THE MOST COVETED HONOR AMONG SMALL-BOAT VOYAGERS of the world, the Blue Water Medal of the Cruising Club of America has been awarded annually since 1923 to individuals and man-wife crews who through outstanding seamanship have exemplified the goals of the club. It is awarded to a recipient selected from all ama- teur yachtsmen of the world, whether or not they are members of the club. Indeed, most recipients have not been members. The medal itself is a five-inch diameter bronze circular medallion with a wooden base, depicting a stylized hemispherical map with inscriptions. It was designed by member Arthur Sturgis Hildebrand, one of the crew of the yacht Leiv Eiriksson which was lost in the Arctic with all hands in September 1924. The Leiv Eiriksson was a 42-foot Colin Archer cutter purchased in Norway by William Nutting and some fellow members of the CCA for a daring voyage along the great Viking way to Iceland, Greenland, and down along the North American continent. Nutting was in command, and the crew included John O. Todahl of New York, and B.J. Fleischer, a Norwegian yachtsman. They sailed on July 4, touched in at the Faroes, and arrived in Iceland on July 25. The last word of the ship was from Julianahaab in southwest Greenland. She was never seen again, despite an extensive search order by the Presi- dent of the United States, which included navy ships, the famous Captain Bob Bartlett in the Arctic schooner Effie M. Morrisey, as well as Canadian, Danish, and Norwegian rescue expeditions. The Hudson's Bay Company even broadcast on Christmas Eve to all its posts a notice of a $5,000 reward for information, which indi- cates the prestige, esteem, and influence this private cruising club generated even in its early years. The club was the brain-child of William Washburn Nutting, a midwesterner of great personal charm and energies, with no yachting experience whatever when he arrived in New York in about 1907 to begin a career as a writer and later editor of various yachting maga- zines, including Motor Boat(1). He subsequently was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and served on the famed 110-foot sub chasers of ~ 369 ~ World War I. In fact, many of the charter members of CCA were veterans of this service. In the fall of 1920, on a duck hunting trip to the Bras d'Or Lakes aboard Gilbert Grosvenor's 54-foot Elsie, Nutting and some pals con- ceived the idea of sailing a William Atkin gaff-ketch, Typhoon, across the Atlantic to England in time for the Cowes races and the Harms- worth Cup Races. During the Cowes festivities, Nutting's engaging personality created a warm welcome from British yachtsmen, and many friendships were begun with members of the Royal Cruising Club, including the famed Claud Worth, Tom Ratsey, and the Earl of Dunraven, owner of the America's Cup challenger, Valkynes. Members of the British cruising club, who had been awarded its coveted Seamanship Award, were Lieutenant G. H. P. Mulhauser of Amaryllis and Conor O'Brien of Saoirse. On August 31, Nutting sailed Typhoon back to the United States with a crew that included a young Sea Scout master named Uffa Fox, who was to become a renowned British naval architect. The return trip was made via the Azores and the West Indies, and a boisterous one it was. The Typhoon was a shambles of wreckage and out of food and water by the time it reached Gravesend Bay. During the winter of 1921-1922, Nutting and a group of yachting cronies, who gathered frequently at a cellar cafe known as Beefsteak John's on Grove Street, Greenwich Village, to talk yachts and cruis- ing, formed the nucleus of the club which was formalized at a dinner meeting on February 9, 1922. A second meeting at the Harvard Club on March 22 was held to establish the original rules. The new CCA was patterned after the RCA. The thirty-six charter members included such well-known yachts- men as John Alden, Frederic Fenger, Gilbert Grosvenor, Herbert L. Stone, Thomas Fleming Day, and W. P. Stephens. From the first, the club concerned itself with both ocean racing and cruising at a time when the public and most newspapers regarded both as foolhardy antics of the wealthy sportsman. The revival of the Bermuda Race and the establishment of rules for both racing and cruising events are credited to the club. The idea of the Blue Water Medal was put forth by Henry A. Wise Wood in a committee report of February 27, 1923, "to be awarded annually for the year's most meritorious example of seaman- ship, the recipient to be selected from among the amateurs of all the nations. The medal itself was the work of Hildebrand, a freelance ~ 370 ~ writer and early member, who was to lose his life the same year the first award was made. According to the late John Parkinson, Jr., it was ironic that the first one should go to Alain Gerbault, the French iconoclast, who bum- bled across the Atlantic in Firecrest. "Today," wrote Parkinson in Nowhere Is Too Far (New York: Cruising Club of America, 1960), "well-executed ocean crossings in small vessels are quite frequent, and Gerbault would not even be considered for a Blue Water Medal." 