Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius EU 728x90

The OCC announces award recipients for 2016

by Daria Blackwell (as amended by John Curnow) on 10 Feb
Wejer clamped in ice © Ocean Cruising Club
Each year, the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) recognises the outstanding achievements of blue water sailors and brings them to the attention of the sailing community. Commodore Anne Hammick noted, ““With the continued growth in long-distance cruising, including many circumnavigations and high-latitude passages, it is increasingly rare for a single voyage to stand out. Our members do not cruise in order to win awards – they do so for the love of sailing, adventure and the sea. Even so, the OCC is delighted to recognise outstanding achievement among our members and the wider sailing community.”

Jenny Crickmore-Thompson, Chairman of the OCC Awards Sub-Committee, made the announcement. “It is my distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the OCC Awards for the year 2016. This year the winners include a crew who exhibited a remarkable act of seamanship and bravery as well as those who support blue water cruisers in their endeavours.”



The OCC Seamanship Award is presented to Gavin Reid*, the skipper and the crew of Mission Performance during the 2015-2016 Clipper Round the World Race, for responding to a distress call, standing by under difficult conditions, and swimming to M3, climbing the mast and freeing a crew member who had been trapped at the top for nine hours.

On January 5, 2016, Gavin Reid from Cambridge, UK, was crewing aboard Mission Performance on the sixth leg (Hobart to Airlie Beach - AUS) of the 2015-2016 Clipper Round the World Race, when a distress call was picked up from M3, an IRC optimised TP52 returning from the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race. M3 had a rope around its propeller, a damaged mainsail, and a man stuck up the mast, and entangled in halyards. M3’s skipper requested assistance to release him.

Mission Performance was the nearest yacht to the stricken vessel. Greg Miller*, Mission Performance skipper, responded to the call and closed on M3, which was about 15nm due South of Seal Rocks, but sea conditions made it too dangerous to go alongside without endangering both boats. Miller stood off 150m away and upwind.



At daybreak, Gavin Reid, who is profoundly deaf and had almost no sailing experience prior to signing up for the Clipper Race, volunteered to swim over to the other yacht. The crew threw a line to M3 which Gavin used to reach the stricken yacht. He found four crew largely incapacitated, and unable to help the fifth man. Using the one remaining staysail halyard, Gavin was able to hoist himself two-thirds of the way up the 65ft (20m) mast, then climb the rest of the way hand-over-hand on the swaying mast to reach the crewman. He spent two hours untangling the lines to free the man and help lower him down safely. M3 was subsequently abandoned, and beached just North of Hawks Nest.

The Seamanship Award is made “to recognise outstanding feats of personal bravery at sea or exceptional acts of seamanship” and Gavin’s and his mates’ actions – the manoeuvring, the swim and the mast ascent – reflect these criteria perfectly. See the story and video on BBC



The OCC Award of Merit goes to Victor Wejer* for his unselfish and outstanding service,his extensive advice to international Arctic sailors, and his remote support of yachts sailing the Northwest Passage. The OCC Award of Merit is open to members or non-members who have performed some outstanding voyage or achievement.

Canadian Victor Wejer has been instrumental in the success and safety of many transits of the Northwest Passage. Victor has provided free weather, ice and routing advice to many yachts (42 from 2006-2016), including the first to transit by way of Fury and Hecla Strait (2016). He has provided critical information and expertise without any recompense to those who have approached him for advice, as well as cautioning the dreamers and the unwary concerning a dangerous undertaking. He takes an interest in voyagers in the NW Passage. To many, he is a friend as well as an advisor, taking into account crew and vessel strength.

An example of Victor's invaluable advice is quoted from an early communication to an OCC member: 'I have gotten many calls from different adventurers wanting to make the NW crossing. For most I strongly advise them to stay away. One has to have the correct mindset. This is not an adventure, it's a dangerous trip for the unprepared. A perfect crossing will have no story to tell at the end. No problems. No issues. No disasters. All ice openings are taken advantage of. As one Arctic explorer used to say 'adventure is a sign of incompetence.'

