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Sail-World's tributes to ten top cruising sailors for 2010

by Nancy Knudsen on 1 Jan 2011
Ian Thomson - photo by Zac Bailey .. .
Some are unknown, some are household words. Some went solo, some took a crew on an amazing voyage and some overcame the greatest of odds to achieve their ambition. They all share one thing: the ability to think outside the square to live their dreams and to inspire the rest of us to try to do the same. Sail-World's cruising sailors of the year, from our stories throughout the year, chosen by Sail-World Cruising's editorial team, are:

Ian Thomson - Australia
In the first week of May 2010, Ian Thomson set off to break the current Solo Around Australia Record for monohulls which stood at 68 Days 8 Hours and 30 minutes set by David Beard aboard the 35ft Skaffie II. He broke the record by an amazing 26 days, but his voyage was not just about sailing. His circumnavigation on his yacht SOS Ocean Racing was about raising awareness of what damage plastic bags does to the environment, in particular the marine environment. With over 100,000 marine animals and 1 million sea birds dying from plastic suffocation or entanglement every year, he argues that it is time to get rid of the 'Convenient' plastic bag and use other options.

Donna Lange - USA

Donna experienced a life-changing event when she was involved in a tragic car incident in Africa. She set off sailing and became the fastest American woman ever to complete a circumnavigation. Now she is the American face of OceansWatch, a non-profit organisation which seeks to assist marine scientists in their studies of the oceans, and assist coastal communities in how to live sustainably.

However, this year when Donna, after a navigational error, ended up on a beach in North Carolina. Usually, when a boat ends up on a beach, it is crushed to death by the beating of the surf, buried in sand and is removed, piece by piece, by truck. However, instead of thinking her boat was written off, she managed to sail it into deep water again, with the help of locals on the beach. She deserves this tribute, not only for her previous exploits, but because we have never heard of someone able to do this before.





Don MacIntyre - Australia

One of the greatest Australian adventurers of all time, Don McIntyre, in 2010 re-created one of the most extraordinary stories of survival and determination, Captain William Bligh’s 4,000 mile open boat ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ sailing voyage.

The reenactment, following the journey across the Pacific from Tonga to Timor, was launched on the same day (April 28th), at the same time and in the same place 221 years after the original mutiny journey.

The seven week expedition aboard the Talisker Bounty Boat – a 25ft long, 7ft wide, open wooden vessel – saw the crew facing the same deprivations as the original crew that were cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific, including: no navigation charts; only two weeks of water; hardly any food; and, of course, no luxuries like a torch or toilet paper! Several times during the voyage Don was heard to admit that 'Captain Bligh was a better man', but in spite of all difficulties, including those involving the psychological state of the crew, the voyage was a stunning success.







Jeanne Socrates - Canada

Jeanne is a 59 year old grandmother who is on her third attempt to sail solo round the world in her yacht Nereida.

Her first attempt, which was a 'cruising style' circumnavigation, ended when she was almost home, losing her boat(a Najad 361, also named 'Nereida') on a Mexican surf beach North of Acapulco.

At the time she was within half a day and 60 mls short of her starting point of Zihuatanejo, which she'd left in March '07. Maintenance issues foiled her second attempt.

Jeanne set off from Victoria, British Colombia, Canada and is currently approaching Cape Horn.







Jamie Dunross - Australia

Quadriplegic sailor Jamie Dunross could have been inspired by other quad sailors with incredible records - Hilary Lister, who circumnavigated Britain solo, or Geoff Holt, who crossed the Atlantic sailing solo.

Jamie, who suffered an industrial accident many years ago to deprive him of his motor abilities, completed an amazing solo circumnavigation of Australia in his S&S 34 Spirit of Rockingham on 25 July 2010, without any crew onboard to assist him. His last leg was a 2000 mile leg down the west coast of Australia.




Boerge Ousland - Norway

Boerge Ousland had already trekked to the North Pole before trying to sail around the North Pole in a single summer season, a feat which he achieved last year, and a feat made possibly only by global warming and the melting of the Arctic ice cap. His crew comprised navigator Thorleif Thorleifsson, and a rotation of one other Norwegian, two Frenchmen, one Russian and one from Dubai.

He used a relatively modest yacht, a Corsair 31 trimaran to achieve the voyage. The lightness and the manoeuvrability of this multihull craft enabled the sailors to thread their way between the icebergs, to sail where other heavier and more keeled yachts (Corsair 31 has a draught of only 40 cm) couldn't go, and to draw the boat on to ground when the need arose.

'Less than 10 years ago the first steel-hulled sailboat managed to get through just one of the passages, and 100 years ago, a circumnavigation would have taken six years,' Ousland said in a statement.


Josie Phillips - Britain:

Dr Josie Phillips, 27, was used to being in contact with terminally ill people, but that didn't prepare her for her own diagnosis with a brain tumour. In 2008 she was told her tumour was malignant and her life expectancy was little more than a year. So what did she do? Yes, she and her husband Roger went sailing in a Contessa 32, a 2,000-mile round-Britain sailing trip raising £25,000 for charities including Brain Tumour Research. Their journey was started on 15th May, and finished in September back at Fox's marina in Suffolk, where they started.








Phillip Beale - Britain:

Philip Beale was the skipper of the Phoenicia, which left Lebanon in 2008 to recreate a journey believed to have been achieved in 600BC. After 20,000 miles and two years at sea, their arrival back to Lebanon in October 2010 saw the triumphant completion of their voyage in the replica ship.

Before this adventure, Beale had already pursued an ambition to build an eighth century BC Indonesian ship and sail it to West Africa to demonstrate that early Indonesian seafarers could have reached West Africa by sail rather than by land.
The Borobudur Ship Expedition (www.borobudurshipexpedition.com) as it became known, was successfully completed in late 2003-04. At that time Philip was awarded Indonesia’s highest honour by President Megawati for services to Indonesian Culture.








Mark Schrader - USA

Mark Schrader, was already a two-time single-handed circumnavigator of the world and the first American to do so via the 'Five Capes' of the Southern Ocean, when he took on being skipper of Oceans Watch, a steel cutter expedition yacht.

Under the auspices of Sailors for the Sea, Oceans Watch achieved a 25,000 mile sailing circumnavigation of the American continents with the mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging citizens of the Americas to protect our fragile oceans.

They also carried a range of marine scientists on board to make vital records of the oceans, climate and wildlife in the regions that they sailed.



Last but not least,

Jessica Watson - Australia

In 2010, Jessica Watson, at the age of 16, astonished the world as she sailed from Sydney across the equator in the Pacific, then around the three great southerly capes - Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope (or rather Aghulas) and then the south east tip of Tasmania, back to Sydney. It was an inspirational journey, and enraptured most Australians with her single-mindedness and sense of adventure. Since her journey she has received dozens of accolades.

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