MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The nation's top marine journalists were recognized last week in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International.
With an expansion to a record 13 contest categories, $13,000, in awards were presented to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Each recipient also took home a recognition plaque noting their "Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism."
In addition, all move into a "Phase II" competition which culminates in a single selection honored with the Genmar Trophy and $5,000 award at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in November.
In its 11th year, the BWI contest included 149 journalists submitting a total of 429 entries. A new category, Gear, Electronics and Product Tests, attracted 10 entries in its first year; the greatest number of entries, 59, was entered in the Boating Lifestyles category. A new feature, presentation of Certificate of Merit Awards, totaling 35, were made to writers who scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category.
All submissions to the contest were published in 2003. Each of the 13 categories (noted below) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the new year. Winners need to be current members of BWI as well as members during the year the article was published. Results of the 2003 contest:
1. Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.
1st place, "Seamanship" by Peter McDonald (Boating magazine); 2nd place, "Under Way" by Bill Sisson (Soundings magazine); 3rd place, "Log of Ithaka" by Douglas Bernon (Cruising World).
In this category, entrants were required to send in three different columns. Judge Dan Thomas said McDonald's columns "Describe boating with a new turn and twist," while judge Gregg Mansfield found them "very interesting and informative." Certificates of Merit were awarded to Columns "Full and By" by Bill Schanen (Sailing magazine); "Log of Ithaka" by Bernadette Bernon (Cruising World); and "Stern Lines" by Jane Meneely (Chesapeake Bay magazine).
2. Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by CAT Marine Power
1st place, "The Measure of a Year" by Bernadette Bernon (Cruising World, February); 2nd place, "A Landlubber Goes Boating" by Lisa Marie Fabian (Offshore, February); 3rd place, "New York, New York" by Randy Hess (Sea Ray Living, Summer). Category judge Elizabeth Britten said Bernon's "Powerful, evocative language gives me a warm feeling of empathy for the people, places and cultures she visited. The story describes the kind of cruising that the rest of us can only dream about!" Lifestyle Merit awards included: "Conquering the Ocean's Everest" by Joyce Black (Offshore, May); "The Dream" by Mel Neale (Passagemaker, Nov/Dec); "Life in a Goatlocker" by Charles J. Doane, (Sail, July); "Made in Maine" by Steve Knauth (Soundings, December); and "Passing of a Sailing Torch" by Jack Sherwood (Soundings, July).
3. Boating Features In Newspapers – sponsored by Interlux Yacht Finishes
1st,"Not Just a Yacht, A Mega Yacht" by Kim Kavin (The Hartford Courant's Northeast Magazine, May 18); 2nd, "Land of the Yacht" by Kevin DeMarrais (The Record, Bergen County, NJ, August 3); 3rd, No award given. Judge Mike Walker said, "Not Just a Yacht, A Mega Yacht was excellent. I enjoyed the irony of the lead. The pace of the story was fast throughout. A nice compact history of one man's journey through the boating lifestyle."
4. Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Bear Advertising
1st, "To the Abacos with Pablo" by Peter Nichols (Cruising World, August); 2nd, "All I Ask is a Tall Ship" by Darrell Nicholson (Cruising World, March); 3rd, "The River Riled" by Robert Stephens (Boating Life, April). Category judge chair Betsy Clayton noted, "Peter Nichols allows readers not just to travel with him around places such as Marsh Harbour and Man O' War Cay, but allows them to take a journey through a rite of passage in his life -- the magical time in which a man's wife is pregnant. His writing is stellar, with turns of phrases that ring in the reader's ear long after the magazine is closed. ... 'Water the color of Hockney's Hollywood swimming pools magnified the sand beneath us.' To the Abacos with Pablo was an enchanting tale told in a memorable way." Awards of Merit to: "Making History" by Kim Kavin (Yachting, March); "The Little River" by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, April); "Take a Cruise on the Wild Side" by Paul Clancy (Chesapeake Bay, May); and "San Blas Diary" by Bernadette Bernon (Cruising World, August).
5. Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance – sponsored by Starbrite
1st, "30 Ways to Sink A Boat" by Daniel W. Long (Boating magazine, March); 2nd, "Battling Boat Odors" by David Yetman (MotorBoating, August); 3rd, "Outrigger Rigging" by Karl Anderson (Salt Water Sportsman, September). Judges noted "30 Ways" was the hands down winner for its lively approach, depth of content and ability to stimulate the reader to action … "Built on humor and solid, extensive research to encourage and teach the reader to think through a difficult subject." Maintenance Merit awards included: "Stress- Free New Boat Owner's Guide" by David Yetman (MotorBoating, April); "Repairing Fiberglass" by Paul Esterle (Nor'Easter, Oct. 17); "School of Hard Knocks" by Nick Bailey (DIY Boat Owner, 2nd Quarter); and "Ten things you should never do to your boat," by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game Almanac).
6. Electronics – sponsored by Thales Navigation Magellan GPS Products
1st, "Catch and Repeat" by Kevin Falvey (Boating magazine, March); 2nd, "The Third Way" by Ben Ellison (Sail magazine, June); 3rd, "An Affordable Cure for the E-mail Addict" by John Harries (Cruising World magazine, July). Of the first place story, category judge chair Tim Murphy said, "I like that the author focused on techniques, putting 'thinking' (not just buying) into the piece as an offering that any reader could take out on the water." Judge Tim Cole called it "highly utilitarian, offering specific actions we need to take to make the most of even the most basic GPS equipment we have onboard." Awards of Merit to: "Race Electronics Go Wireless" by Tony Bessinger (Sailing World magazine, Jul/Aug); and "Sure It's Waterproof … I Think" by Frank Lanier (Chesapeake Bay magazine, March).
