Conn. sailor gets Slocum Society award - Soundings Online

Conn. sailor gets Slocum Society award

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Though he took longer than expected, Brec Morgan fulfilled his dream of solo circumnavigation

Though he took longer than expected, Brec Morgan fulfilled his dream of solo circumnavigation

Brec Morgan, who sailed a 27-foot cutter solo around the world, was recently given the Joshua Slocum Society International’s Golden Circle Award. The ceremony was held June 25 at the Bristol (R.I.) Yacht Club.

“It was amazing, being given the award,” Morgan says. “This is a big deal. It affirms that I’ve done something. It’s like getting a diploma after all my hard work. It’s like the icing on the cake.”

At the ceremony, society Commodore Ted Jones said Morgan’s journey “exemplifies the virtues of courage, endurance, self-sufficiency and self-reliance under extreme conditions … in the tradition of Capt. Joshua Slocum and others who have followed in Slocum’s wake.”

Dodge Morgan, known for his record-setting non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe in 1985-86 aboard the Ted Hood-designed American Promise, was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which also marked the society’s 50th anniversary.

In 1999, Brec Morgan, 58, of Milford, Conn., left behind a 25-year career running his own sign company in Norwalk, Conn., to live out his childhood dream of sailing around the world.

“It’s something I remember wanting to do since I was seven years old,” Morgan recalls. “I was always obsessed with boats and the water. Then I went to school, got married and started a career, all of which sort of got in the way of that. When the opportunity came to actually do this, I jumped at it.”

On Nov. 12, 1999, Morgan set sail from Block Island, R.I., on what he thought would be a three-year, east-to-west voyage around the world. He sailed across four oceans, including the Red Sea in the Middle East and the pirate-plagued waters of Southeast Asia.

Having covered some 30,000 miles in all, Morgan returned to Block Island on May 17, 2003 — a year and a half later than he expected to be back.

“It took a while, but really was an incredible experience,” Morgan says.

The Golden Circle Award is presented to voyagers who have sailed single-handed around the world, essentially in the same manner as the society’s namesake, Joshua Slocum. A 19th-century sailor, Slocum is acknowledged as the first person to sail solo around the world, according to information on the society’s Web site, www.joshuaslocumsocietyintl.org.

Morgan’s family befriended Slocum during his visits to Bristol. During one of those visits, Slocum gave Morgan’s grandmother, Sarah, a bottle of seashells he’d collected in the West Indies. As a talisman, Morgan carried that bottle of shells with him as he circumnavigated the globe.

Back in Connecticut, Morgan says he’s pursuing his second most important dream: painting. Morgan has a studio in Bridgeport, Conn., where he makes paintings based on sketches he drew while at sea.

“I’ve been working on becoming areally great painter,” he says. “Hopefully, someday, I’ll make enough money from it to set sail on a long cruise again.”