Etchells World Champion Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.) and ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Sailing World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) today were named US Sailing’s 2011 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A shortlist of eight male and seven female sailors – determined from nominations submitted by members of US Sailing – was evaluated by a panel of sailing journalists who selected these two sailors for the noteworthy distinction. The winners will be honored on February 22, 2012, during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.
Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. 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 32 women.
2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year: Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.) has been named the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. First shortlisted for the award in 2008 – when he won the Etchells World Championship – Hardesty reclaimed that class’ top title in 2011 after a dominating performance in an 81-strong fleet. He had several other class wins, including the Etchells Midwinters West Championship, and transitioned from skipper to tactician and translated his skills into wins in a number of additional classes which led the selection panel to commend the diversity of his achievements during the year. Hardesty’s notable performances as tactician included winning the 47th Congressional Cup in Catalina 37s and the CMRC Grade 2 Invitational in Tom 28s, along with top finishes at the Rolex Big Boat Series in Express 37s (second) and the Farr 40 World Championships (fourth).
From a personal standpoint, however, Hardesty is most proud of winning the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Match Racing World Championship as tactician for skipper Ian Williams (GBR). The world championship series title was earned through wins of the Portimão Portugal Match Cup in Portugal, the Stena Match Cup in Sweden, and the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.
“This is a huge honor,” said Hardesty after receiving word that he had been named the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. “The long list of past winners is very impressive and includes people who I have always considered to be the best in the world. I would first like to thank Rolex for making sailing what it is today. Without their sponsorship of sailing, the sport would be a lot different.”
“A lot of credit goes to the teams I raced with this past year,” Hardesty continued. “Sailing is truly a group effort and winning this award would never have been possible without great teammates: the Etchells World Championship team of Steve Hunt, Mandi Markee and Craig Leweck, and Team GAC Pindar skippered by Ian Williams.
Hardesty graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1998, the same year he received College Sailor of the Year honors from the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association. A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Hardesty grew up sailing in San Diego and learned to sail with his father on Hobie beach cats prior to joining the junior sailing program at Mission Bay Yacht Club and subsequently San Diego Yacht Club.
After college graduation and a brief Laser campaign for the Olympics, Hardesty worked for a power plant in Los Angeles and then a solar tube company in San Diego. Now a professional sailor, he spends more than half the year living aboard a Wauquiez Hood 38 on which he is currently cruising Central America.
2011 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year: ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Sailing World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) has been named the 2011 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Shortlisted for the honor for the seventh consecutive year, she is the first woman in the award’s history to earn it in four consecutive years. A member of the selection panel noted her level of dedication to the sport, while another remarked that she is a tremendous ambassador for sailing. She joins the rare company of four-time winners JJ Fetter Isler (1986, ‘91, ’97, ’00) and Ted Turner (1970, ’73, ’77, ’79). Only five-time award winner Betsy Alison (1981, ’82, ’84, ’93 and ‘98) has eclipsed them.
“I’m honored to win the 2011 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award,” said Tunnicliffe. “It is a great acknowledgment of Team Maclaren’s success in 2011. Molly [Vandemoer], Debbie [Capozzi] and I worked incredibly hard to achieve our 2011 goals and we are now focused on our 2012 goal – to win a gold medal in Weymouth.”
Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist, committed to a match racing campaign in the Elliott 6m two years ago with a goal of again representing the U.S.A. at the Olympic Games. During 2011 she skippered Team Maclaren to podium finishes in three ISAF Sailing World Cup events: US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR in Florida (silver); Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Spain (bronze); and Skandia Sail For Gold in Weymouth, England, venue of the 2012 Olympic Regatta (gold). The year culminated with a win of the ISAF Sailing World Championship that also qualified the U.S.A. a berth in the Elliott 6m event at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Also notable were Tunnicliffe’s win of the Santa Maria Cup and her second-place finish at the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, both of which were sailed in J/22s.
The 29-year-old Tunnicliffe, a native of England, grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, sailing from the North Cape Yacht Club in Michigan. She attended Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.), where she earned ICSA All-American honors three times (2003, ’04, ’05), and was named the 2005 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. A member of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, Tunnicliffe currently holds the number one ranking for women on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings.
For additional racing results for each winner, please visit: http://about.ussailing.org/Awards/Rolex.htm.
Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) and her team of Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.), Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) have won US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. Racing took place at the Rochester Yacht Club October 7-10, 2009. At the gala Rolex Awards ceremony held this evening at the RYC, Tunnicliffe and her team were awarded US SAILING’s perpetual Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Stainless Steel & Gold Datejust presented by Jaimie Carlsen of Rolex Watch U.S.A.
