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Change of watch at the Cruising Club of America

by Cruising Club of America 29 Apr 14:45 UTC
Commodore Jay Gowell © Dan Nerney

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) installed new flag officers and governors at its annual meeting in March. John "Jay" Gowell, of Jamestown, R.I., took the helm as Commodore of the Club, succeeding Chris Otorowski, of Seattle.

A. Chace Anderson, of Vero Beach, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio, was elected to take Gowell's place as Vice Commodore.

Well-known for awarding its prestigious Blue Water Medal and staging the biennial Newport Bermuda Race with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the CCA surprises many because it has no physical clubhouse and is organized into 11 stations in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda. It was founded in 1922 for active offshore sailors who have demonstrated their capabilities in command of offshore sailing vessels on ocean voyages of significant duration. As incoming Commodore, Gowell reminded members in a recent letter, "More than any other club, the members of the CCA are what make the Club special; we are about people, the boats we sail, and the voyaging we do."

During Chris Otorowski's term as Commodore, the Club celebrated its milestone 100th anniversary in Newport, R.I., a multi-day extravaganza including presentations and social events attended by many of the Club's 1400 members. Shaking off the effects of Covid, the Club also resumed international cruising, with special member events in the British Virgin Islands, Mallorca, Puget Sound, Lunenburg, Antigua, Guadeloupe, the Sea of Cortez, Downeast Maine and Canada, Bermuda, and the Chesapeake Bay, among other destinations.

Looking forward, Gowell and Anderson expect to focus on improving the world-class Newport Bermuda Race and on contributing to the larger community of offshore sailors. On June 21, 2024, the Bermuda Race will start for the first time inside Narragansett Bay adjacent to Fort Adams State Park, inviting the wider community to have a ringside seat on the action. Gowell also wrote to members that the Club leadership intends to provide members with "a range of quality experiences featuring knowledge, inspiration, friendships and fun," and also to seek out and welcome qualified sailors as new members.

As it normally does, the Club has drawn its new leaders from across the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda. Gowell is from Rhode Island and Anderson is from Florida and Ohio. Newly elected Secretary Pat Montgomery is from Coconut Grove, Florida, Treasurer Kathleen O'Donnell is from Milton, Massachusetts, Historian Doug Adkins is from Orcas, Washington, and the three new members of the CCA Board of Governors are Catherine Reppert, of Westport, Massachusetts, Sally Honey, of Palo Alto, California, and Bernard Prevost, of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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