Skip to main content
Home Blue Water Boat Weekend

Open Blue Water Boat Weekend--a joint event

June 21-23, 2019
Essex Yacht Club

13 Novelty Lane, Essex, CT

Event underwritten in part by a special grant from the Gowrie Group.
Additional event sponsors include:  Mantus Marine, Doyle, Hydrovane, Hamilton Marine Boaters' Store, Offshore Passage Opportunities, Hydromax, Echo Tec Watermakers, Watt & Sea

Registration is now closed.  We are happy to report that the event is sold out.  If you'd like to be put on a waiting list, please email Bob Osborn at

$55 (Members of SSCA, OCC or SDSA)
Non-members:  $75
Children Under 12:  Free but must be accompanied by a registered adult.
Registration Deadline:  June 14, 2019.  No refunds given for cancellations after this date.

Registration fee includes all sessions and buffet lunches on Saturday and Sunday.  There will also be an optional buffet dinner for registered attendees on Saturday Evening w/Guest Speaker. Meal options are also available for children under 12. Space is strictly limited to 100 attendees so don't delay in registering!

For event questions, contact Bob Osborn and for registration questions, contact Karen Nettles.

For the past six years the Essex CT Summer Solstice Gam has been organized for SSCA in partnership with The Essex Yacht Club (EYC).  For 2019, the event will focus exclusively on Blue Water Sailing, providing information on preparing skippers, crew and their boats for blue water cruising and passage making with the goal of bringing more skippers and families to the blue water voyaging and cruising lifestyle. 

In addition to the historical support from SSCA, the event will also involve a number of organizations with complimentary missions. The event will also offer interested skippers, family and crew, the opportunity to see, first hand, boats that are fitted out for blue water cruising, meet active blue water sailors and cruisers and better understand the opportunities and support available to them.

The format of the two-plus-day event includes an informal rendezvous/raft-up in nearby Hamburg Cove (41.22.28N, 072.21.45W), located one mile up-river from the club on Friday June 21st. On Saturday and Sunday at EYC, 6-10 blue water prepared boats and owners, set up for extended cruising, will be available for viewing on the docks at EYC.  (If you have interest in displaying your boat during the open house, contact Bob Osborn.)  Sessions will include:  

  • Blue Water Cruising Roundtable:  A roundtable discussion led by Publisher/Editor George Day of Blue Water Sailing Magazine will include skippers and crew of active blue water cruisers.
  • Ladies Roundtable:  From a woman’s perspective, this forum will share what it is like to spend extended periods aboard and how to make the most of the blue water cruising lifestyle.  While both sexes enjoy time aboard, panelists will share their thoughts on how to make time afloat rewarding as well as how to coax a “reluctant partner” aboard.  How to set up the boat for maximum enjoyment as well as how to share the “pink and blue” portions of the blue water cruising lifestyle will be discussed.
  • Passage Weather Forecasting:  Noted weather router Chris Parker, of Marine Weather Center, will share his thoughts on how the science of weather forecasting is changing and how to best work with a router when voyaging to make the passage as safe and enjoyable as possible.  Chris is a much sought after speaker and popular with blue water and coastal cruisers.
  • Blue Water Cruising Destinations:  Experts will focus on popular destinations, including the Caribbean, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and share what’s unique about these cruising grounds.
  • Preparing You and Your Boat for Blue Water Cruising:  Experienced blue water sailors will share their thoughts on what to do to prepare your boats and crew for successful and enjoyable passages.
  • USCG, Search and Rescue Demonstration:  The United States Coast Guard will perform a  search and rescue demonstration with a USCG Jayhawk helicopter and response cutter in the river out in front of EYC. The crew of the cutter will also share what skippers can do to stay safe and what to expect when the worst happens.
  • Life Raft Demonstration:  An offshore life raft will be inflated, giving attendees a first hand understanding of what to expect and what’s included in a properly set up raft.

Cocktails and Dinner at EYC:  There will be a cocktail reception on Saturday night followed by dinner and a keynote speaker.   Chef Michael at EYC is known as one of the finest on Long Island Sound. 

Following dinner, Charlie Doane, cruising editor for Cruising World Magazine, will give a presentation called How Not to Get Rescued by a Coast Guard Helicopter which will highlight his offshore rescue that occurred in January 2014.

Charlie Doane has worked as a boating journalist since 1986, including stints on staff at SAIL, Cruising World and New England Offshore.  Currently, he is cruising editor for SAIL.  His freelance work has appeared in Ocean Navigator, Blue Water Sailing, the New York Times, Sailing, Yachting Monthly, Yachting World, Good Old Boat and other seemingly reputable publications.  He is the author of two books:  The Modern Cruising Sailboat (McGraw Hill/International Marine, 2010) and The Sea Is Not Full (Seapoint Books, 2017), and maintains an award-winning blog at

Exposed to boats at an early age during summers spent on the Maine coast, Charlie has logged nearly 100,000 miles offshore, including seven transatlantic passages and a number of single-handed passages between the West Indies, Bermuda, and New England.

Attendees:  In addition to members of supporting organizations, the event will be by invitation from the Commodore of Essex Yacht Club, Tom Klin, to members of noted yacht clubs on Long Island Sound.  Attendance is limited to 100 and pre-registration will be required.
Cruising World Magazine

Participating Complementary Organizations Include:
  The Seven Seas Cruising AssociationOcean Cruising ClubSalty Dawg Sailing Association and the Essex Yacht Club.


Background: The Essex Yacht Club is located on the CT River in Essex CT, approximately 6 miles up the CT River on the eastern end of Long Island Sound, approximately 25 miles from Block Island.   Essex is a popular destination for East Coast US sailors and yacht club cruises.


About the Co-Chair: Bob Osborn, in addition to his membership in each of the supporting organizations, serves on the board of directors of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, a group that holds a number of blue water rallies each year, most notably the fall rally from Hampton VA, USA to the eastern Caribbean, the largest rally to the Caribbean from the US east coast, attracting in the neighborhood of 80-90 boats.  

For more information or to apply to be one of the “open boats” for the weekend, contact Bob Osborn,  event co-chair.   




Super Sponsors

Curtis Stokes
500 Oakbrook Lane
Summerville, SC 29485
Phone: (754) 702-5068