Excellence In Boating Journalism Recognized

February 16, 2007

BWI Annual Writing Contest salutes 45 stories, awards $15,000 in cash prizes

MIAMI BEACH, FL, February 16, 2007 -- Top marine journalists in the U.S. and beyond were recognized today in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 15 contest categories representing $15,000 in awards were made 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 West Marine Writer's Award and $5,000 grand prize at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show next fall.

In its 14th year, the BWI contest attracted 189 participants submitting 598 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 39 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2006. Each of the 15 categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the new year. Results:

  1. Fishing — sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation

    1st, "Secrets of the Hook-Set" by Doug Olander (Sport Fishing, October); 2nd, "D.O.A" by Ron Ballanti (Sport Fishing, May); 3rd, "Baja or Bust"; by Kirk Deeter (Salt Water Sportsman, December). Judges commented, “We could almost feel the tension in the line as Olander prepared us for the absolute optimum instant to set the hook in preparation for a tangle with a variety of sportfish. A careful reading of this story and following the advice of the author and interviewed pros almost guarantees more catches by saltwater anglers." A Merit award to “Getting Slammed” by Ted Leeson (Salt Water Sportsman, April).

  2. Boating Columns — sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

    1st place, “On the Wind” by Chris Caswell, (Sailing); 2nd place, "Under Way" by Bill Sisson (Soundings); 3rd place, “We've Always Wanted to Ask” by Robert Stephens (Boating Life). In this category, entrants were required to send in three different Columns. “The incredible variety of topics and quality of writing made this a close vote —and reflected the breadth of knowledge and depth of philosophical insight — of the entrants,” explains category chair Steve Knauth. “Caswell caught the eye of all the judges: in his entries, he uses a comfortable, engaging style to expose life's little truths as they appear in our fellow boaters' lives and our own.” Certificates of Merit awarded to “Off the Charts” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay); “Seamanship” by Vincent Daniello (Yachting); “Family Time” by Alan Jones (Boating World); and “Following Seas” by David Seidman (Boating).

  3. Boating Lifestyles — sponsored by Richard Lewis Communications, Inc.

    1st place, “Clam Nation” by Holly Parker (Offshore, August); 2nd place, “In the Company of Pirates” by Jane Meneely (Chesapeake Bay, May); 3rd place, “Lucy in the Fog with Diapers” by Charles J. Doane (Offshore, June). “The author hooked me with the lead - bivalve issues - and continued to capture my attention about clam shacks and the art of clamming," said judge JoAnn Goddard. Adds judge Lindsey Johnson, “I was sucked into this piece right from the start, as I share the author's life-long fear of this quintessential New England delicacy. The story was well written and infused with humor.” A Merit award goes to “Luck be a Lady” by Jan Adkins (Chesapeake Bay, December).

  4. Boating Profiles — sponsored by Interlux Yacht Finishes

    1st, “Requiem for a Mariner” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, November); 2nd, “Behemoth” by C.J. Chivers, (Salt Water Sportsman, February); 3rd, “Boating's Peerless Idea Man” by Doug Campbell (Soundings, October). Judge Cindy Christian Rogers said the first place piece “Embodies the virtues of an accomplished personality profile — a careful and contextual examination of what the subject achieved and why it matters, supported by detailed reporting and stylistic writing. But then it goes one step better: it manages to involve the reader in the subject's life.” Merit Awards to: “Against the Wind,” Jim Flannery (Soundings, April); “The Bassmaster,” JoAnn Goddard (Soundings Trade Only, October); “Born to Run,” Matt Trulio (Powerboat, February); “Here's one for Ya,” Jeremy McGeary (Cruising World, March); “The Icemen Cometh,” Gary Joyce (Offshore, January); “Remembering Bob Derecktor,” Lisa Knapp (International Yachtsman, Sept/Oct); “Shooting to Thrill,” Tom Richardson (Offshore, October); “Welcome Brats,” Betsy Haggerty (Offshore, March); “Yachting Life,” Barry Pickthall (Yachting, July).

