Jim and Jean Foley have been selected by the Cruising Club of America to receive the Club’s Far Horizons Award for 2014 in recognition of over one hundred thousand miles of off-shore cruising over the last twelve years. The award will be presented at the Club’s annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club in New York on March 6, 2015. The award was established by the Club’s Governing Board to recognize members of the club for “a particularly meritorious cruise or series of cruises that exemplify the objectives of the Club as stated in its Constitution.”
The Foley’s first circumnavigation in their Mason 44, Mara, was completed over a four-year period (1992 to 1996). They crossed the Atlantic from Maine to Ireland, proceeded down to Spain and Portugal, then back west across the Atlantic to the Panama Canal. Their passage across the Pacific took them to New Zealand and thereafter northwest through the Torres Straits, west across the Indian Ocean to South Africa, northwest to Brazil, returning to Maine in 1996 via the Caribbean.
After cruising in the Canadian maritime for several years, Jim and Jean felt the urge to continue long-range cruising, this time into the high latitudes. For this purpose they worked with Chuck Paine in designing a 63´ aluminum pilot house cutter, Onora. After sailing a large circle in the Coral and Tasman Seas, considered by Jim and Jean as a “sea trial”, in 2005 they sailed across the Pacific to Santiago, Chile, cruised the Beagle Channel, Straits of Magellan, crossed the Drake Passage to Deception Island, and then visited King Georges Island, the Falklands and South Georgia Island on the way to South Africa. Having spent the winter of 2005-6 in the southern high latitudes, they pushed quickly north via Trinidad, Cape Breton and Newfoundland to Disco Bay, cruising Greenland during the summer of 2006. After sailing from Greenland to Northern Ireland, the next several years were spent cruising in northern Europe. During 2012-2013, Onora sailed south from England via France, Portugal and the Canaries, continuing across the Atlantic to Salvador, Brazil. Earlier this year they crossed the Atlantic to Cape Town, and after a brief stay headed east across the Indian Ocean towards Australia. Jim and Jean are within a few hundred miles of their second circumnavigation.
The meritorious nature of their cruise is enhanced by the fact that in over a hundred thousand miles of cruising they had only one serious problem, a tribute to their seamanship and attention to the design of Onora. During a particularly rough passage from South Africa to Australia the bearings holding the rudder in place broke loose. After making temporary repairs they were able to seek shelter in the lagoon of an uninhabited island where Jean was able to make more repairs at the direction of Jim who suffered from a broken rib.