Over the years Victor has collected information concerning methods, shelters, anchorages, ice conditions and equipment from voyagers who have succeeded as well as those who have failed in their attempts to sail this unique and often unpredictable passage. Victor has collated various accounts to create a truly valuable body of work which he updates and regularly shares. His Yacht Routing Guide can be downloaded from the RCCPF website

Protector - 660 x 82Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82Insun - AC Program

Related Articles

May Rendezvous – Sail-ebrate Canada 150
Come for the fun, the food, the camaraderie, the splash of red-and-white (flags, sails, attire, bunting, decorations) Mark your calendar for May 20 – 22: the May Rendezvous, Poet’s Cove, Pender Island! Arrive Friday evening or anytime Saturday before the 1600h Happy Hour. The official Rendezvous agenda starts at 1600h on Saturday. Come for the fun, the food, the camaraderie, the splash of red-and-white (flags, sails, attire, bunting, decorations, etc) and the music!
Posted on 25 Apr
World ARC in the atolls of the Tuamotu
The departure to the Tuamotu archipelago had a good start, with privilege of crossing paths with visit of vessel HOKULEA The departure to the Tuamotu archipelago had a good start, with the privilege of crossing paths with the visit of the Hawaiian traditional sailing vessel HOKULEA, in Nuku Hiva. The fleet had a touch of our counterparts from the past, whom populated the whole Pacific Ocean in sailing vessels, guided by their knowledge of the stars and the sky, the movements of the sea
Posted on 25 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.II)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone and now we see the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery.
Posted on 25 Apr
The best laid plans of mice and sailors...
We knew that buying a boat wasn’t going to be easy; our budget was tight, and our needs specific... We knew that buying a boat wasn’t going to be easy; our budget was tight, and our needs specific, even if both of us spend our working days surrounded by boats, and undertaking complicated negotiations. But neither of us were prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that awaited us, and the many disappointments that we would have to overcome in our search.
Posted on 24 Apr
Coral reefs fight rising seas, leaving people at risk
Caribbean/Hawaii researchers found sea floor eroding in all five places and reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii, researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.
Posted on 22 Apr
Flares and distress signals
Visual Distress Signals are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave harbor for condition Visual Distress Signals (V.D.S.) are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave harbor for condition and if they have an expiration date, be sure they are current. Their intended purpose is to summon help should the need arise and should be displayed only when immediate or potential danger exists. Visual distress signals can only be effective when someone can see them.
Posted on 21 Apr
Race for Water will stay in Madeira for three days
After beginning its five-year Odyssey on April 9, the vessel, Race for Water, arrived in Madeira on Thursday, April 20 This first stopover will allow the crew to make a preliminary assessment of the energy mix and review the first tests with the kite on this ambassador vessel of the Race for Water Foundation.
Posted on 21 Apr
Chilling out in Carriacou
Carriacou is a delightful backwater in the Caribbean, peaceful and relatively undeveloped, with beautiful beaches We feel like we earned this place - after sweating it out in Trinidad for several months, Carriacou is a delightful backwater in the Caribbean, peaceful and relatively undeveloped, with beautiful beaches. The local population is only 8,000 folks, a mix of African, East Indian and European decent. It’s a simple place, where people greet you on the bus and welcome you to their island.
Posted on 20 Apr
The big question
In October 1999, we left our sailboat in the South Pacific and returned to enjoy a Canadian winter. In October 1999, we left our sailboat in the South Pacific and returned to enjoy a Canadian winter. A few friends have expressed curiosity about our nautical lifestyle, especially the long passages: “What do you do all day?” they ask: Two people, alone in a small boat on a large sea for 3000 miles, 24 hours a day, no anchorages, restaurants or spas in between.
Posted on 20 Apr
A 180 degree turn
After a wonderful Bon Voyage party, our family came down and tossed off our bowline. There was so much excitement After years of dreaming and planning, we are finally at the ‘Doers’ stage. In September, our Alden 44, Lemanee, and her crew of three set sail southbound. We were heading to San Francisco via Roche Harbour and Neah Bay. After a wonderful Bon Voyage party, our family came down and tossed off our bowline. There was so much excitement and pride at all we had accomplished.
Posted on 20 Apr