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The Ocean Cruising Club announces awards for 2018

by Daria Blackwell 6 Feb 12:30 UTC 6 April 2019
Ocean Cruising Club © Ocean Cruising Club

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), the Worldwide Community for Adventure Sailing Since 1954, has announced the recipients of awards that recognize achievements in blue water sailing over the past 18 months.

Commodore Anne Hammick noted, "The OCC awards recognise many different types of cruising achievement. Some are open to all sailors, while others are restricted to OCC members among the most adventurous blue water cruisers worldwide. This year we are delighted to honour sailors from several continents, reflecting the global nature of our membership. On behalf of the OCC Flag Officers, Committee and Members, I extend my sincere congratulations to all the remarkable winners for 2018."

The Club's premier award, the OCC Barton Cup, named after OCC founder Humphrey Barton, goes to Australian member BILL HATFIELD, s/v L'EAU COMMOTION, for his recently-completed westabout single-handed circumnavigation, which included a particularly difficult and protracted passage around Cape Horn.

His voyage took him south of the Great Capes, with just one stop in the Falkland Islands after sustaining damage to rig and steering. His storm-damaged rig seriously slowed his progress to windward and yet he persevered for weeks in the frigid waters of Drake's Passage before steering failure led to a retreat to Port Stanley for repairs. That was not the first time that Bill had made the Falkland retreat as he had been forced to do the same in the voyage that led to him winning the OCC Australian Award in 2016. With his boat repaired, Bill left Stanley to complete a less eventful, late season, rounding of Cape Horn and a passage across the Pacific to end his circumnavigation in Sydney.

Aged 79, Bill Hatfield arrived at Southport Yacht Club on Monday 10th September 2018 after spending 414 days at sea, becoming the oldest solo sailor to circumnavigate the world west-about. Bill's ambition and determination would be remarkable at any age but is extraordinary for someone in his late 70s. Every twist and turn of his epic voyage is told in his beautifully written blog.

The OCC Lifetime Cruising Award is awarded to LIN PARDEY (a member since 1977) and her husband LARRY (non-member), for their 50 plus years of ocean cruising, two engineless circumnavigations, and inspirational books and DVDs.

Among the world's best-known and most experienced cruising sailors, having covered more than 200,000 miles at sea, the Pardeys have inspired countless thousands of others to embrace cruising as a lifestyle. By the time they met in 1965, aged 21 and 26, Larry was already an experienced blue water sailor, but it was a new world for Lin.. Almost immediately they set to work to build their engineless 24ft 7in cutter SERAFFYN to a design by Lyle Hess, launching her in October 1968. They left California with two guiding principles: They would keep going "as long as it's fun", and they would "go small, go simple, go now."

Over the following eleven years they sailed SERAFFYN some 45,000 miles on a slow eastabout circumnavigation which included a detour to the Baltic, three years in the Mediterranean, and across the Indian and Pacific Oceans back to her home port of Newport Beach, California.

TALEISIN was commissioned from the same designer in 1977 and built by Larry and Lin halfway up a mountainside in California. Launched in October 1983, she is 29ft 6in on deck and of teak planking over black locust frames with bronze floors and hanging knees. Her deck is of solid teak. Immensely strong, some years ago Lin described her to our Commodore as a 'seagoing tractor' though a remarkably fast one.

Following a number of Pacific passages while putting down shoreside roots in New Zealand, they set off to circumnavigate westabout via South Africa, northern Europe, the US East Coast, and then south to round Cape Horn and through the Beagle Channel some 80,000 miles in all, again without an engine or sophisticated electronics. Between times, and to help pay the cruising bills, they delivered yachts all over the world, covering another 60,000 or so ocean miles.

Between or perhaps during long ocean passages they found time to write a dozen books and create five videos and DVDs, which have provided inspiration and instruction to a whole generation of cruising sailors. All their advice is based on solid, first-hand knowledge, generally melding practicality with economy, unlike all too much cruising advice which assumes a bottomless purse. Their website is a treasure trove of information and Lin has started up a series of podcasts. Canadian and American by birth, they eventually settled in New Zealand.

It is 50 years since SERAFFYN was launched and, though sadly Larry now has dementia and is no longer able to sail, Lin continues to sail and write from her home in New Zealand. Over those 50 years their lives revolved around boats and the sea, and they have become legendary wherever cruising sailors congregate. Their biography, As Long as It's Fun, was written by Herb McCormick and released by Paradise Cay Publications in 2014. It would be hard to imagine a couple more deserving of the OCC LIFETIME CRUISING AWARD.

