The OCC Award of Merit - 2013
(Southbound II ) For more than 25 years of dedicated service to safety at sea
Herb Hilgenberg is a Canadian sailing enthusiast who, beginning in 1987, had provided a daily ship-routing/weather forecasting service for vessels at sea in Atlantic, Caribbean, Bahamian and adjacent waters. Herb’s dedication to sharing his many years of experience as a weather router has been extraordinary. He has patiently and loyally guided many sailors on multiple Atlantic passages, all for no charge. Knowing Herb was going to be on board every afternoon, not only with the big weather picture but with specific advice for each vessel, was a great comfort to all who benefitted: invaluable fine tuning and reassurance for their own on board weather forecasting efforts. Indirectly, those who joined Herb made many friends on other boats sailing nearby by connecting on SSB after his net.
Herb, for whom this was a second OCC Award of Merit, was recently awarded a Meritorious Pubic Service Award by the United States Coast Guard who cited his “unique and reliable services”. They estimated that Herb saved 100-150 mariners each year from unknowingly sailing into dangerous storm conditions. He bridged distress and overdue calls between the Rescue Coordination Centres and vessels, relaying messages between them at least 25 times per year.
Given the adventurous nature of the OCC’s membership and the propensity to cross oceans in small boats, many Ocean Cruising Club members have benefitted greatly from Herb’s sage advice over the years and we salute Herb who retired in 2013. “We cannot thank you enough for the more than 25 years of dedication to safety at sea via Southbound II Coastal,” said Commodore John Franklin. “Although I personally will greatly miss your presence on board, the OCC wishes you every happiness in your next adventure.”