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Old 17-02-2013, 06:56   #61
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
We went to several Gams when we were members and had little kids and unfortunately, the stereotype is true--members are all old white folks, like I am now!
I do agree about the kids. There were a few at the Annapolis Gam this year and maybe a couple at Melbourne.

As for diversity I think we reflect the US cruising population which seems to be more white than the population at large. We haven't ever counted.

I was reacting mostly to the "old" part. Again, no counting was done but I suspect there were way more people in Annapolis under 60 than over. Melbourne did seem a somewhat older crowd. Of course that all varies from place to place and year to year.

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It seemed bigger & more activities on the East Coast of US than on the West where we are so I felt not as connected.
That's an interesting challenge. The US West Coast doesn't have the biannual migration the US East Coast has. Rich Boren of Cruise RO Water has volunteered to try breathing life back into the San Diego Gam. I know he'd be glad of some volunteers to help.

There is a migration between Europe and the Caribbean so we are working on a Gam in the Canaries. There are some SSCA informal activities in the South Pacific we are going to publicize better.

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Originally Posted by LeaseOnLife View Post
Good to know! What other benefits does the Commodore over the Associate have, besides being able to vote?
IMIS has convinced their underwriter that Commodores are a lower risk group, and has been able to get a discount on insurance premiums. To my knowledge that's the only discount or benefit specific to Commodores. Of course the discounts come specifically from the sponsors, not from SSCA.

All benefits specifically of membership are equally available to both Commodores and Associates.

The issue of voting (which I consider a responsibility as opposed to a benefit) has been on the table several times in recent years. It is again.

There have been some comments about being a social organization. We certainly have a lot of social activities. Those provide a backdrop for a lot of the mentoring Sherry referred to in her post above. The biggest Gams are predominantly seminars by and for cruisers to share information in a structured fashion, followed by more informal discussions.

Even at smaller and less structured Gams there are events like Heading South in which a facilitator (yet another volunteer) moves the group through cruising topics soliciting questions from the group, mostly by newer cruisers, and answers from the more experienced.

Even the breakfasts and lunches provide information sharing and mutual support. Active cruisers have another place to get local information (and sometimes rides) while those working on their boats, or saving for boats, have a source of information and counsel. Sure you can find the same thing in many watering holes but first you have to find the right place to go. We jump start that process.

I personally appreciate the input from people, especially those who have left SSCA. Your perspective is very useful in driving forward on our plan to remain relevant to modern cruising and to increase service to members.

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Old 17-02-2013, 07:24   #62
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

So Dave, exactly what is the SSCA's current position on Florida's anti-anchoring Pilot Program ordinances? Despite participating in stakeholder reviews and submitting written commentary, all five PP areas have enacted highly restrictive anti-anchoring laws that almost eliminate anchoring for the most part, except in Sarasota where one can still anchor I believe 150 feet outside of the mooring field. As you know, the PP was signed off on by the SSCA when Florida passed its revised anchoring law. The PP was touted by the FWC as a way to test out local regulation of anchored vessels near mooring fields, but it was obviously viewed by municipalities as a backdoor way to chase away most anchored boats, as has happened in St. Augustine, for example. Theoretically, the PP laws sunset in 2014, but I will believe that when I see it. The result has been five communities "experimenting" with new anti-anchoring laws that nobody knows about, are all confusing and non-sensical, basically eliminate anchoring in most good areas, and are completely un-cruiser friendly. I quit SSCA over their stand on this law, and I really think they need to take a much stronger stance to preserve the traditional rights to anchor.
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Old 17-02-2013, 07:38   #63
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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Originally Posted by Al Golden View Post
Gosh, I hate to be a bit commercial folks, but nobody has mentioned that SSCA Commodores can save hundreds of dollars on their insurance premiums annually, simply by attaining SSCA's Commodore status!

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Why doesn't this apply to all members ? Why can't all members vote? Are the dues the same for all members or do "Commodores" pay more. Strange organization that discriminates against it's own members.
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Old 17-02-2013, 07:43   #64
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

To get Commodore status you must meet certain requirements including having sailed for so long, lived aboard for so long, and having X number of miles offshore, etc. Can't remember the details, and I believe they have changed since I became one. It sounds like a snooty title, but when the organization was founded they were deliberately creating an organization for long-distance sailors that didn't fit in with the typical organized yacht club crowd of the time in blue blazers, etc. The term "Commodore" was therefore tongue-in-cheek, and an inside joke. The original club was very salty and saw themselves as a "disorganization," very different from other clubs. Being a Commodore was an inside joke to them.
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Old 17-02-2013, 09:30   #65
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
So Dave, exactly what is the SSCA's current position on Florida's anti-anchoring Pilot Program ordinances?
Hi John,

At its most fundamental our position is that there must be a place in the grand scheme of things for cruisers to anchor.

