Sail America gives out Southam Awards

MIAMI, Fla., – A record number of journalists participated in the 11th annual John Southam Awards for excellence in sailing writing, Sail America Vice President Sally Helme said at a ceremony today during the Miami International Boat Show Press Breakfast.

Helme, who served as chief judge of the competition, said a total of 156 entries from 31 states were received.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Alexander Wolff won the $5,000 Grand Prize and Crystal Cup, for a two-page story entitled “Mast Appeal” about the development of Sail Newport, an organization “pledged to preserving the sport in the American city most identified with it,” after the New York Yacht Cup was forced to part with the America’s Cup.

“While there were plenty of really excellent articles and media coverage this year about sailing, the Sports Illustrated article stood out because it had positive power in positioning the sport and lifestyle, and showing how one facility has made major, successful community strides,” Helme said.

Claudia L. Bayliss, a staff writer for the South Bend Tribune won the $1,000 prize in the “Newspapers over 100,000” (circulation) category, for her story, “Borne by the Wind” a profile of a sailing advocate who has introduced many people to the sport and lifestyle, despite not becoming involved in the sport himself until the age of 40.

Staff writer Jo Donaldson, of the Cumberland Times-News of Cumberland, Md., won the “Newspapers under 100,000” category, for a story detailing sailboat racing and leisure activities at local Deep Creek Lake.

Sailing columnist Charles Zusman, of the Star-Ledger in Newark, won in the “Print Columns” category, a new award that recognizes outstanding coverage of sailing by newspaper or magazine columnists. The judges said Zusman’s column, which runs weekly in the newspaper’s sports section from May through October, “delivers positive year-round sailing publicity.”

The “Adventure Category,” focusing on action/lifestyle over any type of media, went to Michael Lyons of the Daily Journal in Kankakee, Ill. His article “A Father Daughter Adventure Around the Horn” chronicled a circumnavigation of South Africa and Cape Horn by a sailor and his 21-year-old daughter.

The final Southam Award was the “Online Category,” and was given to the consumer web site from HCP & Associates of Tampa. Judges liked the site’s promotion of the sailing lifestyle as well as its educational programs and its user-friendly qualities.

The Southam Awards are named in honor of John Southam, former publisher of Cruising World and Sailing World magazines, who played a significant role in the growth of Sail America.

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