Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Floaters

Rod Stephens Trophy Awarded - he saved the sailor AND the sailing boat

by Cruising Club of America/Sail-World on 13 Feb 2013
Derk Wolmuth and his 31-foot Vindo sailboat, Bela Bartok - photo by LaDonna Bubak Latitude 38 .. .
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected Captain Thomas B. Crawford (Lopez Island, Wash.) to receive its 2012 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship for the rescue of Derk Wolmuth and his 31-foot Vindo sailboat, Bela Bartok, during the 2012 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race. The trophy is given 'for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea.'

The Incident:
In the early hours of July 15, 2012, Crawford was aboard his ship, Matson Navigation’s 860-foot RoCon MV Mokihana, en route to Oakland, Calif. He received a call from the Coast Guard asking for help in the rescue of Derk Wolmuth, who was two weeks into the 18th biennial Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race from San Francisco, Calif. to Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii.

Wolmuth was fighting an infection onboard, but with no antibiotics he was close to death. An avid sailor himself, Crawford connected with Wolmuth over the radio. His primary goal was to save Wolmuth, but he hoped to save the boat as well, since it served as Wolmuth’s only home.

Prior to bringing the sick sailor aboard, Crawford instructed Wolmuth to adjust Bela Bartok’s Monitor wind vane and trim the jib. After Wolmuth was aboard Mokihana and on his way to the ship’s infirmary, Crawford maneuvered his large ship – using gantline hauling, engine commands and the helm and bow thruster – to get Bela Bartok on course to Hawaii, which was 450 miles away.


On July 19th Bela Bartok was rescued 15 miles north of Maui by Wolmuth’s fellow race competitors, who had been monitoring the boat’s progress with the Yellow Brick Tracker that was aboard.


According to Crawford both of his goals were accomplished. 'Derk is alive and mending, and his home (Bela Bartok) is safe in Oahu. Many people working together made for an amazing outcome…not exactly a Mars landing, but it wasn’t that far removed for a bunch of people unknown to each other and with no planning or rehearsal.'

About Tom Crawford:
Crawford graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1972 and went on to attend Leith Nautical College in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1976 and the California Maritime Academy for Diesel Ship Operations in 1984. His credentials are lengthy and include a Merchant Mariners Certificate and a Master of Steam and Motor Vessels of any Gross Tons Upon the Oceans Certification. From 1986 through 1996 Crawford worked as Chief Mate and Shipmaster for the global container transportation company American President Lines before being employed by Matson Navigation Company where he has worked for 16 years as Shipmaster.

About the Cruising Club of America:
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 U.S., Canada and Bermuda, with approximately 1200 members who are qualified by their experience in offshore passage making. In even-numbered years, the CCA organizes the Newport to Bermuda Race in conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Through the club’s Bonnell Cove Foundation, grants are made to 501 C3 organizations for safety at sea and environment of the sea projects. For more information on the CCA, go to http://www.cruisingclub.org.

Photos in this story were the work of LaDonna Bubak of www.latitude38.com/!Latitude_38

Kilwell - 3T Clewring - GenericNaiad

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr