Beth Leonard's <i>Blue Horizons</i> Brings Home a Gold

Blue-water cruiser and frequent CW contributor named a winner in 2007 National Outdoor Book Awards contest. "Notes from the Helm" from our November 29, 2007, CW Reckonings

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In her award winning book, Blue Horizons, Beth Leonard chronicles the six-year journey that took her and her partner, Evans Starzinger, to the high latitudes at either end of the Earth.Courtesy Beth Leonard

OK, to be honest, maybe learning that something great just happened to someone who really deserves it isn't quite as good as a telegram announcing you've just won a new Hallberg-Rassy HR 48, plus two year's worth of groceries, and a $200,000 cruising kitty. But, it can come pretty darned close.

Last week, writer, frequent CW contributor, and blue-water cruiser Beth Leonard checked in by phone during a stateside visit and let it slip that her book of essays, Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas, had been named a winner in the 2007 National Outdoor Book Awards contest. The awards are handed out annually across 10 categories and are intended to recognize outstanding writing and publishing. Beth's book was an Outdoor Literature winner.

"It came as a total surprise! I'm just over the moon about it," Beth told CW managing editor Elaine Lembo shortly after learning the news. "This is sailing literature coming of age."

National Outdoor Book Awards are decided by panels of independent judges that include book reviewers, authors, editors, and educators. The contest is organized by the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University. Past winners include a host of outdoor writers, including Farley Mowat, who received a lifetime achievement award in 2005.

"I'm really surprised to be in this company. I'm really, really pleased," Beth said.

In Blue Horizons, compiled from columns first appearing in Blue Water Sailing magazine, Beth chronicles the journey that took her and her partner, Evans Starzinger, to the high latitudes at either end of the Earth and eventually across some 50,000 miles of water over the course of six years.

With plans to winter over in Chile's famed channels, including a visit to a recently opened portion of the Canal Beagle aboard their now refit aluminum cutter Hawk, we're hoping Beth finds plenty to write about so she can win some more awards. Shouldn't every sloop have a trophy case?