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38 minute video: The Cruising Club of America: Sailing the World for 100 years.

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Festivities were held in Newport, RI, Sept. 11-16, 2022.  

The Centennial Celebration

In September,  over 400 members and spouses converged on Newport and took over the Newport Harbor Hotel and its marina.  It was great fun with some education and meetings sprinkled in every day.  So much fun to reconnect with many of our members.  It took a small army of volunteers to make the Centennial the success that it became.  Thanks to Brin and Joy Ford, Dennis and Verity Powers and Mindy Gunther for their solid efforts, along with their 20+ committee members, for pulling off the Fall Meeting portion of the week so splendidly.  And thanks to Karyn James and Steve James as Awards Chair, who put together a great program on heavy weather with past Blue Water Medal winners and other awardees.  I had a great co-chair in Shawn for the Centennial and there were many others who contributed time and energy to the event and their help was vital and much appreciated.  Planning began about 7 years ago and the final Centennial Program can be found on our website here. 


A major highlight was having Sir Robin Knox Johnston as our Monday dinner keynote speaker.  Thanks to Keith Yeoman of Yeoman Yachts for his sponsorship of this excellent dinner.  Sir Robin enjoyed his part of the Centennial and wants to join us in our being planned Scotland Cruise in 2025.  Definitely one amazing sailor.  I met Sir Robin in Bermuda when the Bermuda Race was in progress.  He was there because his ongoing event, the Round the World Clipper Race, was at its Bermuda stopover.  I asked Sir Robin if he would come to our Centennial and be our keynote speaker.  He agreed, on the spot, to join us since our celebration fit just between two regattas he was involved in back in the UK.  A wonderful addition to our celebration.

We welcomed several prominent commodores at the Centennial.  James Neville of RORC; David Beattie of the Irish Cruising Club; Moya Cahill of Royal Newfoundland YC; Vice Commodore Tim Trafford of the Royal Cruising Club; Vice Commodore Tim Steinhoff of the Royal Bermuda YC; Commodore Paul Zabetakis of NYYC and Rear Commodore Clare Harrington of NYYC. We are reaching out to continue our relationships with these clubs.

Our heavy weather panelists of Steve Brown, Rich Wilson, Jean Luc Van Den Heede and Randall Reeves gave a great presentation on stage at the Jane Pickens Theater and the Rev Bob Shepton gave us a wonderful speech at lunch with accompanying slide show.  Eric Forsyth sailed Fiona into the marina and joined us. On Wednesday afternoon we watched Gary Jobson’s film about the 1979 Fastnet and Ted Turner which fit right into the heavy weather theme.  That movie can be seen here.

Thanks to Historian Doug Adkins for his Monday luncheon speech on our history (and Sea Chanty presentations) and to Pam Rorke Levy for her great presentation about Dorade (and having Dorade at the docks for touring).  Ed Kane and Marty Wallace brought their fabulous and historic CCA yacht, Bolero, to the docks for touring (and rum punches). 

Gary Jobson, truly the voice of the sport of sailing in our time, volunteered and produced a 38 minute video entitled: “The Cruising Club of America: Sailing the World for 100 Years” and it can be viewed (and downloaded) here.  Thanks to Gary for his exquisite capture of the CCA on film!  And thanks to Rives Potts and Safe Harbor Marinas for becoming the presenting sponsor and making the film a reality that will be probably be seen in 2122, technology allowing.  What will our shipmates and their yachts be like 100 years from now?  There will no doubt be great, great, great grandchildren of ours who will be members and celebrating the Bicentennial …something to think about.  I am convinced that our membership criteria will stand the test of time. 

Thursday morning of Centennial week had seminars given by Will Welles and Austin Powers from North Sails; Chris Freeman VP at Mystic Seaport; Mark Grosby our Archives Chair; Sheila McCurdy on “CCA Characters over the Years”; Bill Strassberg on MOB and Safety Moments and Jay Gowell, Bill Cook, Jim Binch, Mark Ellis, Stan Honey, Catherine Reppert holding a yacht design forum.

The Awards proceedings at the Gala Dinner at Ft. Adams, handled by Steve, was inspiring.  Those awardees who were unable to attend were very effectively present via live and recorded video on the big “video wall” under the tent.  Awardees remotely honored included Matt Rutherford Young Voyager Award; Peter and Ginger Niemann, Blue Water Medal; Curtis Green, Rod Stephens Award; Sharry and Don Stabbert, Far Horizons; and Skip Novak, Royal Cruising Club Trophy.  Present to receive their awards were Jack and Zdenka Griswold, Commodore’s Award; Gretchen Biemersderfer, Charles Vilas Literary Award; and Jim Chambers, Richard S. Nye Award.

Those presentations were followed by spirited dancing to the beat of the band “Decades by Dezyne”.  Not all of us escaped Covid and there were reports of positive Covid tests by about 18 people.  If you attended the Centennial and tested positive, and have not yet told Fleet Surgeon Jeff Wisch, please shoot Jeff an email so he and the Task Force can compile the statistics.

We sold over 100 copies of the book “Adventurous Use of the Sea” authored by Tim Murphy and edited by Sheila McCurdy.  You can preorder on Amazon or you can buy directly from the website when the books become available in November.  Sheila continues her work on the History of the CCA looking toward publication in 2023.

The entire week’s events were photographed (thanks to Dan Nerney) and videorecorded.  The plan is to edit the raw 13 hours of video into smaller segments that will be on Youtube.  James Phyfe, as chair of the Communications Committee is working with Roel Hoekstra (thanks Roel for your ongoing execution of the Centennial postings on social media) and John Burnham to do some post Centennial promotion, posting of photos on our website and working on the video project.  So for those of you who could not be there, you will be able to capture some of the week as an armchair admiral, coffee or wine in hand!

Michael Moradzadeh was a reliable constant in the run up and execution of the Centennial, handling all requested matters, both planned and last minute.  We can all be very appreciative that Michael is our webmaster extraordinaire.  Kathleen O’Donnell was also called upon to handle refund requests from those whose plans changed at the last minute and to coordinate payments to our two dozen vendors.  Thank you Kathleen.

So there you have it, a brief summary of the Centennial Week.  Once the videos are edited and assimilated we will let you know.

Chris and Shawn Otorowski

Co-Chairs, CCA Centennial Celebration



Newport, Rhode Island

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