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2022 Royal Cruising Club Trophy—Ellen Massey Leonard and Seth Leonard

Ellen Massey Leonard and Seth Leonard, of Laupāhoehoe, Hawai'i, are the recipients of the Cruising Club of America’s 2022 Royal Cruising Club Trophy, awarded to a member of the Club for “the most interesting cruise of singular merit and moderate duration.” 

The cruise that earned the trophy for the Leonards aboard their 40-foot cutter, Celeste, was a close-hauled, 19-day, 2,400-nm, double-handed passage from Rangiroa, Tuamotus to Hilo, Hawaii, in late 2020.

Sailing close-hauled to Hawai`i from French Polynesia. Photo by Ellen Massey Leonard

“Gentlemen don’t sail to windward” is an oft-heard refrain among sailors of either gender when contemplating a desirable destination yet intimidated by the expected adverse winds. Ellen and Seth Leonard were certainly aware of the weather—the Southeast trade winds, the ITCZ doldrums and squalls, and the Northeast trade winds—as they planned their voyage home from a multi-year cruise through the South Pacific to Hawaii. But confident in their cold-molded cruiser and their own abilities, they were not intimidated.

Ellen and Seth enjoy pleasant sailing conditions, back in Hawai`i. Photo by Ellen Massey Leonard

Knowing all would be tested, they set off against the trade winds on a cruise, richly detailed by Ellen in a 10-page article published in the CCA’s 2023 Voyages magazine. The remarkable passage that ensued—2,400 nautical miles to windward in 19 days with a waterline of 28 feet—would be a notable passage in any sailor’s life. Add to this the sighting and identifying of rarely seen wildlife of the region—the pygmy orcas. Ellen writes, “That’s one reason we sail…to find a deeper connection with our watery planet than is otherwise possible.”

To learn more, read Ellen Massey Leonard’s “Close-Hauled to Hawaii.”


Recipient Name
Ellen Massey Leonard and Seth Leonard
Boat Name