Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year winners announced in Puerto Rico

Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year 2011

Olympic Gold medalists Anna Tunnicliffe and Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez have been announced as winners of the Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year at an awards dinner in San Juan, Puerto Rico today.

The ceremony was held in the historic Cuartel de Ballaja, a former military barracks in the mid-19th century, making an impressive backdrop to the ceremony which is held in conjunction with the ISAF Annual Conference.

This year there were four female and five male nominees who have been shortlisted based on their achievements during the qualifying period of 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011.

Female winner, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) with ISAF President of Honour, HM King Constantine of Greece and Colette Bennett, Rolex Watch USA

The nominees from left: Lorenzo Bressani (ITA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU), Rob Douglas (USA), Dee Caffari (GBR)

Anna Tunnicliffe's Team Maclaren round the leeward mark - U.S. Olympic Qualifying Regatta 2011


Anna Tunnicliffe
In 2011 Anna Tunnicliffe has only twice returned home from a regatta without a medal. She is the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion in Women's Match Racing and the 2011 Snipe Women's World Champion.

Tunnicliffe and her teammates Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi kicked off their ISAF Sailing World Cup campaign in January at the US SAILING Rolex Miami OCR where they won the silver medal. Bronze in Palma and Hyères was followed by their first gold medal at the Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta in Weymouth in August. At the final regatta of the series, in Kiel, they finished fifth overall but this was enough to secure them the title.

In November 2010 Anna and crew Molly took a break from match racing to sail at the Snipe Women's World Championship in St Petersburg, USA. True to form they won the title which they followed up with the US national title in March 2011.

Tunnicliffe skippers an exceptionally busy team who whose intense training is complemented by regular regatta appearances. From the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics qualifiers to the World Match Racing Tour, the team have stood on the podium eleven times. In January Tunnicliffe was awarded the 2010 US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award and the US Sailing Alphagraphics Team of the Year.

2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion - Women's Match Racing
2010 Snipe Women's World Champion

To read more about Anna and her achievements click here

Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez (ESP 7) - 2009 49er World Championship - Medal Race
Gianni Tomazzoni

Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP)

The world's greatest sailing duo, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez from Spain have raced together since 1999. They made their name in the 49er fleet and since 2005 have risen to prominence in offshore sailing as well.

On 31 December 2010 Martinez and Fernandez embarked on their first double-handed non-stop round the world race aboard the IMOCA60 MAPFRE. Fourteen boats started the Barcelona World Race and after just ten months of training aboard an IMOCA60, Martinez and Fernandez returned to Barcelona in second place. They completed the 25,000 mile course in 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds and picked up the Pacific Trophy for the fastest boat to complete the Cook Strait to Cape Horn section of the race.

It is the 49er fleet where Martinez and Fernandez are most well-known and they already have two Olympic medals and three world champion titles already under their belts. In August 2011 they took a break from their training for the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race and returned to the 49er at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, over a year since they had last competed in the class. In one of the most exciting finales of the regatta, Martinez and Fernandez finished on equal points with fellow nominee Nathan Outteridge who ultimately claimed gold due to a better Medal Race finish.

This is a truly remarkable sailing team whose genuine sailing talent and ability to compete at the highest level in vastly different events sets them apart from the competition.

This crew have achieved outstandingly Outstanding from the 49er to round the world racing. Currently they are leading the Volvo Ocean Race after three days of sailing. They made their acceptance of the award by a pre-recorded video to the dinner.

To read more about Iker and Xabier and their achievements click here

Olympic gold medalists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez will lead Team Telefonica, the latest Spanish entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. The Spanish sailing heroes won gold in the 49er class at the 2004 Athens Olympics and silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The duo will be competing in their third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race finishing third with Telefonica Blue in the last edition of the race. - Volvo Ocean Race
© Chapi

Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez - Barcelona World Race

Team Telefonica on their way to Gibraltar at sunset, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa.
Maria Muina/Equipo Telefonica

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Trophy at the Fort San Felipe del Morro, San Juan