The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

BCA Awards and the Stories Behind Them (2023)

Leslie Hansen

Martin 32
January 31st, 2024

Well, it was December 2023, that time of year. Time to recognize the wonderful things our BCA members do and have done! The awards ceremony was, once again, an online meeting following the 2023 AGM on December 6, and was well attended.  We were fortunate this year to be also be able to attend seasonal socials both in Vancouver and Victoria and congratulate most of the award recipients in person.  Here are some highlights of those celebrations.

2023 Cruising Awards and Notable Passages

We were pleased to have one of our 2022 Cruising Awards recipients, Roger MacDougall, on hand to receive his award in person. Roger drove down from Nanaimo to receive his award plaque commemorating his 2021 voyage on his boat Air Ops from Baja Puerto Escondido to Hawaii and back to Ucluelet, a total of 6200nm. Well done, Roger!

Past Commodore Leslie Hansen presents an Offshore Cruising Award to Roger MacDougall

Many other BCA members are also offshore, including at least 17 boats that declared the start of their offshore adventures in 2023, but very few returned home this year and applied for a Cruising Award. They’re too busy off sailing and doing cruising stuff!  I expect 2024 to be a busy awards season. Many cruising members have completed that initial coastal trip to Mexico (a qualifying passage for the Coastal 999 award) and even more will have made the voyage to places like Hawaii and back or further afield.  We wish them all fair winds and warm hearts, and look forward to their stories.

And while we wait for those anticipated returns, we do have a couple of notable passages I’d like to highlight. These are members who have completed passages that qualify for the Offshore Owners’ Award but have chosen to defer receiving their award until later in their voyage.

Anne Trudel and Ken Buckley aboard Naida

May 3 – May 27, 2023 – 2944 nm from La Cruz de Huanacaxtla, MX to Atuona, Hiva Oa, French Polynesia: “…arrived needing a few repairs…, spent the austral fall, winter and spring exploring the Marquesas and the Tuamotos…, plan to continue exploring the South Pacific for an indeterminate period.”  You can follow Naida’s adventures on the BCA Fleet Map and on PredictWind.

Dave and Mary Kruger aboard Synchronicity

Aug 22-Sept 6, 2023 – 2220 nm from Salinas, Ecuador to Easter Island; and Sept 11-30, 2023: 1958 nm from Easter Island to Valdivia, Chile:  “Our goal is to circumnavigate North and South America… round the Horn next April and then eventually do the Northwest Passage too, on the way back to Vancouver.” Synchronicity is also on the BCA Fleet map, and you can read Mary’s blogs here.

Further to that, it’s now even easier to find more great stories from our cruising members near and far! Links to members’ online presence (blog, Instagram, Facebook, PredictWind, Youtube, etc) are in two locations on our website home page. Check out the list of shared cruising blogs etc in the lower left rail or click on a cruiser’s link as it scrolls past in the lower right rail.

Two ways to easily access BCA member blogs and other online links

2023 Service Awards

This year we presented Service Awards to a number of long-time watch keepers.

Rosario Passos – Currents Managing Editor 2015-2023

A member of Vancouver Chapter since 2012, Rosario has held various positions on the Watch right from the beginning. In 2014 she was part of the team that moved the BCA Currents magazine from a printed version to the current online format and she became the Managing Editor in 2015. The move online greatly increased Currents’ ability to reach even more readers, both BCA members and non-members; we now have over 1400 subscribers from around the world!

Rosario and her husband Dennis Heinrichs were also the recipients of the 2021 Rudi Seifert Keeper of the Light Award for the many contributions they have collectively made over the years to the Vancouver Watch – Membership, Fleet, Rendezvous, the Vancouver Boat Show as well as photographer at BCA events over the years.  Rosario and Denis finally cast off in September 2023 to begin their adventures on Counting Stars, and hint, hint, we look forward to the many wonderful stories to come (lots of articles and photos for Currents!)

Thank you, Rosario!

Al Kitchen – VI Fleet 2015-2023

Since joining BCA in 2005,  Al has been a member of the VI Chapter. For the past 7 years, he has co-run the VI Fleet group with Daragh Nagle, providing opportunities for VI Fleet members to learn and connect at Fleet meetings, online seminars and courses and on-water rendezvous.  Since 2020, when COVID first hit, Al has also provided invaluable assistance in setting up and using the technology needed to move meetings and courses from in-person venues to online. And not just Fleet meetings either: Al has assisted with the BCA AGM and other events that needed an online alternative to in-person gatherings. Al is stepping down from the Fleet Coordinator role this year, but not going far as he has agreed to take up a role as Technical Advisor to the VI Watch.

