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Anna Tunnicliffe Wins 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year

Tunnicliffe and Bennett_RWSOTY11Portsmouth, R.I. (November 8, 2011) – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) named US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) the recipient of the 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, the most prestigious recognition in the sport of sailing. At a gala ceremony during the International Sailing Federation’s Annual Conference in Puerto Rico, Tunnicliffe was presented with the distinct World Sailor trophy by HM King Constantine of Greece and a specially engraved Rolex timepiece by Colette Bennett, Rolex Watch USA. Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, is the skipper of the “Team Maclaren” match racing team with crew Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi.

Photo: Anna Tunnicliffe and Colette Bennett, Rolex Watch USA. Daniel Forster/Rolex

“Thank you very much for this award, it is a true honor,” said Tunnicliffe moments after receiving the award. “Congratulations to all of the other nominees, you guys are fantastic and amazing sailors. I really have to thank everyone that’s been part of the reason I won this award, especially my team. This is truly a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without them. I would also like to thank my family and my husband for being very supportive and my sponsors. It is truly amazing. Thank you.”

Tunnicliffe has had an impressive year of sailing, with most of her accomplishments coming in Women’s Match Racing, which will make its Olympic debut at the 2012 Olympic Games.

In October, Team Maclaren won the 2011 US Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta, the first of two selection events to determine the US representatives to the US Olympic Team in Women’s Match Racing. Currently ranked #1 on the ISAF World Match Race rankings, Tunnicliffe, Vandemoer and Capozzi won the overall gold medal for the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup season after collecting three World Cup medals: gold at Skandia Sail for Gold, bronze at Princess Sofia Trophy and silver at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR.

“On behalf of the Olympic Sailing Committee and US Sailing, I am so proud of Anna Tunnicliffe and all that she has accomplished this past year,” said Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.), Chairman of US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee. “Anna and her crew, Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi, are shining examples of how hard work, determination and dedication pay off with sailing success.”

This is the second time Tunnicliffe has been awarded the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. She was also honored in 2009. Tunnicliffe is one of three Americans to win this prestigious award. Fellow Laser Radial sailor and USSTAG teammate Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) won the award in 2006, Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), the America’s Cup winning helmsman of Alinghi, won in 2007, and Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl, 2000 Olympic Gold Medalists, won in 2000. 

Iker Martínez and Xabier Fernández (ESP) were named winners in the male category.  American Rob Douglas, who holds the Outright World Speed Record Holder, was among the nominees.

The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements. The Awards are presented annually based on a worldwide selection process that incorporates an open invitation for nominations, followed by a vote amongst the over 130 member nations of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

The Awards have been held every year since 1994 and past winners include Peter Blake (NZL), Ellen MacArthur (GBR), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Russell Coutts (SUI). In 2010 the Awards were presented to Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Blanca Manchón (ESP).

For more information, visit the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards microsite at:  www.sailing.org/worldsailor

About US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top athletes 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, Trinity Yachts, New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning and Bow Down Training. http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.

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Contact: Dana Paxton, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, danapaxton@ussailing.org, mobile: 401-369-0490