John Southam Award for Excellence in Sailing Communication
On February 14, 2002, Sally Helme, publisher of Sailing World and Cruising World and chair of SailAmerica’s award selection committee, presented Paul Lagasse with the 2001 John Southam Award for Excellence in Sailing Communication grand prize for his article “Taking It to the Wind: Learning How to Sail,” which appeared in the May 2001 issue of Recreation News. The award was presented at the Media Breakfast on the opening day of the Miami International Boat Show in Miami Beach, Florida.
SailAmerica, dedicated to promoting the growth of the sailing industry, offers the Southam Awards to writers whose work conveys “a welcoming and positive portrayal of sailing, reach out to a non-sailing audience, encourage participation in sailing, and take a unique approach to the topic.” Paul’s article was one of 90 entries, the second-highest response in the award’s history. The Southam Award grand prize includes a crystal trophy representing a stylized sailboat, and a $5,000 cash award — “the largest single media prize for journalists covering sailing outside the industry,” according to SailAmerica.
Runners up included a television program produced by National Geographic Channels International, an article in Men’s Journal, and articles in the Juneau Empire and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “I’m honored and grateful to be considered in the same category as the other winners,” Paul said as he accepted the award. “This is the first sailing I have ever written.” At which Sally Helme interjected, “What a great start!”
Sally and Scott West, Executive Director of SailAmerica, hosted Paul and Mary Jo at the event. Mike Krutzler and Wanda Kenton Smith of Kenton Smith Advertising, who administer the Southam Awards for SailAmerica, took care of Paul and Mary Jo before and during the show, and even arranged free passes to the boat show for them. Paul and Mary Jo are grateful for the time, effort, and enthusiasm they all put into making the event a fun and memorable occasion. “After all,” said Paul, “you only get your first award once.”
The Media Breakfast is the traditional start to the Miami International Boat Show, the largest show of its kind in the world. There, the industry reviews the past year’s performance and looks ahead to the future. Many other distinguished awards were given out at the event, including the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) Director’s Award, which was given to Herb McCormick, boating writer and columnist for the New York Times. Mary Jo and Paul had the pleasure of talking briefly with Mr. McCormick at the breakfast, as well as many other sailing writers and representatives.
The award is named in honor of John Southam, former publisher of Cruising World and Sailing World magazines, who was instrumental in the development of SailAmerica as one of the country’s premier sailing organizations.
SailAmerica’s John Southam Award for Excellence in Sailing Communication