Daragh Nagle – VI Fleet 2017-2023

Daragh is also a long-time member of the VI Chapter, having joined in 2004.  He has earned a number of BCA awards over the years, including the coveted Hill-Padwick Bent Mast Award. Since 2017, Daragh has co-led the many VI Fleet activities with Al Kitchen. He is well known for setting up and sponsoring great Fleet rendezvous. You may have noticed that both VI Fleet watch keepers seem to have jumped ship, but don’t worry…they are leaving Fleet in the good and capable hands of Campbell Good and Bill Eisenhauer.

Thank you, Al and Daragh, for all you have done and continue to do!

Service Award Recipients: Al Kitchen, Daragh Nagle with Past Commodore, Leslie Hansen; Rosario Passos with Past Commodore, Leslie Hansen

Carol Cook and Steve Colleaux – Calgary Fleet 2019-2023

Carol and Steve joined the Calgary Chapter in 2015, and in 2019 stepped up to take on the role Calgary Fleet watch keepers. Five years and countless hours later, they are passing the baton on.  Thank you, Carol and Steve, for your work leading the Calgary Fleet.

2023 Perpetual Awards

Rudi Seifert Keeper of the Light Award

The Rudi Seifert Keeper of the Light Award recognizes significant contributions to BCA that reflect and support the spirit, vision and values of the Association. Rudi Seifert was a long time member of the BCA Vancouver watch, who for many years provided ongoing support to the Vancouver Chapter and watch, as Bosun, managing the Club Room and especially preparation and support for BCA’s presence at the Vancouver Boat Show. The Keeper of the Light award recognizes the kind of contribution that sometimes goes unheralded, but is key to keeping the flame of BCA community alive.

For his contributions to the VI Fleet programs, his mentoring activities, and the championing of the BCA Fleet Map, I am pleased to announce Daragh Nagle as a recipient of the Keeper of the Light award in 2023.

Daragh was nominated for Keeper of the Light Award in part for his many contributions to the evolution of the VI Fleet Program during his years as Fleet watch keeper, especially when so many of the activities moved online during and after COVID. He has also been a valued mentor to a large number of people over the years, crewing with members and other mariners on many long and difficult offshore passages.

You may not know, however, that Daragh is also a long time champion of the BCA Fleet Map, which used to exist as a centerfold in the old, printed Currents magazine. He remembers eagerly turning to the Fleet Map when Currents arrived in the mail each month; keen to see where the BCA Fleet boats were now, and planning his own passages to those far off places.

Daragh recognized that the Fleet Map was an invaluable resource that allowed BCA members, around the world and here at home, to see each other and connect, and when it was dropped from Currents during the move online (because of technical challenges) he missed it. In 2020 and 2021, he decided to approach the Marine Traffic website developers to see if they could help us build an online BCA Fleet Map. They could, and in early 2022 a small team brought the BCA Fleet map to life on our website. Daragh continues to support the online map by adding new boats to it as members send their MMSI numbers. There are now 72 boats on the map and counting, with room for up to 500! You can find the online map here, with instructions on how to add your boat (if you are a BCA member) here. Daragh’s ability to see the great value in having a real time map available, and his initiative and perseverance in finding a way to implement it, is a wonderful contribution to BCA and a great reflection of BCA’s spirit of community’.

Thank you, Daragh!

Daragh Nagle, recipient of the Keeper of the Light award with Leslie Hansen, Past Commodore

Peterson Cup Award

The Peterson Cup is presented to the winner of the Peterson Cup Rally, a fun event in midsummer, just before our August Rendezvous. The Cup is in memory of former Commodore Lex Peterson, a person who believed in the great value of community and camaraderie, and who inspired the original Peterson Cup Rally in 2005.

After a two year hiatus, we finally were able to hold the Peterson Cup Rally again in 2023. Thank you to Ken Christie for providing the energy and organization for this year’s event. The participants met Mark Bay off Protection Island on July 29, 2023, and over the next five days sailed through the waters, islands, nooks and crannies of the Salish Sea to join the BCA August Rendezvous at Port Browning on North Pender Island, where the Peterson Cup was presented to Cindy Wang and Allan Berry on Euphoria. Congratulations to Cindy and Allan! We look forward to reading all about the rally in a Currents article!

