Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

World Sailor of the Year ready to take on Perth

by Shauna McGee Kinney on 27 Nov 2011
Anna Tunnicliffe and Team Maclaren - Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
Recently crowned 2011 World Sailor of the Year, US Match Racing Skipper Anna Tunnicliffe and her United States Sailing Team AlphaGraphics crewmates that make up Team Maclaren (Debbie Capozzi, Molly Vandemoer and Liz Lewin (alternate) ) are all fired up for the competition at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

Anna and her team are not new to international travel, championships and competition. She was born in Doncaster, England, which is pretty much right in the middle of the UK, and lived there until she was twelve years old when her dad got transferred to Ohio in the US.

She reassures us, 'I am fully American. I talk a little British at times and have roots there, obviously. But I am very patriotic towards my American flag and my American country and my American team mates.'

Anna’s built up her sailing career and her team over the years. US Sailing Team AlphaGrapics (USSTAG) Team Maclaren has all been sailing together for a very long time.

Debbie Capozzi sailed with Anna in college and after college Debbie went into different boats. They reconnected for this campaign. Molly Vandemoer went to school in Hawaii during those years, but sailed in the same college competitions. Liz Lewin is the fourth person (alternate) and also went to school with Anna and Debbie. Liz has been part of the team from the beginning.

Going back about three years, Anna, Debbie and Molly sailed a few match racing events together. Based on their early success, they decided to team up for an Olympic campaign on the Elliot 6m.

Anna has had an incredibly successful journey to the top of women’s sailing. In addition to a 2008 Gold Medal on the Women’s Laser Radial in Beijing, she’s twice been the Rolex ISAF Woman Sailor of the year in 2009 and again earlier this month.

Anna graciously reminds us, 'Although the ISAF Rolex Sailors of the Year Award was awarded to me -- it was more of a team award. As a team, we accomplished the award. Getting the award was a very fulfilling moment for all us.'

She continued, 'It showed all the hard work we have put in so far.'

The trip to the top has been amazing and may have been shaped by Anna’s early lesson in how to deal with defeat.

She was in her junior year in college and hoping to win the Quantum Sailor of the Year award. This is awarded to the top female sailor in college sailing. All year long, Anna had won most of her events and the award came down to nationals.

Anna probably had to finish in the top fourth or fifth place. She was in a five-way tie for third place and lost the tie. Her competitor got third by calculation and the difference was about 100th of a point.

Anna recalls, 'It was such a devastating moment. I can’t believe this just happened. Everything, all year, and I lose it by 100th of a point. It took a lot to get over, but I learnt a lot about defeat and getting up and moving on.'

'The defeat was more of a shock. I didn’t think I couldn’t lose the award,' she continues. The loss was probably caused when her boat capsized and the crew got trapped under the boat. The team probably lost two boat positions, because they took a little bit of time to breathe and relax once we got the boat upright.

In Anna’s hindsight, she observes, 'One or two of those boats would have got us in third place overall verses seventh place overall or eighth place, whatever we ended up. It was one of those well in this race if we had just passed one more boat it would have been a totally different story. But it happens. I am thankful that it happens, because it has taught me a lot about losing and getting up and moving on.'

Anna is fit and busy. When she’s not moving up the rankings, she’s keeping fit. Anna’s hobbies outside of sailing include CrossFit – a fitness regimen that combines multiple sports including gymnastics, gym routines, running, rowing and even wrestling. When Anna finally comes to a rest, she admits enjoying a good book or watching the NCIS episodes she missed while traveling.

She also encourages youth sailors to look at moving into Match Racing as part of their sailing development.

Anna’s wisdom, 'I think match racing is a useful tool to do even if you don’t want to follow it full time. What you learn in match racing is the one on one boat tactics that you can then take to a fleet race.'

She explains further, 'Where you would lee-bow a boat in a match race, you might then take that same situation and use it in a pack of boats in a fleet race.'

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
'The small course, one-on-one boat tactics that you learn in match racing help you grow as a sailor, help you see the bigger picture tactically, boat-to-boat or in a fleet race. It is a very, very useful tool and it teaches you boat control. It makes you understand how your boat works a lot more.'

Anna had some final words for sailors thinking about international campaigns. Sponsorship is important. And, being consistent at developing sponsorship is the key to keeping a campaign going and working to the top of sailing.

As a US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics representative, she emphasizes, 'We are very fortunate to have found some major sponsors; our Team sponsors include Team Maclaren, Laser Performance and 11th Hour Racing. With additional support from Trinity Yachts, Carmeuse Natural Chemicals, Chicago Match Race Centre and Sperry Top Siders.'

'My advice to anybody that wants to do a campaign or anything like would be to keep following your dreams. [At the same time] keep asking for sponsors and eventually the sponsor will fall into your lap. You can’t do it without sponsors so I owe a big thank you to all of our sponsors.'

Anna, Debbie, Molly and Liz are busy training at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth and making the most of brisk wind and flat water.

Be sure to watch for the USSTAG Team Maclaren in the Women’s Match Racing events at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships from 3 Dec to 16 Dec.


Mackay BoatsPredictWind.comNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar