sailors of the year
The International Sailing Federation and Rolex announced Nov. 9 that Robert Scheidt of Brazil, and Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa of Greece were the winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2004. The three sailors were honored in recognition of their outstanding sailing achievements between Sept. 1 2003 and Aug. 31 2004.
Scheidt was awarded the male ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the single-handed Laser Class. In May 2004 Scheidt made Laser Class history when he won the World Championship title for the seventh time in 10 years.
Scheidt’s collection of sailing records was further increased in August 2004 at the Olympic Sailing competition in Athens. After posting only two results of the 11-race series outside the top eight, he secured his third Olympic medal in the Laser Class and became the first sailor to win two gold medals in the Class.
Scheidt’s other results during the nomination period are equally impressive. His worst result since September 2003 was a second, at the 2003 ISAF World Championship. At all the other ISAF Graded events, he finished on top of the podium.
Bekatorou and Tsoulfa were awarded the female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2004 in recognition of phenomenal successes in the 470 Class.
Bekatorou and Tsoulfa stole the hearts of their nation in Athens in August when they won the gold medal in the 470 double-handed dinghy in emphatic style, claiming the Gold medal with a race to spare. When the Games began they were in top form and dominated the event, winning five of the 10 races, finishing second in three more. Their series tally was 24 points ahead of that of the silver medalists, the greatest points delta of all Olympic events.
Prior to the Olympic Games within the nomination period, Bekatorou and Tsoulfa won the 2003 ISAF World Championship, their fourth world title, and several other ISAF Graded events.
The winners were each presented with a Rolex timepiece, and the marble and silver World Sailor Trophy — a solid marble sphere depicting the world and crowned by five silver spinnakers representing the continents.
Sailing icon dies
at the age of 68
J. Robert Seidelmann, sailmaker, boatbuilder and designer, died Oct. 24 after a battle with cancer. He was 68.
In the early 1960s, Seidelmann and his father, Joe, founded Seidelmann Sails. During that period their sails won national and world championships in numerous one-design classes from Penguins to E-Scows. Seidelmann was recognized as one of this country’s top one-design sailors, winning championships in Lightnings, Comets, Dusters, MORC and a number of other classes.
After sailmaking he focused on yacht design and building. He founded Seidelmann Yachts, building sailboats from 24 to 37 feet. Of note, Siedelmann co-designed the original Hunter 25, Hunter’s first sailboat. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie; son Rob; and daughters Karen and Sharon.
US Sailing director
Craw steps down
US Sailing’s executive director Nick Craw has announced he will be leaving the organization as of Jan. 1. Craw has served in the position since December 2001. After ensuring a smooth transition with his successor, Craw will return to Colorado where he will take over the presidency of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States.
A task force, led by Dave Rosekrans, immediate past president of US Sailing, was in charge of finding the next executive director. www.ussailing.org
geared to IRC rating
Farr Yacht Design announced three new designs under development specifically suited for the IRC rating rule. The design firm reports the research and design work began in August in response to a strong worldwide market interest in IRC boosted by the recent formation of the U.S. IRC group attempting to establish IRC racing in the States.
IRC was used for the first time in the United States at the Rolex St. Francis Big Boat Series in September, and will be used for several New York Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club events in 2005, including Block Island Race Week.
The three Farr designs range from 30 to 42 feet (LOA), and will be manufactured on a production basis. Farr Yacht Design expects additional production and custom commissions above this size range in the future. For information on Farr, visit www.farr
design.com. For information on IRC visit www.rorcrating.com.
As the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, organizers have announced a new cruising division.
This will offer serious cruising sailors the challenge of the 628-nautical-mile bluewater classic. Cruising division boats are allowed to carry a minimum of four crewmembers, rather than six as required by the racing boats, and have the option to seek dispensation if not carrying an HF radio.
An information sheet addressing those issues will be issued shortly and made available at www.rolex