  5. Boating Travel or Destinations — sponsored by Bear Enthusiast Marketing Group

    1st, “Dancing Barefoot through Winter” by Tim Murphy (Cruising World, February); 2nd, “Docking Olympics” by Kari Snyder (Boating, June); 3rd, “Canal Town” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, July). Of Murphy's story, judge Dan Long said, “Practical travel advice wrapped in a fine yarn - a rare thing!” Certificates of Merit: “Luck of the Irish” by Paul Clancy (Chesapeake Bay, August); “Choptank Circle” by Diana Prentice (Chesapeake Bay, February); and “Treasures of the BVI” by Chris Caswell (Motor Boating, October).

  6. Boating Adventures — sponsored by Discover Boating

    1st, “Pressure Drop” by Melanie Neale (Soundings, January); 2nd, “Hurricane Baby” by Martha LaGuardia Kotite (from the book So Others May Live--Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers: Saving Lives, Defying Death); 3rd, “Hooligan Heroes” by David W. Shaw (Offshore, December). Of Neale's story, judge John Wooldridge said it was a “Riveting page turner. I became personally invested in the story!” Added judge Louisa Rudeen, “While I would not have encouraged the author to ride out Hurricane Wilma on board her boat, her harrowing narrative puts us right in that marina with her, experiencing the emotional as well as physical trauma caused by the storm.” Certificates of Merit to: “Passage South” by Betsy Haggerty (Voyaging, Fall); “High Speed Delivery” by Eric Colby (Speed Boat, July); and “Making Our Way Around South Florida” by Bill Lindsey (Southern Boating, July/Aug).

  7. Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance — sponsored by Starbrite

    1st, “Managing Mistral” by Eric Sorensen (Seattle Times, September 28); 2nd, “Marine Batteries 101” by Frank Lanier (Offshore, May); 3rd, “Easy Pickin's” by Rebecca Stone (Trailer Boats, March). Judges agreed, “What a surprising treat! Sorensen reveals passion and a sense of grand duty in a topic normally reserved for bone-dry writing.” Maintenance Merit awards included: “Keep Your Gas Dry” by J.J. Reistrup (Chesapeake Bay, June); and “Diesel Engine School” by Dave Baldwin (Boatworks, September).

  8. Electronics — sponsored by C-MAP/USA

    1st, “Navigating the Electronics Market” by Tom Neale (Soundings, February); 2nd, “Fish Eyes in the Sky” by Gary Caputi (Salt Water Sportsman, June); 3rd, “Future Power” by Nigel Calder (Sail, February). Judging chair Jan Mundy said, “Neale's article did an admirable job of covering a lot of technical data in an easily understandable way while relating the gadgets to practical use and anecdotal experience. The author is adept at providing an education with an entertaining style.” Award of Merit to “We Break” by Lenny Rudow (Boating, July).

  9. Ethics and Environment — sponsored by BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water

    1st, “Louisiana Rising” by T. Edward Nickens (Salt Water Sportsman, August); 2nd, “All Eyes on the Eelgrass” by Karl Blankenship (Chesapeake Bay, October); 3rd, “The Other Side of Paradise” by Tom Neale (Soundings, January). Noted judging chair Bill Sisson, “This story really put me in the marshlands of southern Louisiana, post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Through Nickens' strong writing and reporting, we hear the enduring voices of resolute Louisiana fishing guides determined to make a go of it in this altered landscape. ” Adds judge Mark Pillsbury, “The author uses the fish and the local character to tell a much, much bigger story.” Certificate of Merit to “State of the Striper” by Tom Richardson (Offshore, April).

  10. Boating Issues, News and Analysis — sponsored by Mercury Marine

    1st, “The Endless Storm” by Shaw McCutcheon (Yachting, August); 2nd, “Escape from Cuba” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, May); 3rd, “Watertight” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, April). The top entry, notes judging chair Betsy Haggerty, "Takes an in-depth look at how Gulf Coast boaters are coping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's ruthless devastation. The story is rich in detail, heartbreaking without ever being maudlin and at times hopeful as McCutcheon chronicles the stories of survivors who are making the best of what remains of their world." Certificates of Merit go to “Hurricane Hangover” by Kimball Livingston (Sail, August) and “View from the Bridge ” by J.V. Reistrup (Chesapeake Bay, November).

