RCC Open Awards

As well as awarding medals, cups and trophies to its own members the RCC has three medals which can be awarded to members and non-members in recognition of exceptional achievements. These are usually awarded annually and the winners are presented with their medals at a function attended by RCC members, normally at a dinner in London. These awards are not open to general application but potential candidates are identified and put forward by RCC members to the Committee.

The Royal Cruising Club Medal for Seamanship

Founded and endowed by Mr Meredith Fitzwalker Wren in 1949 for an act or acts of outstanding seamanship. It is awarded to yachtsmen or women of any nationality by a Judge or Judges appointed by the Committee of the Royal Cruising Club for the purpose.

  • About last years Winner

    This year, we make a departure from the norm and make a joint award. Some sailors are prone to modesty. The result is that you occasionally comes across a fellow member who, when they reluctantly give you a run down of their sailing career, you find that words fail you and your mouth hangs open. For example; a sailing career that has now totalled over a quarter of a million miles, five circumnavigations of the British Isles, four singlehanded return crossings of the north Atlantic in the OSTAR - a race founded by members of this Club. He has packed in two circuits of the West Indies and may be the only member of this Club to have done three singlehanded crossings of the Atlantic in one twelve month period. And he’s been round the world as skipper in the Clipper Race. His seamanship is without question. On one Atlantic crossing he steered by hand for the last 1,000 miles after autopilot failure. He remarks casually of boarding his Avon dinghy in force seven mid-Atlantic to fix his wind vane. This is how Mervyn Wheatley sails. But it is a fact that those who stick their necks out the furthest, are the ones most likely to get their heads bitten off. And so it happened last July. In a terrible storm whilst heading for Newport, Rhode Island, a wave caused terminal damage to Mervyn’s yacht ‘Tamarind’ and he was forced to abandon ship, taking the trouble to scuttle her before leaving so she would not be a hazard to others. We award this prize to Mervyn Wheatley not for the fact of the loss of his boat, but because of his exceptional displays of seamanship over many years. The Medal for Seamanship is awarded to Mervyn Wheatley. But this to be a joint award. Had it not been for seamanship of the highest order displayed by the master and crew of the Queen Mary 2, he would not be here to collect his prize and the Club would have lost one of its more colourful members. To manoeuvre a 345m ship alongside a 14 metre yacht and pluck a man off it in storm conditions

Previous Prizewinners

The Tilman Medal

This medal is awarded in memory of Bill Tilman, an RCC member who delighted in combining cruising in high latitudes with mountaineering. It is awarded by the Committee of the Royal Cruising Club for an outstanding voyage in Arctic or Antarctic waters or in other remote places in high latitudes. The Committee takes into account objectives and achievements of exploration and of mountaineering.

Previous Prizewinners

The Medal for Services to Cruising

This medal was founded in memory of Jocelyn Swann and can be awarded by the Committee of the Royal Cruising Club to any person, club, corporate body or company who, in the opinion of the Committee, has rendered outstanding services to yacht cruising.

  • About last years Winner

    Even in the age of ‘modern’ cruising, traditional seamanship remains at the heart of the Royal Cruising Club, and while doubtless our ancestors would marvel at the black boxes that litter our chart tables, we hope they would recognise that we still sail in the spirit which they espoused. Traditional seamanship is what we both enjoy and admire, and it remains at the core of this Club. The Medal for Services to Cruising this year goes to a supreme sailor, and an exceptional author. His written works spread from sailing manuals to pilot books; from salty yarns to - and we forgive him this - an account of his trans-America trip on a Harley Davidson. He has trodden with great skill the fine line between a love of maritime tradition, and a need to make it relevant to those coming fresh to cruising. Tom Cunliffe is never short of an opinion, and never shy of sharing it with his readers. And it is through his unique voice that he has helped and inspired a new generation of cruising folk. But he has done so in a way which previous generations of members would have recognised and for that reason, and because he’s never short of good salty tale to tell, we are delighted to award Tom Cunliffe the Medal for Services to Cruising.

Previous Prizewinners