Here with Annie Hill, 2009 Cruising Club of America Bluewater Medal winner Maryborough boat builder Trevor Robertson single-handedly sailed Iron Bark II from New Zealand to Chile in January.
Here with Annie Hill, 2009 Cruising Club of America Bluewater Medal winner Maryborough boat builder Trevor Robertson single-handedly sailed Iron Bark II from New Zealand to Chile in January. Photo courtesy Annie Hill

It's all plain sailing for Trevor

THE CRUISING Club of America has selected a former Maryborough boat builder to receive its prestigious 2009 Blue Water Medal in recognition of a life of cruising and voyaging that best exemplifies the objects and goals of the CCA.

The award will be presented next month to Trevor Robertson by CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy during the club’s annual awards dinner at the New York Yacht Club, in New York.

In 1997 Trevor built “Iron Bark”, a 35-foot steel gaff cutter in Maryborough.

In 1998 he single-handed it from New Zealand around Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula where he wintered over, frozen in at Alice Creek, Wiencke Island.

On January 4, 2000, Iron Bark broke out of the ice and after cruising for a few weeks in the Antarctic Peninsula Robertson departed for the Falkland Islands and then sailed directly to Trinidad.

Annie Hill joined him in 2002 and together they sailed from Trinidad to Labrador, Canada, before returning to Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

After returning to the UK in 2003 and later sailing to Tobago and then Trinidad, they readied Iron Bark for another trip north in 2004.

From the US Virgin Islands they passaged to Halifax and loaded provisions for 500 days.

On July 1 they departed and sailed north up the Greenland coast looking for suitable winter quarters. They chose Nako Island, at 72 degrees 40 North. On November 5 Iron Bark was frozen in and by June 8, 2005, they had broken free.

After a few weeks they departed for Trinidad. It is believed that Iron Bark is the first vessel to winter unsupported in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

In February 2006 they left for New Zealand via the Panama Canal. With stops in the Galapagos Islands and many Pacific islands, they arrived in New Zealand on November 9 after sailing 10,500 miles.

Mr Robertson’s cruising started in 1975 when he did an 8000 mile cruise in a 34-foot wooden sloop from Western Australia to South Africa. Navigation was by plastic sextant and lead line. He has sailed from Australia to the Caribbean via the Suez Canal in a 30-foot fibreglass sloop with no electronics.

In 1989 he returned to Australia via the Panama Canal and New Zealand, a trip of 19,000 miles single-handed. In total, Mr Robertson has logged 140,500 miles.



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