Definitions bog things down. What's a cruiser? How long can a cruiser stay in one place before becoming a liveaboard? What's a liveaboard? What's a derelict? We're working on all that.

As far as I understand what happened before my time the Pilot Program was intended to collect data about how various systems worked in real life. The process helped tremendously I believe in reigning in some of the localities that were independently restricting access to anchorages.

As the Pilot Program winds down the FWC and other Florida State agencies are working to figure out what has been learned and how to make sense of it all. The USCG, Boat/US, and SSCA are in the room during the discussions and able to press our points.

I'll ask Phil Johnson, the chair of our Concerned Cruiser's Committee to provide more detail. I don't want to misspeak about what Phil has worked so hard to accomplish.

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Theoretically, the PP laws sunset in 2014, but I will believe that when I see it.
I'm more positive than that. What is reported to me is that FWC is really open-minded. Some of the localities are much less accommodating. Clear guidelines from the state (and the feds are clear about their prerogatives) will keep some of the less reasonable localities from overreaching.

We have also pointed out the need for training of marine law enforcement who have developed a reputation for being ... difficult.

We have been successful at engaging the Florida tourist board people in the discussion who have a different point of view than some of the state and local regulatory bodies.

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I quit SSCA over their stand on this law, and I really think they need to take a much stronger stance to preserve the traditional rights to anchor.
I was a very passive member back then. When I became active I took the position that we were where we were and needed to move forward. I can't speak to the details in the beginning of the Pilot Program. I can say with surety that the SSCA volunteers who worked then established relationships with local, state, and federal authorities that have stood us in good stead. There are a number of groups that periodically beat drums and show up with signs and sit in the hallway. Would you rather we were in the hall (or the parking lot) or in the room pushing for anchoring rights?

We've had great success in Maryland and Georgia. We've had some success in Florida and stand on the brink of much greater success. Not bad for $55/year.

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Why doesn't this apply to all members ? Why can't all members vote? Are the dues the same for all members or do "Commodores" pay more. Strange organization that discriminates against it's own members.
Separate questions:

"Why doesn't this /insurance discount/ apply to all members ?"

I defer to Al, since he is the insurance guy. My understanding is that there is a discount for all members. I suspect Al eats that. There is a discount for Commodores by virtue having demonstrated competence that puts one in a lower risk group. This is just like getting a discount on car insurance for taking a driver's ed class or on motorcycle insurance for taking an MSF class or on home insurance for installing smoke detectors. Show lower risk and you pay lesser premiums.

"Why can't all members vote?"

Good question. History. In the beginning of SSCA all members were Commodores and today's accomplishments to become a Commodore, while less defined, were required to become a member at all. The Bulletin was so popular that we added subscribers to provide wider distribution and share information with more cruisers. As the ranks of subscribers expanded and they (we at the time) became more active as volunteers we decided that "subscriber" wasn't an appropriate name and changed to Associates.

For some years we have been discussing that. The last vote of the Commodores failed to extend the franchise to Associates by one vote. There is a move afoot to take another motion to the Commodores to expand the franchise. The sponsors are working hard to craft a motion that will pass.

I don't know that CF is the forum for discussions of the internals of SSCA. I'm happy to talk about it but here is probably not the place. The SSCA Forum is open (you don't have to be a member to participate) and is probably a better place for this specific discussion. I don't want to tread too heavily on the hospitality of CF and the moderators.

"Are the dues the same for all members or do "Commodores" pay more."

Dues are the same for all members, except for Lifetime, Honorary, and Junior Commodores. Lifetime Commodores have been Commodores for 25 years and no longer pay dues. Honorary Commodores are luminaries (mostly SSCA award winners) who are awarded memberships. There are a small handful of those; they don't vote. Junior Commodores are young people who meet the requirements to be a Commodore on their parent's boat; they don't vote.

The benefits of membership are the same for all, as are the dues.

In my personal opinion, not as an officer of SSCA, becoming a Commodore is a recognition of commitment to cruising and demonstrated seamanship. Not every Boy Scout becomes an Eagle Scout.

Earning Commodore status recognizes accomplishment and carries the responsibility to mentor those that follow in our wake and to support the traditions of SSCA. The voting issue is an oddity of history and not cast in stone.

"Commodores are our compass, Associates are the wind in our sails."

Anyone can be a Commodore. Tick the boxes. It won't happen sitting at the dock. You have to go cruising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
To get Commodore status you must meet certain requirements including having sailed for so long, lived aboard for so long, and having X number of miles offshore, etc. Can't remember the details, and I believe they have changed since I became one. It sounds like a snooty title, but when the organization was founded they were deliberately creating an organization for long-distance sailors that didn't fit in with the typical organized yacht club crowd of the time in blue blazers, etc. The term "Commodore" was therefore tongue-in-cheek, and an inside joke. The original club was very salty and saw themselves as a "disorganization," very different from other clubs. Being a Commodore was an inside joke to them.
John is exactly right. Many yacht clubs have hundreds or even thousands of members. They have one Commodore and likely a Rear Commodore, various Captains, and such.

The roots of SSCA are that everyone was a Commodore. By opening our arms to those preparing to cruise, interested in cruising, or happily cruising on a more limited basis we share information with a wider base.

We have a Board of Directors and Officers like most organizations. We got too big to function on the ancient Roman basis of everyone votes for everything.

There is no hierarchy. The burgee I fly is the same as other Commodores. My first year on the Board, as an Associate, I flew the same burgee as other Associates. My vote as President carries no more weight than that of any other member. Board meetings are open to any interested member (conference calls so no one is geographically challenged).

In my view the contributions of the individual are more important than titles. Active volunteers quickly figure out who makes contributions and who does not. We have some real quiet heroes, many of whom are volunteering for things that serve cruising at large and not just SSCA.

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Old 17-02-2013, 09:40   #66
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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I tend to measure organizations against the RYA in the UK...


I somehow missed one. RYA has been a great organization. I was a member when I lived in the UK. I really like the extent of educational opportunities but as you say the things that bring revenue seem to dominate.

We think our webinar approach that covers costs and points some beer money to the instructor is a good one.

Not all the presenters are members. If you have credible expertise in a relevant topic we'd be happy to hear from you. Sue Torgersen leads that for us but for CF I'll volunteer (that word again) to help any CF member through the process of presenting their first couple of webinars. You really need Powerpoint (MS $) or the Open Office equivalent (free) but if you have something really spiffy I'll even help you build charts.

For attendees you just need an Internet connection and a browser. If you can read CF you can participate in SSU. There are apps for mobile devices that don't support Flash.
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Old 17-02-2013, 09:47   #67
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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There are a number of groups that periodically beat drums and show up with signs and sit in the hallway. Would you rather we were in the hall (or the parking lot) or in the room pushing for anchoring rights?

We've had great success in Maryland and Georgia. We've had some success in Florida and stand on the brink of much greater success. Not bad for $55/year.
You may have been in the room but there was very little "success." We now have five areas in Florida that have basically outlawed most anchoring, instituted new and onerous rules like proofs of pumpout and limits on how long you can anchor even when miles from any mooring field, and each area's rules are very different. We now have a hodge podge of different anchoring rules in Florida, and nobody, including most law enforcement, has a clue as to what they are and many rules are very hard to comply with. How is a boater supposed to measure things like a 150-foot or 300-foot offset from any maritime structure? It's basically carte blanche for law enforcement to chase away anchored boaters, which is exactly what I and others predicted it would be. I'm sorry, but the SSCA and the other so-called "stakeholders" have failed miserably to protect any anchoring rights.

What is the "much greater success" you are on the brink of?
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Old 17-02-2013, 10:18   #68
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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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.
If you are cruising the Great Lakes, why not join the Great Lakes Cruising Club? The forums and their proprietary cruising books are worth the price of joining.
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Old 17-02-2013, 10:49   #69
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

Probably very few of you want to read it all, but here is a link to a thread discussing the SSCA's stance in support of the Florida anti-anchoring laws. You'll note several long-winded comments from yours truly.
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Old 17-02-2013, 10:57   #70
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

you should run for a state or federal office, you've got the term, "we're working on that"phrase down pat.
The down side is the negative areas you are reading here are from past members that were unsatisfied with the organization.
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:10   #71
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

The rationale for the 10% credit for SSCA Commodores is that folks who have successfully completed an uninterrupted 1,000 NM passage are less likely to be frightened off of their boats...

