Cruising Club of America Announces Annual Award Winners
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has announced the winners of its prestigious annual awards, highlighting an extraordinary group of sailors who have shown perseverance, service, heroism and how time spent on the water can change your life.
In keeping with CCA’s long-standing motto, “Nowhere is too far,” nearly all of the winners have taken exceptional long-haul trips or circumnavigated the globe.
This includes winners of ACC Blue Water Medal, Ginger and Peter Niemannwho made their second circumnavigation of the globe in 2021 to return home from Turkey after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Curtis Green (Rod Stephens Seamanship Trophy) was on the dock of the family marine supply company in Charlestown, Oregon, when he observed a heavily laden fishing boat named Darean Rose run aground on a nearby shoal. The grounding nearly became a tragedy when the boat capsized on the shoal and began to sink. If not for Green’s extraordinary act of swimming, hammer in hand, and finally opening the wheelhouse windows, the trapped crew would certainly have drowned.
Matt Rutherford (Young Traveler Award) did not sail around the world, but circumnavigated North and South America single-handedly in a 27-foot boat and thus became captain of the smallest boat to transit the Northern Passage -Where is. Rutherford began to navigate past a difficult youth of drugs, rehab, prison and more. In the years that followed, he became a mission-driven sailor and adventurer, raising funds and awareness for programs ranging from accessibility to ocean pollution and climate change research in the highlands. latitudes.
Don and Sharry Stabbert, from Seattle and Honolulu, Hawaii (2021 Far Horizons Medal), were small-boat sailors who acquired a 77ft Northern Marine Trawler in 2000 and have now logged over 100,000 miles on its 400hp Cummins diesel engine alone. Aboard Starr, they made long circuits in the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and explored the Mediterranean. While operating and maintaining Starr themselves, they developed dozens of friendships and applied their problem-solving skills to a wide range of challenges such as upgrading a school’s computers and teaching and learning. equipping remote islanders to build fiberglass canoes.
Skip Novak (Royal Cruising Club Trophy) is a high-latitude sailor and mountaineer with few to no peers, having competed in four round-the-world races and led high-latitude expeditions every year since the late 1980s. In 2021, Novak sailed his sailboat Pelagic Australia cruise from Cape Town to Gough Island in the South Atlantic – a 2,400 mile voyage in support of a scientific expedition to eradicate an aggressive mouse population threatening the albatross and other species resident birds. The voyage was completed despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges of weather, location and sea state, but also despite strict quarantine and COVID lockdown rules.
The Stabbarts, Niemanns and Skip Novak are ACC members as well as awardees.
Four other club members who have sailed transatlantic and/or around the world are honored this year for their achievements of service and contribution.
Jim Chambers receives the Richard S. Nye Trophy for his long-standing service to the club in a number of roles, including influential roles as ACC Treasurer and service to Bermuda’s finance, nominating and racing committees.
Zdenka and Jack Griswold receive the Commodore’s Award for editing the Club’s Voyages magazine and raising what is typically a 200-page publication to an extraordinarily high standard.
Gretchen Dieck Biemesderfer receives the Charles H. Vilas literary prize for her elegant article in Voyages on the art of painting watercolors by Shearwater, the Mason 43 which she owns, sails and races with her husband.