The Ocean Cruising Club’s prestigious awards for cruising achievements have been announced

The Ocean Cruising Club’s top award, The OCC Barton Cup, has been awarded to Dustin Reynolds as he became the first double amputee to circumnavigate the globe solo.

Reynolds lost his left arm and leg in a motorbike accident in 2008 after he was hit by a drunk driver. Only six years later he boarded his Alberg 35 sloop, Rudis in Hawaii and set off around the world.

In Thailand Reynolds had to admit his yacht wasn’t up to the challenge and would need to be replaced if he wanted to continue in his circumnavigation. With some cajoling from friends and a successful crowdfunding campaign Dustin purchased the 1983 Bristol, Tiama and continued his adventure.

When Reynolds began his voyage he had very little money or experience. He taught himself to sail from YouTube videos and scraped together $12,000 for his first yacht.

Just to add to the difficulty of Reynolds’ adventure both his yachts were extremely low tech with no electric winches and lacking even a self-tailing winch until 2019 when one was gifted to him.

When asked how he manages to sail one handed on such a low tech boat he said: “I use my teeth a lot”.

The OCC Seamanship Award

OCC winners Minke in tow from the Good Report

Minke in tow from the Good Report. Photo: OCC

The OCC Seamanship Award went to George Arnison on Good Report and Duncan Lougee on Minke in recognition of their outstanding seamanship during their first ocean passage in the 2021 Jester Azores Challenge.

Duncan Lougee, sailing a 25ft Folkboat, Minke, and George Arnison in a 30ft wooden sloop Good Report, 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 single-handed sailors.

Four hundred miles from Terceria, George Arnison received a message from the Jester ‘Helm’ (Roger Taylor) asking if he could go to the assistance of Duncan Lougee on Minke.

Arnison, aboard Good Report was 40 miles to leeward and immediately came about in strong winds and started the long beat to windward in search of the crippled boat.

Finding the stricken Minke with a failed rudder, George Arnison set about towing the 25ft Folkboat but Good Report suffered its own technical issues with its genoa furling line parting.

With a storm jib and a jury rigged rudder the two boats helped each other limp home over the next 11 days, even enduring a Force 9 gale on the way, before finally crossing the finish line in Pria da Vitoria.

The OCC Award

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

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

OCC winner Viki Moore

New Zealand based Viki Moore from Team South Pacific. Photo: OCC

Team South Pacific 2020 pooled their talents and resources in order to get as many sailors home as possible during the travel restrictions enforced during the 2020 global lockdown.

The OCC Lifetime Cruising Award

OCC winner James Wharram

James Wharram. Photo: OCC

The OCC Lifetime Cruising Award 2021 was presented posthumously to the man many consider the father of multihull cruising James Wharram who passed away at the age of 93 in December of 2021.

James Wharram spent his life designing and improving catamarans, based on classic Polynesian designs and proving they were ocean worthy craft. A fact so obvious now but at the time seen as dangerously controversial.

Wharram was a lover of life and wrote several books about his adventures such as “Two Girls Two Catamarans” (1968) and “People of the Sea” (2020).

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The OCC Environment Award: Richard & Stephanie Hackett

This is a new award for this year’s OCC and goes to Richard & Stephanie Hackett and their 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.

Additional awards presented for 2021 include:

OCC winner Katie McCabe

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

  • OCC Jester Award to Katie McCabe.
  • 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. Amongst Flying Fish’s most regular contributors, this was their 20th and final submission since setting off on a (very) leisurely circumnavigation in 2002.

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