Smith, Railey named Rolex winners

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Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass., and Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., have been named the 2006 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The awards, announced last week by US Sailing, recognize outstanding on-water achievement.

Yachtsman of the Year Smith was honored for his win at the Audi Etchells World Championship in Australia, according to a US Sailing news release. Heading into the final day of racing Smith was second overall in the 69-boat fleet. He managed to sail past the other boats and finish first in the race, clinching his first world championship.

“This award is a byproduct of a year that came together well,” Smith, 49, says in the release. Smith earned a number of other wins as well, including his third consecutive Etchells North American Championship and top honors at the Land’s End Annapolis Regatta, Florida State Championship and Acura Race Week. This was his first nomination for the Rolex award.

After being nominated for Yachtswoman of the Year five times since 2002, 19-year-old Railey was given the award this year in recognition of her numerous sailing victories abroad, the release says. She won the Semaine Olympique Française in France, ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria, and Good Luck Beijing-2006 Qingdao International Regatta in China, as well as the Laser Radial North American and Midwinters East Championships.

Railey is the youngest woman ever to win a Yachtswoman of the Year award, according to US Sailing. “This was a great year for me, and I’m extremely happy to win this award,” Railey says. “It is a huge honor to be chosen by the sailing community and to be included in such elite company.”

The awards are to be presented at a March 2 luncheon at the New York Yacht Club.

Jason Fell