Why are leading cruising clubs giving their top awards to racing sailors? Stick to the programme, chaps

What are leading cruising clubs thinking of giving out awards to racing crews and skippers? The Cruising Club of America and Britain’s Royal Cruising Club are both at it.

The CCA has awarded a trophy for seamanship to the crew of ABN AMRO Two for recovering crewmember Hans Horrevoets, who was swept overboard last year while not wearing a harness. It was indeed a skilful rescue, but are they saying they can’t find some fine deed skifully undertaken by an unsung cruising hero?

Sorry, chaps, but flat-out racing and ultimate seamanship aren’t altogether a perfect fit. Racing is about calculated risks and compromises. It’s a balance, and of course one cannot win without seamanship, but that’s a very a different matter to the judgements made to ensure a happy, safe cruising passage.

The Royal Cruising Club has had its own little land grab, giving an award to Phil Sharp, the young Jersey man who won the Class 40 division of the Route du Rhum. Full credit to Phil, who is a cadet member of the club, but guys this was a race, not a cruise.

Why not stick to championing cruising, as per the club remit, and reward the ordinary sailors who do extraordinary things in their few precious weeks off from earning a crust. To be quite blunt about it, the professionals are only doing their jobs.


Comments: ‘Things are going from bad to worse wouldn’t you say? Cruising clubs rewarding pro. racers, and what about racing clubs welcoming power boats to their classic events (ie. running their engines all the time to swing their keels) and allowing them to compete against sailing boats for the same trophies?’ Richard