Rambler Medal Winners
The Rambler Medal
Awarded for the most challenging short voyage made by a member or members. (NB: The Club's definition of a 'short voyage' is extremely flexible!)
Steve Brown - s/v Novara - For his passage from Maine, USA to Kodiak, Alaska which took 3½ months, almost half of it hand steering in , during a particularly difficult year in the NW Passage
Stephen Brown was the CEO of manufacturing businesses for over 20 years. He "retired" in 2006.
With over 45,00nm logged, Steve is no longer sure if he is a climber that sails or a sailor that climbs!
First ascents in the Himalaya, Tien Shan and Antarctica...
6 years Mediterranean cruising including Spain to Turkey in 2007.
Antarctic Peninsula 2007
4 yr circumnavigation with his wife, 2008 to 2012.
Northwest Passage in 2014.
For more information, visit Steve's website www.sy-novara.com.
Richard Hudson – s/v Issuma - For a voyage through the Northwest Passage shorthanded
The award recognizes Richard’s 2011-2012 voyage through the Northwest Passage from Cartwright, Labrador to Victoria, B.C. in the 50 foot steel staysail schooner Issuma. Richard had to abandon an earlier attempt in 2010 when he almost lost the mast due to rigging failure in the Labrador Sea and had to return to Cartwright and then New York for repairs. Issuma left Cartwright on July 24, 2011 with a crew of two, one a Merchant Marine Officer and the other a 20-year-old from Victoria B.C.
Although they were late in the season, having been held up for three weeks in Cartwright waiting for engine parts, the light ice conditions in 2011 allowed for a fast passage. They cleared into Canada at Cambridge Bay and made two more stops in the Canadian Arctic before rounding Cape Barrow and entering the Bering Sea. His crew left Richard in Kodiak and Richard sailed solo across the Gulf of Alaska to Yakutat, Alaska and then to Sitka where he spent the winter. In the spring Richard sailed solo down to Victoria arriving May 1, 2012 topping off the challenge with a voyage successfully completed.
The fact that he persevered in his quest and succeeded with a short-handed crew demonstrates his capabilities in the face of challenge.
Jim and Kate Thomsen - ‘Tenaya’ HR40 For their Pacific island cruising experience.
Kate writes, “Jim and I are happy as clams on our floating home, whether we are crossing oceans or anchored in the South Pacific exploring French Polynesian islands. We love this life!” www.tenayatravels.com
Our goals while cruising are two fold, to increase our sailing skills and to delve deeply into the communities we visit. 2012 was a success as we circumnavigated New Zealand and helped people in Vanuatu with various projects from fixing sewing machines so ladies could continue making a living, to taking and distributing photos allowing families to have portraits for the first time ever, to creating a website to help the fledgling tourism industry by promoting various bungalows. Inviting women on board to bake a cake was a thrill for everyone. We encourage others to engage local people and find ways to repay their hospitality.
We enjoy helping people on the remote islands we visit and encourage others to do what they can. We all have skills and our yachts are floating workshops parked in their harbour.
Mike and Helen Norris collected their well-deserved award for their 103-day circumnavigation of Great Britain and Ireland, described in a splendid and well-illustrated article which appeared in Flying Fish 2011/2.
They decided to make the cruise because, after two Atlantic circuits, they felt that they ‘knew some of the Caribbean islands better than much of our own coastline’.
But, as Mike pointed out, there is so much to see that they might have to do it again!
Mike and Liz Taylor-Jones - Yacht - ‘Rampage’ – 43’ Bermudan yawl built 1961
For their voyage to Norway’s north cape and the wonderful log that was published in Flying Fish FF 2010/1
The seeds of this voyage were sown in 1961 when Mike, in his ‘gap year’, sailed to Greenland with the mountaineer and explorer H W Tilman. Greenland’s magnificent ice cap, mountains, glaciers and fjords left an indelible impression on Mike, who always dreamed of making another similar voyage. However by the time they had retired and had bought Rampage in 2001 they were setting their sights somewhat lower and cruised to Spain, the west coast of Sweden and all round the British Isles. But the lure of the North was still strong. The only Arctic scenery within the scope of a normal summer cruise seemed to be Norway, so they sailed Rampage there in 2009.
