Olympic gold medalists Paul Foerster (Rockwall, Texas) and his crew Kevin Burnham, (Miami), along with Lightning North American champion Jody Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.), were named the respective winners of the prestigious 2004 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards, US Sailing announced Jan. 12. Established in 1961 and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the award recognizes outstanding on-the-water achievement during the calendar year. The winners were to be given the awards at a Feb. 25 luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in New York City. A panel of sailing journalists selected the sailors from the longest shortlist in recent years —13 male nominees and nine female nominees. Although historically given to individuals, Foerster and Burnham were recognized for the team’s performance in the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece in the 27-boat 470 men’s event. Foerster, 41, a four-time Olympian, and Burnham, 48, a three-time Olympian, had both medaled in the event before, although not together.
Jody Swanson, 39, who also received the Rolex in 1989, was recognized for her achievements throughout the year, including first place with crew Skip Dieball and Tom Stark in the Lightning North Americans in Ontario, which drew 103 boats, and second place as crew in the U.S. men’s sailing championship in Beach Haven, N.J.
Other nominees for the Yachtsmen of the Year were Congressional Cup champion Ed Baird; 2.4 Meter Paralympic Silver medalist Tom Brown; J/80 and J/105 North American champion Glenn Darden; Interlake National champion Skip Dieball; Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Terry Hutchinson; Lightsurf International 505 World Champion Morgan Larson; Tornado Olympic Silver medalists John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree; Rolex Farr 40 World champion Jim Richardson; and Sonar Paralympic bronze medalist John Russ-Duggan.
Other nominees for Yachtswoman of the Year were women’s world match racing champion Sally Barkow; Olympians Lanee Beashel, Carol Cronin, Meg Gaillaird, Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving; U.S. Jr. women’s singlehanded champion Paige Railey; and U.S. Women’s Match Racing champion Cory Sertl.