Jack van Ommen has been named as the Ocean Cruising Club’s 2020 Jester Award recipient. Judged by a panel of experienced ocean sailors, the award acknowledges Jack’s years-long journey to circumnavigate the globe before his 80th birthday.
The judges were “extremely impressed” by the sailor’s 12-year solo adventure — his nomination stated, “Jack van Ommen is a true single-handed small boat (30’) adventurer and I consider his circumnavigation and also his present-day cruises certainly as noteworthy. Moreover, they are also an inspiration for aspiring yachtsmen of all ages to undertake long-distance sailing in small boats. By writing extensively and in a candid way about his cruises he offers a wealth of experience, enthusing readers to visit and connect with distant places under sail.”
Those of you familiar with Jack’s blog cometosea.us will know that he has endured two shipwrecks, the first of which left him boatless on the island of Tagomago, near Ibiza. His replacement vessel was a 30-ft Naja, a duplicate of his first, and which ultimately bore the same name, Fleetwood. Fortunately the second shipwreck was not as complete as the first. Fleetwood was rebuildable, and two years after running aground on Mink Island, VA, Jack was able to continue his voyage.
The Jester Award, named after Blondie Hasler’s Folkboat Jester, recognizes a noteworthy singlehanded voyage or series of voyages made in a small vessel.
Ocean Cruising Club members can be found across all oceans: “Members understand what it means to be at sea, to be completely reliant on our own skills, to be subject to the whims of Mother Nature, to be humbled and empowered at one and the same time. This is what sets us apart from other organizations, even as it draws us together as a group.”