Steve Pickard collected his well-deserved award for his voyage from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean aboard his ageing Westerly Conway, Samharcin. Steve described the ease with which he bought the boat via the internet completely unseen, and then the reality of arriving on board to discover the nightmare of a task to make her seaworthy. He achieved this and more, as related in Recession-proof Ocean Cruising in Flying Fish 2009/2. Members were reminded of Steve’s words in that account: ‘all you need to sail the oceans is a boat where the mast stays up and the keel and rudder stay attached. The sails should not blow out and there should be windvane self-steering. All else is luxury’.
Once again the OCC has redefined the term ‘short’, awarding the Rambler Medal to Bill Marden for his singlehanded 4000 mile voyage from the Azores to Barbados via the Cape Verde Islands aboard his 52ft cutter Fancy Free – at the age of 85!
Bill made a point of completing the voyage in as simple a manner as possible with no self-steering devices, a minimum of sail, no bottled water, no soft drinks, no beer, no pills and no bread. One hot meal a day sufficed, based on rice, cornmeal, flour and fresh eggs and making pancakes in place of bread. After experiencing 60–70 knot winds, losing the wind generator rotors and the bilge pump, dealing with a blown out jib and a fouled propeller, and watching 100 of his fresh eggs crash to the floor, Bill reached Barbados after 40 days at sea. Bill’s account of the voyage appeared in Flying Fish 2008/1 under the title Once was Enough.
Jem Tetley (Carte Blanche 36’) – at the age of 76 and a broken leg in plaster he took part in his 4th AZAB, double-handed, doing quite well on the first leg to the Azores. He reached there in 9 days after encountering a severe gale of Force 9 and then, within a mile of the finish, the wind dropped to nothing and his crew dislocated his elbow. The return trip was quite eventful with self-steering gear failures, fog, some spinnaker runs and a Force 6 on the nose until about 500 miles to go when a fellow, single-handed participant called on the VHF to say he had dislocated his finger and was suffering blackouts. Jem turned about to assist as Carte Blanche was the nearest boat and his crew was a doctor. Going alongside was impossible in the prevailing conditions so it was decided to float painkillers down in a canister. In the meantime two other competitors arrived on scene, but whilst Jem was carrying out the manoeuvre, the lower fitting on the backstay parted necessitating the immediate removal of all sail and handing the drugs over to one of the other boats. After the successful transfer, Carte Blanche was escorted back by one boat and the injured single-hander was escorted by the other and, after encountering strong winds of Force 7/8 on the final night off the Lizard, they reached Falmouth with the mast still standing after 10 days at sea.
Doug and Dale Bruce (Bluewater – Tayana 55’ cutter)- who carried out a well-planned and executed 1,700 mile circumnavigation of Newfoundland from Camden, Maine, the entire round-trip being over 3,000 miles. They stopped at 40 different coves, harbours and anchorages and provided the OCC Cruising Information Service with excellent information on each place.
Stephen Pickard (Fiddler III) - Steve is a new member (2004) based in South of France. He sails a motor-sailer: Neptune 33.
His journey starts on April 10th after restoring the boat following 8 years of idleness. He set sail alone from Port Camargue. First stop was intended to be Sardinia but engine trouble meant that he went into Porto Corallo for three days – allowing time for a gale to go through. More engine trouble before arriving at Bizerte, Tunisia. Steve was then joined by wife and dog and sailed to Sidi bou Said and on to Kelibia.
Sailed back to Europe to meet up with friends in Sicily. More engine trouble on the way and some strong winds. The two boats then sailed to Sferracavallo, Palermo, Termini Imerese, Cefalu, Cap d’Orlando, Aeolian Islands and back to the South of France. The cruise ended on 18th June after 1,525 miles.
Graham Evans - Fyne Spirit - for their passage through the Straits of Magellan in their cat-rigged Freedom 39. Having travelled south for the previous 10,000 miles on Fyne Spirit, Graham and Anne entered the Magellan Straits in a westerly gale which kept them hove-to for 24 hours. With some luck they then passed through the two sets of narrows in a single tide with a rare easterly, following wind at 12 knots SMG. Then followed constant cold, westerly winds with non-stop rain together with a 2-knot east-flowing tide and a GPS position which was some- times out by three miles in a channel only two miles wide. It took four days to reach the western end of the Strait where it then took three attempts to get across the wide Paso del Mar: at the first attempt the weather was too bad, the second attempt ended after covering only 10 miles in a day when gusts hit 50 knots, the alternator brack- et broke and the heating failed. The third attempt saw them through when they finally turned north for the entrance to Canal Smyth and the start of the next 800 mile leg through the Patagonian Canals to Puerto Montt.