  11. The Business of Boating — sponsored by Home Port Marine Marketing

    1st, “Made in China” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, November); 2nd, “What You Can Learn From” by Jonathon Mohr (Boating Industry, October); 3rd, “Broken Promises” by Liz Walz & Matt Gruhn (Boating Industry, November). “Flannery's piece was more than just a business article; it was an exploration of the social and economic climate of an emerging world power and the possible opportunities that it could hold for the recreational boating industry," said judge Joe Myerson. Certificates of Merit to: “Trinity Triumphs” by Lisa Knapp (International Yachtsman, July/Aug) and “No Rest for the Weary” by Liz Walz (Boating Industry, February).

  12. Seamanship, Rescue & Safety — sponsored by Sea Tow Services International

    1st, “Crash Course” by Dave Hurteau (Salt Water Sportsman, March); 2nd, “School for Heroes” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, March); 3rd, “How Well Do You Know Your Boat?” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, April). “It's always challenging to tell another person's story well in that person's own voice, but Hurteau did just that with his 'as told to' feature about being run over at sea,” judging chair Kim Kavin explained. “The level of detail in the feature is striking, a testament not only to Hurteau's writing skills, but also to his interviewing techniques. We now know what it feels like to have a 16-footer rammed by a fishing trawler at full speed. What amazing insight into why good seamanship is so important out on the water.” Merit awards to: “Crisis Averted” by Bill Springer (Sail, March) and “The Sinking of a Superyacht” by Vince Daniello (Yachting, September).

  13. Technical Writing — sponsored by Dometic Corp. - Environmental

    1st, “Low-Budget Cruising” by Tom Neale (Soundings, May); 2nd, “Drive School” by Eric Colby (Speed Boat, November); 3rd, “Lessons and Statistic Crunches from Successful Minicruisers” by Marlin Bree (Small Craft Advisor, Sept/Oct). Judges Rich Armstrong and Bill Pike said, “Neale distinguished himself with an eminently accessible story featuring some great self-deprecating humor and a wealth of knowledge gained through decades of living on the water. Whether you need to know what tools will genuinely come in handy onboard your boat, or how to dislodge a bolt that's 'stuck tighter than a fat tick on a skinny dog,' Neale's got you covered!" Certificate of Merit: “What Makes a Trawler a Trawler?” by John Love (Soundings, December).

  14. Boat Tests — sponsored by Volvo Penta

    1st, “Grand Aleutian” by Chris Caswell (Yachting, May); 2nd, “Dialed In” by Ron Eldridge (Trailer Boats, December); 3rd, “Swan Lands in Familiar Waters” by Mark Pillsbury (Cruising World, March). Noted judge Patricia Kearns, "Grand Aleutian was rich with information, including background and historical knowledge, and was well composed and executed. The author's excitement about the boat was contagious. There was no gimmicky stuff and I enjoyed the somewhat formal writing style.” Certificates of Merit to: “The Specialists” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, December); “Perfect Pitch” by Patrick Sciacca (Power & Motoryacht, February); “ Energy Crunch” by Matt Trulio (Powerboat, March); and “Livin' Large on the Open Seas” by Jeremy McGeary (Cruising World, September).

  15. Gear, Electronics and Product Tests — sponsored by Airmar Technology

    1st, “Heads You Win” by Eric Colby (Speed Boat, January); 2nd, “Holding Power” by Bill Springer (Sail, October); 3rd, “Full Speed Ahead” by John Page Williams (Chesapeake Bay, January). Judges commented, “Colby's investment and hands-on work replacing headers on his own boat gave readers intimate details, advice and an honest assessment of benefits. His enthusiasm for the topic is engaging.” Merit awards to: “Ride 'Em Cowboys” by Robert Stephens (Boating Life, July/Aug); and “Masochistic Marine Machines” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, December).

BWI is a non-profit professional organization consisting of writers, broadcasters, editors, publishers, photographers, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry. Members include active marine journalists across the U.S., in Canada and around the world, supporting marine manufacturers and service entities, and associates in communication roles. More information about BWI is available by visiting www.bwi.org.

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