If, during the course of the year, I ever have reason to doubt BCA’s raison d’être, all that is put to rest in December when the association takes time to formally recognize the achievements and contributions of its members. The annual awards presentations in all three Chapters provide a welcome opportunity to remind ourselves why we do what we do and to acknowledge the siren call of sea, especially to those blue, tropical waters! December 2018 was no exception as I travelled first to Calgary, then Vancouver and ultimately attended the VI awards night in Victoria where I listened to stories shared by cruisers and watchkeepers alike about what BCA has meant to them over the years and how BCA has helped them achieve their cruising dreams.
Twenty-two individuals received cruising, service and/or perpetual awards – couples, single-handed sailors, old and young – a great testament to the passion and commitment of BCA members and a glowing reflection of BCA’s vision and values as well.
Awarded to members who complete a coastal (harbour-hopping) voyage outside Canadian territorial waters, where the shortest straight-line charted distance between the starting and ending ports is a minimum of 999nm.
- Hugh and Graciela Orlando-Waller, Gypsy Dream
- Peter Jacobs, crew aboard Marathon
- Tanya Van Ginkel, Kialoa
- Nello Angerelli, Marathon
- Thomas Winkler, Cat I
Awarded to members who complete a minimum 999nm non-stop offshore passage as measured in a straight line outside Canadian territorial waters while actively engaged in the ongoing operation of the vessel as unpaid crew.
- Dee Logan
- Rhonda Schuller
- Denis Heinrichs and Rosario Passos
- Thomas Winkler
- Tanya Van Ginkel
Awarded to members who complete an offshore passage outside Canadian territorial waters on their own non-commercial vessel, where the shortest straight-line charted distance between the starting and ending ports is a minimum of 999nm without putting into port prior to the completion of the 999 miles.
- Jean Baillargeon and Helen Roberts, Shamata
- Tim and Sandra Johnson, Kadens
The primary service award recognizes Watchkeepers who have served three or more years on the Watch or Board of Directors since BCA’s inception in 1978. This year’s awardees were:
- Heather Marshall: Calgary Watch Secretary (2016-2018)
- Mike Gregory: Calgary Education Watchkeeper (2012-2014) and Membership Watchkeeper (2015-2016)
- Connie Morahan: VI Fleet Watchkeeper (2013-2017) and VI Weather Group Coordinator (2013-2018)
Dedicated watchkeepers are essential and do much to help the association remain relevant, vibrant and highly respected, but they are not the only ones who freely give their time, skills and energy to BCA.
Thus it was that the Board of Directors moved to establish criteria in Fall 2018 that enables the Board to recognize an individual who, in the immediate past year, has helped BCA achieve a significant goal or objective or who has been instrumental in some way in building and strengthening the sense of community across the chapters. Commodore Leslie Hanson thanked Rudy Witt, BCA’s Webmaster and SysAdmin, at the VI awards night for the work he has done over the past year in troubleshooting and helping to resolve problems across almost all BCA’s technology platforms and recognized him as a BCA Star with a small token of the Board’s appreciation.
In addition to the cruising and service awards, BCA has a number of special or perpetual awards for significant achievements and/or contributions to BCA. These are not necessarily awarded annually, but only as “earned”.
The Rudi Seifert Keeper of the Light Award is awarded from time to time to a deserving member whose significant and often behind-the-scenes contributions reflect and support the spirit of the Association. First established in 2008 by then Commodore Don Brown, it was presented this year to Don himself for his continued engagement with BCA and, in particular, for his support of Vancouver Watch and mentoring of the new Chapter Vice Commodore recently returned from offshore, his involvement with the Vancouver International Boat Show in a wide range of roles (from coordinator to schlepper to booth volunteer), and his musical gifts which have been shared at many of the August Rendezvous over the years.
The Hill-Padwick “Bent Mast” Award is awarded by popular vote, as determined by the most raucous applause and laughter from the raconteur’s nomination. There were a surprising number of people who willingly shared their mishaps at the VI awards night, the ultimate winner being Rudy Witt, Aquestaer, for his re-telling of a seemingly never-ending, misadventure-filled crossing from Vancouver to Victoria with a waltzing fridge and a mainsail that decided to raise itself, not once but multiple times during the passage. And, of course, while intuition suggested that maybe he shouldn’t attempt the crossing, a deadline (possibly the worst enemy of a cruiser) combined with some bravado won the day. Rudy lived to tell the tale and we were entertained by its re-telling.
Although announced at the August Rendezvous, VI members Connie Morahan and Peter McMartin, Cookie Cutter, were formally honoured as the unanimous winners of the 2018 Peterson Cup, BCA’s annual cruising rally.
The Ben Rusi Seamanship Award recognizes members who demonstrate a level of determination, courage, citizenship and discipline to which all BCA cruisers should aspire. Awarded on rare occasions, the first two recipients were circumnavigators: Guy Druce, Floating Point (1998) and Gillian West, Khamsin (2007). Peter McMartin and Connie Morahan, Cookie Cutter, received the award in 2012 for their 32 day passage from Japan to Victoria. And this year, Larry Roberts and Mary Anne Unrau, Traversay III , were recognized for their recently completed 2 year voyage: Victoria to Townsville AU to dive the Great Barrier Reef, then onward to New Zealand, across the South Pacific to Chile to revisit and dive sites in the Chilean Archipelago, north to Hawaii and then home to Victoria. The 60+ day, non-stop passage to Australia in 2016 required lots of discipline in planning, provisioning, managing scarce resources (e.g. fuel and power) and determination in carrying on when nearby landfalls might be tempting. The passage from NZ to Chile in 2017 through the southern ocean required significant courage, determination and discipline. And their sharing of information and photographs of underwater species seen during 50 dives along the Chilean archipelago (over multiple trips) is an example of the citizenship aspect of the award.
Congratulations to all the 2018 award winners and thank you for your commitment to BCA!
For More Info
More information about BCA’s offshore or perpetual awards can be found in the Members’ Directory and on our website ; cruising and service award recipients dating back to 2002 can be found here . If you qualify for an award or know another BCA members who does, please contact Past Commodore, Jennifer Handley .
Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2018 awards presentations a great success, especially those who took all the photos, a few of which are published in this article. If you are interested, the BCA Shutterfly albums have more photos from the AGM  and the VI Christmas social .