Writing Awards Presented for 2013

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized in Miami on February 14  in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of BWI. Presentations in 17 contest categories representing $17,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

A reading list with click-throughs to the top three entries in each category can be found here: https://www.bwi.org/bwicontest/2014winners.htm.

In its 21st year, the BWI contest attracted 131 participants submitting 337 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 31 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2013. Each of the categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the New Year. Results:

1. Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

1st place, “Osprey’s Flight” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Cruising World); 2nd place,  “Underway” by Bill Sisson (Soundings); 3rd place, “The Pin End” by Chris Caswell (Sails Magazine). In this category, entrants are required to submit three related columns for judging. Of the first place work judge Marty LeGrand said, “In beautiful, honest prose, this columnist opens her soul to share with lucky readers the joys, doubts and complexities of cruising family life.” Certificate of Merit awarded to “Rhumb Lines” by Darrell Nicholson (Practical Sailor).

2. Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating.

1st place, “The Best Days of Our Lives” by Peter Nichols (Cruising World, Feb.); 2nd place, “A Crocker Comes Home” by Elaine Lembo (Cruising World, April); 3rd place, “Shaken and Stirred” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, Oct.). Best Days, “Is a well-written story that skillfully combines an experienced sailor’s perspective with the fresh outlook of a child’s eyes. It weaves in helpful cruising information on the destination and shares the emotions of both father and son during the trip,” said judge Kelly Flory. Awards of Merit to: “He Said, She, Said” by Zuzana Prochazka & Lenny Rudow (Boats.com, Dec. 22); “Unlawful Entry” by Tom Pamperin (Small Craft Advisor, May); “Warning: Side Effects May Include …” by Jim Welch (Cruising World, Oct.); and “Routes To the Sailing Life” by Michael Robertson (Cruising World, May).

3. Boating Profiles sponsored by ZF Marine.

1st, “My God, They’re Eating in There” by Gary Goodlander (Cruising World, June); 2nd, “True Grit” by Michael Robertson (Pacific Yachting, Feb.); 3rd, “Fast Talk” by Kevin Koenig (Power & Motoryacht, April). “Goodlander’s piece is an engaging read with real personality; it goes beyond a simple recitation of facts and anecdotes to capture a lifetime in sailing – a spirited portrait,” offered judge Tom Pamperin.

4. Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Martin Flory Group.

1st, “Spring Break” by Peter Swanson (PassageMaker, March); 2nd, “Islands In Between” by Ben Zartman (Cruising World, Nov.); 3rd, “By Way of Freedom” by Jody Schroath (Chesapeake Bay, March). Judge Steve Blakely said Spring Break, “Provides lots of real-world information about a place many boaters go, and it’s told well in a clear voice of strong experience. It’s a very useful article for anyone going to the Bahamas, via sail or power.” Receiving Merit Awards: “Entry By Sea” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Cruising World, Sept.); and “Africa Dances” by Charles Doane (Wave Train, Oct. 8).

5.  Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group.

1st, “Answering a Cold Call” by Ben Yeager (Cruising World, Nov.); 2nd, “The Lee of Icaria” by John Kretschmer (Cruising World, Dec.); 3rd, “Tornado Alert” by Tom Neale (BoatUS Magazine, June). Of Cold Call, judge Pete McDonald said, “The author captures the youthful post-college wanderlust that many of us have felt in a wonderful narrative, describing with humor and self-deprecation a sailing adventure most would not try. He invited us to experience the harsh winds, stunning ice and barren landscapes along the way.” Merit: “River Dance” by Jim Hendricks (Boating, March); “The Pull of the Push” by Jody Schroath (Chesapeake Bay, Dec.); “A Milestone Atlantic Crossing” by Green Brett (Cruising World, June).

6.  Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance – sponsored by Interlux Yacht Finishes.

1st, “Diesel Diagnosis” by Pete McDonald (Boating, July); 2nd, “Anode Awareness” by Kevin Falvey (Boating, April); 3rd, “Like Running on Empty” by Ken Kreisler (Southern Boating, March). Said judge Chris Landry, “McDonald effectively puts you there – in the classroom – and uses strong active language to describe how the Diesel Doctor operates.”

Merit Certificates to: “Make Your Fiberglass Gleam” by Lenny Rudow (BoatUS Magazine, Oct.); and “Secret Warning Signs” by Tom Neale (BoatUS Magazine, April/May).

7.  Electronics – sponsored by Jeppesen Marine.

1st, “True Test” by Ben Ellison (Power & Motoryacht, March); 2nd, “Yellow Brick Road” by Peter Swanson (Power & Motoryacht, Dec.); 3rd, “Chart Transplant” by Lenny Rudow (Boats.com, July 20).      “True Test features a conversational tone that engages the reader from the first sentence. The writer’s voice is clear and confident, and it effectively breathes color and life into the world of electronics product testing,” offered judge Heather Steinberger. Merit award: “iPad Navigation Across an Ocean” by Tucker Bradford (Cruising World, July).

8.  Ethics and Environment – sponsored by West Marine.

1st, “Taking the Long View” by Michael Fincham (Chesapeake Quarterly, April); 2nd,  “Terraformers Inc.” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, Nov.); 3rd, “Green is Good” by Kim Kavin (Boats.com, Sept. 1). Judge Bill Sisson commented, “Long View is both a fetching profile and a technically challenging story – quite a feat.  Plus, it provides new information on a very important environmental story that affects fishing policy.”

9.  Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation.

