Outsiders to this activity may probably not be aware of the Dinghy Cruising Association, the national body for the sport. It has been in operation over 50 years and has hundreds of members. The DCA holds an unrivalled library of knowledge relating to dinghy cruising and in the Practical Dinghy Cruiser book there are references as a guide to accessing relevant published DCA articles that would allow readers to investigate further, if they wished to follow up on any given topic.
The book Practical Dinghy Cruiser has found strong support within the DCA as well as with dinghy cruisers internationally.
The DCA having a party.
Dinghy Cruising 'Magazine/Bulletin'.
One of the strongest reasons for looking at the DCA is its 'Bulletin'. It began many years ago as just a few sheets for communication of meetings and brief sailing accounts. It gradually evolved into a thicker and thicker publication as membership grew and content expanded.
With the development of desktop publishing the bulletin took great strides forward under the guidance of the late Peter Bick. The quantity of it's editorial' content (that's the stuff we like to read, the articles and news) began to rival commercial magazines. Most readers of such magazines don't realise that there may be only about 50ish (or less) pages of such content in their 120/130 page thick magazine. The other pages are mainly advertising. This is OK as the adverts pay for the production and the adverts can be useful to readers, but 'real content' is usually less than half of the magazine.
In more recent times the production of the bulletin has been due to the efforts of Keith Muscott and he has worked wonders, using the most up to date publishing systems. The DCA is so fortunate now to have the highest quality, full-colour sailing magazine called Dinghy Cruising that it is possible for any organisation to have. It rivals and in many respects outclasses, commercial productions found in newsagents. The most recent issues have weighed in at 80 pages apiece with hardly an advert, except for those things that members might wish to sell or exchange.
This content is the equivalent of two commercial magazines in a single issue and it's ALL directed at exactly the material of our greatest specialist interest. Members can now see their accounts, pictures, diagrams and chartlets produced to the highest professional standards.
Don't take my word for it, take a look for yourself. As an example the pages to the left feature some of the member's boats, sketch maps of sailing areas (those by Len Wingfield are of exceptional quality) and diagrams for equipment modifications.
The images to the right (Howard Morgan) and some diagrams to the left (David Sumner), both shows a method for attaching the main halliard to the gaff to allow its swift relocation when reefing. One is a photographic explanation, the other mainly diagrams. I wish that I could have directed the readers of my book to these articles in addition to those I mentioned when discussing exactly this problem on pages 67 & 68. Also illustrated here is a variation on the helm impeder system (Howard Morgan) that I covered on page 57 in Practical Dinghy Cruiser.
One of the colour pages above shows the beginning of Rally Reports. Basically the country has regions that each arrange their own meetings throughout the year. If you want to sail somewhere different you can choose a location, call the member responsible for coordinating the meet, then go and join in. Decisions whether to sail or not are up to each individual. There is often a meal in a local hostelry and members without boats sometimes come along for a ride in a different boat, or just to enjoy the meal and the chat. Dinghy Cruising has many other regular features, Openboat Forum, Book reviews, Library additions and articles pack it from cover to cover.
Membership of the DCA. The website address is dinghycruising.org.uk