Cindy Wang and Allan Berry, winners of the prestigious Peterson Cup

Hill-Padwick “Bent Mast” Award

The Hill-Padwick Award, known affectionately as the “Bent Mast” or “Boo-Boo of the Year” award, was initially awarded in 1980. The award commemorates an incident when Patrick Hill and Peter Padwick allowed their competitive urges to bring them together in a very close encounter that resulted in considerable damage to both pride and rigging.  It is awarded by popular vote during Awards Night, as determined by the most raucous applause for the raconteur’s tale.

For the past two years we have selected the Bent Mast Award recipients during the online Awards Ceremony following the AGM. As the Chapters returned to in-person December socials this year, we decided to do the story telling there. As usual, great tales were spun from raw experience and the rooms rang with applause, laughter, and cheers.

From the Vancouver Island Chapter, Bill Norrie’s account of a race that featured the painfully slow sinking of his sailboat as he rounded the last marker and approached the finish line was a favourite. A harrowing account from John and Marg Green of accidentally running the tidal rapids into Ellerslie Lagoon was a close second (note: if using Navionic charts for tide calculations, check if the ‘Alaska Time’ icon is showing!).

In Vancouver, a number of well received tales of mishaps were narrowed down to two: “Fish Guts in the Fuel System”, presented by Denis and Rosario, which featured salmon guts washed off the deck into an open fuel tank fitting (making the next fuel filter change both extremely gross and interesting).  And a ‘Long Distance Rescue Call” was reported by Ken Robertson, wherein he is notified that his boat is dragging anchor in a bay off the coast of Africa, via a relay from a friend at the nearby marina, all the way to Rosario in Vancouver and then from Rosario back to Ken, who was quietly enjoying a sunset dinner at a restaurant someways away from the marina (boat was rescued and all was well).

With so many great stories this year to choose from, we decided to award the Bent Mast to a candidate from each chapter. Bill Norrie and his ‘Racing Woes’ will share the award with Denis and Rosario and their ‘Fish Gut Fuel Filter’. Congratulations to all who participated and thank you for the laughs and the generous sharing of your experiences.

Stories for the Bent Mast award. From top left to right: John Green, Leslie Hansen, Bill Norrie, Larry Roberts, Ken Robertson, Denis Heinrichs, Mike Goodman, Rhonda Schuller, Alice Kloosterboer

Vancouver Chapter – Recognition for Innovation Award

In 2020, when we were all faced with months of isolation and loss of community connection, Vancouver Chapter watchkeeper Heather Marshall found a way to help. She realized that it was possible to connect online and took the initiative to set up virtual BURPs (Bluewater Unofficial Rendezvous Place), a periodic online video call that people could use to connect and visit with each other.

In recognition of the initiative she took in setting up and then continuing this wonderful service to BCA members on a regular monthly basis (every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 1900h-2100h), Heather was presented with a special Recognition for Innovation award by the Vancouver Chapter. Thank you, Heather, for this and for all the other support you give to the Vancouver Chapter and Watch, and to BCA as a whole!

Virtual BURPS have been a tremendous success from the very beginning. Watch for notices of dates and times in an email from the Vancouver Chapter Communications watchkeeper – the next one will be scheduled in February.

Heather Marshall receives the Special Recognition for Innovation Award from Don Hutchison, Vancouver Chapter Vice Commodore

Warm congratulations to all the 2023 award recipients from your Board of Directors and your fellow BCA members, and best wishes to all for a great 2024!  For those who wish to read about the awards or take a look at the lists of previous award recipients, check out the Awards section of the BCA website.




  1. Al Kitchen says:

    Great article Leslie! Thank you for your unwavering support to our cruising community.

  2. Donna+Sassaman says:

    Well done, Leslie! I hope that your descriptions, and the stories of the recipients, will inspire members to nominate either themselves or other members for awards in 2024. Thank you,

  3. Daragh Nagle says:

    Thank you Leslie for a fascinating account of this years awards and the stories behind them. A good read and the comprehensive links provided making it even better!

  4. Billy Norrie says:

    Thank you BCA and all our spectacular volunteers! What a beautiful community , this is so much more than an “ association “ . It had been a joy and privilege to rub shoulders with such fantastic individuals bonded together with our love of boating and the worlds oceans. I endorse staying on the surface and the Bent Mast award helps soften the reverse. BCA rocks ! Fair winds and following breezes everyone .

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