The CCA award for innovation goes to Pacific Northwesterner, Paul Bieker — leading-edge developer of hydrofoils and carbon-fiber structures for boats performing at the highest levels.

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has chosen Paul G. Bieker, of Anacortes, Washington, to receive the 2023 Diana Russell Award. This award goes to a club member in recognition of innovation in sailing design, methodology, education, training, safety, and the adventurous use of the sea, with a focus on recipients whose accomplishments deserve recognition by the CCA. The award is named for one of the first three women to join the CCA; Russell optimized designs under the IOR handicap rule for Sparkman & Stephens and later became president of the design think tank named WingSystems.

CCA Awards Chairman Steve James, said, “The CCA is proud to recognize our member, Paul Bieker, with the Diana Russell Award. Paul’s foil designs and developments are the leading edge of our sport. With them he continues to advance sailing and the adventurous use of the sea in remarkable ways.”

Bieker is a yacht designer and boatbuilder with a degree in naval architecture. He has 30 boat designs to his credit starting with a series of immediately successful International 14 skiffs. His development of small hydrofoils for 14s led to being recruited to work on foil design and structures in several America’s Cup campaigns optimizing IACC monohulls and semi-foiling and foiling multihulls. His work helped win two America’s Cups (2010 and 2013) and he is recognized as one of the world’s foremost foiling-boat designers. His work ranges from surfboard foils to International Moth and 14 classes, the America’s Cup, Sail GP’s 50-foot foiling cats, and foiling powerboat and foiling ferryboat projects.

When Bieker was interrupted from his work with SailGP and his preparations for the 37th America’s Cup to be informed of his selection as the 2023 Diana Russell Award winner, he said, “It is a pleasure and honor to be given this award by an organization that has a long history and deep knowledge of yachts and their development.”

Through his firm, Bieker Boats, which is headquartered in Anacortes, Bieker is developing his innovations into commercial craft as well as yachts and sailing. Bieker is currently engaged with the Italian America’s Cup team, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, in their preparation for the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona.

The CCA will officially present the 2023 Diana Russell Award to Paul Bieker at its annual awards event on March 1, 2024 in New York City.

Title background photo courtesy of Stephen Matera.