Clipper 2013-14 Race Skipper Sean McCarter has been awarded the Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship by the Cruising Club of America.

The trophy was presented by CCA Commodore Tad Lhamon at their annual awards ceremony in the New York Yacht Club in recognition of how the Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper conducted the rescue of a crew member who fell overboard in the North Pacific Ocean almost a year ago.

Every year this prestigious award is presented “for an act of seamanship that significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea.” Speaking about receiving the award, Sean says: “It is a privilege to receive the Rod Stephen’s Trophy from the Cruising Club of America. I admire them as an organisation because they recognise the spirit of adventure that the Clipper Race is all about, but importantly, they have never lost sight of the necessity of safety at sea and that’s why the Outstanding Seamanship award is so special.

“It’s hard to believe it’s almost one year since Andrew went overboard. I would like to pay tribute to everyone on board for their professionalism in how they dealt with the situation and I want them to know that I’m accepting this award on behalf of my entire crew.”

The trophy was presented by CCA Commodore Tad Lhamon at their annual awards ceremony in the New York Yacht Club in recognition of how the Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper

Andrew Taylor, 46, from London, went overboard during a storm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while the fleet was racing from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA. The poor weather conditions made visibility difficult and then strong currents quickly swept Andrew out of sight of the yacht. Despite spending 90 minutes in the water, Andrew made a full recovery and finished his circumnavigation on board the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht.

Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston paid tribute to Sean: “I would like to congratulate Sean on the honour the CCA have bestowed upon him with the Rod Stephens Trophy. Sean deserves the recognition for keeping a cool head under huge pressure.”

Sean grew up in the Derry-Londonderry area and started sailing on Lough Swilly, County Donegal, as a child. Building on his Clipper Race experience, he is now targeting the Vendée Globe 2016 and hopes to be the first Irish sailor to complete the race, solo and non-stop around the world.

Previous recipients of the Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship include Mike Golding for the rescue of Alex Thomson when his boat sunk during the 2006/7 Velux Ocean Race, and the crew of the training boat Corwith Cramer who rescued 51 Haitian refugees when they came across them in a disabled sailing boat in the Caribbean.

On March 30, in London, Andrew Taylor will mark the first anniversary of his man overboard incident by launching the book he has written about that day, and his whole Clipper Race experience. Proceeds from the book will go to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and a hospice in Andrew’s home town of Newmarket.

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