Expression of gratitude!

Expression of gratitude!

When we joined the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) in 2018 we could never have known how invaluable the network of sailors was going to be.

By Cate & Murray Basingthwaighte - 08/12/2019

We set off from Europe on our Bavaria 40 Ocean CC “Coolchange”, heading for New Zealand in 2017 and met our first OCC boat in the Canary Islands. Steve and Carol on “Innamorata” couldn’t have been more welcoming and encouraged us to join up once we had completed our first qualifying trip. Further encouragement from Claudia and Phil on "Bruno’s Girl" and Reg and Nicky on "Blue Velvet of Sark” tipped us over the edge and we were accepted as fully-fledged members after our Atlantic crossing in 2018; we hoisted the flying fish with pride. Thanks to everyone involved in this life-changing decision; best advice ever!

As we wound our way through the Caribbean Island chain we encountered many other OCC members, all equally as accommodating, helpful and friendly. It’s a fabulous association and our membership has lead to some great friendships and more than one hilarious tale to tell but as winter came to a close and the hurricane season threatened, our thoughts turned to the East coast of the USA and so from the BVIs we headed NW to Rhode Island via Bermuda.

Once again OCC boats abounded and we enjoyed the immediate links our membership afforded us with local and international boats. Advice, free mooring options and social get-togethers really helped us get the most out of our adventure up the Maine coast to Canada and back.

With great enthusiasm we turned south in September, bound for new waters, but, unfortunately, fate had other ideas for us and decided to throw us a curve ball in early December. Sadly, as we were meandering down the ICW, our plans were to be cut short in Beaufort, SC when Murray was diagnosed with a brain tumour. An unlucky twist of fate for sure, but one that couldn’t have happened in a better place.

Thanks to the excellent staff at Beaufort Hospital and the wonderful neurosurgery team at the teaching hospital MSCU in Charleston, Murray came out of his ordeal with the best of chances his prognosis could offer, but the recovery was just beginning and here’s where OCC members really stepped up and were counted.

A huge thanks to Allan and Cathy Rae of Beaufort, SC. Not only did you provided practical support in the form of transport, boat watching and finding accommodation for us etc but you also really made things manageable with your friendship and company. We couldn’t have asked for more. (And Christmas dinner was just the icing on the cake!)

Thanks also to Pam Wall of Fort Lauderdale. We know we caused you some sleepless nights but we really appreciated you organising Capt Josh to make the delivery run with Coolchange for us and finding her a handy dock to wait on before she was shipped. We never met in person but maybe one day...

And finally thanks to all the members that drifted past "Coolchange" while she swung on a mooring in the Beaufort River and took the time to drop us a note to tell us she was still there and looking fine. You will be pleased to know she is now safely tucked up in Birdham Pool Marina, UK. We also appreciated your best wishes and encouraging emails. It was great to know there were people out there rooting for us. It won’t be forgotten.

So where to now? Well, we are in NZ while Murray undergoes further treatment but looking forward to next season when we will once again be able to hoist the Flying Fish of Fun and Friendship from the spreaders of the good ship "Coolchange". If you see us out there, give us a wave and I’m sure we will have a cold beer waiting, as well as the expected OCC warm welcome.

Fair winds and smooth sailing
Cate and Murray Basingthwaighte
sy "Coolchange"

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