The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has awarded the 2010 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship to Alessandro Di Benedetto for his seamanship in jury rigging a mast after being dismasted near Cape Horn on his solo, non-stop circumnavigation on the 21-foot (6.5-meter) monohull Findomestic. This award is given "for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea." The award was presented on March 4, 2011 by CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy during the club's annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.
Di Benedetto was born in Rome, Italy in 1971 and began sailing at the age of eight. He quickly moved into Lasers and then sport catamarans and later a 41-foot (12.6- meter) yawl, which he sailed with his father Frederico Di Benedetto. Di Benedetto completed his studies at University of Palermo (Sicily) and holds a Doctorate in Geology and a Professional Diver Degree in Underwater Archaeology.
In 1992, he sailed with his father from Italy and arrived November 27 at the Cape Verde Islands on a 20.4-foot (6.3-meter) sport catamaran. On December 28, the two left the Cape Verde Islands and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Martinique in the French Caribbean Islands in 16 days.
Once Di Benedetto had experienced open ocean sailing it became a hunger he couldn't satiate. In 2001, he logged 1700 miles in a single-handed, non-stop journey beginning in Italy and finishing in the Canary Islands, and in 2002, Di Benedetto became a record breaker when he sailed single-handed across the Atlantic in his sport catamaran.
Another world record was broken in 2006 when he became the first person to do a single-handed, non-stop transpacific crossing from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco on a 19.4-foot (5.9-meter) catamaran that had no shelter or cabin.
Di Benedetto's most recent and memorable journey was in 2009 when he departed on October 26 from Les Sables d'Olonne, France in a 21-foot (6.5-meter) sailboat that he himself had rebuilt and customized in preparation for his solo, non-stop, 24,000 mile voyage around the world. As he came to the last leg of the journey and began approaching Cape Horn (the most treacherous part of the voyage) he was dismasted, causing him to choose between getting help on land or jury rigging the mast. He decided to carry on with the jury rig. On July 22, 2010, after 268 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds at sea, Di Benedetto had completed his around-the-world voyage and set the record for smallest boat to complete a solo nonstop circumnavigation in that time.