Sunday, December 22, 2013

J/Sailors Star in Rolex Sailor of the Year Finalists!

J/70 MUSE sailing upwind at Annapolis North Americans(Newport, RI)-  The most significant sailing performances of the year are being celebrated by US Sailing with the announcement of its shortlist of nominees for the 2013 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards.  The list of nine men and six women, which includes 10 world champions, encompasses athletes racing cutting edge hydrofoils and kiteboards alongside stellar performers in one-design sailing.

The nominees will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each nominee and will vote to determine US Sailing's 2013 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.  The winners will be announced in mid-January and honored on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, when they will be presented with Rolex timepieces.

Six of the nine nominees for the men’s award have extensive background sailing J’s in their repertoire.  As current Etchells World Champion, Marvin Beckmann (Houston, Texas) has sailed J/24s and J/80s extensively in the Southwest.  Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (Detroit, MI) has been known to thrash around the cans with friends on J/24s (2013 Rochester J/24 Worlds) and with the J/120 fleet on Lake Huron.  Current J/24 World Champion Tim Healy (Newport, RI) has been sailing a variety of J’s over time, including being the 2013 J/70 Midwinter Champion in Key West.  Star World Champion John MacCausland (Cherry Hill, NJ) has spent time with friends on J/24s and J/29s sailing around the cans off Cape May, NJ.  Melges 24 World Champion Brian Porter (Lake Geneva, WI) sailed J/24s for over a decade in the Midwest, including being Great Lakes J/24 Champion.  Finally, J/22 World Champion Allan Terhune (Arnold, MD) has sailed just about all the large one-design J classes, including the J/22, J/24, J/70 and J/80!

J/70 North American Champion- Heather Gregg-Earl with designer Alan Johnstone presenting trophyThe impressive roster of six women nominees includes at least two women with extensive J sailing experience.  Current Farr 30 World Champion Deneen Demourkas (Santa Barbara, CA) has sailed with her husband John on their J/105 in Santa Barbara in her early days of learning how to get around the race track.  The 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, MA) has sailed on J’s extensively for over two decades on J/22s,  J/24s, J/70s and J/80s.  Interestingly, Heather’s win at this year’s J/70 NA’s included out-sailing the two current J/22 and J/24 World Champions (plus beating the likes of multiple J/22, J/24, J/80, Etchells, Farr 40, Lightning, and Melges 24 World and North American Champions!  A bloody impressive accomplishment given the circumstances and focus of many of the world’s top sailors in the world’s fastest growing sportboat class!).  Add on top of that fact that Heather is an “Opti-Mom” supporting her son’s activities everywhere, plus her daughter is an avid dressage rider and one can only imagine what the topic of dinner conversation is each night!

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch USA since 1980, the annual presentation of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport's ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year.  Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 40 men and 33 women, including these distinguished sailors who have claimed the honor MULTIPLE times (note- TEN of them have extensive J/One-Design experience on their resumes):  Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Sally Barkow, Dennis Conner, JJ Isler, Allison Jolly, John Kostecki, Buddy Melges, Ken Read, Cory Sertl, Lynne Shore, Jody Swanson, Anna Tunnicliffe and Ted Turner.

We wish them all “good luck” and hope that at least one, if not two, of this extraordinary group are the lucky winners!  For more Rolex YoY Awards sailor information