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US Sailing announces shortlist for 2018 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards

by US Sailing 12 Jan 09:00 PST
Top: Paige Railey, Carmen and Emma Cowles, Daniela Moroz. Bottom: Will Welles, Zeke Horowitz, Jud Smith © US Sailing

Three men and three women have been shortlisted for US Sailing's 2018 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Once again, the annual rundown of the year's "best in the U.S." represents a wide range of accomplished sailors from various disciplines and at different stages of their respective careers. All three Yachtsman finalists earned their way on to this exclusive list by winning a J/Boat World Championship in 2018 and are seasoned veterans in the sport, battle tested over time.

The three Yachtswoman finalists represent a combination of the youth movement currently taking form in the U.S. sailing circuit and a two-time Olympian on the comeback trail. All six of these sailors represent their own unique pathway to the shortlist after a triumphant season on the water in their respective boats.

Some of these sailors were selected based on their consistent exceptional performances throughout the 2018 season and some were chosen for their signature win(s) at major international or national events. These sailors have each mastered their craft and have focused on the importance of precision and performance in their competitive sailing efforts.

Finalists for US Sailing's 2018 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award:

  • Zeke Horowitz (Annapolis, Md.) The versatile sailor came out on top at the closely contested J/22 World Championship (Annapolis, Md.) in his home waters. He captured the Flying Scot North American Championship (Rockwall, Texas) and was second at the Viper 640 North American Championship (Kingston, Ontario, Canada).
  • Jud Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) The 2006 Yachtsman of the Year returns to the shortlist after besting the fleet of 91 at the J/70 World Championship (Marblehead, Mass.). Smith added another win to his 2018 resume by placing first at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead.
  • Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) A second J/24 World Championship (Riva del Garda, Italy) title in five years places Welles back on the shortlist for 2018. Welles was the runner-up at the J/24 North American Championship (Charleston, S.C.) and later in the year he dominated the fleet of 89 boats at Worlds.
Finalists for US Sailing's 2018 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award:
  • Carmen and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) For the second straight year, the Cowles twins captured the Youth Sailing World Championships (Corpus Christi, Texas) Gold medal in the women's I-420 doublehanded dinghy event. They also placed third overall at the I-420 North American Championships (Miami, Fla.) and were the top all-women's team in the fleet, and finished fourth overall in the I-420 at Kieler Woche ("Kiel Week"/Kiel, Germany) and were the top all-women's team in the 96 boat fleet.
  • Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) The blue chip foiler won her third consecutive Women's Formula Kiteboard competition at the Hempel Sailing World Championships (Aarhus, Denmark). The #1 world ranked women's Kiteboarder also won at the IKA Kitefoil World Championship (Cagliari, Italy).
  • Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) The two-time Olympian and 2006 Rolex World Sailor of the Year and Yachtswoman of the Year bounced back in 2018 following a series of injuries and ailments that set her back in 2017. Railey placed second at the highly competitive Laser Radial European Championships (La Roche, France). She also took home third place honors from World Cup Series Hyères (Hyères, France).
  • The nominees and their 2018 sailing resumes will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists and past winners of these awards who discuss the merits of each sailor's racing results before voting to determine US Sailing's 2018 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The winners will be announced in February and honored on Thursday, February 28, 2019, during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.

    Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport's ultimate recognition of an individual's outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year.

    Over its history the coveted awards have been presented to 44 men and 35 women, including these distinguished sailors who have claimed the honor multiple times: Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Sally Barkow, Dave Curtis, Dennis Conner, JJ Fetter, Terry Hutchinson, Allison Jolly, John Kostecki, Buddy Melges, Lowell North, Jan O'Malley, Jane Pegel, Ken Read, Cory Sertl, Lynne Shore, Jody Starck, Anna Tunnicliffe and Ted Turner.

    For more information about these awards, please visit: rolex.ussailing.org.

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