1st, “Great. White. Shark” by Pete McDonald (Boating, Nov.); 2nd, “A Look Back at King Cod” by Barry Gibson (Soundings, June); 3rd, “Minting Mindy” by Lenny Rudow (Boats.com, Oct. 10). “McDonald tells an edge-of-your seat tale about catching the most feared behemoth of the ocean and how a crew goes about its fast-paced research of the amazing creature without harming it. The writing is clever, well-researched and action-packed,” judge Jennifer Chesak said. Merit Awards: “A Good Charter Captain” by Zachary Harvey (Soundings, July); “Invasion Force” by Jim Hendricks (Sport Fishing, March); “Going Deep” by Charlie Levine (Soundings, June).

10.  Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine.

1st, “Greatest Show on Surf” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Dec.); 2nd, “Creating the Next Dimension” by Craig Barnett (Invictus Magazine, Sept.); 3rd, “Scary Close Calls With the ‘Good Guys’” by Tom Neale (Soundings, Sept.). Judge Gary Beckett commented, “McCormick’s thoroughly well-written and researched story captures the flair and excitement of the topic, while also providing excellent background details that bring the subject into clearer context.” Merit Award, “Starting Points” by Stuart Streuli (Sailing World, April).

11.  The Business of Boatingsponsored by Home Port Marine Marketing.

1st, “Perfect Planning” by Chris Caswell (Dockwalk, Oct.); 2nd, “Insurance Costs Likely to Spiral” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only, Jan.); 3rd, “Scout Boats Future” by Suzi DuRant (All at Sea, Nov.). Judge James Nolan said, “Caswell’s article on charter itinerary planning was a real eye opener, even for someone who has been in the industry as long as I have!” Merit Award: “Boating’s Age of Innovation” by Chris Landry (Soundings Trade Only, Sept.)

12.  Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International.

1st, “ESD Explained” by Beth Leonard (Seaworthy, July); 2nd, “Art of Boat Handling” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, Nov.); 3rd, “Bail!” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, May). “From the compelling lead through the detailed explanation of the phenomenon to the helpful checklist at the end, Leonard tackled a subject that is too-seldom covered in boating media – the danger of Electric Shock Drowning,” commented judge Jim Rhodes. Certificates of Merit: “Near Disaster” by Michael Robertson (Cruising World, Oct.); “Fire Aboard” by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat, May); “Fast Company” by Pete McDonald (Boating, May); “The Loss of the Bounty” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, Jan.); “15 Tips to Get Out & Back Safely” by Tom Neale (Soundings, Oct.).

13.  Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Marine.

1st, “The DaVinci Code” by Jim Hendricks (Boating, Feb.); 2nd, “What Oil Can Tell You About Your Engine” by Richard Boggs (Dockwalk, Dec.); 3rd, “Decoding The Matrix” by Tim Murphy (Cruising World, July). Judge Roger McAfee said of DaVinci, “Well researched, well organized and well written. It will be useful for many boaters.”

14.  Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta.

1st, “Queen of the North” by Patrick Sciacca (Yachting, Aug.); 2nd, “Metal Shark 28” by Lenny Rudow          (Boats.com March 20); 3rd, “When Marilyn Met Sophia” by Chris Caswell (Power & Motoryacht, June). “Queen had a fresh lead, excellent detail, and a distinctive voice that brought me on board. Best of all, the wrap tied back to the lead and made me smile,” offered judge Carol Cronin. Merit Awards: “A Wide Spectrum of Winning Designs” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Jan.); “Sea Doo Spark: Affordable Fun” by Jeff Hemmel (Boats.com, Nov. 7); “Velodyne Martini 1.5” by Charles Plueddeman (Boats.com, March 18); “Tiara 50 Coupe” by John Burnham (Boats.com, Nov. 17); “Pumula” by Marilyn Mower (ShowBoats International, July).

15.  Gear and Product Tests – sponsored by Xantrex/Schneider Electric.

1st, “DC Watermakers” by Frank Lanier (Practical Sailor, Feb.); 2nd, “Youth Life Jackets” by Darrell Nicholson (Practical Sailor, June); 3rd, “DIY Nonskid Test Update” by Ann Key (Practical Sailor, Nov.). Judge Kim Kavin noted, “The talent level in the gear category this year was really something. Well done by all the writers who submitted to the gear category this year.” Merit Award to: “New Electronics” by Ben Ellison (Power & Motoryacht, July).

16.  Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits –  sponsored by Awlgrip North America.

1st, “Payin’ the Piper” by Gary Goodlander (Cruising World, June); 2nd, “A2” by Marilyn Mower (ShowBoats International, May); 3rd, “How to Rebuild a Small Outboard Carburetor” by Lenny Rudow (Boats.com, Dec. 5). “Goodlander employs humor, good description and a nice ending that makes the read worthwhile,” said judge Betsy Clayton.

17.  Online Excellence – sponsored by National Marine Electronics Assn.

1st, “Panbo.com – The Marine Electronics Hub” by Ben Ellison; 2nd, “A View From Here, A Marine Industry Blog” by Bill Sisson on TradeOnlyToday.com; 3rd, “WaveTrain.net, A Blog About Cruising Sailboats and Other Aquatic Miracles” by Charles Doane. Judge Jeff Hemmel offered, “Ellison has done a great job of building a site that is truly useful, very thorough, and gives the reader the feeling he can trust the reviews.” Merit Award: “Loose Cannon,” a blog posted on Soundings Online by Peter Swanson.