NEWS - Aussie sailor lauded with prestigious US title
Cruising Club of America presents 2010 Blue Water Medal to Alex Whitworth
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) will award its prestigious 2010 Blue Water Medal to Australian Alex Whitworth for a circumnavigation of the world
via the Northwest Passage West to East.
The first Blue Water Medal was awarded in 1923 and it is given "for a most meritorious example of seamanship, the recipient to be selected from among the amateurs of all the nations". The award will be presented on March 4 by CCA commodore Sheila McCurdy during the CCA’s annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club, Manhattan.
Whitworth was born in an air-raid shelter on the
Malta in 1942 and spent most of his childhood near
or wherever his father was stationed at the time. His father, Alexander, a Royal Navy pilot, taught him to sail at a young age. At 19, Whitworth junior also joined the Royal Navy and became an Observer on carrier-based Sea Vixen aircraft until 1965.
In 1966, Whitworth immigrated to
and joined Adastra Aerial Surveys, where he worked both full and part-time until 1975. In 1974, he received a BA (Honours) in Political Science from
and in 1982, an MBA from the
In 1993, Whitworth and his partner Hilary Yerbury purchased the sailboat
Berrimilla, a Brolga 33 designed by Australian Peter Joubert. Since the purchase, Whitworth has circumnavigated the world twice with
The first time began in 2004 when Whitworth sailed to the
Cape Horn. On the way,
was in frequent contact with astronaut Leroy Chiao, commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and for much of the time, Chiao was Whitworth’s nearest neighbor when the ISS orbit crossed her track.
When Whitworth arrived in the UK,
competed in the 2005 Rolex Fastnet Race, finishing 11th
overall and second in the double-handed division. After the Fastnet, Berrimilla
(Australia) via the
Cape of Good Hope, arriving just in time to sail in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
The second circumnavigation began in 2008 when, as a result of
encounter with the ISS, Whitworth was invited by NASA scientists to rendezvous at
in the Canadian Arctic. The plan was to view the solar eclipse on August 1, 2008, so Whitworth set out on April 10, 2008, sailing directly from Sydney to the Aleutians (Alaska) and then through
the Northwest Passage.
Due to dangerous ice conditions,
ad arrived in Falmouth (UK) in September. That winter, the boat was stored in the
and then competed in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. After the race,
sailed home to
via the Cape of Good Hope and the Kerguelen Islands and arrived in
on March 2010 having completed her second circumnavigation of the globe.
ABOUT THE CRUISING CLUB OF
The Cruising Club of America is dedicated to offshore cruising, voyaging and the "adventurous use of the sea" through efforts to improve seamanship, the design of seaworthy yachts, safe yachting procedures and environmental awareness.
Now in its 90th year, the club has 11 stations throughout the
Bermuda, with approximately 1200 members who are qualified by their experience in offshore passagemaking.
In even-numbered years, the CCA organizes the
to Bermuda Race in conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Through the club’s Bonnell Cove Foundation, grants are made to 501 C3 organisations for safety at sea and environment of the sea projects.
For more information, go to
Photo: The Cruising Club of America has selected Australian Alex Whitworth to receive the honorary 2010 Blue Water Medal for a circumnavigation of the world via the Northwest Passage West to East. (Photo by Steve Withnall)
Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.