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The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Congratulations, Tony and Coryn Gooch, Winners of the OCC 2018 Vertue Award

Jennifer Handley

September 26th, 2018

Last week I was privileged to be present when Ocean Cruising Club Regional Rear Commodore, Ian Grant, announced that the winners of the 2018 Vertue Award were Tony and Coryn Gooch.  The award was presented by visiting Rear Commodore Jenny Crickmore Thompson (see photo above).

Created in 2014 to commemorate Ocean Cruising Club’s 60th anniversary, the Vertue Award is “given to the OCC member or members in North America who best represent the characteristics of club founder, Humphrey Barton, through cruising achievements or service to the club and cruising community”.  Winners of this award, named after Barton’s yacht, Vertue XXXV, are selected by the North American Regional Rear Commodores.

Humphrey Barton created a name for himself and cemented the place of the Vertue yacht in the annals of cruising legend when he crossed the North Atlantic in 1950. Just over 25′ with a 7′ beam, Vertue XXXV completed the passage in 47 1/2 days, at an average of 3.4 nm per hour.  It is believed that prior to this crossing, no other modern small yacht had ever made the direct passage from England to New York.

When Jenny announced the winners at Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the spontaneous standing ovation confirmed, if there ever was any doubt, that the 2018 Vertue Award was truly well deserved by this year’s recipients.

Based in Victoria, Tony and Coryn are long time Ocean Cruising Club members;  Tony is a former Vice Commodore of the OCC  and has served on a number of committees as part that organization.  But they are best known and have received international recognition for their cruising adventures, mostly high latitude sailing, aboard Taonui. Over 17 years, the couple logged 110,000 miles on Taonui, and it was aboard her that Tony set a world record in 2002-2003 when he became the first person to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation from a North American west coast port.  That 177 day voyage saw 24,362 miles slip under the keel.  

Taonui’s passages, 1996-2013

Tony and Coryn are also well known to the Bluewater Cruising Association community.  They were nominated for and became honorary members of BCA in 2007 and over the years, many a VI Fleet member has benefited from Tony’s presentations about heavy weather sailing and best practices when in such conditions.  VI Club Night attendees have been enthralled by Tony and Coryn’s stories and mesmerized by their videos and photos on multiple occasions. Thanks to you both for all you have done to inspire the Dreamers among us and encourage the Do-ers!

Also announced at the Sept 18 gathering at RVYC was that Daragh Nagle and Catherine O’Neill are the new OCC Port Captains for South Vancouver Island. Daragh and Catherine are also active BCA members;  Daragh is currently VI Fleet co-coordinator.  Congratulations to both of you on this position!

Cover Photo Credit: Dale Bruce




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