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Ashley Perrin and Merfyn Owen, of San Rafael, California, are the recipients of the Cruising Club of America’s Royal Cruising Club Trophy for 2023 for their cruise that circumnavigated Newfoundland by way of Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes. The Royal Cruising Club Trophy is awarded to a CCA member and skipper who has undertaken “the most interesting cruise of singular merit and moderate duration.” Contributing to their selection was a detailed article they wrote about their experience in the Club’s publications.

Ash and Merf

It was 2018 when Ash and Merf set off from Halifax for a planned three-year adventure. The first leg of the cruise was a race, the Route Halifax to Saint-Pierre Ocean Race, which they won in Santana, Ashley’s Capo 30. Then they sailed to St. John’s, Newfoundland for an end of season haul-out and storage. The little boat had been prepared for a high-latitude cruise by owners who knew what was needed. Ashley is a professional Antarctic Ice Pilot, and Merf is a yacht designer who has passed Cape Horn twice.

In early spring of 2019, with race gear replaced by cruising gear, they set off before the ice had cleared, headed for Greenland, a five-to-six-day passage. Thirty miles short of their landfall, the mast sheered off at the deck, but miraculously remained upright due to the internal conduit and quick action. While they secured the mast, the weather deteriorated and the distance to an anchorage increased. Twelve hours later, in the dark of night with gusts off the icecap to 70 knots, the anchor was finally set.

Boat launch
Santana's Nuuk Relaunch

After 10 days more of leisurely cruising up the inside passage, going easy on their compromised mast, they reached Nuuk. Here they found a 100-ton crane and tractor-trailer rig to haul and store Santana, which would spend three winters and two summers there during the border closings of Covid, waiting for repairs and the clearance to sail back to Canada. 

During the summer of 2023, Ashley and Merf made a cold, foggy passage to Labrador. Continuing south to Newfoundland, they enjoyed a pleasant cruise along the south coast with its remote anchorages and welcoming “Newfies.” The temporary end of this five-year cruise was a dry berth for Santana in St. Peters, Bras d’Or Lake, where she awaits further adventures.

Recipient Name
Ashley Perrin and Merf Owen
Boat Name