A Gam is a conversation between whaling ships. The first time the term was seen in print was Melville’s “Moby Dick.” It seems to have come from the Scottish Gaelic for “Do you hear me,” in the imperative sense.
The SSCA adopted the term to apply to large club meetings held annually at familiar times and places. They are of variable size and can be of variable quality. This year’s Annapolis Gam worked out pretty well.
The Camp Lett’s venue is lovely when the weather is good, and this year it was, except for rain showers Friday night. It also seemed to us it had been cleaned up a bit. We were part of the management team for the 2008 Gam (the last we attended here) and the place was a bit of a mess. We know the Rhode River anchorage well, but our marina is fifteen minutes away, so we drove.
From a Program perspective, we found this to be much better than usual. Although the PA system continues to be underwhelming and the screen size was too small for the audience size. We scored what we saw as follows.
Can You Trust Your Charts? (Screen size really hurt this excellent presentation. We sat halfway back for the sake of our ears.)
Solar & Wind (Power)
What You Really Need To Know About Yacht Insurance (We’ve seen this more than once and given industry shenanigans, it’s always useful to hear the latest.)
The Potluck on Friday evening was Feeding Time At The Zoo (predator section). People continue to take up station next to their favorite item and block others from access until dregs are left. It reminds me of the films of dolphin, sailfish and shark destroying a school of herring such that nothing but scales are left drifting down. We bought a pizza on the way home.
Energy Management (Excellent, but that screen size… We moved to the front row where the sound was blasting but one could read the charts.)
Racing and Cruising in the Gulfstream (Very interesting but a bit of a show and tell plus sales pitch. Nothing useful for people heading south of Bermuda and very little cruising content.)
ICW Anchorages — Trying Something New (Offered some real, well described alternatives to the places we have used in our 5+ passages.)
Toward Becoming Self-Reliant in Marine Weather Forecasts & Weather Patterns. (OK, but a bit of a disorganized rant.)
Emergency Medicine for Cruisers (Excellent, with much more emphasis on the cruising context and EM philosophy than how to suture and inject an orange …)
Dinner and Associated Events — The food was plentiful and tasty. The Auction was mercifully short. The Raffle tickets had been poorly mixed.
Nigel Calder’s “Lessons Learned Along The Way” was a hoot! By far the best after dinner presentation we’ve seen at a Gam.
FULL PROGRAM CLICK HERE: Annapolis_Gam_Flyer
We met some new and interesting people, we re-met people we had loaned our truck to in Great Bridge, Virginia in 1996 so they could run errands — though it was twenty minutes before the realization hit us. We finally met some folks we have been conversing with via Blogs. And we finally got to meet “Skip” from Moondance — a pleasure! Delightfully some of the truly obnoxious folks from prior Gams were missing this year.
Based on this experience, I’m going to return the SSCA to our link list, but with a caveat emptor — a huge majority of members are not allowed vote on the issues affecting the organization, and a significant majority of those who can, don’t. This math does not favor improvement of the organization.