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The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), the world’s truly global ocean cruising association, has announced the recipients of the OCC Annual Awards. Each year the OCC recognizes the achievements of ordinary individuals doing extraordinary things on the world’s oceans and brings those achievements to the attention of the sailing community at large.

This year, three recipients share the OCC Award of Merit, given to a member or non-member for performing some outstanding voyage or achievement. All three this year are non-members.

Tim Severin of Ireland
http://www.timseverin.net/

Tim has sailed a leather boat across the Atlantic in the wake of St Brendan the Navigator, captained an Arab sailing ship from Muscat to China to investigate the legends of Sinbad the sailor, steered a replica of a Bronze Age galley to seek the landfalls of Jason and the Argonauts and of Ulysses, ridden the route of the first Crusader Knights across Europe to Jerusalem, travelled on horseback with nomads of Mongolia in search of the heritage of Genghis Khan, sailed the Pacific on a bamboo raft to test the theory that ancient Chinese mariners could have reached the Americas, retraced the journeys of Alfred Russell Wallace, Victorian pioneer naturalist, through the Spice Islands of Indonesia using a 19th century prahu and traced the origins of Moby Dick.

Dick Giddings of the United States
http://www.bigdumboat.com/network.html

Dick is one of the unsung heroes of the cruising community. “Disabled, living on the smell of an oilrag.” For many years he has given selflessly and unstintingly of his time and effort to create a safe passage for cruisers by providing a radio network that covers N. Atlantic and the Caribbean waters (which is where a huge number of OCC members land up!). It’s a check-in service, provides weather routing but even more importantly contact between cruisers and shore as well. He keeps a watchful eye on cruisers and if they don’t log in, he puts the word out to emergency services. The stories are too numerous to mention where a cruiser has been unable to contact home except via Dick Giddings. Dick operates the DooDah and Cruiseheimers Net.

James Wharram of the United Kingdom
http://wharram.com/site/

James designed his first offshore cruising catamaran, the 23′ 6″ TANGAROA in 1953 before the word catamaran was yet in common use and began sailing with her off the coast of Britain with two German girls, Ruth Merseburger (Wharram) and Jutta Schultze-Rohnhof. He was inspired to do this by Frenchman Eric de Bisschop, who sailed a double canoe from Hawaii to France in 1939. James believed in the seagoing qualities of the double canoe and set out to prove them with two pioneering Trans Atlantic voyages on TANGAROA (1956) and 40ft RONGO (1959). Since then, James Wharram, has been designing, building and sailing offshore catamarans longer than any other multihull designer. Already in 1987 the “Multihulls Buyers Guide” showed that James Wharram had sold three times more plans than any other multihull designer in the world. Design sales have since topped 10,000.

The OCC congratulates all recipients and nominees for this year’s awards, and thanks to all adventurous cruising sailors for reaching for extraordinary goals.

For the full press release about award recipients or details of membership, please visit http://www.oceancruisingclub.org/