Double circumnavigators awarded 2021 Blue Water Medal

Ginger and Peter Niemann have been named winners of the 2021 Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America for two sailing circumnavigations that took them to the high latitudes, north and south.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the second trip around the world included rigorous non-stop passages while returning home to Washington state.  

The Niemanns exemplify the spirit of adventure and determination represented by the Blue Water Medal, which has been awarded regularly since 1923 to “reward meritorious seamanship and adventure upon the sea displayed by amateur sailors of all nationalities, that might otherwise go unrecognized.” Past winners have ranged from Eric Tabarly and Sir Francis Chichester to Rod Stephens, Webb Chiles and Eric and Susan Hiscock.

In 2017, they departed Washington State on Irene, a 52-foot fiberglass ketch. Taking the opposite direction, east-about, through the Northwest Passage and staying in the northern hemisphere, they never crossed their first track around. Becoming the 30th U.S. flagged vessel to complete the Northwest Passage transit, Irene touched Greenland, Newfoundland, and the U.S. east coast before crossing the Atlantic to Ireland.

After touring the U.K., Atlantic Europe, and the Mediterranean, they found themselves suddenly stranded in Turkey when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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By Cruising Club of America

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