The OSCA board of officers plans the calendar of events but relies on the membership for their help hosting and running the events. While the type of events may vary each year, the list below provides an indication of the most popular events. (Check the Schedule of Events link for the current schedule.)
Dead of Winter Party
Always a popular event, the OSCA Dead of Winter Party provides a brief respite from our New England winter and our boats being “on the hard”. Everyone gathers at the home or club of a member for an opportunity to renew OSCA acquaintances, converse about winter Catalina yacht projects, catch up on winter vacation experiences, and reminisce about past OSCA rendezvous. In addition, the OSCA commodore provides an update on the plans for the upcoming season, including the itinerary of the popular OSCA summer cruise.
The Dead of Winter party is a great opportunity for new members to find out more about OSCA activities and make connections with current OSCA members. The highlight of the evening is the OSCA pot luck dinner, for which members bring their favorite culinary creations to share.
Just as springtime arrives and OSCA members are beginning to prepare their yachts for launching, Fleet Night provides an opportunity to stock up on boat supplies needed for maintenance and upgrades, all at a discounted price. During the Fleet Night event, one of OSCA’s generous sponsors (for ex., West Marine or Newport Nautical) opens its facility for private shopping by OSCA members. The host business offers members discounts on both in-stock and special order items purchased at this event.
This is also a great opportunity for members to share maintenance tips and upgrade ideas. Refreshments provided by OSCA make for an enjoyable, sociable event.
When spring arrives in Rhode Island, the OSCA Pot Luck Educational and membership meeting, held at one of the local yacht clubs or marinas, is the kickoff for the new sailing season. The program begins with a short, formal membership meeting where OSCA business items are discussed. These include the docket of events for the upcoming season, welcoming new OSCA members, the treasurer’s report, and the details of the upcoming OSCA summer cruise.
A guest speaker rounds out the program; past presentations have included topics such as diesel engine maintenance, the history of Rose Island, cruising the IntraCoastal Waterway, the USS Saratoga Museum, the Tall Ships, and Save the Bay. (Check the event calendar for this year’s speaker.)
The first “on the water” event of the season, the Memorial Day Weekend Rendezvous is held at the East Greenwich Yacht Club, with slips or mooring reservations available for the weekend. The EGYC staff provides a full range of services including fuel, ice, showers, a laundromat, and launch service for OSCA guests.
For many OSCA members, this event is the first opportunity of the season to sail beautiful Narragansett Bay. The East Greenwich waterfront area bustles with excellent restaurants and night clubs. Members arrive on Saturday afternoon, in time to enjoy a stroll into nearby Main Street. Members typically gather for cocktails and a pot luck dinner and barbecue at the EGYC gazebo. Clubs in the nearby neighborhood offer formal dining, music, and entertainment for those interested.
Sunday morning, OSCA members meet for a continental breakfast at the gazebo before heading out for a day sail, kayaking, hiking to the nearby Goddard State Park, or venturing forth to explore the East Greenwich downtown.
That evening, OSCA members gather in the EGYC function room for the evening program which includes a cash bar, appetizers, and a sit-down dinner. The OSCA officers present the upcoming summer’s activities, including the itinerary of the annual OSCA summer cruise. Rounding out the evening, the entertainment program has included performers such as Charlie Hall’s “Ocean State Follies”, Dave Kane as “Father Misgivings” and recently, mentalist Tim David.
Monday morning, members once again gather at the EGYC gazebo for a continental breakfast before setting sail for home ports.
On the west side of Mt Hope Bay, the quiet Kickamuit River provides a tranquil hideaway for the OSCA rendezvous. Newcomers to this anchorage are astonished by this site, one of the many jewels we are fortunate to have within easy sailing distance of any of our Narragansett Bay area home ports. The Kickamuit is one of the best gunk-holes in the area, protected from the elements and with fine holding ground. Bring your kayaks or use your dinghy if you want to explore the coves along the quiet river, enjoy the soothing scenery, or go for a swim.
After anchoring in the northern end of the river, members typically gather to share appetizers and sailing stories before traveling to shore by dinghy. From there, transportation is provided by the OSCA hosts to a local restaurant. After the overnight stay in the quiet Kickamuit River, members gather for an impromptu breakfast before departing for home ports.
Many sailors feel that Wickford is one of the prettiest and most interesting harbors on Narragansett Bay. The OSCA Wickford Rendezvous is held at Wickford Marina located within walking distance of historic Wickford village.
Did you know that Rhode Island has more artists per person than any state in the country? The town of Wickford celebrates this every July. Begun in 1962, the Wickford Arts Festival has grown in size and importance. Today, artists from around the world compete for the limited spaces available each year to exhibit their wares; a percentage of the spaces are reserved for local artists. OSCA schedules its Wickford Rendezvous to coincide with the Art Festival so members can include attendance at festival as part of their weekend activities.
