Have you ever attended a Gam?

April 29, 2016 by Monica Grant
Have you ever attended a Gam?

Voyaging With Kids co-author, Behan Gifford, and her family are sailing to Essex, CT aboard their Stevens 47, 'Totem', to celebrate Summer Sailstice at the 4th annual SSCA Gam.

Now, if you’re anything like me, the first thing you’ll be asking is, “What is a Gam?” and your second question might be, “What is SSCA?”

After a quick bit of research, I have answers to both those questions.

First of all, according to The Free Dictionary website, a gam is (among other things) “a social visit or friendly interchange, especially between whalers and other seafarers”; or, “a herd of whales.”

I hardly think Behan or any of her family are whales, though that would be very interesting, so I’m going to assume the Gam is a gathering of sailors, which incidentally, fits perfectly with the SSCA’s explanation of a Gam: “In days of olde when whaling ships encountered one another in calm seas they would heave to and the crew would line up at the railing to shout news across to one another. This was called a gam.”

The SSCA Gam is “a get-together of members, with an emphasis on camaraderie and sharing of cruising information.”

Which brings me to my next question, “Who and what is the SSCA?” 

Well, many of you might already know this, and as a cruising sailor, so should I. SSCA is the acronym for the Seven Seas Cruising Association. The SSCA was founded by six Californian live-aboard couples in 1952, for the purpose of “sharing cruising information, fostering camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake.” The SSCA is the oldest and largest organization of its kind. The association supports the live-aboard cruising lifestyle and upholds the traditions of its founding members. 

This year's solstice Gam is being held at the Essex Yacht Club on the Connecticut River on June 18, commencing at 9.30am, and participants will enjoy three days of information, education and camaraderie. 

Does this sound like something you’d like to do to celebrate Summer Sailstice? Then why not combine the two? 

Sign up for Summer Sailstice, then take a look at the SSCA’s Gam. If you sign up for both and post your sailing plans, not only will you be eligible for some great prizes, you’ll also have a fun weekend making new friends and picking up some useful tips on cruising. 

And if you happen to meet Behan and her family aboard 'Totem', send us a happy snap. We love to see what everyone gets up to for Summer Sailstice.




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