Mystic Seaport Honors Charles A. Robertson

Robertson received the America and the Sea Award at a gala held in his honor.
(left to right) Mystic Seaport President Steve White, Charles A. Robertson, and Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees J. Barclay Collins, II
(left to right) Mystic Seaport President Steve White, Charles A. Robertson, and Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees J. Barclay Collins, II

Mystic Seaport has honored Charles A. Robertson with the 2014 America and the Sea Award. Presented annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes an individual or organization whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.

Robertson received the award at a gala held in his honor in New York City November 5.

Engaged in the maritime industry since 1973, Robertson pioneered the small ship cruise industry in the United States with his founding of American Cruise Lines, now the largest cruise company in the country. He is a recognized expert on cruise ship regulations in the United States. Robertson holds a USCG Master’s License and First Class Pilot’s License for unlimited tonnage and has been an expert witness for the United States Coast Guard before the NTSB and Congressional Committees. His firms have designed and built 12 small cruise ships and approximately 70 other commercial vessels, up to 320 feet.

An avid sailor, he has won national and international events, including the 1988 Newport to Bermuda Race, the Queen’s Cup, and the U.S. National Championship in the Atlantic Class. Robertson is also an active commercial pilot and regularly flies modified ex-military aircraft, participating in shows and demonstrations around the country.

“As the Chairman and CEO of American Cruise Lines, Pearl Sea Cruises, and Chesapeake Shipbuilding, it has been Charlie Robertson’s mission to get people out on the water, a mission he has accomplished. His personal life is one filled with amazing achievements: a champion sailor, a key supporter of America’s Cup campaigns, a leader for Operation Sail, and much, much more. There is so much to celebrate in Charlie’s remarkable career,” said J. Barclay Collins, the chairman of the Museum’s board of trustees.

Robertson is also celebrating 25 years of service as a trustee of Mystic Seaport. He is an advisor and resource to the shipyard staff and serves as chair of the watercraft committee.

The event, which netted just over $400,000 to support the maritime education and preservation work of Mystic Seaport, was sponsored by Alban CAT, Bank of America-US Trust, Rolex, Stephens Inc., and American Cruise Lines. Gala co-chairs were J. Barclay Collins, Cayre and Alexis Michas, and
Mr. and Mrs. Richard R. Vietor. The auctioneer for the evening was Geraldine Nager Griffin, Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s. A longtime friend of Mystic Seaport, Nager has contributed her expertise and enthusiasm to numerous live auctions for the Museum.

Robertson joins a group of distinguished past America and the Sea Award recipients, who include: world-class sailor and author Gary Jobson (2013), founder of WoodenBoat publications Jon Wilson (2012), former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman (2011), oceanographer and deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle (2010), maritime collector and yachtsman William I. Koch (2009), President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation Thomas B. Crowley Jr. (2008), Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough (2007), and famed yacht designer Olin Stephens (2006).