Dustin Reynolds has won the Ocean Cruising Club's top award after he became the first dual amputee to circumnavigate the world solo

The Ocean Cruising Club has awarded Dustin Reynolds with its premier award, the Barton Cup.

The prize salutes an exceptional or challenging voyage or series of voyages, and previous recipients have included Jeanne Socrates, Randall Reeves, Susanne Huber-Curphey and The Rev Bob Shepton.

Dustin, who lost his left arm and part of his leg in 2008 after he was hit by a drunk driver, took seven-and-a-half years to circumnavigate the globe solo, via the Panama Canal. He started and finished in Kona, Hawaii. He also took a side-trip to Antarctica aboard a friend’s 38 footer.

Dustin had little sailing experience or money when he started his circumnavigation in his 1968 Alberg 35 sloop, Rudis.

Dustin Reynolds has sailed more than 35,000 miles and been to 36 countries

Dustin Reynolds has sailed more than 35,000 miles and been to 36 countries. Credit: Dustin Reynolds

By the time he reached Thailand the boat was falling apart and, after a successful Crowdfunding campaign, he bought the 1983 Bristol 35.5, Tiama to continue his voyage.

Dustin’s boat is extremely low-tech, with no electric winches or other gismos to make his sailing easier.

In fact, prior to the Royal Cape Yacht Club presenting him with a self-tailing winch in early 2019, he lacked even this basic piece of kit.

Dustin was a recipient of the Ocean Cruising Club Challenge Grant and in 2018 was recognised with the Ocean Cruising Club Seamanship Award.

The Ocean Cruising Club Seamanship Award for 2021 has been awarded to George Arnison and Duncan Lougee in recognition of their outstanding seamanship during their first ocean passage in the 2021 Jester Azores Challenge.

Duncan Lougee in Minke, a 25ft Folkboat, and George Arnison in Good Report, a 30ft wooden sloop, were sailing from Plymouth to the Azores as part of the 2021 Jester Challenge when damage to Minke resulted in a remarkable display of self-reliance and seamanship by the two singlehanded sailors.

George Arnison, the skipper of the 30ft wooden sloop, Good Report has received the Ocean Cruising Club Seamanship Award. Credit: John Willis

George Arnison, the skipper of the 30ft wooden sloop, Good Report has received the Ocean Cruising Club Seamanship Award. Credit: John Willis

Some 400 miles from Terceria, George received a satellite message from Roger Taylor, the Jester ‘Helm’, asking if he could go to the assistance of Duncan Lougee in Minke, whose rudder had become detached from his boat.

George, 40 miles to leeward, immediately came about and in strong winds started the long beat to windward in search of the crippled boat.

Conditions deteriorated and George experienced his own problems  – the genoa furling line broke and had to be replaced with the storm jib.  The weather was so bad that George had, at times, to heave-to in gale force conditions.

After a couple of days, George reached the other boat.

Minke‘s skipper Duncan had already rigged an emergency rudder and the two boats continued onwards towards Terceria, with George jury rigging his genoa so the boats could sail at the same speed.

When Minke’s emergency rudder failed, George stood by whilst Duncan balanced the sail plan to sail in the right direction. With Minke struggling to maintain a reasonable course, the two men set up a towing system.

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The two skippers adapted their tactics for the next 11 days – sometimes sailing separately, sometimes towing – and had to endure heavy weather including a Force 9 gale, before crossing the finish line at Pria da Vitoria, Terceria.

The Ocean Cruising Club Award has two components – one rewards members who contribute valuable services to the club and the other for anyone who contributes extraordinary service to the cruising community at large.

This year, the club recognised the extraordinary service of Team South Pacific 2020: Juan Boschetti, Liz Back, Cynthia Rasch, John and Lyn Martin, John Hembrow, Viki Moore, and Sue Richards.

The team was instrumental in supporting yachts caught in COVID-19 limbo across the Pacific in 2020.

The late multihull designer, James Wharram has been presented posthumously with the Ocean Cruising Club Lifetime Cruising Award.

James Wharram dedicated his life to to proving the Polynesian double canoe was an ocean worthy craft. Credit: James Wharram Designs

James Wharram dedicated his life to to proving the Polynesian double canoe was an ocean worthy craft. Credit: James Wharram Designs

Considered by many as the father of modern multihull cruising, the free-spirited sailor and designer specialised in double-canoe style sailing catamarans, inspired by the Polynesian double canoe.

He proved the seaworthiness of the multihull after crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran in 1955 and again in 1956 from New York to Ireland –  the first ever North Atlantic West-to-East crossing by multihull.

He went on to design for self-builders in 1965. Along with his partners Ruth Merseburger and Hanneke Boon, he created distinctive V-hull double-ended catamarans, from 13ft to over 60ft, selling more than 10,000 sets of plans.

The Ocean Cruising Club Jester Award winner for 2021 is Katie McCabe, who at the age of 14, circumnavigated solo anticlockwise around Britain on her 26ft Morgan Giles.

Katie McCabe sailing Falanda

At 14, Katie McCabe took the unofficial record for the youngest sailor to circumnavigate Britain from Timothy Long, who was supportive of her challenge. Credit: Tom Hurley

She took the mantle of the youngest person to sail around Britain from Timothy Long.

New for 2021 was the presentation of the Ocean Cruising Club Environment Award.

It has been presented to Americans Richard and Stephanie Hackett who started and run an NGO based in the Pacific region called Sea Mercy.

Sea Mercy, whose motto is ‘Sailing with a higher purpose’, organises private yachts to deliver humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the island nations of the South Pacific.

The volunteers have helped rebuild communities after destructive cyclones and have instituted many programmes whereby the islanders can support themselves over the long term after a natural disaster.

Sea Mercy has also created an ecologically safe and cost-effective solution for disaster response providers to provide clean fresh water. The Sea Mercy All-purpose Rainwater Tarp (SMART), designed & produced for them by DRIFTA Camping & 4wd, takes about 30 minutes to set up and costs about $1200 USD.

Each SMART kit can store over 500 litres of clean water for drinking (41 days’ supply of water for a family of 4).

The tarp area provides over 10 square metres of water catchment capacity and as little as little as 13 mms of rain (1/2 inch) can collect and store over 110 litres of drinking water.

The Vasey Vase recognises an unusual or exploratory voyage made by an OCC member or members and, for 2021 is awarded to Ginger and Peter Nieman.

Peter and Ginger recently finished their second circumnavigation, this one eastabout.

Their first was westabout via all southern capes.

It included the North-West Passage, then down to the US coast to Florida, across the Atlantic, around the UK and the Mediterranean, and through the Suez.

Then they ventured across the northern Indian Ocean, where they were finally allowed to stop in Singapore, although they could not go ashore for months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Finally, they headed north to cruise Japan, across to Alaska, and back down to the Pacific northwest coast.

Additional awards presented for 2021 include:

OCC Qualifier’s Mug to James Frederick
OCC Port Officer Service Award to Natasha Wolmarans, Port Officer Representative, Richards Bay, South Africa and Westbrook Murphy, Port Officer, Annapolis, MD
OCC Events & Rallies to Colin Cambell and John Head for the West Country Meet
OCC David Wallis Trophy for 2021 to Graham and Avril Johnson for their excellent article Full Circle.

Earlier this year, the Vertue Award, a regional US award, was presented to Moira & Dick Bentzel. The Australian Trophy went to Barry Lewis for an Australia to Australia circumnavigation.

Enjoyed reading Ocean Cruising Club: Awards for 2021?

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