Boating Writers International Awards Make for a Good Friday

Cruising World and Sailing World magazines dominated the 2012 Boating Writers International Awards last week with top honors in categories from profiles to destination features and technical writing. The magazines, part of the Bonnier Marine Group, claimed 19 wins in all. CW on-line contributor Michael Robertson is among the group of authors recognized for their work.__

February 20, 2013

Del Viento at night

In The Tale of the Unknown Island, Jose Saramago writes about boats: “Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership the worst form of liking.” I sure like Del Viento. Michael Robertson

This past Friday I received two prizes for my writing on this blog.

Boating Writers International (BWI) is an, “organization of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry.” For twenty years they’ve held an annual writing contest for members in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The group awards $17,000, split among 51 articles (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in 17 categories) published online and in boating magazines. Four judges (writers and editors) review and score the entries in each category blindly—author and publication names are blacked out.

I was recognized for both my submissions (click here for a list of all the winning entries):


Third place in the Boating Columns category (this blog being a boating column as Cruising World reproduces it on their site) in which I entered these three posts:

Second place in the Ethics & Environment category in which I entered these two posts:

Writing original stories on a regular basis is work. I spend a lot of time writing and re-writing paragraphs until the post is clear and interesting. Then the hard part begins.


Windy is an outstanding editor, often catching all kinds of errors of omission and things that don’t make sense. But she also often sends me back to the drawing board with hyperbole that’s maddening to my literal mindset.

“It could be much shorter, one-third the length.”—(What? How can you just say 66% of the words have to disappear?)

And she’ll go at my text with a hatchet instead of the scalpel it deserves.


“Delete this paragraph.”—(And what happens to that thought, it’s central to this post…?)

Do you remember that scene in Heller’s Catch 22 in which Yossarian (charged with reviewing soldiers’ outgoing correspondence and redacting sensitive info) turns it into a game and sends letters to anxious families on the home front in which everything but pronouns or adjectives is obscured? That’s what it’s like around here when I mention Windy in something I write for the blog. And her reaction to the first draft of this post?

“Obviously I don’t like this post.”—(I know, I know…)


It’s always frustrating, but the feedback and the process are helpful to me as a writer. And the effort feels good. And I really enjoy collaborating with my wife.

Thanks for reading.


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