A Well-Deserved Medal

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Alasdair on “Sumara” at Svalbard in 2002

Last spring I wrote a post about our friend Alasdair, who at the time was planning a trip on his 26-foot Vertue sloop Sumara to Jan Mayen to climb Beerenberg. Well, he and his crew, along with another small sailboat and crew, pulled off the trip with aplomb!

For their achievement, Alasdair and Tim, the skipper of Thembi, have been awarded the prestigious Tilman Medal from the RCC. The medal, in memory of Bill Tilman, is awarded from time to time in recognition of an outstanding voyage to the high latitudes, often including a climbing component. We extend our heartiest congratulations to Alasdair. Very well-deserved.

To get a feeling for the trip, check out these YouTube videos:

Sailing on Sumara

Climbing Beerenberg

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Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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Tom T

For fun, very cool cloud formations, google images for:

jan mayen vortex street


Vertues have indeed made some exemplary voyages. One that comes to mind is Bill Nance’s circumnavigation on Cardinal Vertue, the boat that sailed the first single handed TransAtlantic race skippered by David Lewis as I recall.

If someone has the urge, there is a mold for the hull kicking around somewhere in Port Townsend WA, and no shortage of shipwrights who would enjoy building one.

John Franklin

We went to the Cruising Association in London last week to hear Alasdair give an illustrated lecture on his Jan Mayen expedition. What an incredibly interesting talk about an incredible expedition by a really professional adventurer. Superbly planned and executed. It should go down in high latitude history as a classic.