Each year, the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) recognises the outstanding achievements of blue water sailors and brings those achievements to the attention of the sailing community at large.

The 2015 winners were selected by the OCC awards sub-committee, which was composed of accomplished members representing multiple continents.

The OCC’s premiere award for members, the Barton Cup, for 2015 went to Michael Johnson, s/v Gitana, for his successful two-year transit of the Northwest Passage.

Sailing from Chesapeake Bay, VA to Nome, AK, this passage took place in a period that was particularly challenging due to ice conditions when many vessels attempting the Passage turned back. Michael is a prior recipient of the Barton Cup (1990) for his engineless E-W rounding of Cape Horn in 85 days.

Local residents look at damaged boats against a jetty in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Picture credit: UNICEF Pacific

Local residents look at damaged boats against a jetty in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Picture credit: UNICEF Pacific

The OCC Award of Merit, an award that may recognise either members or non-members, is shared among multiple members and the OCC Port Officer Representative who contributed exceptional efforts to assist the people of Vanuatu after the devastation caused by hurricane Pam. The recipients are:

  • Martin & Elizabeth Bevan on Caduceus
  • Brian Wallace & Sue Dracott on Darramy
  • Tom Partridge & Susie Plume on Adina
  • Jonathan & Donna Robinson on Chez Nous
  • Dennis & Sherry Day on Trillium
  • Sam & Jess Bell PORs Vanuatu
The OCC Award - Tom and Vicky Jackson

The OCC Award – Tom and Vicky Jackson

The OCC Award goes to Tom & Vicky Jackson s/v Sunstone for their many cruising and racing achievements, amounting to 34 years and almost 200,000 NM, aboard their 40’ Sparkman & Stephens designed, almost 50-year old sloop. They were recognized in 2007 with the OCC Barton Cup for their 80,000 mile circumnavigation, which included rounding of the five great capes. They have also just been named as recipients of the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal.

The Vasey Vase - John Valentine

The Vasey Vase – John Valentine

The Vasey Vase goes to Australian doctor John Vallentine, s/v Tainui, for a series of interesting and challenging voyages over a ten year period during which he devoted half of each year providing medical services to remote Aboriginal outstations in the western Australian deserts and the other half sailing mostly to cold climates and rugged isolated locations. In 2013, Tainui became the second foreign yacht to voyage from the White Sea through Russia and Ukraine to the Black Sea; John and his present crew, Maxine, have written a guide book to these waters being published in 2016.

The OCC Seamanship Award recognises Bob and Mona Jankowski, s/v Continuum, for the heroic rescue of Randy and Dawn Ortiz from s/v Nirvana Now taking on water in the Pacific. They motored more than 40 hours into strong wind and rough seas standing two-hour watches to enable radio contact with the stricken vessel. The situation was critical when Continuum arrived on scene, but a safe transfer was achieved via dinghy thanks to the seamanship of the crew.

Commodore John Franklin issued his personal congratulations to each of the winners and the impressive number of nominees. “This year posed a particularly difficult challenge for our judges who had to read through volumes of high quality submissions and reach consensus on individual selections,” he said.

Chairman of the OCC awards sub-committee Jenny Crickmore-Thompson added, “Not only were the choices difficult, reaching the winners proved challenging as so many of them are underway right now crossing oceans in remote regions of the world. Such is the nature of our global cruising community. We offer our congratulations to all.”

Additional award recipients announced include:

The OCC_Geoff Pack Memorial Trophy – Behan Gifford s-v Totem

Geoff Pack Memorial Trophy – Behan Gifford s/v Totem

The Geoff Pack Memorial Trophy which recognizes the person (member or non-member) who, by their writing, has done most to foster and encourage ocean cruising in yachts or other small craft, goes to Behan Gifford for her part in creating the first major resource for parents who sail with children.

Jester Medal – Rory McDougall s/v Cooking Fat

Rose Medal – Chris Cromey & Suzanne Hills s/v Whanake

Rambler Medal – Peter McCrea & Doug Theobolds s/v Panacea

Water Music Trophy – Mike Reynolds s/v Zen Again

Qualifiers Mug – Debi Dennis & Jack Markin s/v Iroquois

Port Officer Medal – (2) Oliver SoLanas Heinrichs (Fuerteventura), Donal McClement (Crosshaven)

David Wallis Trophy – Bill McLaren s/v Vagrant of Clyde

In addition, two regional awards recognised members in Australia and North America respectively:

Australian Trophy – Mark Morwood & Marta Portoles

Vertue Award – Sid & Rebecca Shaw


Admiral Mary Barton, with her husband Humphrey. Credit Ocean Cruising Club

Tribute to Admiral Mary Barton

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has paid tribute to its former Commodore, Admiral Mary Barton, who died on 1 December,…