“We’re very excited,” said Tunnicliffe, Olympic Gold Medalist and a member of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, moments after returning the dock. “We wanted to win this event for a while and finally we’ve done it. We’re super psyched!” Both Vandemoer and Capozzi also are members of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.
After yesterday’s disappointing day off from racing, due to lack of suitable wind conditions, the fleet was anxious to get out onto the Lake Ontario race course. With only one day of racing and three races completed, Tunnicliffe lead the 35-boat fleet with a narrow two-point margin over Jennifer Provan (Toronto, Ontario, CAN). The final standings would come down to today, the final day schedule for racing. The RYC Race Committee, lead by Principal Race Officer Hank Stuart, took advantage of today’s spectacular conditions – 15-18 knots of wind – and held three races.
“We were really happy about our first day,” continued Tunnicliffe, 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. “None of us have fleet raced for at least two months, and we are all a bit rusty in our fleet race tactics. Once we got a chance to get our heads around the tactics, we got locked in and dialed in, and we did really, really well.”
Her team’s five-race score line was 3-6-1-1-1 and with an unbeatable margin they decided not to participate in the final race. “It’s one of those big decisions, do you race or do you not? We felt we wanted to stay out of everyone’s way. We knew it was close for second (place), so thought we would stay out of the way and not influence anything.”
The final race, with 10-12 knots of wind, was won by Nicole Breault (Old Lyme, Conn.) with Amanda Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y.) in second and Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) in third.
“It was so nice to have good breeze,” said Breault. “The wave action made the shifty-ness really about boat speed, and we finally started to click as a team. It felt really good and the day was great. We wish there were a couple more days of racing, but that’s the way it goes.”
Second overall was Cory Sertl, who counts this regatta as her 11th (including two wins in 1985 and 2001). She clearly relished having the regatta on her home waters at her home club. “It was really fun sailing and great to be out there,” said Sertl, a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Her ‘Team Lucy’ included Annemarie Cook, Jane Mastrandrea and Amy Moran. Sertl’s and Moran’s daughters, Katja and Merritt, sailed together. They finished 13th overall. “They did just fine,” continued a beaming Sertl. “They were really fast today off the starting line and held it for a really long time. Their speed was awesome today.”
For Cronin, who won the regatta in 1991 as crew, her overall third place finish is satisfying. According to Cronin, who marks this regatta as her ninth, her results were starting to look like a terrible trend. “I won this event in 1999,” she said. “I was second in 2001, third in ‘03, fourth in ’05, and that was my goal, to break the curse.
“We had a great day today,” continued Cronin of her ‘Team Spidey,’ Kim Couranz, Margaret Podich and Kate Fears. “We worked really well together, and I thought it was a challenging day of sailing because the waves were ahead of the breeze.” Three teams finished the regatta tied on points – Cronin, Dominique Provoyeur (Cape Town, South Africa) and Jennifer Provan. A count back system, detailed in the sailing instructions, was used to break the tie, putting Provoyeur into fourth and Provan in fifth.
“We can’t really be too disappointed,” said Provoyeur, who has competed in this regatta four times. “The fourth is our best result yet, but obviously when you are so close you think what could have gone better. I woke up this morning a little anxious for the final day of racing and knowing there was a bit on. There was breeze and we were in a position close to first. We tried to take the attitude that we want to go sailboat racing, but the wind was up and the swell was bigger than what we had had. We tried to start well and see what would happen, really one race at a time.” Provoyeur sailed with Louise Meek, Tiffany Baring-Gould and Saskia Butcher.
Rounding out the top 10 teams: Jennifer Provan (CAN) in fifth, Marieke Poulie (Maarssen, NED) in sixth, Amanda Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y.) in seventh, Breault in eighth, JoAnn Fisher (Annapolis, Md.) in ninth and Kaitlin Storck (Huntington, N.Y.).
Until this regatta, Tunnicliffe had held the record as the youngest competitor, having set the mark as a 14-year-old skipper in 1997. At that time, she confided that one day she would win the regatta. “I always thought it would be cool to do really well one day,” she said. “This is my fifth time sailing the regatta, my fourth time skippering it. We were getting to the point that we need to get up there sometime soon. I’m happy we sailed really well together and did so well. I have a
fabulous crew. Debbie, Molly and Liz sailed together a few times before, and the chemistry has worked perfectly. It makes my life so easy on the race course and they make me look really good.”