Murphy Seamanship Award

The 2011 Christopher Murphy Seamanship Award

To be awarded to a Moriches Yacht Club member between the ages of 13 and 18 years of age. This award is to be rewarded to:

A sailor enrolled in the Moriches Yacht Club Sailing Program as a student or as a sailing assistant or sailing instructor.

A sailor that demonstrates good character and fosters “club and team” spirit by displaying patience and acting as a good role model to their fellow sailors. The recipient of this award will have gained the knowledge that sharing their sailing knowledge and helping others helps everyone and makes life even more rewarding.

The recipient must also demonstrate both good sportsmanship and good seamanship. (Sportsmanship, by definition is the demonstration of fairness, generosity and the ability to be a good loser as well as a graceful winner. Seamanship, by definition, is the art or skill of handling, working or navigating a vessel).

This trophy has been donated by the Oswalt and Krauss Families in honor of their cousin Christopher Murphy. At age 19, Christopher was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with a severe spinal cord injury. He has lived in a wheelchair ever since. After six weeks in the hospital and six weeks in rehabilitation, Christopher started volunteering at CRAB (Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating); a sailing program for people with disabilities. Christopher continued sailing with CRAB and competed in the disabled Shake-a-Leg Program sailing regattas in Annapolis, Chicago, Newport, St. Petersburg and Miami. After graduating from collge, he became one of three members of the USA Disabled Sailing Team which won a Bronze Medal in the Paralympics in Atlanta. Soon after, the Annapolis Yacht Club invited him to join and loaned him a J-24 named ‚ÄúMurphy’s Law‚Äù which he raced in their regattas. A few years later, Christopher bought a Melges 24 named ‚ÄúHot Tuna‚Äù and continued racing, only this time in able-bodied regattas up and down the east coast. Christopher has taught hundreds of disabled and able-bodied people how to sail, how to race and how to win.

Christopher says that although he didn’t realize it at the time, sailing leveled the playing field for him. It enabled him to get out of the wheelchair and back on the water. Working with CRAB showed him how teaching, sharing sailing knowledge and helping others helps everyone and makes life even more rewarding. Sailing regenerated his enthusiasm and can-do attitude he was born with. He is not a disabled person, he is a person with a disabililty.

It is in honor of Christopher’s tremendous spirit that this trophy is awarded. The receipient is to be selected by a committee consisting of the Sailing Chairman, the Commodore and the Sailing Instructor(s) and is to be awarded at the Summer Sailing Awards.

This perpetual trophy will remain at Moriches Yacht Club on display; the receipient will be given a keeper trophy.

 Kirsten Dagostino