Yachting New Zealand have something that Yachting Australia seems to be allergic to - a Cruising Award.
Kerry Farrand accepting the Yachting New Zealand Cruising Award for 2012
At the 2012 Yachting Excellence Awards, year Kerry Farrand received the Yachting New Zealand Cruising Award for his circumnavigation of the globe - a journey in his Beneteau 50 called Irene that took him five years. It wasn't the top award of the night, but at least it was there and recognised cruising as a completely different aspect of the sport of sailing.
'It wasn't a matter of charging around the globe in a Volvo Round the World Race, I wanted to see a bit of the world, too,' he explained to the Northern Advocate after receiving the award. So he left, without any organising committee, without preset route, without outside attention, with only his good seamanship to take him through some of the most challenging situations in remote areas. The trip wasn't without its risks, particularly when passing through the pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean on his way to the Red Sea.
'We thought we'd been run down by pirates one night in the Gulf of Aden but it turned out to be a false alarm but it was still pretty scary ... there are some parts of the world that you really need to have your wits about you,' he said.
The waters and the routes he was about to sail were always thoroughly researched and strategies worked out in advance to minimise risk.
Now Farrand has sold the boat he sailed around the globe in to his son and that has provided the impetus to finish off his new boat ... and that's all that's keeping him from doing some more cruising right now.
In the end he rated the South Pacific as the jewel of the crown and the most memorable part of his sailing adventure.
'We really take it for granted because it's so close to us but it really it quite beautiful ... the other part of the world that really grabbed me was Croatia and the islands around it. Its people, culture, architecture and history are so different to what we have down here,' he said.
The Caribbean was another highlight for the Kerikeri Cruising Club member but he said it was overcrowded compared to our part of the world.
The award pales into significance compared with the memories he picked up on his cruising adventure but it still was a 'nice thought', he said. 'It was the last thing I expected and I'm sure there are many others who deserve it more than me but it was a very pleasant evening and I have the cruising club to thank for nominating me.'
With the popularity of cruising increasing at a dramatically greater rate than racing, one wonders how long it will take Yachting Australia to give a tiny recognition to this section of the sport. There are Australians undertaking amazing journeys, through the Northwest Passage, down to Antarctic, around Australia, sometimes in record times and sometimes non-stop, but as far as Yachting Australia is concerned, with the exception of the heroic Jessica Watson, they may as well not exist.