Capt. Stephen Wilkins took first place in The Crew Network (TCN) and Fraser’s first short story contest for his story “Wave Splashes to Ashes” about a chance encounter with an extraordinary yachtsman on a unique journey at a French marina.
“The author managed to create a strong emotional connection,” the jury noted in its decision. “One could understand and feel for the characters, in particular the older sailor, and feel the bond that was created between them even in such a short period of time. One even felt for the dog.”
“My story of Hans and Golden Wind still rests clearly in my mind, that chance meeting in Brest France at the Port du Chateau marina may possibly have been that the planets were aligned and meant to happen,” Capt. Wilkins wrote in acknowledging the honor. “Many thanks to all those at The Crew Network and Fraser for this great initiative, but equally to all the other enthusiastic writers who submitted their stories, please keep writing.”
Second place went to Capt. Stephen Crosthwaite for “Birthday Cake”, an amusing account of an unfortunate misstep, an angry yacht chef and a group of entertained guests.
“Every one of us laughed out loud as we read this entry,” the jury noted. “It is a nicely observed, well written, if slightly exaggerated, little vignette.”
“I’m chuffed to bits,” Capt. Crosthwaite replied about winning second place. “The owner does not exist but the core of it is a true story and it did happen on a yacht quite a few years ago to a friend of mine that was the steward onboard. I’ve embellished it a little bit and added in some ‘poetic licence’ and another character, but pretty much it’s all true-ish. I am sure many of the characters (crew) will recognize themselves.”
Third place goes to Georgia Rex, lead stew on a 90m+ private yacht, for “Dear Diary”, her upbeat entry of working on board in Tahiti and enjoying the opportunity to explore this unique destination.
“This was a nicely written piece of work filled with energy and character,” the jury wrote. “We wish it had been a little longer – we were interested to know how she came to choose yachting and to have heard more about her ‘soul sisters and brothers’. But that was another reason we enjoyed this story – we found ourselves wanting to know more.”
“I can’t believe I am one of the winners,” Rex stated. “One of my goals at the moment is to really try and push myself out of my comfort zone, which is why I entered this competition, as it is miles out of my comfort zone.”
A special mention also goes to Andrew Kelly for “Always a Horizon”, a touching romance that brings alive the feeling of missing a faraway love while away at sea.
“A career onboard a yacht, or any sea vessel, is one of the most rewarding and exciting anyone can have,” the jury noted. “But like anything in life, there can be moments of missing. We felt the author tapped into one such moment with delicacy and poignancy that stays with you long after reading his story.”
“When I was writing this story, I was thinking of all the people throughout the industry carrying an invisible burden, those trying to get through the days with a smile on their face that might disappear as soon as they are alone or below decks,” Kelly noted. “We are never alone and there are more folks around who understand than you might think. Talk to people and keep working towards that horizon. I even got a tattoo just recently to remind me of that fact every day.”
Five judges made up the jury: Marika Taishoff, director of the MBA program at the International University of Monaco; Mark Duncan, director of marketing and business development with Fraser; Alessandro D’Angelo, crewing manager (Viareggio & Palma) and business development worldwide for TCN; Anna Kuylenstierna, crewing consultant (Palma) with TCN; and Louise Cailbourdin, crewing manager (Antibes) with TCN.
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