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Kenichi Horie, Mary Crowley, Cal Currier Win Cruising Club of America Awards

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) was founded in 1922 and is a collection of passionate, accomplished ocean sailors making adventurous use of the seas. All members have extensive offshore boat-handling, seamanship, and command experience honed over many years. The 1400-member organization has no physical clubhouse and is organized among 11 stations throughout North America and Bermuda. In even-numbered years, the CCA organizes the Newport Bermuda Race in conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The organization also gives annual awards to recognize outstanding accomplishments by sailors. The 2022 awards included three outstanding sailors with California roots or relationships.

Though he’s not based on the West Coast, many of Kenichi Horie’s long list of sailing accomplishments have started or ended in San Francisco. The CCA announced that Kenichi Horie, Japan’s best-known ocean sailor, has been named winner of the CCA’s 2022 Blue Water Medal for a lifetime of ocean-crossing achievement. His most recent voyage began in March 2022, when he sailed alone from San Francisco to Chiba, Japan, at age 83.

Suntory Mermaid Kenichi
Kenichi Horie left San Francisco in March to sail to Japan. He has now been awarded the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Blue Water Medal.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The Blue Water Medal has been awarded 95 times since 1923 and is the highest honor bestowed by the CCA. The 2020 Blue Water Medal winner was Randall Reeves, who was interviewed on Good Jibes here. It celebrates “meritorious seamanship and adventure upon the sea, displayed by amateur sailors of all nationalities.” The medal is intended to provide “an incentive for carrying on the spirit of adventure and the upholding of the best traditions of seafaring.”

The CCA has chosen Mary Crowley of Sausalito, California, to receive the Diana Russell Award for 2022. This is the first year the award has been presented. It recognizes a CCA member for innovation in sailing design, methodology, education, training, safety, and the adventurous use and enjoyment of the sea. We’ve written frequently about Mary’s Project Kaisei and her efforts on behalf of the oceans with the Ocean Voyages Institute. The CCA’s recognition of her long-standing commitment to the oceans is well deserved.

Ocean Voyages Cargo sailer Kwai
Ocean Voyages Institute 188-ft cargo sailor Kwai hauls plastics from the ocean, earning Mary Crowley the 2022 Diana Russell award from the CCA.
© 2023 Ocean Voyages Institute

Mary founded Ocean Voyages Institute as a public charity in 1979 with the goal of preserving the maritime arts and sciences, the ocean environment and island cultures. She is one of the founders and project directors of the Institute’s innovative environmental mission Project Kaisei. Over the last several years, she has led the project’s teams responsible for removing over one million pounds of plastics from the world’s oceans.

In addition, she is a “serial nonprofit entrepreneur” dedicated to the health of our marine environment, and serving on the boards of Ocean Voyages Institute, WELL Network, and Richardson Bay Maritime Association. She has previously served as the executive director of the Oceanic Society, publisher of Oceans magazine, and on the board of directors of Project Jonah, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Sail San Francisco, and several other marine-related nonprofits. Shoreside, Mary is a founding member of Planetree, which enhances healing environments in hospitals and healthcare education.

In our September issue, we covered the story of Palo Alto high school student Cal Currier, who became the youngest sailor to solo-sail the Atlantic west to east in 2022. The voyage resulted in the CCA’s awarding Cal the Young Voyager Award for 2022. He accomplished this at age 17, but even more amazingly, he didn’t have a boat or know how to sail when the year began! In January 2022, he decided to sail across the Atlantic Ocean alone and began taking sailing lessons from Spinnaker Sailing Redwood City near his home in Palo Alto, California. Accompanied by his father, he flew to New England and found a modest 30-ft boat.

Cal Currier
Cal shortly after arriving in Portugal aboard his 1976 Tartan 30 Argo.
© 2023 Currier Family

Undaunted by the seeming enormity of the task, Cal methodically worked through countless project lists, and, on June 27, 2022, set out for his first-ever solo sail — a transatlantic crossing — on his 46-year-old sloop named Argo. The passage took 28 days and spanned 3,400 nautical miles. At age 16, Cal may have been the youngest person to ever make the west-to-east North Atlantic crossing. But what mattered most to Cal was time spent “in the wild,” as an opportunity to grow and to learn from stepping outside one’s comfort zone.

Other 2022 awards from the CCA included the Rod Stephens Seamanship Trophy to South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer, the Richard S. Nye Award for contributions to the CCA to Barbara Watson, and the Far Horizons Award to David Tunick.

There are many West Coast members of the CCA, including Stan and Sally Honey, Michael Moradzadeh, Moe Roddy, Randall Reeves, Chuck Hawley, Don Bekins, Stanford student Holly Francis and many more. Moe Roddy hosted a Good Jibes podcast with 2022 CCA commodore Chris Otorowski, from the Pacific Northwest, last September. The annual CCA award list is filled with many impressive sailors accomplishing a long list of astounding sailing voyages.

Congratulations to all these West Coast recipients for their success at sea and the recognition from the Cruising Club of America.


  1. Joseph DiMatteo 1 year ago

    Great respect for all three of these sailors. I am a bit surprised, however, that the CCA would recognize 16 year old Cal for his transatlantic passage. I vaguely remember hearing something about it but this article caused me to Google for more information. That led to a Cruising World article (9/20/2022) by Herb McCormack about Cal’s voyage. One of the things that struck me was the email from his Dad to Herb looking for some press coverage of his son. And I quote “On July 6, I received a rather matter-of-fact, out-of-the-blue email from a fellow named James Currier informing me that his son was on the ninth day of a voyage that, if successful, might ­establish a new ­youngest-ever milestone for the sailing ­record-keepers.” The young man went from never sailing to singlehanding across the Atlantic in 6 months? I can’t help but wonder why the rush? Why not do it as a gap year project after High School? Take the time to learn both the skills needed and the boat, enjoy the process, etc. BTW, I do not believe the Single Handed Sailing Society based in the Bay would have allowed Cal to enter their race to Hawaii – to do so requires showing some experience in completing some shorter single-handed races. Further, in the article Herb reminds us that the group that keeps sailing records stopped acknowledging “youngest” records: “The gatekeepers for sailing records—the World Sailing Speed Record Council—no longer ratifies youngest or oldest claims or attempts, and its rules do not include such categories. Smart, really, because there’s no use encouraging dangerous behavior.” Maybe the motivations were pure but it raises my eyebrows when I hear of another “youngest to do a death defying feat”. Regardless, I applaud the young man and I wish him the best in the future.

  2. John Thorne 1 year ago

    I applaud the CCA’s recognition of Kenichi Horie’s many solo transpacific crossings. My wife and I met Kenichi when he visited Balboa YC after his initial passage, and went sailing with him in our Thistle.

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