll do the research and get numbers.
Originally Posted by flagorio
Look at the relationship with Active Captain
or any of the cruising authors who present there. Nuf said.
The SSCA relationship with ActiveCaptain helps us more than AC. AC is trying to expand their dataset to more global locations. Encouraging our members who do sail the globe to contribute helps everyone, including our other members who follow in the wake of those before them. This is EXACTLY what we were founded for and part of staying relevant in a changing world. We get more exposure.
Jeff and Karen Siegel have been members of SSCA for a long time. We couldn't ask for better more lucid supporters.
Originally Posted by rebel heart
I'm 34 with young kids
. The ssca seems to be 95% old white retired people with deep pockets who's primary interest in life is boats.
You have clearly not been to a Gam. *grin*
Originally Posted by Kettlewell
I quit a few years back when the SSCA leadership went against the written association rules, without any sort of consent from the membership, in order to participate in and support the creation of Florida's anti-anchoring Pilot Program. The PP was subsequently passed, and exactly what many of us feared happened--all five PP areas have instituted various anti-anchoring rules.
I wasn't active then, although a member. I can tell you that we get calls from FWC and are invited to working sessions while those more strident and emotional folks are left standing in the hall.
Reasonable people can come to different conclusions looking at the same data. SSCA is still at the table. SSCA and Boat/US are the ONLY organizations still at the table supporting anchoring
and other cruising rights in Florida (and Georgia
, and Maryland
, and New York). Oh - unlike Boat/US we're ALL volunteers.
The PP has been unpleasant but we're now in a position were SSCA can help FWC write legislation and regulation that sits on the localities that seem so easily swayed by waterfront landowners and development interests. If you think you can do better you're welcome to join us ($55/year) and help make it better.
Originally Posted by Kettlewell
Leadership at the time was dominated by Florida retirees who were sympathetic to the false argument that derelict boats were a huge problem and that mooring
fields were beneficial to cruisers.
I disagree also. I much prefer anchoring
to mooring balls.
I can't speak to the composition of the Board at the time, although I'm willing to look it up if you have a year. Our current
Board has a part-time cruiser in Annapolis
, someone launching from Groton CT this year, an active cruiser heading to the Bahamas
this month, an active cruiser already in the Bahamas
, an active cruiser in Fiji
, a preparing cruiser in Key West
FL, and a part-time cruiser based in RI.
Regardless, we are accessible. I've been active on CF for a long time. I'm here. It would be great to be constructive but I'm here regardless.
sail fast and eat well, dave
Dave Skolnick S/V Auspicious