Last week, Boating Writers International (BWI) announced the winners of the annual BWI writing competition. Soundings and other titles from the Active Interest Media (AIM) Marine Group won multiple awards for stories and photos published in 2020. The awards are usually announced at the Miami Boat Show, but because the boat show was cancelled due to the pandemic, the winners were revealed in an online ceremony hosted by BWI president Charlie Levine.
AIM’s titles won 14 awards and five certificates of merit. Soundings won three first-place awards, two seconds and a third.
In the Boating Lifestyles category, Soundings contributor Wendy Mitman Clarke took 1st place for her story “Sailing for the Soul” about a woman who takes up sailing to cope with the loss of her child. Judge Ben Stein said, “’Sailing for the Soul’ makes us feel a mother’s pain of losing a son and invites us to join her journey to salvation by learning to sail.”
Soundings executive editor Pim Van Hemmen won 1st place in the Boating Profiles category for “Threading the Needle,” a story about one of the country’s first female harbor pilots. Judge Lenny Rudow said, “Many profile pieces wouldn’t be described as ‘gripping,’ but this one certainly was. The author kept up a great tempo and turned a very interesting subject into a topnotch article.”
Soundings contributing writer and photographer Dieter Loibner took 2nd place in the same category for his story “Able Artisan” about a blacksmith who is the master of numerous crafts and eschews the latest technologies.
Van Hemmen also took 1st place in the Boating Photography category for “Yellow Warbler,” which depicts a bird hitching a ride on the bow of a schooner as both head south for winter. Judge David Schmidt said, “This yellow warbler made this judge smile on a rainy day. I hope the bird enjoyed its ride as much as the photographer enjoyed capturing its image.”
In the Boating Travel or Destinations category Van Hemmen took 3rd place for “The River that Flows Both Ways” about a slow trawler ride on the Hudson River.
In the Boating Issues, News and Analysis category, Soundings contributor Kim Kavin took 2nd place for “The Chaos is Real,” which tells of some scary situations created by new boaters when they came onto the water during the pandemic.
“Congratulations to my colleagues at Soundings for their BWI awards,” Soundings editor Jeanne Craig said. “I’m proud and fortunate to collaborate with these talented professionals on a regular basis. Their work is representative of some of the best storytelling in marine journalism today. Pim, Wendy, Dieter, Kim and our staff make the process of reporting, writing, photography and design look easy, but as any editor knows, the work that seems effortless typically requires the most time, training, study and commitment. This group of people deserves the recognition from BWI because their efforts go a long way toward drawing more people into the sport of boating and keeping them engaged.”