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CCA presents 2019 sailing awards

May 1, 2020
Guirec Soudée with his hen, Monique.

Guirec Soudée with his hen, Monique.

Jean-Philippe Meriglier/Courtesy CCA

On March 6, the Cruising Club of America presented its 2019 sailing awards at the New York Yacht Club in New York City. French, Irish and American sailors were honored for outstanding achievements in their sailing exploits.

French sailor Guirec Soudée from Brittany, France, was presented with the Young Voyager Award. Soudée completed a five-year voyage, starting at age 21, that included the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Northwest Passage, wintering over in the ice of Greenland and visiting Antarctica. After receiving the award, Soudée said he wasn’t a good sailor when he started out, and further claimed that after 45,000 miles he still doesn’t consider himself very good. “I’ve learned to never give up, to work hard and to have confidence,” Soudée said. “Life is short. Anything can happen, so you have to make it a happy life.” One of the more unusual aspects of Soudée’s five-year voyage is that he was accompanied on board by his pet hen, Monique.

Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin. 

SkyBG/Courtesy CCA

Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin of Dublin, Ireland, was given the Rod Stephens Seamanship Trophy for the attempted rescue in the Southern Ocean of a fellow Golden Globe Race competitor, after himself being dismasted and erecting a jury-rig. He referenced the “unwritten understanding that when one of us gets into difficulty, we know there is a whole group of people who will have our back out there.” McGuckin said his rescue attempt was not unusual for ocean sailors who are united by a love of sailing. “I just happened to be in this situation and have no doubt that anyone else in my situation would have done the exact same thing.”

French solo racer Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race.

Christophe Favreau/Courtesy CCA

Noted French solo sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, was named as the 2019 recipient of CCA’s esteemed Blue Water Medal in honor of his achievements in single-handed sailing. The six-time solo circumnavigator was unable to travel to New York to accept his award, but the CCA has invited him to next year’s ceremony to receive his award in person.

Other awards included the Richard S. Nye Trophy for Sheila McCurdy of Middletown, R.I.; the Far Horizons Award, given to Peter and Ginger Niemann of Seattle; the Royal Cruising Club Trophy, presented to Stephen W. James of Palm City, Fla.; and the Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize, awarded to mother and son pair Molly and Porter Barnes of Los Olivos, Calif.

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