Although the Ocean State Catalina Association's charter is dated January 1984, the idea of forming an association was born the previous October. OSCA's founders, Rich & Nancy Alexander, Bill & Marianne Sullivan, and George & Loretta Wilcox, had each ordered C30s from Ted Lane, manager of Sailboats Northeast, Inc., and took delivery at Carlson's Marina in Warwick, RI.
To solicit members, the founders created a mailing list compiled from information gathered at marinas, canvas shops, sail makers, local marine retailers as well as by walking the docks looking for other Catalina owners. The first meeting of the Ocean State Catalina Owners Association ("Owners" was later dropped) was held in January, 1984, at the East Greenwich Yacht Club. The 26 members attending this meeting elected Bill Sullivan as Commodore and George Wilcox Treasurer. In all, our Association has elected 12 Commodores; in 1994, Jo-Ellen Ferriera became the first female member to serve in the top post. She fondly recalls "working with a wonderful group of people who love sailing".
We are pleased that the founders opened up membership to boats of all sizes, and we are proud to be among the very first groups founded as an "All Catalina Association." Since that auspicious day in 1984, OSCA has grown to over 120 families, with boats ranging in size from the C 22 to the C 47. Jo-Ellen also remembers the day 17 years ago when, with her husband and two of their three small children, she sailed into Potter Cove in their C 22. "It didn't matter that we had a small boat (everyone else had huge 30 footers); we were welcomed with open arms to be part of this group".
Over the years, individual OSCA members have stepped forward to organize special events. In 1994, OSCA hosted the C 34 National Regatta. This event, co-chaired by Mike O'Connell and Luke Thorpe, along with race chair, Jack Ellis, drew over 40 boats and included the C 30 Narragansett Bay Championship. In the summer of 1999, Bill Cote brought to fruition his idea of a "Block Island Bash" by sending invitations to all local fleets covering New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. A total of 71 Catalina boat owners and friends joined us for three days of sun, fun racing, relaxation and the chance to mingle at Block Island's Great Salt Pond. While the popularity of racing within our group has seen many peaks and valleys, our showcase event is the Ted Trudeau Memorial Day Regatta. In 1996, this race was established to honor a dear friend, and to celebrate the spirit he brought to sailing. The winner of this event not only takes one-year ownership of the traveling trophy, but also retains bragging rights for the season.
In 2001, founder Rich Alexander reflected, "Nancy and I are really proud of what many people have done towards the success of this organization. Never did we think or foresee that OSCA would be what it is today. We honestly believe all three objectives have been fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled with the ever-increasing membership". It would not be practical to list everyone who has served on OSCA's Board, or hosted an event, or contributed in some way, but their efforts are always very much appreciated.