Frank Virgintino, author and founder of Free Cruising Guides, was awarded the Growl Tiger Clean Wake Award this week by the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) at its 2014 Melbourne (FL) Gam.
The Growl Tiger Award is given to a voyaging sailor who exemplifies SSCA’s core principle, namely, to leave a clean wake by respecting people and the environment; showing generosity and offer assistance to others, whether cruisers or the people whose countries cruisers visit; involve themselves in activities of significant benefit to mankind and the environment.
Virgintino was recognized for his groundbreaking work in establishing the Windward Passage as a viable entrance into the Caribbean and for dispelling the concerns of cruisers about visiting Haiti, and his humanitarian work there which led to his writing A Cruising Guide to Haiti, now in its second edition and available as a free download.
He fell in love with Ile á Vache, Haiti, when he first sailed into the Bay of Feret more than 20 years ago. In addition to delivering much needed clothing and supplies to Sr. Flora’s orphanage over the years, he wrote a cruising guide to Haiti. Today, between the long overdue recognition of the virtues of the Windward Passage that Virgintino revealed and his Cruising Guide to Haiti, Ile á Vache sees an average of 20 cruising boats a week and several additional coastal villages welcome cruisers. Beyond the economic benefits to local villagers of sustainable, increased cruiser traffic, Virgintino conceived Second Life Sails. This initiative receives used sails from cruisers and sail lofts and conveys them to Marina ZarPar, Boca Chica DR, from whence they are carried by boat to Coastal Haitian villages where they are distributed by lottery to fishermen who must sail farther and farther to reach productive fishing grounds.
SSCA president Scott Berg said that Virgintino’s work has done much to dispel tourists’, especially cruisers’, reluctance to visit Haiti.
Founded in 1952, SSCA is one of the oldest, and the largest of, associations of cruising sailors in the world, providing education, a voice for cruisers, opportunities to participate in beneficial Clean Wake projects, and camaraderie wherever the SSCA burgee flies. SSCA is an unparalleled global resource for active cruisers and those in the planning stage.
To learn more about how to help Second Life Sails, contact [email protected].