Cruising Club of America (CCA) Commodore Sheila McCurdy presented the 2010 Blue Water Medal to Australian sailor Alex Whitworth during CCA’s annual meeting in March at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. The honor comes to Whitworth following his circumnavigation via the Northwest Passage west to east.
Whitworth was born on the island of Malta in 1942 and spent most of his childhood in England. His father, a Royal Navy pilot, taught him to sail at an early age and at 19 he also joined the Royal Navy and served on carrier-based Sea Vixen aircraft until 1965. In 1966 Whitworth emigrated to Australia where he worked for Adastra Aerial Surveys.
In 1993, Whitworth and his partner Hilary Yerbury purchased Berrimilla, an Australian designed Brolga 33. Since then he has completed two circumnavigations aboard Berrimilla; the first in 2004 via Cape Horn and the second in 2008.
Whitworth’s 2008 voyage came about with an invitation from NASA scientists to rendezvous at Beechy Island in the Arctic. Whitworth set out from Australia on April 10, 2008, sailing directly to Alaska and into the Northwest Passage. Ice conditions prevented the Beechy Island rendezvous, so Whitworth continued on to England arriving in Falmouth that September. Berrimilla was stored in the U.K. that winter and then competed in the 2009 Rolex Fasnet Race. Following the race, Whitworth continued his circumnavigation via the Cape of Good Hope and arrived back in Australia in March 2010.
Other honors presented at the meeting included the Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship to Alessandro Di Benedetto, the Far Horizons Award to William E. Cook and the Richard S. Nye Trophy to Robert A. VanBlaricom.