The Cruising Association provides its members – cruising sailors and motorboat owners – with an unrivalled support network and information hub wherever they are in the world. Peta Stuart-Hunt provides a brief overview of this global resource
If there’s one organisation that stands out as the information guru amidst a plethora of associations and clubs focused on sailing and cruising on small craft (not cruise ships), it is the Cruising Association (CA) which supports 6,300 members around the world.
Given that cruising on a sailing or motorboat surely has to be one of the safest and most practical social distancing sports/hobbies you can enjoy these days, not to mention as a holiday idea, it’s unsurprising that more and more people are taking to the water. The sense of freedom and sheer pleasure of being on a lake, river, canal or the sea, has huge mental and physical benefits.
The CA is a not-for-profit association that is 100% dedicated to those who cruise on small boats – whether sail or motor- and its extraordinary mass of first-hand information, collected and shared by its members, is of unequalled quality, quantity, breadth and relevance.
Members are encouraged to share their experiences, knowledge, pros and cons, as well as the fun elements, to get the most out of their cruising, wherever it may be. Every possible communication platform is used to ensure that the vast array of knowledge gained is imparted online, at rallies, seminars and social events around the UK and indeed around the world across 40 different countries.
The CA also provides a huge number of member benefits and discounts, services, information, help and advice to its members worldwide. Founded in 1908, it has become a favourite port of call for many of the best-known names in sailing.
There are numerous benefits to joining the CA, including:
- The exclusive CAptain’s Mate App! Automatically download and store thousands of cruising reports, find a nearby member or one of our Honorary Local Representatives (HLRs) and access hundreds of discounts. You can download reports when you’re online for offline use when sailing
- Access to online and offline information and advice about cruising in small boats
- 16,000 member-only pages on the CA website encompassing just about everything you ever need to know
- An extensive lecture and social activity calendar (COVID-permitting)
- CA House, ten minutes from the City of London in Limehouse Basin, offers overnight accommodation at competitive rates in its riverside Cabins
- A Crewing Service to match skippers to crew and vice versa
- The opportunity to fly the CA’s blue ensign
The CA’s network of Cruising Sections, corresponding to popular cruising areas around the world, offers knowledge, support and guidance about these areas. CA Sections cover the Mediterranean, Baltic, Biscay, Celtic, Channel, European Inland Waterways, North Sea and Blue Water areas. The UK Regional Sections offer lectures, meetings and parties in the winter, and rallies, barbeques and other social events in the summer.
Honorary Local Representatives
The task of the HLRs is to assist CA members in whatever way they can. They help with practicalities such as sourcing emergency repairs, finding moorings, securing visas, translations, explaining local customs and bureaucracy, provisioning, land transport and excursions. If they can’t help someone themselves, they’ll know ‘a man who can’. They also keep the CA up-to-date on any matters arising in their areas that might concern CA members.
The CA’s Honorary Local Representatives (HLRs), based in La Ràpita for 34 years, are Jeff and Janine Kempton. Jeff spent a career in the merchant navy and met Janine, who is French, in the mid-60s when he rented her flat in Paris. In 1986 they sailed together to the Med but settled in Mallorca and bought a Westerly Oceanlord, Papajou II.
Janine says that they have kept a boat in Mallorca for thirty years and have thoroughly cruised the islands over that time. “During those years, the CA’s vast source of cruising information was invaluable to us and in fact we passed on a lot of this information to members, and indeed continue to do so as HLRs for the area!”
CA members Robert and Helen Sheridan are based in Sant Carles de la Ràpita in the area of the Montsià in Catalonia. Over the years they have also sailed all the Balearic Islands. They are full of praise for the CA app, CAptain’s Mate, commenting on how useful they have found it, and have also contributed to it.
“Whether you want to circle the globe or just enjoy the satisfaction of navigating yourself, friends and family safely and enjoyably from one place to another, I commend the Cruising Association to you.” Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE RD – Patron of the CA
RATS – sharing information during the COVID-19 pandemic
The CA’s Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS) works on behalf of cruising sailors to represent their interests and address issues of concern or interest on regulatory and technical aspects of small boat cruising as they arise.
To do this they research topics and issues and follow political trends. They interact with international, national, parliamentary, trade, special interest and local bodies. Often these bodies seek their help, advice, comments and consult with RATS on matters that involve navigation and the cruising boat user.
During recent times this group has been especially busy monitoring the rapidly evolving landscape of BREXIT. The intention is to try to identify issues that could impact CA members’ sailing activities, particularly those which are time critical where action by members might help avoid problems in the future.
More recently RATS has been researching and collating regular updates on COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions faced by boat owners across Europe and the UK in particular. Unusually, and in a spirit of co-operation, this information has also been shared publicly on the CA website and across their social media channels.
The sharing of information amongst members is the lifeblood of the Association and is encouraged at all times. Cruising enthusiasts join the CA for many reasons. Some join for one thing and discover many others. Some like a permutation of the benefits on offer.
Visit the Cruising Association website to look at all the benefits of membership: https://www.theca.org.uk/join
Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt – +44 (0) 1590 679621 | +44 (0) 7711 477707 firstname.lastname@example.org