1923 Firecrest Alain J. Gerbault France Left Gibraltar on June 7, 1923, and arrived at Fort Totten, L.I., exactly 100 days later. Nonstop. Dixon Kemp-de- signed British cutter, 39 feet oa. Singlehanded. 1924 Shanghai Axel Ingwersen Denmark Departed Shanghai on February 20, 1923, and arrived in Denmark via Cape of Good Hope in MaY 1924. Double- ended ketch, 47 feet oa, built by native laborers. Crew of three. 1925 Islander Harry Pidgeon U.S.A. First circumnavigation. From Los Angeles to Los Angeles via Cape of Good Hope and Panama Canal, November 18, 1921-October 31, 1925. Home-built 34-foot-oa yawl of the Sea Bird type. Singlehanded. 1926 Jolie Brise E. G. Martin England Double transatlantic crossing, including Bermuda Race. Le Havre pilot cutter, 56 feet oa. April 3, 1926, from Fal- mouth, arrived July 27 at Plymouth. 1927 Primrose IV Frederick L. Ames U.S.A. This 50-foot-oa Alden schooner had been sailed to Eng- land for the 1926 Fastnet. Medal was awarded for her re- turn passage, from Portsmouth, north-about, Iceland, Labrador Cape Breton Island, 58 days to Newport, R.I. 1928 Seven Bells Thomas F. Cooke U.S.A. An eastbound transatlantic passage, Branford, Conn., to Falmouth, July 5-July 31, 1928. Roue-designed 56-foot-oa ketch. ==== 371 ==== 1929 Postscript F. Slade Dale U.S.A. A 4,000-mile cruise in the West Indies with a crew of two, from and to Barnegat Bay, N.J. The 23-foot-oa cutter, de- signed by the owner, was subsequently lost with all hands under different ownership. 1930 Carlsark Carl Weagent U.S.A. A 13,000-mile cruise of this 46-foot-oa ketch from Ithaca, N.Y., to Ithaca, Greece, and return to New York City. Started June 20, 1929, completed May 30, 1930. 1931 Svaap William A. Robinson U.S.A. This 32-foot 6-inch oa Alden ketch departed New London on June 23, 1928, in the Bermuda Race of that year, and circumnavigated via Panama and Suez Canals with crew of two, except for a period of race. Arrived New York on September 24, 1931. Without Jolie Brise Robert Somerset England Date Award for remarkable feat of seamanship and courage in rescuing all but one of a ll-man crew of burning schooner Adriana in the 1932 Bermuda Race. 1933 Dorade Roderick Stephens, Jr. U.S.A. A three-month, 8,000-mile transatlantic crossing from New York to Norway and return, including victory in the Fast- net Race. The 52-foot 3-inch oa Stephens-designed yawl returned home from England by the northern route in the remarkable time of 26 days. 1934 May L W. B. Reese England A singlehanded passage in a small double-ended ketch from England in the fall of 1933 to Nassau in January 1934. 1935 Charles F. Tillinghast U.S.A. "For his seamanship in the effort to save three members of the crew of the Hamrah who were overboard in the North Atlantic, and in bringing the disabled and short- handed ketch safely into Sydney, N.S." ===== 372===== 1936 Arielle Marin-Marie France A singlehanded transatlantic passage in a 42-foot 7-inch oa motorboat (July 23-August 10, 1936) with two self-steer- ing devices. Marie had sailed on the cutter Winnibelle II (without power) from Brest to New York in 1933. 1937 Duckling Charles W. Atwater U.S.A. A voyage from New York to Reykiavik, Iceland, and return to Newport via Trepassey, Newfoundland, June 19-August 26, 1937. A 37.5-foot oa Mower cutter. Without Igdrasil Roger S.Strout U.S.A. Date Circumnavigation in a Spray-type cutter (eventually rigged as a yawl) designed and built by owner. He and his wife circumnavigated via Panama and Cape between June 1934 and May 1937. 1938 Caplin Cdr. Robert D. Graham, Royal Navy England Bantry Bay, Ireland, to Funchal and Bermuda between April 20 and June 27, 1938, and then to West Indies. Graham's daughter completed the crew of two in 35-foot- oa yawl. 1939 Iris John Martucci U.S.A. An 11,000-mile cruise from New York to Naples and re- turn in a 36-foot-oa MacCregor yawl. The return home including a nonstop, 35-day run from Tangiers to Ber- muda, was made after outbreak of World War II. 1940 British Yachtsmen at Dunkerque England Awarded to British yachtsmen, living and dead, who had helped in the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force in June 1940. 1941 Orion Robert Neilson U.S.A. Orion was a 30-foot auxiliary ketch of 10-foot beam and 4Y2 foot draft designed by John G. Hanna. On June 5, 1941, Neilson and one companion sailed from Honolulu and arrived San Pedro, Calif., on July 15. The medal was awarded for this passage, and Orion subsequently carried on through the Panama Canal to Tampa, Florida a total distance of 7,978 miles. ====373==== 1947 Gaucho Ernesto C. Uriburu Argentina A cruise in a 50-foot ketch from Buenos Aires through the Mediterranean and to the Suez Canal and then to New York, following Columbus's route from Palos, Spain, to San Salvador. 