ISAF honors the wunderkind—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

London 2012 - Olympic Games - day 8. Finn medal Race. Ben Ainslie
Carlo Borlenghi/FIV - copyright
Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Lijia Xu (CHN) were named the male and female ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year at the ISAF annual meeting, which is currently taking place in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Ainslie, it will be remembered, won his fourth Gold medal this summer at the 2012 London Olympics, while Xu took Gold in the hypercompetitive Women’s Laser Radial class. Impressively, this is Ainslie’s fourth time receiving ISAF’s highest honor, while it’s Xu’s first time in ISAF’s international limelight.


Ben Ainslie (GBR) won his fourth Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics



'Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honor, especially for everyone who has helped me,' said Ainslie, who this summer became the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time. 'There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is [also] a huge honor to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award.


Xu was understandably equally overcome with emotion and excitement at earning this internationally coveted award. 'Sailing has given me the chance to chase my dreams and the stage to show my potential,' said Xu, who became the first Asian sailor to win an Olympic Gold. 'It has provided me with the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world. Sailing leads me to a path of a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences.' Get the full media report on the ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Awards, inside this issue.


Lijia Xu tastes Gold - day 9 Medal race - Laser Radial. London Olympics 2012
Carlo Borlenghi/FIV - copyright



Closer to home, Gary Jobson, outgoing President of US Sailing, recently announced the appointment of Ben Richardson as the chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee, replacing Dean Brenner in this volunteer role. Richardson, himself a highly decorated sailor, will work closely with Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, in crafting the path forward for American Olympic dreams.


'Like every American sailor I want to see us return to the podium at Rio 2016,' said Richardson. 'Just as important to me is that we can look back in 12 years and say that our successes at the 2024 Games were a direct result of the improvements to our development system that this committee identifies and implements over the next four years.' Get the full scoop, inside.


And in offshore sailing news, the seventh edition of the nonstop, around-the-world-unassisted Vendee Globe Race is set to begin on Saturday, with an experienced field of 20 skippers competing for what is arguably one of the world’s hardest adventures, sailing-related or otherwise. Inside, get the latest scoop on this year’s contenders, their germane experiences, as well as a look at their odds of standing atop the podium after battling through what will no doubt be some seriously hard yards.


Speaking of nonstop sailing but of the much shorter variety, Rhode Islanders Dan Flanigan and Max Kramers won the inaugural Around Jamestown Record, circumnavigating the Narraganset Bay island in a mere 1:47:24 aboard their 18-foot Hobie Tiger, earning both bragging rights and Flanigan’s weight (196 pounds) in Mount Gay Rum. 'The Around Jamestown Record was created with the idea that it will be a community event for all the sailors who spend a great deal of time on Narragansett Bay and I’m excited to see this first year go so well,' said Race Director Hugh Piggin. As far as their bounty, Flanigan and Kramers were confidant that the over surplus wouldn’t be a problem, and the two are already preparing to defend their title next year.


Artemis Racing’s newly splashed AC72



Also inside, get the latest rankings from the Melges 24 class, check in with Paul Larsen’s Vestas Sailrocket 2 project, and learn about the Global Ocean Race’s evolutions. And finally, don’t miss Sandra van der Borsch’s great image gallery of Artemis Racing’s launch and christening. Not only are the images great, but they also provide great insight into the different design concepts that are being employed for the first-generation AC72s. Enjoy!


May the four winds blow you safely home,