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2018 Annapolis Fall Ocean Cruising Club dinner

by Patricia Morgan 27 Oct 2018 18:56 UTC

The Annapolis Fall Dinner is known as a very popular event amongst OCC members and rightly so. This year there was a waiting list and 110 members attended, an increase of 25% over last year!

The event was held in the wonderful Philip Merrill Environmental Center. Not only is this a perfect venue for this sort of gathering but the building itself is rather special. It is one of the world's most energy efficient buildings, and the first building to receive the US Green Building Council's Platinum rating. Being fascinated by such clever and thoughtful design, I will return for a more thorough look around, but I can confirm the ladies restrooms complete with composting toilets were just great.

The evening started with pre-dinner drinks on the patio which overlooks Chesapeake Bay and we were rewarded with a simple sunset before dinner was served. This was a super efficient buffet and we were quickly all seated and enjoying some good food and plenty of chat.

I do not want to belittle the food or the setting in any way, it was wonderful, but the one thing I have learnt is that OCC gatherings are about the people, the welcome, the chat, the sharing, and the learning. This event was no different. It was great to meet up again with many of the people we had sailed with during OCC rallies this summer and of course to meet new people. We enjoyed discussing all the adventures we had had during the summer and learning about future plans. I am quite confident that many of us will meet again soon.

The excellent chocolate chip cookies are definitely worthy of mention, and were served during the after dinner speeches. John Page Williams, Senior Naturalist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, started with a short talk on the work done by CBF. This is the largest conservation organization dedicated to preserving the Chesapeake Bay. He very quickly had us looking at maps and beginning to understand the very important work that the Foundation undertakes. I am sure I am not alone among OCC members in appreciating that much of our pleasure now, and in the future, is so dependent on how we collectively look after the bays, the seas and the oceans. Thank you to John Page and his colleagues for all the work they do.

Then came the time to celebrate Herb Weiss' 100th birthday and the long service he and his wife, Ruth, have given as OCC members and port officers. Not only have their sailing exploits been tremendous, but also they have supported so many others in their OCC roles. So many people wanted to celebrate Herb's birthday and give thanks for their generosity. Port Officers are a unique feature of the OCC, and I have no doubt that everyone could tell a story about an occasion when a port officer went way beyond his or her duty to support a fellow member. Thank you to Herb & Ruth and all those port officers around the world.

The final speaker was Pete Goss MBE from the UK. Pete and Tracey Goss, members of the OCC, are on their world cruise and have spent the summer sailing the East coast of the USA. We were very fortunate to have Pete as the final speaker of the evening. Pete has sailed more than 250,000 miles and famously sailed back into a hurricane in the Southern Ocean to save fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli in the 1996 Vendee Globe around the world yacht race. Pete gave a humorous and fascinating talk covering some of his adventures and shared anecdotes about things that have happened on his many journeys. What a treat!

Finally, we were ready to go home. What a really lovely evening. A big thank you to Lydia and Bill Strickland for organising the event, to our speakers and to all the OCC members for attending the dinner. I am sure we are all looking forward to next year.

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This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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