While in Wickford, plan to use your dinghy or kayak to explore the inlets of Wickford harbor where you will see egrets, herons, and other waterfowl. Walk into historic Wickford to take in the Art Festival, antique vendors, restaurants, and unique shops. At the Wickford Marina, relax in the jacuzzi, barbecue your steak on the deluxe grill, and watch the sunset from the waterfront patio.
The highlight of the OSCA season is the annual summer cruise. The OSCA fleet captain works all winter with the OSCA Flag Officers to plan the cruise itinerary. Typically extending for 7 – 10 days, the OSCA cruise provides an opportunity for members to venture outside of Narragansett Bay. As many as 24 boats have sailed together on the annual cruise!
Past cruises have explored the waters and ports of Buzzard Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Nantucket Sound, and Cape Cod Bay. A recent cruise to the east end of Long island included stays in Stonington, Three Mile Harbor, Coecles Cove, Sag Harbor, and Geenport, NY. A cruise to the Elizabeth Islands included stays in Cuttyhunk, Vineyard Haven, Hadley Harbor, Quisset, and Padanarum. (Check the Cruise link for this year’s itinerary and schedule.)
The OSCA cruise itinerary includes pre-scheduled daily departure times, usually timed to take advantage of tide/current conditions for that leg of the trip. Volunteer OSCA day captains coordinate activities at each stop. These could include cocktail get-togethers, beach barbecues, restaurant dinners, biking and walking tours of scenic areas, and those wonderful pot luck picnics.
Although the OSCA Fleet Captain plans the cruise itinerary and provides information on cruise destinations, OSCA members participating in the cruise are responsible for planning navigation, provisioning, and making their own slip/mooring reservations.
Located on the western side of Jamestown just south of the Jamestown Bridge, Dutch Harbor is a picturesque location for an OSCA rendezvous. Dutch Harbor Marina offers moorings, launch service, showers, water, and ice for visitors. Just north of the mooring field is a popular anchorage area.
Organized activities at this rendezvous typically include a barbecue at the Dutch Harbor Marina or a group dinner at one of the restaurants in town. From Dutch Harbor Marina, it is only about a half mile walk to town where members can gather for dinner at one of the fine restaurants in town. Use your kayak or dinghy to explore the harbor or paddle out to Dutch Island to explore the remains of the World War II military facility there.
The Labor Day Weekend Rendezvous is one of the most popular weekends on the OSCA calendar. Traditionally held at the Bristol Yacht Club, the rendezvous includes a full weekend of activities at this picturesque and comfortable facility. The friendly staff at Bristol Yacht Club provides OSCA with moorings, launch service, showers, water, and ice. The club includes a full-service bar as well as dining rooms to support the full range of activities.
The weekend starts with members arriving on Saturday; the nearby downtown area of Bristol includes many shops, restaurants, and historical sites. Nearby facilities offer kayak rentals for members who wish to explore the harbor area. The East Bay Bike Path originates in the downtown area nearby. Colt State Park is a short walk from the Bristol Yacht Club. Saturday evening’s pot luck dinner is held at the Yacht Club.
The annual Ted Trudeau Memorial race is conducted on Sunday. Race participants gather on Sunday morning to get race instructions and to set up their Mercury racing boats. Supervised by the OSCA racing committee, the race provides a great opportunity for members to demonstrate and hone their racing skills.
A full sit-down dinner (in the past, a clam boil or steak fry) is served in the Yacht Club dining room on Sunday evening. After dinner, OSCA members dingy across the harbor to Independence Park, where the RI Symphony Orchestra presents its annual concert. For several years, the audience has been treated to an impressive fireworks display over the harbor accompanied by the famous “1812 Overture”. Whether you enjoy the concert and fireworks from your vessel or on shore, the entire evening is quite a show.
OSCA members gather for a continental breakfast at the Yacht Club on Monday morning before bidding adieu and sailing to home ports.
Home port for many OSCA members, Allen Harbor is a sheltered harbor on the western side of Narragansett Bay. Held in late September, the rendezvous is many times the last “on the water” OSCA event of the season. A covered outdoor pavilion equipped with grills and picnic tables provides a great setting for this early autumn gathering.
The Columbus Day weekend rendezvous will be held this year at Ida Lewis Yacht Club located in Newport Harbor. Moorings are available for members at $65 per night..
Sunday evening we will enjoy pizza and cocktails, followed by a short formal membership meeting to provide an opportunity for the OSCA membership committee to announce their recommendations for the new slate of officers; an election will then be held to select the slate for the following year.
Held in November, the OSCA haul-out party is where members to gather to acknowledge the end of the season and the beginning of our winter hibernation.
This has been held in Newport at the Coasters Harbor Yacht Club and at the O Club. The Haul-Out includes a formal dinner with entertainment. Some years OSCA chartered a motor yacht for an autumn dinner cruse around Narragansett Bay or assembled at the Newport Dinner Theater.
One of the formal activities at the event is the induction of the new OSCA Commodore and the Flag Officers. Also, the recipient of the annual OSCA Cruising Award (given for the greatest distance cruised over the season) is announced. Finally, the annual OSCA Founders Award is given to that outstanding member who made significant contributions to the organization.