About the OCC

The Club

The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats and is the true 'Home Port' for the ocean-going sailor.

Members understand what it means to be at sea, to be completely reliant on our own skills, to be subject to the whims of Mother Nature, to be humbled and empowered at one and the same time. This is what sets us apart from other organisations, even as it draws us together as a group.

We bring the spirit of seafaring to our association by always being willing to assist any fellow sailor we meet, either afloat or ashore.

The OCC Flying Fish Burgee
The OCC "Flying Fish" Burgee

A typical OCC gathering - Belize Rally 2016
A typical OCC gathering - Belize Rally 2016

Values and Culture

Every full member has made a 1,000-nautical mile offshore passage in a vessel of 70 feet or less; associate members are committed to the achievement of that goal.

This standard distinguishes us from all other sailing clubs. While this defines who can join the OCC, it is more than a collection of people who have made a long, offshore passage. In sharing their feelings about the OCC, our members try to describe something elusive and intangible.

They use words like camaraderie, like-minded, experience, accomplishment, non-elitist, adventurous, giving. The OCC offers us a place to be together, to share our experiences, to enjoy one another's company. Though it has no physical clubhouse, it is, in a way, the "home port" for all of us who have sailed long distances across big oceans.

OCC Members are cruisers who comply with international, national and local laws and regulations; respect communities, their customs, the environment and other people including other Members; demonstrate honesty, fairness and courtesy; and are responsible and accountable for their actions.

Sharing Experience

Our membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organisation and they are passionate about sharing it with like minded people.

By drawing on the experiences of all of our members and sharing the lessons they have learned the hard way, we have built a body of knowledge that will help future generations of offshore sailors.

The journal 'Flying Fish' is published annually, together with a quarterly newsletter and an electronic e-bulletin. The cruising information pages of this website contain a wealth of information and material covering first hand experiences of cruisers over most of the navigable waters of the globe, including the 'Flying Fish' Archive dating back to 1964.

 OCC members are to be found cruising the world over
OCC members are to be found cruising the world over

The OCC Port Officer Network
The OCC Port Officer Network

Our Port Officers and Regional Rear Commodores

The Ocean Cruising Club maintains an active and vibrant network of over 200 Port Officers worldwide as well as Regional Rear Commodores to cover various geographic areas.

They are the key to building vibrant "home ports" around the world, by establishing a wide range of social activities and communications in their local area.

Anywhere sailors meet, members will make a particular effort to welcome and support each other when they see the OCC "Flying Fish" burgee. In turn, when OCC members return to their own home port, they offer friendship and assistance to any member who arrives there as a visitor.

Events and Rallies

To draw members together, the OCC organises a number of cruises, rallies and get togethers in different areas of the world.

Regional Rear Commodores organise local events in Australia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, UK and the USA. With these events and a significant number of members on passage, the blue and yellow burgee with its flying fish motif is carried proudly throughout the cruising waters of the world.

These are much appreciated by members and a great place to meet like-minded people.

Raft up at the OCC Maine Rally 2015
Raft up at the OCC Maine Rally 2015

Ocean Cruising Type of People

Humphrey Barton
Francis Chichester
David Lewis
Bill Tilman
Bob Shepton
John Guzzwell
Rod Stephens
Bill Crealock
Colin Mudie

From its earliest days, the OCC has celebrated those who dared to brave the ocean in small boats, and many of its early members are now legend: founder Hum Barton, Francis Chichester, David Lewis, Bill Tilman, the Reverend Bob Shepton, John Guzzwell and famed boat designers Rod Stephens, Bill Crealock and Colin Mudie among many others.

The people in the Ocean Cruising Club represent, to me, the distilled essence of the cruising community, a potent combination of accomplishment, experience, idealism, eccentricity, generosity and humility. The only ticket to entry is by stepping aboard your boat, casting off the docklines and making a real passage. The only way to contribute is through assistance to others you meet along the way and encouragement to those who hope to follow in your wake. Just like the cruising community, the OCC is multinational and represents people from every economic, political and social stratum in society. Everyone comes in as an equal; no one is judged except by Neptune, everyone fails sometimes.

But the cruising community has no fixed address, forms and reforms in different places at different times. Members of the OCC bring that cruising spirit to a vibrant Club with established centres and activities around the world. It offers camaraderie not just aboard but also ashore, by assisting those dreaming of heading off to sea and including those who no longer make their own voyages. The people in the OCC understand what it means to have a dream. More than that, they understand the exacting requirements of dreams, accept the potentially devastating costs and have experienced the incalculable rewards.

To be part of the OCC is to be part of group of people who have said 'yes' to adventure and to life and who will welcome you if you choose to do the same.

Beth Leonard,
Author, Circumnavigator and OCC Member