|View from Knockranny over Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay and Clare Island|
For the past two weekends, we have taken part in the annual meetings of first the Irish Cruising Club and then the Ocean Cruising Club. I am a new member of the ICC this year, which has about 650 members in Ireland. I am a flag officer of OCC, which has about 3000 members around the world.
We attracted 250+ ICC members to our little town of Westport in the west of Ireland, and almost 300 attended the dinner on the Saturday night. Alex and I were involved in organizing the weekend and leading the visit of 85 members to Clare Island. I must say that Carl O'Grady made it very easy for us. (http://www.goexplorehostel.ie/) He organized two buses and two ferries, lunch at the Sailor's Bar, a lecture at the castle and a walk to the Abbey. He even made certain that the Abbey was open and ready for us and that weather was perfection. Other people bicycled on the Greenway and still others enjoyed a delightful guided walk with Stephen Clarke (http://www.westportwalkingtours.ie/home-slider-1/about-westport-walking-tours/) around the town. We stayed overnight at the Knockranny House Hotel; the views were astounding over Clew Bay and sunset over Clare Island. We organized WAW goodie bags from Failte Ireland which people loved. The dinner the next night was served with perfection to almost 300 attendees. A resounding success. And 250 people vowing to return to Westport. We did our job for tourism in the west.
In contrast, we had only 80 OCC members attend the weekend event in Henley. We had more than 100 last year but I suspect people just don't want to spend the money going to the same place twice. It was a very different event. We enjoyed a river barge tour of the townlands around Henley on the Friday evening, a series of lectures including a talk we did on sailing the west of Ireland on the Saturday morning, the AGM in the afternoon, and the Awards dinner in the evening. It was a packed agenda mixing business and pleasure.
I was elected Rear Commodore of the OCC at the AGM, and of four new Committee members, three are women. So between the Board and Committee, OCC now has 7 men and 7 women representing 9 different countries on three continents. Not bad for a little sailing club. The most international and gender balanced club in sailing. I am very proud to be a member and Flag Officer of this little blue water sailing community Club.
I am also proud of being a new member of the ICC, especially as it comes one year after I became a citizen of Ireland. Alex is being recruited for multiple jobs in the ICC and OCC, so I have a feeling we are going to have a busy few years. Bring them on. All is well.