The BOTY 2006 Judges


Suzanne Giesemann is the winner of an essay contest, "Calling for a Few Good Women," that we announced in our June issue. A retired U.S. Navy officer and a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, she's owned five cruising sailboats, ranging in size from 35 feet to 46 feet, aboard which she's logged thousands of miles at sea. On her current boat, the Morgan Custom 46 Liberty, she's presently cruising the Mediterranean with her husband, Ty ( A commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, Suzanne is the author of three books, including the critically acclaimed Living a Dream and the upcoming women's sailing book It's Your Boat, Too.

Peter Hogg is a New Zealand-born structural engineer and software developer who's made his home in California for over 30 years. He is also a veteran multihull sailor who holds a slew of offshore sailing records, both on crewed boats and singlehanded. With Steve Fossett aboard the maxi-cat PlayStation, Peter played a key role in eight record passages, including the current Transatlantic mark of 4d:17h:28m:6s, set in 2001. At the helm of his own Jim Antrim-designed trimaran, Aotea, he also set the solo Transpacific record from San Francisco to Japan with a voyage of 34d:6h:26m in 1992. Favorite detail from BOTY 2006: Beneteau's website, which provides boat owners with Internet access to the owner's manual for their specific hull number and the ability to order replacement parts online.

Bill Lee is the well-known wizard of Santa Cruz, California, whose yacht-design fame is most closely allied with Merlin, the 77-foot ultralight sled that broke Transpac records in 1977 and held them for 20 years, and, more recently, with the Transpac 52 class. His Cal Poly degree in mechanical engineering, his boatbuilding background with Santa Cruz Yachts, and his history with the Boat of the Year contest that dates back to the inaugural running make Bill the unofficial dean of BOTY judges. Favorite detail from BOTY 2006: The boom on the Tartan 3400. "By making the boom a little bigger and dished out, they eliminated the need for the canvas sides of 'stack-pack' bags."

Ralph Naranjo got plenty of firsthand cruising experience while roaming 55,000 miles all over the world with his family aboard their Ericson 41, Wind Shadow. In addition, Ralph has been a boatyard manager, CW's longtime technical editor, and the Vanderstar Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he oversaw the school's sailing program and its fleet of inshore and offshore sailboats. He recently joined the staff of PassageMaker as its director of operations for Trawlerport. In this contest, Ralph was a nominating judge.

Ed Sherman serves as the Curriculum Designer and Senior Instructor for the education programs of the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), an organization that's been developing and updating the safety standards for boatbuilding and repairs for 50 years. A lifelong sailor who's raced and cruised extensively from Maine to the Caribbean, he's also an award-winning technical writer who for seven years served as Cruising World's electronics editor. Ed is also the author of three books and is at work on a fourth, Advanced Electrical Troubleshooting for the Marine Technician, scheduled for release early next year. Favorite detail from BOTY 2006: The tank-monitoring system on the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 42 DS. "With one button, the user is able to monitor such things as battery and charging condition as well as onboard-tank levels. This really useful feature should find its way onto all boats of the future."