1950 Lang Syne William P. and Phyllis Crowe U.S A. From Honolulu around the Cape to New England, from Easter Sunday, 1948, to the spring of 1950. After the award, the 39-foot-oa, home-built Block Island-type double- ended schooner completed her circumnavigation to Hawaii. 1952 Stornoway Alfred Petersen U.S.A. A circumnavigation from and to New York via the two major canals in a 33-foot double-ended cutter. Single- handed, June 1948 - August 18, 1952. 1953 Omoo L. G. Van de Wiele Belgium A circumnavigation by owner, wife, and one other, plus dog, from Nice, France, to Zeebruene, Belaium, July 7, 1951-August 2, 1953, via Canal and CaPe of Good Hope. Steel 45-foot-oa gaff-rigged ketch. Said to be first steel yacht and first dog to circumnavigate. 1954 Viking Sten and Brita Holmdahl Sweden A circumnavigation by Canal and Cape of Good Hope by owner and wife from Marstrand to Gothenburg, Sweden, between June 17, 1952, and June 22, 1954. A double-ended 33-foot ketch converted by owner and wife from a fishing boat. 1955 Wanderer III Eric and Susan Hiscock England Circumnavigation by Canal and Cape of Good Hope by owner and wife, July 24, 1952-July 13, 1955, in a 30-foot Giles-designed cutter. 1956 Mischief H. W. Tilman England A 20,000-mile voyage of the 50-year-old Bristol pilot cutter from England through Strait of Magellan, up west coast of South America, through Panama Canal and return to England, July 6, 1955-July 10, 1956. ====374==== Without Carleton Mitchell U.S.A. Date "For his meritorious ocean passages, his sterling seaman- ship and his advancement of the sport by counsel and example." 1957 Landfall II Dr. William F. Holcomb U.S.A. Circumnavigation west-about from San Francisco of Schock-designed 46-foot 6-inch oa schooner via the Suez and Panama canals, with side trips to South America, Eng- land, North Africa, and New York. September 18, 1953- September 15, 1957. 1958 Les Quatre Vents Marcel Bardiaux France Singlehanded circumnavigation west-about around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope in home-built sloop, 30-foot 9-inches oa. From Ouistreham, France, May 24, 1950 to Arcachon, France, July 25, 1958. 1959 Trekka John Guzzwell Canada Singlehanded circumnavigation in home-built yawl 20-foot 10-inches oa via the Cape of Good Hope and the Panama Canal. From Victoria, B.C., to Victoria, September 10, 1955-September 10, 1959. Without Legh I, Legh II, Sirio Vito Dumas Argentina Date Global circumnavigation in Legh II, 1942-1943. Other phenomenal singlehanded voyages in Legh 1, 1931-1932; Legh II, 1945-1947; Sirio, 1955. 1960 Gipsy Moth III Francis Chichester England Winner of the first Singlehanded Race across the Atlantic in 1960, from east to west across the Atlantic. Without Seacrest Dr. Paul B. Sheldon U.S.A. Date Extended cruises along the coasts of Nova Scotia, New- foundland, and Labrador. 1962 Adios Thomas S. Steele U.S.A. Two circumnavigations in a 32-foot ketch; one in 195N 1955, the other in 1957-1963. ====375==== 1964 Pen-Duick III Eric Tabarly France Winner of the second Singlehanded Race across the At- lantic from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I., in 27 days, I hour, 56 minutes. 1965 Delight Wright Britton U.S.A. From New York to Greenland and return with his wife, Patricia, as sole crew. 1966 Joshua Bernard Moitessier France From Moorea, west to east, around Cape Horn to Alicante, Spain. His wife, Francoise, was sole crew. 1967 Gipsy Moth IV Sir Francis Chichester England Singlehanded passage around the world via the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. Stopping only at Sydnev, Australia, the distance was 29,630 miXes for the whole voyage. 1968 Lively Lady Sir Alec Rose England Singlehanded circumnavigation of the world with stops only at Melbourne, Australia, and Bluff, New Zealand. He departed Portsmouth, England, July 16, 1967, and returned to that port on July 4, 1968. 1969 No award was made. 1970 Elsie Frank Casper U.S.A. Extended singlehanded cruising, including one circum- navigation and numerous transatlantic passages. 1970 Carina Richard S. Nye U.S.A. For meritorious cruising and ocean racing. 1971 Whisper Hal Roth U.S.A. For an 18,538-mile voyage around the Pacific basin in the Spencer 35 fiberglass sloop, with his wife, Margaret, as crew. The 19-month cruise started at San Francisco and covered a route never before taken by a cruising sailboat, arriving back in San Francisco in October 1970. ====376==== 1972 Awahnee II Robert Lyle Griffith U.S.A For his three circumnavigations witll his wife, Nancy, and son, Reid, the first in the Uffa Fox-designed cutter, Awahnee I, which was lost on a reef in the Tuamotus while engaged in a rescue mission for a missing American yacht; and the second and third in their home-built ferro- cement cutter, a modified version of Awahnee 1. The first circumnavigation was east to west around the Horn and Cape of Good Hope; the second was east-about via the Capes and Japan; and the third, a 12,800-mile voyage in the high southern latitudes around the Antarctic con- tinent from Bluff, New Zealand, with time spent in port at American, Russian, English, Chilean, and Argentine scientific stations. 