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Interview with Anna Tunnicliffe:

Contact: Marni Lane,, 617.671.8332

Anna Tunnicliffe Awarded 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, Sailing’s Highest Honor

Portsmouth, R.I. (November 10, 2009) – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) named US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ (USSTAG) Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) the recipient of the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, the most prestigious recognition in the sport of sailing. Tunnicliffe was chosen based on her outstanding achievement in a variety of boats and multiple disciplines during the qualifying period of September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009.

Anna Tunnicliffe“I’m honored to win such a huge award,” said Tunnicliffe after the awards ceremony in Korea. “I’m honored to now be on the list with all the amazing sailors who won the award before me. It’s a great way to top off a fantastic year, and I’m very excited!”

At the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards dinner today in Busan, Korea, the venue of the ISAF Annual Conference, the HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Rolex’s Lionel Schurch presented the male and female winners with a marble and silver trophy. The male recipient of the award is Brazil’s Torben Grael, the winning skipper of the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race.

“Anna's record on the water over the last year speaks for itself, and this award is just the latest proof of her talent, motivation and dedication,” said Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn). “Everyone at US SAILING is proud of Anna.”

Since winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the Laser Radial in 2008, Tunnicliffe has proven her talent and versatility by excelling in the singlehanded dinghy and skippering several different boats in the match racing circuit. She dominated the Radial fleet in the ISAF Sailing World Cup series by winning gold medals at Sail Melbourne, US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR and Semaine Olympique Francaise and a bronze medal at Kieler Woche. She has led the ISAF World Rankings in the Laser Radial consistently since April 9, 2008, and she won the first-ever ISAF Sailing World Cup trophy. She also won the Laser Radial North American Championship and finished third at the Laser Radial World Championship last summer.

As the skipper of women’s match racing teams, Tunnicliffe also had a string of successes this year: She won gold medals at both the US Women’s Match Racing Championship and the North American and Caribbean Nations Cup Regional Finals, qualifying her to compete at the ISAF Nations Cup Final, where she won bronze. At Sail for Gold, the final ISAF Sailing World Cup event of the 2008-2009 series, she also won a bronze medal in the new Elliott 6m, the equipment chosen for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Women’s Match Racing will make its debut as an event in the 2012 Olympic Games, so Tunnicliffe had to choose which passion to pursue. She has decided to launch a campaign for 2012 with USSTAG teammates Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Cappozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) in the Elliott 6m. “I am having so much fun with my sailing, and hopefully I’ll keep doing it well in the future,” she said.

Tunnicliffe is the third American to win this prestigious award in the past four years. Fellow Laser Radial sailor and USSTAG teammate Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) won the award in 2006, and Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), the America’s Cup winning helmsman of Alinghi, won in 2007.

Tunnicliffe was among an exceptional list of female nominees from all disciplines of the sport, including Great Britain’s Sam Davies, who competed in the Vendee Globe round-the-world race, Hilary Lister, the first disabled woman to sail solo around Britain, and Spain’s Blanca Machon, who won the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trophy in the RS:X. This is the second consecutive year Tunnicliffe has made the shortlist of nominees.

The annual ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his and her outstanding achievements in the sport of sailing. One hundred thirty ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, selected the winners from a shortlist of nominees.

To read an interview with Anna Tunnicliffe, please visit USSTAG’s web site:

To learn more about her accomplishments as a world-class sailor, please visit her campaign web site:

For more information about the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, please visit the ISAF web site:

Photo credit: Rolex/Daniel Forster

About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Group Experiential Learning. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information about US SAILING, please visit: For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: