OCC Youth Sponsorship Programme

The OCC has introduced a youth bursary or sponsorship programme the aim of which is to foster the development of ocean cruising by enabling young people to gain experience of long distance sailing. The programme will facilitate the introduction of youngsters to experienced sailors and contribute towards the costs of the voyage.

Download Application Form here.

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1 The bursary will be called the “Ocean Cruising Club Youth Sponsorship Programme”.


The Applicant

2 Any person of any nationality between the ages of 18 to 25 years at the time of application is eligible to apply on the terms set out.

3 Applicants do not have to be experienced in long distance sailing but they will be expected to be competent on a boat. The Applicant normally would be expected to hold a national certificate of basic sailing competence such as the RYA Competent Crew Certificate or equivalent practical qualification.


The Programme

4 The main purpose of the bursary is to contribute towards 1) the applicant’s travel expenses including air fares, 2) their share of expenses when aboard and 3) the cost of personal equipment such as foul weather gear and other cruise costs.

5 The OCC will try to use the bursary budget to help the maximum number of participants each year. This is dependent upon the availability of sufficient OCC funds. The OCC may grant more than one bursary a year, depending on club funds, but makes no commitment to grant any minimum number of bursaries.

6 Applicants will be asked to make a contribution to their own cruise costs. The OCC will normally fund two thirds of the applicant’s total cruise costs up to the maximum limit of the bursary. Thus the amount of each bursary can vary depending on the contribution from each Applicant. For instance a contribution of £500 from the Applicant will be met with £1000 from the bursary, making a total of £1500 to the cost of the cruise.

7 Initially the maximum amount of each bursary will be fixed at £2000 subject to review by the Committee. This maximum of £2000 together with the Applicant’s one third contribution of £1000 will give £3000 towards the cruise costs.

8 The OCC requires the Applicant to take out adequate travel and medical insurance, the latter to include repatriation. When submitting their application for insurance they must be careful to explain the countries of origin of the Applicant and Skipper, the flag of registration of the boat and the proposed cruising itinerary including the countries to be visited. These policies are not normally expensive.

9 Two or more bursary recipients can sail in the same boat, if desired. This allows for companionship for the younger crew.

10 The recipient of the bursary will be expected to write up the voyage and their experience for Flying Fish, to join the Ocean Cruising Club and to attend a rally or social event. (There is no joining or membership fee for OCC members under the age of 30 years).


The Skipper

11 The skipper of the vessel should be a member of the Ocean Cruising Club and should normally hold a national certificate of competence in offshore sailing, for example the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate or the equivalent. They should be experienced in long distance ocean sailing with more than 5000 miles of ocean passage making as skipper.

12 The OCC will expect the Skipper to be able and prepared to offer informal tuition in the various aspects of ocean cruising, such as passage planning, navigation and boat maintenance, during the voyage. (The bursary is more than just an easy method of finding crew).

13 The skipper and applicant should not be from the same immediate family. The OCC believes that learning and tuition are better achieved from a third party.

14 The skipper must ensure that the boat is seaworthy and safe. The OCC recommends that the vessel complies with Category 1 and with the requirements for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (the ARC) set out on the website of the World Cruising Club.

15 The skipper should be sure to carry adequate insurance including at least £2 million insurance cover for third party damage including loss or injury to crew or third parties through the skipper’s negligence.

16 As a practical matter it is desirable for the Skipper and Applicant to meet for an “interview”, prior to commitment on either side, preferably by way of a sail together. In addition to providing some comfort as to compatibility, so important in a small boat, it also gives an opportunity for Skipper and Applicant to discuss and agree on the expectations and aspirations of both participants from the voyage.

17 The OCC recommends that, prior to departure, the Skipper obtains satisfactory evidence of the Applicant’s ability to fund their repatriation from the expected final destination.


Administration and Application Process

18 Applications will be made on a form available on the Website which should be sent by e-mail to the Club Secretary. The application requires the Applicant to write a proposal of up to 500 words setting out their case for grant of the bursary. This should include an indication of the amount that the applicant plans to contribute themselves and therefore the amount of bursary sought for the voyage.

19 No proposer is required, applicants can apply directly to the OCC.

20 The bursary will be administered by a subcommittee of the OCC Committee whose decision will be final. The process will be conducted by e-mail, so that the award is not delayed by having to wait for a full Committee meeting.

21 The bursary will be publicised initially in Flying Fish, the OCC Newsletter and the OCC Website and by way of a press release. The OCC expects continuing editorial interest from the yachting press.

22 The Applicant and Skipper must both agree that participation in the OCC Youth Sponsorship Programme is entirely at their own risk. Neither the OCC and its members nor the Committee nor the Directors of Ocean Cruising Club Limited will be liable (so far as such liability lawfully can be excluded) for any loss or injury suffered as a result of their participation in the scheme. 

How to Join the OCC!

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