2010 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year announced
Trophée Jules Verne winner Stan Honey and Snipe Women’s World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe today were named US Sailing’s 2010 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A shortlist of 10 male and six 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 25, 2011, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, 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 Ssailing'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 39 men and 32 women.
2010 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year: Stan Honey, previously nominated for the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award in 2006 as the Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator aboard ABN AMRO One, was cited as “one of the most outstanding offshore sailors known world-wide” by a member of the award’s selection panel that recognized him as the 2010 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Honey becomes the second American in the history of the award to receive the honor for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe. Cam Lewis won the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1993 for winning the Jules Verne Trophy for the first time aboard Commodore Explorer with a record time of 79 days, six hours, 15 minutes and 56 seconds – a record which had been bettered five times before the trimaran Groupama 3, with Honey as navigator, set the latest benchmark. In 48 days, seven hours and 45 minutes, Groupama 3 made the fastest non-stop circumnavigation under sail in history and claimed the Trophée Jules Verne while eclipsing Orange 2's record – by more than two days and eight hours – that had stood for five years. Another member of the selection panel noted that Groupama 3 would not have broken the record without Honey correctly calling the weather window when they had to re-start after the second of their two previous attempts was thwarted (a break down in the South Atlantic forced them to retire to fix the boat). “He did an extraordinary job getting the boat around the planet. This was the crowning achievement for a hell of a career,” said the panel member.
After sailing around the world, some might have expected Honey to spend some time on dry land, but in mid-June he was taking aim at another record, this time in the Newport Bermuda Race as navigator aboard Speedboat. “I've been navigator on Speedboat since she was built, so I carried on,” said Honey. “You get hooked on spending time at sea.” After leading the 183-boat fleet for most of the 635 nautical-mile race, Speedboat was the first boat to cross the line after racing for 59 hours.
“I am honored to receive the US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award,” said Honey upon hearing the news. “It is humbling to read through the list of previous winners. As an American, it was an unexpected opportunity and honor to be asked to sail with the legendary all-French Groupama offshore multihull crew. Groupama 3’s success in the Jules Verne is a tribute to Franck Cammas’ leadership and the seamanship of the entire crew. I would also like to thank Rolex and US Sailing for all they do to support sailing.”
After graduating from Yale University with a degree in Engineering and Applied Science, and from Stanford University with a Masters in Science Electrical Engineering, Honey, in 1998, co-founded Sportvision Inc. which evolved into the leading developer of live-tracking enhancements for sports TV broadcasts. Honey led the development of the yellow first-down line for televised football; the NASCAR racecar tracking and highlighting system; and the baseball K-Zone system, which highlights the pitch location and strike zone in televised baseball. He holds eight patents in navigational system design, 21 patents for TV special effects, is a member of the board of directors of KVH (a manufacturer of satellite communications and navigation sensors), and currently works for the America's Cup Event Authority on TV technology for the America's Cup. Honey is married to Sally Lindsay Honey, herself a two-time Yachtswoman of the Year (1972, ’73).
2010 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year: Having been shortlisted for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award for the sixth consecutive year, Snipe Women’s World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe has become the first woman in the award’s history to earn it three consecutive years. The achievement is the latest milestone for this sailing phenom as she joins Jane Pegel (1964, ’71, ’72) and Jan O’Malley (1969, ’70, ’77) in the record book as three-time winners of the Yachtswoman of the Year distinction. Only two women have won the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year title more: JJ Fetter Isler (1986, ‘ 91, ’97, ’00) and Betsy Alison, whose five honors (1981, ’82, ’84, ’93 and ‘98) have eclipsed even Ted Turner’s four title wins, the most for any American man.
Tunnicliffe’s position at the forefront of women’s sailing, both nationally and internationally, appears deceivingly effortless. The selection panel lauded the number of classes in which she competes and is competitive in. “She hardly trains in the Laser Radial anymore, yet wins when she sails that boat,” remarked one panelist about the 2008 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist who won the 2010 Laser Radial Women’s North American Championship. Another panelist commented that “she is our modern-day Betsy Alison – doing it all.”
In 2009, Tunnicliffe, previously ranked number one in the world in the Laser Radial, committed to a match racing campaign in the Elliott 6 Metre with a goal of racing in the 2012 Olympic Games. In just two years she has moved from 36th to fourth in the match race rankings – a clear demonstration that her goal is within reach.
During 2010 Tunnicliffe raced in the Elliott 6 Metre to win US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR; place second at Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France; and take third at Skandia Sail For Gold in Weymouth, England, site of the 2012 Olympic Regatta. She won the XII International Women’s Match Race Criterium in Calpe, Spain, sailed in Tom 28s, and was second at the Toyota International Match Race in Detroit, Michigan in Ultimate 20s. She picked up a bronze medal in the match racing event at Kieler Woche in Germany and also placed third in the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup in Annapolis, Md., sailing in J/22s.
The 28-year-old Tunnicliffe, a native of England, grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, sailing from the North Cape Yacht Club in Michigan. Her college sailing career at Old Dominion University, where she earned ICSA All-American honors three times (2003, ’04, ’05), was highlighted with being named the 2005 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year.
“I'm very excited and honored to again be selected for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award,” said Tunnicliffe. “I knew it would be tough to get it this year, so it was a great surprise when I heard the news. I have to thank my teammates for this year. It was a group effort at the Snipe Worlds and all of the match racing events. Molly [Vandemoer] and Debbie [Capozzi] are fantastic crew and played a huge part in this award!”
Read our last interview with Anna Tunnicliffe here