7. Ethics and Environment – sponsored by BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water
1st, "Chart Toppers" by Steve Featherstone (Alaska magazine, August); 2nd, "Healing the River" by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay magazine, July); 3rd, "Shad Hatchers" by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay magazine, April). Noted judging chair Michael Verdon, "Featherstone's story is an in-depth look at the life-and-death effort it takes to create a detailed NOAA chart -- something most boaters take for granted." An Award of Merit in this category went to "In the Zone" by Michael Brown (Chesapeake Bay magazine, October).
8. Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation
1st, "Bally U" by Glenn Law (Salt Water Sportsman, May); 2nd, "Maximum Mako" by Ron Ballanti (Salt Water Sportsman, September); 3rd, "The Fast and the Furious" by Doug Olander (Sport Fishing magazine, June). Category judging chair Roger Marshall said of Bally U: "This story was well written with a ton of instruction that can help any angler going after White Marlin. The information was presented in a way that was easy to read and was instructional as well as entertaining. Sidebars, also written by the author, showed how to set up bait, set lines, and to troll, without detracting from the main story. All in all, a well packaged article." Merit awards included: "Fishing Forecast" by John Page Williams (Chesapeake Bay Magazine, April); "Strategies for Success" by Mark Sosin (Salt Water Sportsman, February); and "Wayne Six and the Sea" by Dan Patrell (Frederick [MD]Magazine, April).
9. Consumer/Trade News – sponsored by Mercury Marine
1st, "Loyalty and Cyanide" by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, May); 2nd, "So Many Boats, So Little Space" by Joe Myerson (Offshore, March); 3rd, "Feeling Seasick? You’re Not Alone" by JoAnn W. Goddard (Soundings, September). The first place story, noted category judge chair Louisa Rudeen, had "Great, in-depth coverage of a thrilling event written in the voice and style of someone who proved to be a compelling and reliable tour guide through the myriad ups and downs of the America’s Cup Saga." Certificate of Merit for "Boat Restoration Honors Lost Brother" by Jack Sherwood (Soundings, November).
10. Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International
1st place, "High-Wire Act" by Bill Springer (Sail , December); 2nd, "Father's Day Disaster" by Randy Scott (MotorBoating, October); 3rd, "Storm of the Century" by Marlin Bree (The Ensign, June). Betsy Haggerty, chair judge, said High-Wire Act is "A well-told, and crisply written story about Coast Guard helicopter airlifts that combines good narrative about a daring rescue, solid first-person reporting about a practice drill and informative how-to sidebars that tell boaters how to prepare for a rescue should the time ever come. In other words, it has all the elements of an ideal safety and seamanship story: A narrative that draws readers in plus practical advice that might one day help keep them safe at sea." Merit awards to "Wake Up Call" by Michael Brown (Chesapeake Bay Magazine, May) and "Bad Day at Hillsboro" by Ben Ellison (Power & MotorYacht, January).
11. Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Corp. - Environmental
1st, "Boats Beyond Belief" by Roger Marshall (Sport Fishing magazine, January); 2nd, "The Taming of the Cat" by James Jermain (Sail, January); 3rd, "Close Encounters" by Nick Bailey (DIY Boat Owner, 3rd Quarter). Judges agreed, "Boats of the future with a sportfishing flavor were advanced in 'Boats Beyond Belief,' a knowledgeable piece from a journalist trained as a boat designer. The advantages and drawbacks of mono and multi-hulls, wave-piercers and hulls that rise out of the water showed imagination and a real sense for utility and speed, with a small measure of dreaming to peak interest." Merit awards included: "Bolt-On Boogie" by Eric Colby (Boating magazine, July); "Diesel Electric Propulsion" by Chuck Husick (Passagemaker, May/June); "Plastic, Aluminum or Fiberglass" by Steve D'Antonio (Soundings, January); "Soak Up Some Sun" by Frank Lanier (Chesapeake Bay, May); "Switching from Gas to Diesel" by Larry Dario (Soundings, April); and "Wired for the World" by Ed Sherman (Cruising World, April).
12. Boat Tests – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group
1st, "Finally, A Real Life Boat Test" by Gary Kramer (Heartland Boating, March); 2nd, "Lock, Stock, Double Barrel" by Eric Colby (Boating, January); 3rd, "Surviving the Great Rib Hunt" by Ed Sherman (Cruising World, October). Explained category judge chair Jim Rhodes, "The first-place author recruited a group of experienced boat owners to test a 2001 28-ft Sea Ray. The boat had not been factory prepped and especially loaded for the boat test, but was privately owned. They gave the boat a thorough test and listed everything they liked and disliked. They then presented their results to Sea Ray and gave the company an opportunity to respond in print. The result: a refreshing change from the standard boat test format." Awards of Merit to: "Who Needs Water" by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, July); "Shoot Out" by Randy Vance (Boating Life, July/August); "Out of the Ordinary" by Ken Kreisler (Power & MotorYacht, October); and "Social Status" by Stuart Reininger (MotorBoating, June).
13. Gear, Electronics and Product Tests – sponsored by C-MAP/USA
1st , "Dinghies That Come in a Pouch" by Darrel Nicholson (Cruising World, November); 2nd, "Garmin Rino 110/12" by Chuck Husick (Yachting, May); 3rd, "Silent Type" by Lenny Rudow (Boating, November). "Gear and product reviews ostensibly are aimed at helping the consumer make a purchasing decision. This article gave me enough solid information to buy, without much further research," commented judge Rick Lydecker.
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