1973 Tzu Hang Miles and Beryl Smeeton Canada For outstanding performance in cruising and for meri- torious seamanship. The Smeetons cruised to almost every area of the globe in the period from 1955 to 1970 in their 45-foot ketch, Tzu Hang. Of the Blue Water Medals awarded to date, twelve have been for singlehanded voyages. There have been sixteen ketches, eleven cut- ters, six yawls, three sloops, three schooners, and one motorboat named in the citations. Recipients have included twenty-four Ameri- cans, nine Britons, two Canadians, six Frenchmen, one Dane, one Swede, one Belgian and two Argentines. Two of the awards have been for heroism: the British Yachtsmen at Dunkerque; and the rescue of the crew of Adriana by the Jolie Brise. One man, Francis Chichester, received the award twice. One boat, the Jolie Brise, was cited twice. In five instances, the award was made without date. Although the award was originally intended to be given annually, no award was made in 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1963, 1969. Two awards were made in 1970. Beginning in 1950, a series of awards were made jointly to man-wife crews before reverting back to the single recipient award. Of all the awards, fourteen have included circumnavigations via the Cape of Good Hope, seven via Cape Horn, three via Suez Canal; seven have been for Atlantic crossings, two westbound and four east- bound; five for Atlantic cruises, three for a Pacific cruise, one for a China to Copenhagen voyage. In two cases, the award named the recipient instead of a vessel, Charles F. Tillinghast in 1935 for heroism; and the famed bluewater ====377==== sailor, Carleton Mitchell, between 1956 and 1957, just on general principles, as he had been a nominee many times, but always lost out to something more spectacular that year. Two of the awards were made to persons and vessels, the Hiscocks on Wanderer III and Tom Steele on Adios, who had circumnavigated twice (although Jean Gau, the Frenchman-American in Atom, the sister ship to Adios, also circumnavigated twice and was never a recipient). In at least one instance, Dr. Robert Griffith, three circumnavigations were made. Trekka was the smallest vessel to receive the award and the first Canadian vessel to circumnavigate. There have been some curious omissions in the naming of the awards, for reasons best-known to the CCA committee and board. Dwight Long, who completed a circumnavigation just prior to World War II, and at the time was the youngest to do so, did not get the coveted citation, which was given to what seem today lesser voyages such as those of the Tahiti-ketch Orion, and the yawl Ins, or the Caplin, or Duckling. But obviously the judges had good reasons, as they had in passing up the sixteen-year-old solo circumnavigator Robin Lee Graham. In one instance, the Argentinian solo sailor, Vito Dumas, probably one of the most deserving, caught up with the awards posthumously in 1960 (without date) for his multiple voyages in three different vessels. He was, however, beat out of the honor of being the first Argentinian to receive it by Uriburu on Gaucho, a later and lesser achievement. Miles and Beryl Smeeton of Tzu Hang fame finally were honored by the awards committee, their voyages having covered 15 postwar years on all oceans, and having included one circumnavigation and three attempts at Cape Horn, two of which resulted in the incredible capsizings which they survived through rare displays of courage and seamanship. The competition for the prestigious award has become in the 1970s as keen as any, including the Nobel, Pulitzer, and Oscar all rolled into one. Bluewater voyaging has come a long way since Alain Gerbault blundered across the Atlantic in one hundred days, and the number of modern yachts happily voyaging to all parts of the world has proliferated like cars on the Hollywood Freeway. It has become increasingly difficult to find new worlds to challenge. The British captured the solo singlehanded circumnavigation feats, including the difficult west-about route. The route along the Roaring Forties south of the three capes has long since been done. Dr. Robert Griffith in ====378=== Awahnee II grabbed off the circumnavigation of the Antarctic via Captain James Cook's route. He was followed by Dr. David Lewis, who at this writing was attempting it alone. The Pacific Rim route, clockwise, was done by both Stornoway and Al and Marjorie Peter- sen; and Whisper, with Hal and Margaret Roth. About the only spectacular challenges left to amateur voyagers are a circumnavigation of the North American continent and the as yet unexplored realm of private yachting in submarines. ====379====
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