In April of this year, Joanna and I were to fly to Annapolis, Maryland, where we would attend the Ocean Cruising Club’s annual awards dinner and where Moli would receive the Barton Cup in recognition of her Figure 8 Voyages.
If you are uncertain what, exactly, the Barton Cup is, you might appreciate the explanation my wife offers to her landlubberly friends: “it’s like the Oscars…for saily people.”
A fuller description, however, is that the award is the top honor from an organization that has, since 1954, been entirely dedicated to supporting the offshore cruising sailor. It takes its name from the club’s founder, Humphrey Barton, whose own ocean exploits included a 1950s crossing of the Atlantic in his 25-ft Vertue-class sloop, the smallest vessel to have made that passage east-to-west at the time–and it should be noted that at the time, very few such passages were made.
Moreover, the list of previous honorees is a kind of “Who’s Who” in this rather specialized line, names like Tony Gooch, Michael Johnson, Reverend Bob Shepton, Jeanne Socrates, Susanne Huber-Curphey, and Bill Hatfield being just some of the characters who come poppingly to mind.
Singlehanding does not lend itself readily to group activities, and so my experience of yacht clubs is limited to this one, joined just before the commencement of the first F8V attempt. It was a fortunate happenstance, as it turns out, and I was looking forward to this annual gathering as my opportunity to thank the organization for its remarkable support of Mo and me during the first attempt’s forced stops in Ushuaia and Hobart, as well as the planned stops in Halifax and St John’s during the second.
But the Coronavirus outbreak beat me to the punch. The gala in Annapolis was canceled a mere two weeks before the festivities date.
In lieu of an in-person appreciation, then, I’m appending here an article I wrote from our refit headquarters at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in 2018, which describes not only the adventure up to that point (as it seemed to me at the time) but also specifically how the OCC had come to the aid of this much-battered sailor.
I offered these words then and offer them now with much gratitude to all at the OCC.
Join me on Thursday, July 2, at 1PM PST/4PM EST/9PM BST for an online presention about the two Figure 8 Voyages. Hosted by the Ocean Cruising Club. REGISTER HERE.
Explore the Figure 8 Voyage Book—–>HERE.