Cruising Club of America award

Great American II skipper Richard Wilson honoured

Thursday January 20th 2005, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: United Kingdom
Former Boston school teacher, lecturer and skilled ocean skipper Richard Wilson of Rockport, Mass., received the Cruising Club of America’s (CCA) prestigious Blue Water Medal at the club’s annual Awards Dinner in New York on January 18. The award was made for a series of three voyages Wilson made between 1993 and 2003 in his 53’ trimaran Great American II, to equal or beat the record passages of famous 19th century clippers. His successful attempts were notable for the thoroughness of his preparations, the skilled but conservative way he sailed his vessel and the educational component he was able to develop for over 250,000 children who tracked his progress.

The Blue Water Medal was inaugurated by the Cruising Club of America in 1923 to "reward meritorious seamanship and adventure upon the sea displayed by amateur sailors of all nationalities, that might otherwise go unrecognized." Blue Water Medallists have included such luminaries of the cruising sailing world as Rod Stephens, Eric and Susan Hiscock, Sir Francis Chichester, Eric Tabarly, Pete Goss and Bernard Moitessier.

"I love being at sea," said Wilson. "It stretches you to new limits, both intellectually, emotionally, and physically. You see glorious sights: whales, flying fish, the Aurora Australis, and soaring albatross. It is a perfect teaching vehicle – you hook the kids with the excitement of the adventure, and then you can teach them science, math, geography, history, decision-making, perseverance, and teamwork. Teaching kids from far at sea has been the best and highest use of me as a resource. And to have the CCA recognize my efforts is an ultimate honor, because CCA’s members have sailed so many, many blue water miles, and they know and love the sea."

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