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Old 17-02-2013, 12:19   #72
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pirate Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Golden View Post
The rationale for the 10% credit for SSCA Commodores is that folks who have successfully completed an uninterrupted 1,000 NM passage are less likely to be frightened off of their boats...

Al Golden
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What would 5000 uninterupted get me...
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:41   #73
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Golden View Post
The rationale for the 10% credit for SSCA Commodores is that folks who have successfully completed an uninterrupted 1,000 NM passage are less likely to be frightened off of their boats...

Al Golden
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Good point Al!



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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
What would 5000 uninterupted get me...
Actually, maybe a fair bit, because Al helped me out last year when I needed to get insurance for my trip to the USA.
I am sure my circumnavigation without sinking helped him place me

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Old 18-02-2013, 07:13   #74
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Probably very few of you want to read it all, but here is a link to a thread discussing the SSCA's stance in support of the Florida anti-anchoring laws. You'll note several long-winded comments from yours truly.
Also my early emergence from passivity. *grin* Personally I still try to avoid spending money in Florida, and continue to hop to the Bahamas from Norfolk or Beaufort. I certainly don't advocate SSCA give up on Florida. That isn't right for the organization or many of our members.

I reread the linked thread. I see more consistency between Ty Giesemann, Craig Briggs, and myself than I expected. Probably no one cares much other than me, but it is reassuring.

I do respect your passion John. I would much rather reap the benefits of your knowledge and experience than have lost them.

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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
you should run for a state or federal office, you've got the term, "we're working on that"phrase down pat.
I guess that is aimed at me. We ARE working on 'that' as well as many other things. SSCA operates pretty transparently. The minutes of Board meetings which include reports from committees are on our website. We get questions from members and answer them as quickly as we can (hours, sometimes small number of days -- pretty good for volunteers). When it comes to issues like anchoring regulation we have to work at the pace of the government agencies we are attempting to educate and influence. We aren't decision makers.

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The down side is the negative areas you are reading here are from past members that were unsatisfied with the organization.
That is not at ALL a down side. Only listening to happy members is drinking one's own Kool-Aid. We aren't ever going to make everyone happy and we shouldn't try. Patterns of unhappiness about specifics are very very helpful to know about. We pay attention.

We've focused in on the single issue of Florida anchoring now, but the beginnings of this thread were much wider ranging and very useful.

Homebase writes to every member who doesn't renew. I get all the responses and write back to every one to understand their issues. Again, where patterns arise action can be taken to be relevant.

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
You may have been in the room but there was very little "success." We now have five areas in Florida that have basically outlawed most anchoring, instituted new and onerous rules like proofs of pumpout and limits on how long you can anchor even when miles from any mooring field, and each area's rules are very different. We now have a hodge podge of different anchoring rules in Florida, and nobody, including most law enforcement, has a clue as to what they are and many rules are very hard to comply with. How is a boater supposed to measure things like a 150-foot or 300-foot offset from any maritime structure? It's basically carte blanche for law enforcement to chase away anchored boaters, which is exactly what I and others predicted it would be. I'm sorry, but the SSCA and the other so-called "stakeholders" have failed miserably to protect any anchoring rights.
Frankly we are not negotiating from a position of strength. Getting invited into the conference room and participating in working sessions as a stakeholder was an accomplishment. Getting offsets up to 1,500 feet off the table was an accomplishment.

We aren't decision-makers. We can educate and influence and suggest alternatives. If the underlying goals of the regulators and legislators aren't met we'll lose completely.

As far as measuring distances, what we came up with in Annapolis was a measured line and a tennis ball.

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What is the "much greater success" you are on the brink of?
In fairness you probably won't think it much of a success. Consistency of regulation across Florida, clear subordination of local ordinances to State regulation in this matter, public notice and comment, the ability of FWC to overrule unruly localities ... I think that's pretty good, especially considering where we started.

I expect you won't think much of it.

I've asked Phil Johnson, who replaced Wayne as Chair of the CCC, to pull together an update.

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Old 18-02-2013, 07:26   #75
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Re: Seven Seas Cruising Association -SSCA

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In fairness you probably won't think it much of a success. Consistency of regulation across Florida, clear subordination of local ordinances to State regulation in this matter, public notice and comment, the ability of FWC to overrule unruly localities ... I think that's pretty good, especially considering where we started.
Actually, I would consider that "success," if it could be achieved along with reasonable regulations. I have sent you a pm so we can discuss further.
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