2019 Ocean Cruising Club award winners

Published on January 28th, 2020

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has announced the recipients of awards that recognize achievements in ocean sailing over the past 24 months. The recipients were selected by an international panel of experienced bluewater sailors from among individuals nominated by Full OCC members throughout the course of the year.

The Barton Cup, the Club’s premiere award, goes to American sailor Randall Reeves for his successful completion of the Figure 8 Voyage, an exceptional and record-breaking voyage circumnavigating Antarctica and the Americas in one season.

His tenacity and perseverance were exhibited when, aborting attempt number one, he returned home to San Francisco and departed to try again a few months later. Most importantly, his adventure was undertaken with much humility, humor, and gratitude.

Randall’s first attempt (October 2017 to June 2018) ended in an abrupt termination of plans in 2018. On that trip, he suffered three knockdowns in the southern latitudes and limped into Ushuaia, then continued on to Tasmania where repair work was undertaken. That resulted in the ‘loss of the season’ for that attempt. But that didn’t stop him. By October 2018, he was on his way again.

On the 19th of October 2019, Randall Reeves and s/v Moli completed the Figure 8 Voyage, a circumnavigation of Antarctica and the Americas in one season, solo, a first-ever in sailing. Randall sailed more than 40,000 miles in just over one year alone, rounding Cape Horn twice and completing the Northwest Passage in the same trip.

He had to carry enough food for the entire journey, although it was never intended to be completed nonstop. He had to keep moving the entire time to ensure that his timing at critical points was within the seasonal limits of sailing in the region.

The planning and seamanship that went into the voyage were painstaking. He wrote beautifully about his experience in his blog engaging his virtual stowaways as part of his team. Mission accomplished on the second attempt.

Eleven-time circumnavigator, Australian Jon Sanders, takes home the OCC Lifetime Cruising Award. Jon is a CCA Blue Water Medal recipient, was awarded the AO OBE and Chichester Award in 1983, was inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame 1989 for “service to sailing and to marine science” and the Single-handed Sailor’s Hall of Fame in Newport, USA. Jon has received the James Cook award and is an Honorary Member of the OCC.

Jon completed his first solo circumnavigation in 1975-77, double circumnavigation continuously at sea in 1981-82 west to east via the Southern Ocean and was the first man to circumnavigate the Antarctic solo.

In 1986-88 he completed a triple non-stop solo circumnavigation in 658 days at sea and covering 71,022 nautical miles. His only contact with the outside world was electronic communications and some parcels thrown from passing boats. This is recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest distance sailed non-stop by any vessel.

He undertook another circumnavigation in 1990-91 and in 2010-12 did his 8th, 2013-15 completed his 9th, and in 2016-17 completed his 10th. Not one to rest on his laurels, on November 3, 2019, aged 80 (born 1939), he began his 11th solo #NOPLASTICWASTE circumnavigation on Perie Banou II, taking water samples daily which will be analyzed by the Curtin University’s Western Australian Organic & Isotope Geochemistry Centre to determine the quantity of microplastics in our oceans. Jon’s sailing resume is unmatched in the cruising world.

The OCC Seamanship Award is presented to Germany’s Susanne Huber-Curphy. prior winner of the Barton Cup, for her completion of The Longue Route in memory of the 50th anniversary of Bernard Moitessier’s epic voyage aboard Joshua in the Golden Globe Race which he could have won but instead continued sailing another halfway around the world ‘to save his soul’.

Some 11 sailors took part in The Longue Route commemoration, each leaving from a different port on their own schedule. All but Susanne completed at most circumnavigations. Instead, Susanne kept sailing to replicate Moitessier’s voyage of sailing 1.5 times around the earth. He sailed England to Tahiti, she completed Maine to Tasmania. Susanne had sailed a total of 33,043 in 251 days aboard Nehaj, during which she may have become the first woman to complete a circumnavigation of Antarctica solo nonstop en route.

For an outstanding voyage around the Americas, Steve Brown receives The Vasey Vase. This award, which salutes an unusual or exploratory voyage or series of voyages made by members and, in this case, for an outstanding voyage circumnavigating the two Americas – 32,950 nm, taking in 175 anchorages with multiple crews over five years – which included the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, and South Georgia.

Steve’s nominator noted, “A well-executed, well-completed, successful voyage encompassing several outstanding achievements in their own right.”

The OCC Jester Award goes to Dan Stroud who is sailing around the world in a 31ft Rustler. This award, named after Blondie Hasler’s iconic Folkboat Jester, recognizes a noteworthy singlehanded voyage or series of voyages made in a small vessel.

The panel of judges were extremely impressed by Dan’s singlehanded, low tech cruise from the UK to South Africa. He started a circumnavigation in the spirit of challenge and adventure, but his reasons have changed during his time underway.

By the time he reached the North Pacific via Ushuaia and the Marquesas, he was feeling he’d had enough. But the logical option was to continue westward – so now he is completing the circumnavigation to return home. He keeps everything simple and low key, with just the basic necessities on board, few electronics or gadgets, and no fridge or shower.

The OCC Award, which recognizes valuable service to the ocean cruising community as a whole, is awarded to Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carauso, the husband and wife team behind the hugely popular YouTube channel Sailing La Vagabonde with 1.29 million subscribers.

Their YouTube channel has been phenomenally successful and has inspired large numbers of cruisers to follow in their 81,000-mile wake. This supports the OCC’s primary purpose of encouraging long-distance sailing in small boats.

Their nominator wrote, “They have done more to inspire others to try sailing than just about anyone before them and have made cruising under sail an affordable and sustainable alternative lifestyle option. They’ve been filming it all on YouTube since 2014. They’ve been featured regularly not only in the sailing press but also have been interviewed by many general-interest media outlets including CNN and the Guardian. They now have a sailing tutorial that teaches people how to go about learning to sail.”

The OCC Award for service to the OCC is shared in a tie vote between Jenny Crickmore-Thompson and Frances Rennie.

Jenny, who serves currently as Rear Commodore, was responsible for organizing and managing the Port Officer network around the world for seven years. Frances, who has been the administrator for the OCC Facebook page where almost one-third of our members communicate frequently, has been an untiring moderator and highly respected and dedicated face of OCC to the membership.

Eoin Robson, Awards Chairman, thanks the international panel of judges who form the OCC Awards Subcommittee. “The selection process was challenging this year, as it is in many years, owing to the high quality and diversity of nominations.”

Commodore Simon Currin congratulates all award winners and thanks all members who nominated such worthy recipients. “I look forward to meeting personally many of these exceptional sailors at the OCC AGM and Awards Dinner in Annapolis this April, when for the first time the event will be held in North America.”

To view a full list of awards and winners, recipients from prior years, and further information about the OCC, visit http://oceancruisingclub.org/Awards

The OCC is the “home port” for those who have sailed long distances across big oceans. With 45 nationalities represented among more than 3100 members, and Port Officers around the world, we have a more diverse membership and a more international reach than any other blue water sailing organization.

The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats. A Full Member of the OCC must have completed a qualifying voyage of a non-stop port-to-port ocean passage, where the distance between the two ports is not less than 1,000 nautical miles, in a vessel of not more than 70ft (21.36m) LOA; associate members are committed to achieving that goal. This standard distinguishes the OCC from all other sailing clubs.

The OCC membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organization – in the number of circumnavigators, in the range of extraordinary voyages members have completed, and in the number of solo sailors and female sailors among our ranks.

Source: Daria Blackwell, OCC


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