This week's domestic sailing news was dominated by US Sailing's annual US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards, which were presented at the St. Francis Yacht Club (SFYC) in San Francisco. Bill Hardesty and Anna Tunnicliffe were presented with their sparkling new Oyster Perpetual timepieces for their impressive sailing accomplishments of 2011 (great performances in a number of classes, with special attention paid to his 2011 Etchells Worlds win, and worldwide dominance in the Women's Match Racing event, respectively), after being selected by a panel of national sailing journalists.
'When I heard I was nominated and then [that] I had won, in all honestly I was a bit surprised and thoroughly, thoroughly honored,' said Tunnicliffe, who became the first woman to win the prestigious award for four consecutive years. 'Team Maclaren has had a great year and this award is a great recognition of all the things we have accomplished over 2011.' Tunnicliffe was joined at the ceremony with her Team Maclaren teammates Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi.
For his part, Hardesty also emphasized the crewmates who helped him win his new Rolex, especially his Etchells World Championship team of Steve Hunt, Mandi Markee and Craig Leweck, all of whom were in attendance at the SFYC. 'It really comes down to the people you sail with, the teams with whom you surround yourself and how much support you have outside of that, because really these regatta victories don't come together without the team,' said Hardesty.
Find out more about the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards, inside.
The other event that's been commanding plenty of pixels this week is the RORC's Caribbean 600, an offshore race that is high on your editor's bucket list. This year's line honors' winner was the 200-foot, ketch-rigged, super yacht Hetairos, skippered by Vincent Fauquenoy, with an elapsed time of two days, two hours, 39 minutes and 32 seconds. Close on her heels was George David's 90-foot Rambler and Niklas Zennstrom's 70-foot Rán, the later of which appears to be the race's overall winner at the time of this writing.
'The whole of Team Rán have been looking forward to this race for a while. We have wanted to do this race since 2009,' said Zennstrom. 'It is a complex course, more like a series of coastal races. Any 600-mile yacht race is hard but the fantastic conditions and beautiful weather makes this one even more satisfying. The close reach down to Guadeloupe from St. Barths was very memorable, fast reaching conditions in beautiful surroundings, some of the best sailing you can imagine.'
Offshore in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), the fleet has been sailing a twisted mile in order to stay in good pressure. 'Anybody looking at our tracks on the computer must think the navigators have gone mad—or that we do not know the way to Auckland,' reported Abu Dhabu Ocean Racing's skipper, Ian Walker. 'The route we are taking is so far off the scale of any historical routes it isn't funny.' Currently, five out of the six boats that are racing to Auckland are sailing similar courses, with Puma Ocean Racing making a break-away move shortly after the fleet exited the Luzon Strait that a more put her on a northerly trajectory. It will be interesting to see how this move plays out in the days to come—stay tuned.
One Design sailors, be sure to check out the latest happenings from the Etchells Worlds, which are being contested in Sydney, Australia through Saturday. While the leader board is always congested in this talent-rife class, the pressure is unusually high for Top 10 bragging rights. At the time of this writing, American skipper Jud Smith (and his crew of Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot) had been looking fast, as is Sydney Olympic Gold medalist Tom King, and John Bertrand. Stay tuned for more info from this event, with Sail-World's detailed coverage and be sure to also check out the great event image galleries, compliments of ace shooters Andrea Francolini and Ingrid Abery.
Nearby on Sydney Harbor, the 18-Foot Skiffs just enjoyed their annual JJ Giltinan Championship, with the hyper-talented crew of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage, aboard Gotta Love It 7, taking top honors once again. Get the full report, inside.
Also inside, get the latest download from the Chicago Match Racing Center's ongoing Miami Invitational, the current entry tally from this year's Newport-Bermuda Race, and the latest from the Global Ocean Race. And finally, Cup junkies, be sure to check out the course overview for AC34 so that you can start stalking out prime, downtown SF vantage spots while there's still time.
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