Seth and I were incredibly honored to receive the Cruising Club of America’s Young Voyager Award this year. Recognizing “a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages,” the award is relatively new among the CCA’s prestigious sailing medals. Given the two previous Young Voyager recipients, and given the club’s history of honoring truly exceptional sailors, we were bowled over to be this year’s awardees!
We traveled to New York to attend the awards dinner at the New York Yacht Club on March 1st, and what a gathering it was! So many amazing sailors from around the world, ocean voyagers and racers with fascinating stories and mind-boggling accomplishments. And all of them so humble and understated about it. To name but a few, we so enjoyed talking with Jessica Watson, the Australian woman who, in 2010, was the youngest person to sail solo nonstop around the world at age 16, and who was last year’s Young Voyager awardee. Bruce Halabisky and Tiffany Loney and their two daughters were the wonderfully down-to-earth family who received the club’s highest award, the Blue Water Medal, for their 11-year circumnavigation aboard their wooden, gaff-rigged cutter. And it was fascinating to meet and get to know Stan Honey, the phenomenal ocean racer, navigator, and entrepreneur who received the Far Horizons Award, and his wife Sally (twice Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year!). I could go on and on about all the remarkable sailors and wonderful people we met and talked with over the two days we were there in New York.
The Cruising Club of America is an international organization dedicated to offshore voyaging and “adventurous use of the sea” through efforts to improve seamanship, the design of seaworthy yachts, safe yachting procedures and environmental awareness. The CCA was founded in 1922 and today has approximately 1300 members with great experience in offshore passage making. The CCA also organizes the Newport to Bermuda Race together with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Seth and I are both members of the CCA and, as we said in our acceptance remarks, simply being part of an organization made up of such outstanding people – both as individuals and as sailors – is a great compliment, and to be recognized for our sailing by the club, a real honor. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to sail “two-handed” (alone together) across oceans from such a young age, and, of course, doing so – rather than crewing for older, more experienced sailors – has meant we’ve learned pretty much everything the hard way: by making mistakes. We have the distinction, for example, of having run aground in every ocean… (One of my favorite quotations is: “Show me a sailor who hasn’t run aground, and I’ll show you a liar!” – Hal Roth in How to Sail Around the World) … and our boat repair skills were all learned by doing. So we both think of ourselves more as lucky sailors than expert ones, with enough stubbornness and determination not to let a mishap here and there deter us. So thank you, to the whole CCA, for this incredible honor!