TheCruising Club of America presented Ellen and Seth Leonard with its 2018 Young Voyager Award in recognition of their predominantly double-handed circumnavigation commenced at the ages of 20 and 23, respectively.
Though thousands of miles away and on different coasts, Ellen and Seth both started sailing when they were in pre-school. That distance between them was closed in 2006 when Ellen and Seth met in Maine. A week later they were sailing together, and at the ages of 20 and 23, respectively, commenced a four-year, 32,000 nautical mile voyage around the world. Their ports-of-call traced a passage down the east coast, across the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, westward across the Pacific, around the Cape of Good Hope, across the Atlantic back into the Caribbean and up to Blue Hill, Maine, where it all started. This voyage was made in Heretic, a 38-foot cutter rigged sloop, a copy of the Sparkman & Stephens legendary keel-centerborder, Finisterre (three-time winner of the Newport Bermuda Race). Prior to leaving Maine, Seth had started a full restoration of Heretic, which was finished over the course of the cruise.
After being landlocked for several years, limited to only an east coast cruise, the Leonards purchased Celeste, a 40-foot custom built cold-molded wooden cutter-rigged sloop, and set forth on a four-year voyage of 13,000 nautical miles heading north along the west coast of Alaska and Canada, reaching the polar pack ice at 72º N. They are currently in the Pacific heading west and have logged over 50,000 nautical miles.