Nearly all the 12 books and five DVDs mentioned above are still in print and available from Amazon and elsewhere.

The OCC Seamanship Award, which recognizes acts of bravery or extraordinary seamanship, goes to DUSTIN REYNOLDS, s/v TIAMA, for his outstanding courage and tenacity as a double amputee in setting out to circumnavigate alone. So far he has made it halfway around the world.

In 2008, Dustin Reynolds lost an arm and a leg in a motorcycle accident. He did not allow this to become a catastrophe, however, but instead used it as a defining moment to create change in his life. After buying a 1986-built 35ft Alberg sloop in Hawaii for $12,000, in June 2014 he cast off on his planned circumnavigation. He has just reached Richards Bay, South Africa, having crossed the Indian Ocean, a feat many with fully-crewed yachts would balk at.

Dustin's spirit, determination, and seamanship prove that any obstacle can be overcome with a positive attitude and perseverance. Anyone who uses his teeth to tail his main halyard due to the fact he has only one arm and his boat doesn't have self-tailing winches or mast jammers show an incredibly high level of seamanship!

Dustin's trip is featured in a documentary film in the series The Folks of the Ocean

The OCC Jester Award is presented to SZYMON KUCZYNSKI, s/v ATLANTIC PUFFIN, for his 270-day solo unassisted circumnavigation in a boat just under 21 feet in length, securing a new world record.

Szymon Kuczynski, the Polish Skipper of ATLANTIC PUFFIN, a 6.36m (20 feet 10.4 inches) yacht, clinched a new world record for the smallest vessel to circumnavigate single-handed and unaided with no engine when he returned to Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, UK on Thursday 17 May 2018. He spent 270 days, 10 hours and 29 minutes alone at sea, living in a space of only 4 square metres. He set off from Plymouth to follow the route of legendary sailors before him on his 'Call of the Ocean' voyage.

Szymon is the image of what the OCC Jester Award is intended to recognise he self-funded an around the world single-handed voyage in a small boat, with no help or assistance along the way and without stopping for 9 months and close to 29,000 miles. From the great sailing nation of Poland, the OCC is delighted to honour the achievement of this adventurous 37-year-old blue water sailor.

Website: Photo gallery

The OCC Awards Sub-committee Co-Chair and Regional Rear Commodore for Great Britain, Fiona Jones, said, "The Awards Judging Panel, comprised of highly experienced cruisers many of whom are under way in various parts of the world, had a varied and fascinating slate of choices this year. It is clear that adventure cruising as a pursuit is alive and well."

Co-Chair, and Port Officer for Stavanger, Norway, Eoin Robson added, "This year we had 42 nominations for 11 awards so our judges had much to do. The streamlined online nomination process has made it easy for any Full Member to submit nominations from anywhere in the world. Choosing the winners was a most unenviable task, but it was done. The OCC Awards Subcommittee thanks the Judging Panel for their hard work and congratulates all our winners."

Further awards made for 2018 are:

  • THE OCC VASEY VASE Sue & Andy Warman: For their exploration of Japanese waters, described in a very informative report for the OCC Forum, followed by their passage north to Alaska and then on to British Columbia.
  • THE OCC AWARD (member) Dick Guckel: Primarily in recognition of his more than 20 years' service to the OCC
  • THE OCC AWARD (non-member) Des Cason: Fo0r the highly professional weather and routing assistance, free of charge, to yachts approaching the coast of South Africa
  • THE OCC WATER MUSIC TROPHY Mike Norris: For the practical information incorporated in their two articles about cruising Greek waters
  • THE OCC EVENTS AND RALLIES AWARD José Azevedo: For his pivotal role as owner of Peter Café Sport in facilitating last June's Azores Pursuit Rally
  • THE OCC PORT OFFICER SERVICE AWARDS Mary Schempp-Berg, Dianne Tetreault & Agustin Martin: For their friendly and helpful attitude towards visiting OCC members
  • THE OCC QUALIFIER'S MUG James McCaughan: For his transatlantic passage as skipper of Seamogs, a family-owned Nicholson 48.

For more information, please visit the OCC website The awards will be presented to the winners at the OCC Annual Dinner, this year to be held at Plas Menai, North Wales on 6th April.

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