Top U.S. sailors honored

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Johnny Heineken, the 2012 kiteboarding course racing world champion; and Jennifer French, the 2012 Paralympic silver medalist in the Skud-18 class, were named Monday as US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.

The winners will be honored Feb. 26 during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.

“To even be mentioned in connection with this award is an honor; so many of my role models are on the list of recipients,” said Heineken, who was on the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year shortlist in 2011 as well. “But it’s also exciting that kiting has been accepted into the world of yachting.”

French earned Yachtswoman of the Year honors for her silver-medal performance at the Paralympic Games in Weymouth and Portland, England. Sailing in the Skud-18 (two-person keelboat) class, with crew JP Creignou, French secured her team’s second-place finish in a fleet of 11 international teams. 

“I’m extremely humbled and overwhelmed by the honor of being placed in the company of so many fantastic sailors who have had such an influence on me,” said French. “It’s a huge achievement, but I wouldn’t be given this award if it weren’t for JP and my husband, Tim, and a large team of special people in our lives who made it possible.”

Click here for the full announcement.