Oldest, farthest, bravest: these are some of the superlatives describing the winners of 2013’s Cruising Club of America (CCA) Awards, presented at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, New York.
For its Blue Water Medal, the CCA selected Jeanne Socrates, who became the oldest woman to sail solo and non-stop around the world. Jeanne and her husband, George, completed their first Atlantic crossing in 1999, sailing from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean with the ARC. In Grenada that same winter, George was diagnosed with cancer; he passed away in March 2003.
Socrates, however, kept the couple’s sailing dreams alive, starting with her first attempt to solo-circumnavigate in 2007. Setting sail from Mexico, she made it nearly all the way around before her autopilot failed about 60 miles shy of crossing her outbound track. She tried again in 2010, from Victoria, British Columbia, but suffered a severe knockdown 100 miles west of Cape Horn and was forced to pull into Ushuaia, Argentina, for repairs.
Finally, in October 2012, Socrates cast off from Victoria and sailed all the way around, returning on July 8, 2013.
The CCA also awarded the Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship to Jean-Pierre Dick, in recognition of his completing the 2012-13 Vendée Globe after sailing without a keel for the last 2,650 miles of the solo non-stop around-the-world race. The Far Horizons Award went to Tom and Dorothy Wadlow for 18 years and 75,000 miles of cruising.
Matt Rutherford’s Pacific Project
In 2012, Matt Rutherford became the first person to sail singlehanded nonstop around the Americas. Then in 2013, he and former NOAA researcher Nicole Trenholm began the Ocean Research Project, with an eye toward proving that small-scale sustainable research efforts aboard small sailboats are a viable alternative to larger well-funded efforts aboard well-staffed vessels. To this end, they spent several months at sea aboard the 42-foot steel hulled ketch Ault, collecting data on the state of the North Atlantic.
Now Matt aims to be the first to complete a continent-to-continent marine debris survey, sailing from California to Japan while trailing a net to collect samples, which will be processed by University of Tokyo’s International Pellet Watch Program and the Baltimore Underground Science Space. The ultimate goal is to quantify the quantity of plastic currently polluting the ocean’s surface and discover how ocean-borne plastics threaten marine life and human health.
Rutherford and Trenholm will be sailing aboard a W.D. Schock Harbor 29, the latest design by W.D. Schock. They plan to take off in mid-April following the Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Oakland, California, so be sure to catch a sneak peak of the boat and wish them good luck if you’re there.