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Cruising Club of America 2010 awards
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Jan 30, 2011, 11:23 AM

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kirsten Ferguson, Media Pro Int’l for CCA, 401-849-0220
New York, N.Y., USA
January 28, 2011

Cruising Club of America to Present 2010 Rod Stephens Trophy to Alessandro Di Benedetto

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) will award The 2010 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship to Alessandro Di Benedetto for his seamanship in jury rigging a mast after being dismasted near Cape Horn on his solo, non-stop circumnavigation on the 21-foot (6.5-meter) monohull Findomestic. This award is given “for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea.” The award will be presented on March 4, 2011 by CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy during the club’s annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

Di Benedetto was born in Rome, Italy in 1971 and began sailing at the age of eight. He quickly moved into Lasers and then sport catamarans and later a 41-foot (12.6- meter) yawl, which he sailed with his father Frederico Di Benedetto. Di Benedetto completed his studies at University of Palermo (Sicily) and holds a Doctorate in Geology and a Professional Diver Degree in Underwater Archaeology.

In 1992, he sailed with his father from Italy and arrived November 27 at the Cape Verde Islands on a 20.4-foot (6.3-meter) sport catamaran. On December 28, the two left the Cape Verde Islands and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Martinique in the French Caribbean Islands in 16 days.

Once Di Benedetto had experienced open ocean sailing it became a hunger he couldn’t satiate. In 2001, he logged 1700 miles in a single-handed, non-stop journey beginning in Italy and finishing in the Canary Islands, and in 2002, Di Benedetto became a record breaker when he sailed single-handed across the Atlantic in his sport catamaran.

Another world record was broken in 2006 when he became the first person to do a single-handed, non-stop transpacific crossing from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco on a 19.4-foot (5.9-meter) catamaran that had no shelter or cabin.

Di Benedetto’s most recent and memorable journey was in 2009 when he departed on October 26 from Les Sables d’Olonne, France in a 21-foot (6.5-meter) sailboat that he himself had rebuilt and customized in preparation for his solo, non-stop, 24,000 mile voyage around the world. As he came to the last leg of the journey and began approaching Cape Horn (the most treacherous part of the voyage) he was dismasted, causing him to choose between getting help on land or jury rigging the mast. He decided to carry on with the jury rig. On July 22, 2010, after 268 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds at sea, Di Benedetto had completed his around-the-world voyage and set the record for smallest boat to complete a solo nonstop circumnavigation in that time.

Cruising Club of America to Present 2010 Far Horizons Award to William E. Cook

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) will award The 2010 Far Horizons Award to William E. Cook for a series of commendable voyages to the far north of the globe including cruises to Greenland and the Baffin Island (Canada). This award is given to a member of the CCA “for a particularly meritorious cruise or series of cruises that exemplify the objectives of the Club.” The award will be presented on March 4, 2011 by CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy during the club’s annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

After receiving a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D from Harvard, Cook went on to teach English for five years but longed for a change in scenery and decided it was time to explore more of the world both mentally and geographically. In the early summer of 1972 he set out on a cruise of the North Atlantic Circle with his wife Toni on their 60-foot (18.3-meter) Sparkman & Stephens ketch, Endeavour. The two spent the summer sailing through Scotland, England, France, Italy and Spain and by the fall, Endeavour was in the heart of the Mediterranean Ocean. When winter came, Cook had made it past the Canary Islands, the Cape Verdes Islands and was headed for the Caribbean. By the spring of 1973, Cook and his wife had completed their first journey and began the cruise home to New England.

After Cook’s excursion, he became enamored with the art of yacht design and decided to further his knowledge of the subject through courses at Westlawn School of Yacht Design and Stephens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.

By 1977, Bill Cook had opened Cook Yacht Design in Hyannis, Mass. Since then, he has been designing racing and cruising sailboats that range from 10-85 feet.

After Cook had sold Endeavour in mid-1970, he began cruising with friends and visited many new places including Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. He also partook in a number of Southern Ocean Racing Circuits including three Newport to Bermuda Races, the Annapolis to Newport Race and the Marblehead to Halifax.

In 2000, Cook bought the sailboat Resolution, a 56-foot (17-meter) Bristol Sloop. Since that time he has cruised extensively in the Canadian Maritimes and the Canadian Arctic including the Labrador Coast, and in 2007, he visited Leaf Basin in Hudson Strait. His most recent cruise was in 2010 when he visited Greenland for the second time to explore the southern end of the country. (Cook’s first trip was in 2003 when he ventured through the western end into Disko Bay.)

When he is not exploring the seas, Cook participates in a number of extracurricular activities. He is a past Commodore of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. and has been a Trustee at Mystic Seaport Museum since 1982. He served as Board Chairman from 1995 to 2001 and is currently the Rear Commodore of the Cruising Club of America’s Boston Station.

In addition, the CCA will present the following 2010 Awards:

The Blue Water Medal awarded to Alex Whitworth for his circumnavigation of the world via the Northwest Passage West to East. Whitworth has spent much of his adult life voyaging around the world, and in 2010 he completed his second circumnavigation of the globe on his Brogla 33 Berrimilla.


The Richard S. Nye Trophy awarded to Robert A. VanBlaricom who has brought distinction to the Cruising Club of America by meritorious service, outstanding seamanship, and outstanding performance in long distance cruising. He has been a member of the Club since 1964 and has served on many committees over the years. He has been awarded the John Parkinson Memorial Trophy twice for transoceanic passages; one was in a 39-foot (11.9-meter) steel-hulled sloop named Seabear, which he built with a partner. Bob has been awarded the CCA’s Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize, and the Royal Cruising Club Trophy. He has been Rear Commodore of the San Francisco Station of the CCA. As an author, he wrote and self-published his sailing autobiography, Time and Tide.


About the Cruising Club of America
The Cruising Club of America is dedicated to offshore cruising, voyaging and the “adventurous use of the sea” through efforts to improve seamanship, the design of seaworthy yachts, safe yachting procedures and environmental awareness. Now in its 90th year, the club has 11 stations throughout the U.S., Canada and Bermuda, with approximately 1200 members who are qualified by their experience in offshore passage making. In even-numbered years, the CCA organizes the Newport to Bermuda Race in conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Through the club’s Bonnell Cove Foundation, grants are made to 501 C3 organizations for safety at sea and environment of the sea projects. For more information on the CCA, go to http://www.cruisingclub.org.


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