Gretchen Dieck Biemesderfer of Guilford, Connecticut, is the recipient of the Cruising Club of America's 2021 Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize for her elegant article in the CCA's Voyages magazine, "Reflections: Watercolor Paintings from Shearwater." The article describes creating marine watercolors from a sailboat.
Gretchen’s article describes the art of painting watercolors from a boat and contains images of the author’s captivating scenes from the Maine coast and the Atlantic Ocean. It is unique, opening our eyes to a new and different way of seeing the marine environment from a sailboat. The author’s love of sailing is evident from her art and the meticulous attention she pays to the colors and the interplay of ocean and land, water and rock, light and dark. Her paintings depict a transitory, ever-changing environment in a timeless way. It seems especially fitting to honor the author’s respectful, thoughtful, and ultimately beautiful tribute to sailing through her art as we confront the uncertainties and challenges of an ongoing global pandemic.
Gretchen is a retired epidemiologist. She started sailing on a Cal 25, somewhat reluctantly, at the age of 30 with her husband. As their family grew, the Biemesderfers moved on to a Bristol 35, sailing in Maine and New England. In 1999, Gretchen and Dan purchased Shearwater, the Mason 43 they have today. Gretchen has participated in two Marion to Bermuda races, four Newport Bermuda races, two Corinthians Lobster Run races, one Marblehead to Halifax Race, and the 2015 Transatlantic Race.