Hutchinson & Tunnicliffe – 2008 Rolex Winners

TP52 World Champion Terry Hutchinson and Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe today were named US SAILING’s 2008 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.

Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards recognize the outstanding on-the-water competitive achievement of an individual man and woman in the calendar year just concluded. The winners will be honored and presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces during a luncheon on February 27, 2009, at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) has been named the 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, earning the coveted award on the fourth time he was shortlisted for the honor. Members of the selection panel remarked that in 2008 Hutchinson had ‘redefined himself’ after he ’emerged from the America’s Cup to be an awesome fleet racer.’ Hutchinson got the year rolling as tactician aboard Jim Richardson’s Farr 40 Barking Mad, which won Acura Key West and Acura Miami Grand Prix.

Switching to the TP52 and moving into the skipper’s position, Hutchinson racked up four major victories in Europe, including the Trophy of Sardinia and Copa del Rey regattas, which led to his overall win of the Audi MedCup series. A month later, in Spain, Hutchinson crowned his stand-out season in the class by winning the TP52 World Championship aboard Quantum Racing.

‘This award is obviously an acknowledgement of a great year on the water,’ said Hutchinson. ‘But I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that it is a privilege to represent the bigger picture – the people I sail with and the teams on which I compete. I feel so strongly about the support they gave me; this wasn’t just my achievement, it was the Barking Mad, Samba Pa Ti and Quantum Racing teams’ too. Every morning I get up and go to work doing something that I love. Being recognized is just icing on the cake.’

Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year – Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) has been named the 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Nominated to the award’s shortlist for the fourth consecutive year, she was the unanimous choice of the panel, all of whom ranked her first in the voting that determines the honoree. Cited by one panelist for ‘an unbelievable year’ culminating with victory in China, Tunnicliffe rose in the world rankings in the Laser Radial class as she worked toward fulfilling her goal of winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

‘I’m very, very excited,’ said Tunnicliffe on hearing that she was the 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. ‘It’s a fantastic end to a great year.’

Two performances that stood out for her as she reflected on events leading up to the competition in China included her win at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in The Netherlands and Kieler Woche in Germany. ‘The first event gave me the confidence that I could win in a good fleet,’ said Tunnicliffe. ‘It got me used to seeing a dot on my sail (colored dots – primarily used at the Olympic Regatta – identify the top-three fleet leaders during the competition), so I didn’t feel the pressure from carrying them when I got to the Games. At Kiel I did poorly (finishing 14th out of 82 boats) and had three black-flag penalties. I had been working on my starts and was getting over-confident. That gave me a wake-up call that you can’t push the line that much.’

‘Winning the Olympic medal was a dream, and branching out to other boats and expanding myself as a sailor is one of my goals. I want to win another gold medal for the U.S.A., but I think it will take more than just Laser sailing.’

Up next on Tunnicliffe’s busy schedule, as she continues her Laser Radial campaign, is competing at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR in late January.

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