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Additional 2020 OCC Award Recipients

by Daria Blackwell 25 Jan 2021 15:45 UTC
Jack van Ommen aboard Fleetwood at Gig Harbor, Wa with his daughter, Lisa. September 2014 © Sheila Schultz Mordue

Ocean Cruising Club awards are normally presented at our Annual Dinner but, for the second year in a row, we have been forced to cancel this event.

OCC Jester Award to Jack van Ommen

Jack van Ommen left his home port Gig Harbor, Wa. in 2005 and completed his circumnavigation at age 80, in 2017, visiting 60 countries, crossing 5 of the seven seas. Fleetwood is a "Naja" 30 ft Mahogany plywood kit boat launched in 1980. Designed by Sylvestre Langevin for Whisstock Boat Yard in Woodbridge on the Deben River. Her first windvane was a (Blondie) Hasler Pen-Tab. She was meant as a racer-cruiser on the Puget Sound; shortly before retirement financial disaster struck and Fleetwood was made due for the life long dream. And the dream lives on.

This award, named after Blondie Hasler's iconic Folkboat Jester, recognises a noteworthy singlehanded voyage or series of voyages made in a small vessel. Our panel of judges (themselves all very experienced ocean sailors) were extremely impressed by Jack's singlehanded, twelve-year circumnavigation. 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."

Follow the adventure with regular blog posts at

OCC Qualifier's Mug to Saša Fegic

Sailor to the bone, Saša was born and raised in Zagreb, but caught the sea flu early on, so he has been sailing since the age of 12. He took his first formal sailing lessons in 1992 from Mladen Šutej, aboard this very boat, HIR 3. Skipper for over 20 years, former charter manager and sailing entrepreneur, his life revolves around sailing, so it was no surprise he had a dream to circumnavigate the world.

Choosing a neglected vintage sailboat to do it may have been a surprise, but his persistence left no doubt he would make it. He chose the toughest route because it was supposed to be the fastest and the cheapest way to get around the globe and it took us by the southernmost bar at YC Micalvi in Puerto Williams, the coolest place to take a beer.

Admitted to prestigious society of Cape Horners, Saša is only the 2nd Croat who sailed around Cape Horn 'the proper way' and the only one who sailed around the world under Croatian flag 'the wrong way', via tough Southern route and around 3 great capes.

Saša's nominator summarised his voyage as follows: 'Three great capes in a 40-year old boat. A legendary Croatian sailboat HIR 3 skippered by Saša Fegic completed a 39,000 mile west to east circumnavigation of the globe around three great capes and after 28 months at sea returned to the homeport in Mali Losinjon 17/10/2020'

Very many congratulations on both your voyage and your excellent article in Flying Fish.

OCC Water Music Trophy to Kirk Patterson

Kirk Patterson has lived in Japan for over 30 years, is fluent in Japanese, and has a PhD in international relations. In 2008, after a 25-year corporate career in Tokyo, he returned to his native Canada to pursue his long-delayed dream of becoming an offshore sailor. Always solo, he spent four years learning to sail by cruising the BC/Alaska coast and then sailed to Hawaii in 2012. After working as a Waikiki bartender for a year, he continued on to Japan, where he became the first foreigner to do a full Japan circumnavigation (three years). He then cruised western Japan for another three years and, along the way, met and married a woman in Fukuoka, where he now lives. In 2019, he launched Konpira Consulting to support foreign cruisers in Japan, organize yacht charters/tours and kayak tours, and advise marinas/ports on how to attract and cater to visitors from overseas.

His nominator concluded, 'His love for the country shines through his two-part article JAPAN, THE NEXT CRUISING FRONTIER which chronicles his own three-year circumnavigation of the country and appeared in both of this year's Flying Fish. He has been our Port Officer for Japan since 2018 and is in the process of writing a cruising guide to the country--believed to be the first in any language'.

OCC Port Officer Service Award to Victor Langerwerf (Curacao) and Peter Café Sport (Horta, Azores)

The OCC is lucky to have so many dedicated Port Officers but Victor's nomination touched the hearts of our judges. We quote, 'Late March 2020, we arrived Curacao after a calm crossing from St Martin. On arrival, the Curacao coast guard called us on the radio and denied our entry.

As we tried to get contact with authorities, Victor came to our boat on a paddleboard, introduced himself and told us he would help. And help he did together with his wife'. Very many thanks for all that you do on behalf of the OCC. Read more here.

Normally, it is a person, the Port Officer, that receives the award. In this case, the service of the Port Officer and his family and associates was so remarkable that the OCC decided to award it to the iconic establishment of Peter Café Sport. Quote from the nomination, 'During the Covid-19 lockdown in the Azores, Jose Azevedo (Honorary OCC Member and PO for Horta), his sons and nephew, Duarte, of Peter Café Sport in Horta went out of their way to give advice, guidance and support to the yachts, including many from the OCC, who had called there on their way from the Caribbean, the eastern seaboard of North America, Brazil and the South Atlantic. With lockdown in place, Jose and his team provided meals from the Cafe Sport kitchen, took shopping lists and delivered the stores, took pets to vets and people to doctors, all with cheerfulness and good humour, giving some light relief to yachties who could see and smell the land but could not set foot thereon. Jose also liaised with officials ashore to try and enable yachties to go ashore. I think that this award should be given to the Cafe Sport as everyone there helped with the effort".

OCC David Wallis Trophy to Dag and Thresa Holland

This award - decided by vote among the Flying Fish editorial sub-committee recognises an outstanding contribution to our Club journal. The editorial sub-committee wrote: 'To Dag and Ma Theresa Hoiland for 'Voyaging With Vetle', which appeared in Flying Fish 2020/2. The Awards Sub-committee were particularly struck by how carefully Dag and Ma Theresa considered every aspect of ocean cruising with a small child, with particular focus on what he would most enjoy and benefit from. They were also impressed by Dag and Ma Theresa's excellent written English, despite it not being the first language of either'.

Many congratulations to both of you and thank you for contributing to the Ocean Cruising Club by writing up your adventures. Such accounts inspire us all.

Earlier this year, the Vertue Award, a regional US award, was presented to Regional Rear Commodores Bill & Lydia Strickland. The Australian Trophy was not awarded for 2020.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of the Ocean Cruising Club.

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