Rolf Bjelke and Deborah Shapiro

The OCC Award of Merit - 2010

Yacht – ‘NORTHERN LIGHT’ - Deborah and Rolf have led the way in high latitude cruising. In the 1980s they sailed as far north as any yacht had ever achieved and then headed south to Antarctica where they spend some seven weeks cruising the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. They won the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water medal for this remarkable voyage and told the story in the beautiful book ‘Northern Light – Its Epic Arctic-Antarctic Sailing Voyage’.

Since then they have completed a series of extraordinary voyages, including over wintering in Antarctica. Their latest voyage was a Southern Capes circumnavigation visiting many of the sub Antarctic islands. They have now sailed back to their home in Sweden where they are writing the story of this adventure.

These are extraordinary people who have done totally extraordinary things. They have spent many years at the forefront of our sport cruising waters beyond the ability of almost all yachtsmen. Their calm understated professionalism is a lesson to us all and this award recognises a lifetime’s achievement.