I just returned from the Seven Seas Cruising Association‘s 35th Annual Melbourne Gam where it was breezy and cool and the North anchorage off the Eau Gallie Causeway was full with almost 30 boats. It was great to see lots of old friends as well as many “newbies” who have either just set out or will begin their cruising soon.
The Gam is still the best place to learn from the pros. So many of the participants have done some serious world cruising and that’s not even touching on the incredible experience of the speakers. This year’s seminars included regulars like Women & Cruising with Pam Wall, Kathy Parsons and Gwen Hamlin; Weather Forecasting with Lee Chesneau; Coping with Emergencies by Author/Sailor Ed Mapes; Rigging with Colin Mack of Mack Sails; Marine First Aid with Ralph Beyhl, R.N.; Yoga with Kim Hess and much more!
I made sure to catch the learning roundtables since they’re always entertaining as well as educational. There was a table where you could practice giving injections on a grapefruit, or removing a hook from a pigs’ foot. These are real-life situations that occur all the time on cruising boats, so it’s best to have some practice before you are called on to perform such tasks. I also sat in on a very informative round table on Mobile Apps for Mariners hosted by our friend Mark Doyle (Managing the Waterway Guides). It’s also a topic close to my heart now that I have started a new App Development company – iTapTouch. It was interesting to see how many sailors have iPhones. I saw many with Droids as well, and there are still quite a few holdouts who are less tech savvy and still want whatever free phone the provider is offering! Here’s something I thought I’d never see: Gordon Groves with an iPad! Wow! Now I’ve seen it all! Way to Go Gordon!
The Gam has come a long way since I helped put them on. I must give credit where credit is due… the current BOD. What a terrific bunch of dedicated folks. This years AGM was one for the record books – not just in the crowd that attended but because it was so well done. Who knew you could make the Annual Meeting about the Members? Well, they did. VP Chad Carvey introduced a bunch of members who had website links in their bios online. Board Members welcomed the Newbies who were at the Gam, and Treasurer David told the crowd how SSCA has come back from the brink of insolvency to “in the Black” thanks to lots of new members and the Seven Seas “U” where you can join a webinar and learn almost anything about the lifestyle. BIG thanks to outgoing Board President – Craig Briggs who did more for the organization than most of his predecessors! (Check out his cruising blog!)
Trinidad Cruising Station Hosts and friend to all cruisers, Jessie James (Members’ Only) and his adorable wife Sharon Rose were back along with Leroy Quildon, industry specialists for the yachting community in Trinidad was also attending in order to share all the great things that the Trinis offer us cruisers.
The vendor area was full again with the great big family of cruising specialists, authors and services. I even gave out tastes of all natural sodas that you can make yourself with regular drinking water and the SodaStream. What a great invention! Now available at The Yachting Gourmet Store!
If you on the lucky few who are planning your escape, do yourself a favor and don’t miss the next Gam. Same place, same time, next year.
See ya there!