The Cruising Club of America has awarded its prestigious Blue Water Medal to Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson for a commendable 24-years and 135,000 miles of sailing the world’s oceans with a focus in the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean.
The first Blue Water Medal was awarded in 1923; and is given to 'the most meritous example of seamanship.' Its recipient is selected from among amateurs of all the nations.' The medal will be presented by Commodore Daniel P. Dyer, III at the annual Awards Dinner on March 2, 2012 at New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.
Matzen was born in Germany in 1956 and grew up to be a wooden boat builder. In 1981,Matzen purchased Wanderer III, a 30 foot wooden sloop, built in 1952 for Eric and Susan Hiscock who made two circumnavigations with it and received the Blue Water Medal in 1955.Matzen sailed Wanderer III to Scandinavia where he cruised extensively, including to the Lofoten Islands (Norway), and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1989, while sailing in the Caribbean, he met Swedish-born (1964) Ericson, and the two have lived on Wanderer III ever since. After leaving the Caribbean, the duo sailed through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific Ocean where they spent seven years traveling from site to site. After that, Ericson and Matzen sailed to Indonesia, explored the Indian Ocean, and sailed around the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa).
From 1997 to 1999, Matzen and Ericson did two circuits of the South Atlantic, starting in Cape Town (South Africa) and visiting Argentina, The Falkland Islands, and South Georgia before heading back to Cape Town (South Africa) and South America, where they rounded Cape Horn before returning to the Pacific. The couple’s last twelve years have been comprised of exploring sites in the Southern Ocean, including Tasmania, The Auckland Islands, Antarctica and the Falkland Islands.
Recently the two spent 26 months in South Georgia. Currently, Matzen and Ericson are in Brazil and plan to do some work on Wanderer III, which has been kept in its original condition with no electronics onboard except a VHF radio and handheld GPS (added in 2007). The vessel has a sixteen horsepower diesel engine and the hull, rigging and gear have been self-maintained using traditional methods.
In addition to presenting its Blue Water Medal, the CCA will present the following 2011 Awards:
Far Horizons Award awarded to Brian and Mary Alice O’Neill (Bainbridge Island, WA) for an admirable 25-month cruise circumnavigating the Pacific Rim, North Pacific Ocean on their 44-foot Robert Perry Designed sloop Shibui. En route the two delivered school supplies to those in need and toured WWII sites.
Richard S. Nye Trophy awarded to Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.) for sharing with the club his meritorious service, racing, and statesmanship in the affairs of international yachting.
Rod Stephens Trophy awarded to Bob Arzbaecher (Milwaukee, Wisc.) and the crew of the Beneteau 40.7 Sociable for their dramatic rescue of the crew of the Kiwi 35 WingNuts during the Chicago Yacht Club’s 103rd Race to Mackinac held this past July.
Cruising Club of America website