Three couples, writer also honored

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Cruising Club of America to present awards

A couple with more than 300,000 cruising miles between them who have wintered in the ice at both poles, a twosome who undertook a daring rescue in the South Pacific, and a husband-wife team who have circumnavigated east- and west-around on home-built boats were honored with the Cruising Club of America's 2009 awards, recognizing those who best exemplify dedication to cruising.

Annie Hill and Trevor Robertson, who have been cruising together on the 35-foot steel gaff cutter Iron Bark since 2002, were awarded the Blue Water Medal in recognition of their cruising and voyaging, much of it in the polar regions.

In 1998, Robertson single-handed Iron Bark from New Zealand - around Cape Horn - to the Antarctic Peninsula, where he spent 13 months and wintered over, frozen in, at Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island. In 2004, the couple wintered over on the boat at Nako Island off Greenland, where, again, Iron Bark was iced in. The vessel is believed to be the first to winter unsupported in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Hill has made 17 Atlantic crossings.

Maurice and Sophie Conti received the 2009 Rod Stephens Trophy for outstanding seamanship for rescuing the crew of the 33-foot Seadog ketch Timella in October 2008 when the yacht grounded on a reef near Fiji in rough seas. Maurice made his way through breaking surf in an inflatable to rescue the three sailors, who were clinging to a partially deflated inflatable that Timella's mast had holed as the boat was breaking apart. Meanwhile, Sophie was at the helm of the Contis' 47-foot cruising catamaran, Ocealyus, keeping it on station and off the reef in confused seas while watching over their two young children (see story on Page 23).

Three-time circumnavigators Lin and Larry Pardey spent 11 years sailing around the world, the first time in their 22-foot cutter Seraffyn, the smallest boat to make an east-about circumnavigation around all the great southern capes. They finished that voyage in 1979, then completed a westbound circumnavigation in the 29-1/2-foot Taleisen in 2003 and recently completed another westbound circumnavigation. Seraffyn and Taleisen are engineless home-built boats. The Pardeys, who between them have cruised more than 400,000 miles, received the CCA's Far Horizons Medal.

America's Cup historian and safety-at-sea moderator and researcher John P. Rousmaniere, author of the books "Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts," "The Annapolis Book of Seamanship," "Fastnet, Force 10," and "A Berth to Bermuda," among others, was awarded the Richard S. Nye Trophy for his contributions as a sailor, writer and historian.

The awards were to be handed out at a dinner March 5 at the New York Yacht Club. Visit the CCA Web site, www.cruisingclub.org, for information.

See related article:

- There's still wind in Sir Robin's sails

This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue.