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Foerster, Swanson

earn Rolex title

Olympic gold medallists Paul Foerster (Rockwall, Texas) and his crew Kevin Burnham, (Miami, Fla.), 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 medalled in the event before, although not together.

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.

— JoAnn W. Goddard

Aussies dethrone

American champs

The Hobie 17 and 18 World Championships brought champions in with the New Year at Port Melbourne Yacht Club.

Australians Brad Sumner and Belinda Walkom easily won the Hobie 18 World Championship, taking a bullet in each of the 13 races. The pair has the distinction of being named one of the first two sailing World Champions for 2005.

The second world champion was Melbourne-area racer Aaron Worrall. who took the Hobie 17 crown from Americans Dan Kulkoski and Greg Raybon.

Sumner beat fellow Australians Andrew Nelson and Don McPhee by a massive 57 points and third-place father and son team of Richard and Michael Quinn by 58 points.

Both Worrall and second-placed Dan Kulkoski did not start in the final Race 13, the affable American conceding defeat and shaking hands with Worrall as the two reached the beach.

Young Laser Radial sailor shines

Paige Railey sailed to eight firsts to win the 112-boat Laser Radial class at the Orange Bowl regatta in Miami in December.

Railey beat Kyle Rogachenko at the event hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami.

Oliver Riihiluoma of Bermuda was the top Optimist in a 210-boat class. Arantza Gumucio of Santiago, Chile, took second place — one point ahead of Sean Moynahan.

Adam Roberts and Marla Menninger from San Diego Yacht Club won the 95-boat 420 class and the California Yacht Club’s Christopher Wenner scored an impressive 10-point win in the 43-boat Laser class. www.ussailing.org

British yacht wins 60th Sydney Hobart race

The British yacht Aera won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, becoming the third British yacht and the 12th international overall handicap winner in the 60-year history of the race.

Aera’s owner Nick Lykiardopulo was presented with the perpetual Tattersalls Trophy and a Rolex Yachtmaster watch. Aera, a Jason Ker-designed 55-footer, races under the burgee of the Royal Yacht Squadron in England and was skippered by prominent English yachtsman Jez Fanstone.

“This is truly the Everest of yacht racing,” said Lykiardopulo whose first Rolex Sydney Hobart was in the infamous race of 1998 in which six sailors died. He competed in that race with his previous Aera, a Swan 46, which won its handicap division.

“We compete to overcome the challenge of the sea, but we also respect it,” he said. “Every competitor and yacht in this race is a winner.”

Aera placed first overall and first in IRC Division A, beating the Line Honors winner, Ludde Ingvall’s Simonis/Voogd-designed 90-footer Nicorette by 4 hours, 26 minutes, 46 seconds on corrected time. Third place went to Ichi Ban, owned and skippered by CYCA director Matt Allen, 1 hour 36 minutes back on corrected time.

Aera’s skipper Jez Fanstone said the win gave him great satisfaction but that sharing the experience and a few drinks at the end with “these 15 other blokes” was more important.

“We had a great boat and a great team,” said Fanstone when asked what got the boat through the rough conditions in this year’s race. “The 600-mile races are tough because you never get into any rhythm and you never get any rest.

“We did the preparation and let God hand out the prizes.” www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship

One of the most high-profile women’s keelboat regattas will be held Sept. 17-23 at the Annapolis Yacht Club.

The 2005 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship will feature 11 races in five days with two days for registration, measurement and practice.

To receive by mail the race information, including entry requirements, chartering information and the schedule of events, send an e-mail to Taran Teague at jtteague@aol.com. Include the full name and mailing address in the text of the email. Sailors may also subscribe to receive updates by visiting www.ussailing.org/riwkc.