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Ashley Perrin and Merf Owen Awarded 2023 Royal Cruising Club Trophy

Ashley Perrin and Merfyn (Merf) Owen, of San Rafael, California, are the recipients of the Cruising Club of America’s Royal Cruising Club Trophy for 2023 for their cruise that circumnavigated Newfoundland by way of Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes. Ashley is a professional Antarctic ice pilot, and Merf is a yacht designer who has passed Cape Horn twice.

Ashley Perrin aboard Greg Dorn’s Dehler 46 Favonius.
© 2024 Sharon Green

The sailors set off from Halifax in 2018 for a three-year adventure. Their first leg was a race — the Route Halifax to Saint-Pierre Ocean Race, which they won in Santana, Ashley’s Capo 30. They then sailed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, for an end-of-season haulout and storage. They also replaced the race gear with cruising gear.

By early spring 2019 they were ready to cast off again and embarked on a five- to six-day passage to Greenland — before the ice had cleared. Thirty miles short of their landfall, the mast sheared off at the deck. It miraculously remained upright due to the internal conduit and their quick action. While they secured the mast, the weather deteriorated and the distance to an anchorage increased. Twelve hours later, in the dark of night with gusts off the ice cap to 70 knots, the anchor was finally set.

Merf and Ashley are members of San Francisco Yacht Club.
© 2024 S/v Santana

When the weather abated they spent 10 days cruising up the inside passage to Nuuk, still with their compromised mast. In Nuuk they hauled and stored Santana. Unbeknown at the time, it would be three winters and two summers before COVID border closures ceased and they could sail back to Canada. They did, however, use this time for repairs.

Santana heading for her relaunch in Nuuk.
© 2024

During summer 2023, Ashley and Merf made a cold, foggy passage to Labrador. Continuing south to Newfoundland, they enjoyed a pleasant cruise along the south coast with its remote anchorages and welcoming “Newfies.” Their three-year cruise had stretched to five years.

Santana was then dry-berthed in St. Peter’s, Bras d’Or Lake, where she awaits further adventures.

The Royal Cruising Club Trophy is awarded to a CCA member and skipper who has undertaken “the most interesting cruise of singular merit and moderate duration.” Contributing to their selection was a detailed article they’d written about their experience in the Club’s publications.

Ashley and Merf have both been guests on our Good Jibes podcast. You can tune in to their stories here:

Good Jibes #22: Ashley Perrin on Navigating Icy Waters and Risky Adventures

Good Jibes #90: Merf Owen on Famous Naval Architecture


  1. Susan Ruhne 2 months ago

    Congrats to Ashley & Merf!

  2. Colin Speedie 2 months ago

    Fantastic effort and a hugely well deserved award!

  3. Gay Harris 2 months ago


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