Please select your home edition
Edition
GJW Direct 2020

Kenichi Hori named winner of Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America

by Douglas Adkins 4 Jan 2023 18:30 UTC
Kenichi Hori and Suntory Mermaid III at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon, Calif. before sailing from San Francisco to Chiba, Japan © Latitude 38

Kenichi Horie, Japan's best known ocean sailor, has been named winner of the 2022 Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America (CCA) 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.

The Blue Water Medal has been awarded 95 times since 1923 and is the highest honor bestowed by the CCA. 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."

Past recipients have included famous and less well-known ocean voyagers. Names such as Roderick Stephens, Jr., Harry Pidgeon, John Guzzwell, Jeanne Socrates, Carleton Mitchell, Bernard Moitessier, the Rev. R.L.M. Shepton and the British Yachtsmen at Dunkirk are cited in the rolls of awardees. Every awardee has distinguished themself in the adventurous use of the sea.

There are very few sailors who can genuinely be called a national hero, but Kenichi Horie of Japan is certainly one of them. For six decades, this intrepid sailor and environmentalist has traveled the world's oceans, always in very small vessels and often single-handed. He has circumnavigated three times: once westabout, once eastabout, and once longitudinally. Two of these have been solo, non-stop voyages, and the westabout passage in 1973-1974 set a world record at the time of 275 days.

Capt. Horie has challenged our thinking concerning boatbuilding materials with Transpacific voyages in yachts made of recycled beer cans, and beer and whisky barrels. He has fitted his yachts with spars of recycled aluminum and sails of recycled plastic bottles. He has explored novel propulsion modalities ranging from solar power to wave power to human paddle drive. The Pacific Ocean has been his frequent venue and voyages both ways between Japan and the American and South American west coasts have continued over six decades of sea roaming. His most recent transpacific voyage was in 2022, from San Francisco to Nishinomiya, a passage accomplished alone by this remarkable octogenarian, in an 18-foot boat. In fact, he was the youngest non-stop solo sailor of the Pacific in 1962, at age 23, in his Mermaid and the oldest to repeat this feat last year, 60 years later in Suntory Mermaid lIl.

Kenichi Horie's sailing exploits have not gone unnoticed. He has received numerous awards for his achievements including the Japanese Prime Minister's Award, the Asahi Award from Asahi Shinbun Press, The Brave of the Sea Award from San Remo City, Italy, and The Key to the City of San Francisco. The Government of Ecuador has named an island and cape in the Galapagos Islands in Horie's honor, and he has been inducted into the Single-Handed Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

Horie is an author as well and wrote a book about his first voyage from Japan to San Francisco, titled Alone on the Pacific (Kodoku), which was made into a movie "Alone Across the Pacific" (also titled "My Enemy, The Sea") in 1963 by Kon Ichikawa. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe award. The Mermaid is currently on display in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Maritime Museum.

When informed of the award, Kenichi Horie said, "I was amazed to find out about your invitation to receive the Blue Water Medal. I feel as if I am dreaming. I would like to express my gratitude for such an honor."

The CCA will present the 2022 Blue Water Medal to Kenichi Horie and all other 2022 award winners at its annual dinner, March 4, 2023, in New York City.

Related Articles

Cruising Club of America Awards at NYYC
Highlighted by Blue Water Medal presentation to Kirsten Neuschäfer The 2023 Cruising Club of America (CCA) awards ceremony was held at the New York Yacht Club on Friday, March 1, highlighted by the presentation of the Blue Water Medal to solo round-the-world sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer. Posted on 12 Mar
2024 Northeast Ocean Race Symposium
A quick reminder to register before January 15 The 2024 version of the Northeast Ocean Race Symposium is returning on March 16, 2024, at the same location at Bentley University. Posted on 12 Jan
2023 Cruising Club of America Awards announced
Blue Water Medal goes to Kirsten Neuschäfer The announcement by the Cruising Club of America (CCA) of the Blue Water Medal winner and other awards for adventurous use of the seas has taken place nearly every year since the Club was founded in 1923. Posted on 3 Jan
Max Campbell receives Young Voyager Award
A young man set out to sea, searching for adventure, and found a way of life The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has named Max Campbell, of Falmouth, UK, as the recipient of the 2023 Young Voyager Award. The award recognizes "a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages." Posted on 3 Jan
2023 Blue Water Medal winner announced
Kirsten Neuschäfer, the winner of the Golden Globe Race, recognised Kirsten Neuschäfer, of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, is awarded the Blue Water Medal for 2023 in recognition of the tremendous effort, determination, and skill she exhibited during her 235-day solo circumnavigation in Minnehaha, a Cape George 36 sailboat. Posted on 3 Jan
Viking Route Across the Atlantic sailing guide
Created by members of the Cruising Club of America The CCA Essential Passage Guide to the Viking Route, created by members of the Cruising Club of America, provides mission-critical information for the high-latitude crossing between the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. Posted on 7 Jul 2023
2023 Marion Bermuda Race wrap-up
Not for the faint of heart The fleet saw conditions ranging from fast-moving squalls to completely still air; the mostly light winds tested both patience and skill for the 32 skippers and their crew that set sail on June 16th from Buzzards Bay in Marion, Massachusetts. Posted on 26 Jun 2023
Richard Moody's Boudicca Wins Line Honors
Finishing n the early morning light on Monday in the 2023 Marion Bermuda Race In the early morning light on Monday, Richard Moody's Boudicca crossed the Marion Bermuda Race finish line off of St. David's Lighthouse, having sailed a total of 705 miles in just 2 days, 17 hours, 26 minutes, 27 seconds. Posted on 19 Jun 2023
2023 Marion Bermuda Race day 1
The fleet sets sail from just off Marion, Massachusetts Beneath sunny skies and a light breeze, the 32-boat fleet in the 2023 Marion Bermuda Race set sail from just off Marion, Massachusetts on Friday, June 16th. Posted on 17 Jun 2023
Marion Bermuda Race: Weather in the Gulf Stream
W. Frank Bohlen has prepared two documents ahead of the race W. Frank Bohlen, from UConn's Marine Sciences Program, has prepared two documents ahead of the Marion Bermuda Race in regards to the Gulf Stream. Posted on 25 May 2023
2024 fill-in (bottom)Pantaenius 2022 - SAIL & POWER 1 FOOTER ROWHenri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed