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Displaying items by tag: Cruising Club of America

The Cruising Club of America couldn't hand out its 2020 awards in person, so the club made it a special event and gathered a pantheon of great sailors on Zoom.

In early March in a normal year, Cruising Club of America members visit the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan for a weekend of meetings featuring an Awards dinner to recognize more than half a dozen worthy sailors as recipients of the club’s major awards. The pomp and circumstance of that event had to be adapted to a virtual space this year, starting with an hour-long presentation, largely pre-recorded, followed by a longer breakout-room segment in which members conversed with the winners in real-time.

As it turned out, sailing royalty showed up from all over the globe, including six previous winners of the Blue Water Medal: Jean Luc Van Den Heede (2019), Skip Novak (2014), Jeanne Socrates (2013), Peter Passano (2007), Tony Gooch (2003), and Bob and Beth Lux (1996). They provided a great welcome reception for the 2020 winner Randall Reeves.

In accepting his award, Reeves said he had had a great deal of good luck, starting with marrying his wife Joanna, who buoyed him up despite “resounding failures.” He also credited his luck at finding the right vessel for the trip, his 45-foot aluminium cutter Moli, “a boat fast enough and big enough, simple enough that I could handle it and fix what broke, yet strong enough to handle divergent requisites of big seas in the south and ice in the north.” He also credited former owner and Blue Water Medal winner Tony Gooch: “He was my living and breathing owners manual.”

Six-time circumnavigator Van Den Heede, who was unable to receive the 2019 award in person due to health reasons, said, “I started sailing because I read books. The first book I had the pleasure to read was by Alain Gerbault, the first man to get this medal [in 1923].” Van Den Heede said he was honoured to follow Gerbault and all the others who received the medal, adding, “these people are legends and I'm surprised to join them.”

Blue Water Medal Winner Jean-Luc Van Den HeedeBlue Water Medal Winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede

2020 Cruising Club of America Award Winners

Randall Reeves—Blue Water Medal

Christian Charalambous—Rod Stephens Seamanship Trophy

Calypso Romero/Adrien Koller—Young Voyager Award

Stephen Brown—Far Horizons Medal

Salty Dawg Sailing Association—Special Recognition Award

Simon and Sally Currin—Royal Cruising Club Trophy

Alan K. Forsythe—Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize

Peter L. Chandler—Richard S. Nye Trophy

Published in Cruising

Randall Reeves has been named winner of the 2020 Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America (CCA) for sailing his 45-foot aluminium cutter, Moli, alone around Antarctica and then through the Northwest Passage in a single season—departing and arriving from San Francisco.

Reeves, 57, is the first person to imagine and accomplish the 39,000-nautical-mile voyage, which creates a “Figure 8” track around the world, keeping the Americas to port and Antarctica to starboard.

The prestigious Blue Water Medal was first awarded in 1923. It will be formally presented to Reeves at the CCA Annual Awards ceremony, a virtual event this year on March 7. The ceremony will include recognition for winners of other CCA Awards, including 2019 Blue Water Medal winner Jean Luc Van Den Heede, who was unable to attend last year's ceremony.

Reeves was bitten by the offshore sailing bug as a teenager, voyaging with his father and later acquiring his own boats and sailing much of the Pacific Ocean and through the Northwest Passage. He bought Moli, a proven high-latitudes vessel whose owner, Anthony “Tony” Gooch, had sailed her around the world, singlehanded, nonstop, and also received the CCA’s Blue Water Medal (2003).

Cruising Club of America medalCruising Club of America medal

A second Medal for the same boat is extraordinary. The only other yacht to achieve this distinction in the 97-year history of the Medal is Wanderer III, first with Eric and Susan Hiscock (1955), then with Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson (2011).

Even aboard a boat with Moli’s pedigree, accomplishing the route Reeves had mapped out required extraordinary determination and perseverance. In 2017, during a first attempt, the South Pacific seas damaged Reeves’ autopilot and then his windvane, requiring a repairs stop in Ushuaia. He continued around Antarctica, trying to keep up with the seasons, when a South Indian Ocean storm caused multiple knockdowns. Though there was less wind than in the Pacific, Reeves described the seas as “tremendous, tall, steep and breaking continuously for 100 and 200 feet.” Moli was slammed down off a wave, shattering a pilothouse window and drowning all electronics. Reeves was able to stem the flooding, cover the window, and navigate another month to Tasmania for temporary repairs. With his “Figure 8” delayed, not abandoned, he sailed nonstop back to San Francisco.

After only three months of refit and repairs, Reeves was off on his second attempt in September of 2018, even better prepared. With new storm covers attached over windows, new welded railing, new electronics, and vast recent experience under his belt, around the continents and around the World he sailed. Keeping the Americas to port and Antarctica to starboard, passing beneath Cape Horn twice before poking Moli north through the Arctic ice, Reeves sailed the great loops for 301 days.

During the voyage, Reeves trailed along in his wake an armada of wannabe adventurers and admirers through his frequent blog entries and onboard videos shared on his website. Reeves has a way about him— gracious, caring, and humble with self-effacing humour. He has proven his ability to master the oceans without losing his appreciation for the help he has received and the wonders of the people he has met along the way. On October 19, 2019, 385 days after setting out, Reeves sailed Moli under the Golden Gate Bridge to complete the first singlehanded "Figure 8" around Antarctica and the Americas.

Published in Cruising

From across the globe, members of the Cruising Club of America (CCA) assembled at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan to recognise their outstanding sailors of 2015 during the international organisation’s Annual Awards Dinner earlier this month.

Representing a broad array of sailing achievements, the recipients of the 2015 Blue Water Medal and the Blue Water Medal “Without Date,” Far Horizons Award, Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship and the Richard S. Nye Trophy were celebrated for their accomplishments.

2015 Blue Water Medal and Blue Water Medal “Without Date”

The Cruising Club of America presented British sailors Tom and Vicky Jackson its 2015 Blue Water Medal, established in 1923 to recognise examples of meritorious seamanship and adventure upon the seas. The Jacksons were rewarded for their extensive racing and cruising, over more than 34 years aboard their 40’ Sparkman & Stephens-designed Sunstone.

The Cruising Club of America presented Jon Sanders of Perth, Australia, its Blue Water Medal “Without Date.” The medal recognises examples of meritorious seamanship and adventure upon the seas and has only been awarded seven times to recognize a variety of achievements. Sanders has made nine circumnavigations – eight of them solo, including a single “three times around” voyage, and one crewed – and has made a lifetime of significant contributions to sailing.

Far Horizons Award

The 2015 Far Horizons Award was presented to Kaspar and Trisha Schibli, of Victoria, British Columbia, in recognition of their extensive offshore cruising, especially their current multi-ocean cruise. 

Richard S. Nye Trophy

The 2015 Richard S. Nye Trophy was presented to John E. Sanford of Tiburon, Calif., for meritorious service to the CCA and the San Francisco Station over a period of 34 years. 

Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship

The 2015 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship was presented to Canadian cruisers George Juri and Grit Chiu for their lifesaving rescue in critical conditions of a man found floating offshore who had been in the water for four days following the sinking of a work barge off Phuket. 

Published in Cruising

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