Former ODU Sailor Sally Barkow Named 2005 Yachtswoman of the Year

January 12, 2006
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 12, 2006

PORTSMOUTH, RI - Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.) today was named, US SAILING's 2005 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. From a shortlist of nominees determined by the membership of US SAILING, a panel of noted sailing journalists with national and regional perspectives selected the two sailors for the distinction. During their deliberations, one panelist remarked that the strongest candidates for this award primarily fall into two categories -- the class expert and the versatile sailor.

Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards recognize outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. The winner will be honored and presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces at a February 24, 2006, luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year - Sally Barkow, the selection panel's unanimous choice as US SAILING's 2005 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, was recognized for her "versatility and consistency, both abroad and at home" after winning a string of noteworthy international events -- including two world championships -- in four different keelboat classes.

"This is something I've been trying to achieve for three to four years," said Barkow. "It's been a fantastic year for our team. Receiving this award pays tribute to the effort and determination we have all put in and really makes the year complete."

At the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, held in Bermuda and sailed in J/24s, Barkow recovered from two penalties -- not to mention the mid-race loss overboard of one of her crew who she quickly pulled back on board -- to come from behind twice in three matches to post a 3-0 sweep of the final round.

In France, Barkow overcame a strong local contingent to win the ISAF St. Quay Match Race sailed in Beneteau First Class 8 before heading to Annapolis for US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship where she successfully defended the title she first won in 2003. This time it was with one race to spare after a consistent performance in the 42-boat J/22 fleet that featured several Olympians, world champions and three previous winners of the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year title. "There was Sally, and then there was the rest of us," said two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Jody Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.) about Barkow's impressive victory.

In the Olympic Yngling class, Barkow and teammates Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Carrie Howe (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) traversed the globe and took the top prize at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR; the Expert Olympic Garda/Eurolymp Regatta in Italy; and Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France. They cemented their top position in the Yngling class with the world title they claimed at the Yngling Women's World Championship in Austria where shifty conditions on Alpine Lake Mondsee were challenging for the 34 teams competing -- including two medalists among the nine 2004 Athens Olympians in attendance.

Growing up in a family that counts five generations of sailors, Barkow was exposed to the sport from a young age. She took over the tiller as a 10-year-old when her older brother could not skipper for a local regatta. With an admonition from her father to win and the added incentive that he would buy her a boat if she did, she crossed the finish line in first. After considering whether to ski or play basketball in college, Barkow traded the inland lakes of Wisconsin for the waters of Norfolk, Virginia, while she pursued a Psychology degree at Old Dominion University (ODU). There she twice earned ICSA (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) All-American honors (2001 and 2002), and helped ODU win the 2002 ICSA North American Women's Championship for the third time in the school's history.

Since graduation, the 25-year-old Barkow has moved to the forefront of the pack competing for an Olympic berth in the Yngling event. Her meteoric rise in keelboats, both in fleet racing and match racing, has put her on this award's shortlist for the fourth consecutive year.

For additional information on the awards, including accomplishments of the nominees on the shortlist for 2005, please visit .

About Rolex Watch U.S.A. Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America?s Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including Olympic Games preparation, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women?s events.

About US SAILING The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING) is the national governing body for sailing and sailboat racing. Headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the organization?s mission is to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing and racing in the U.S. US SAILING offers training and education programs, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including the US Sailing Teams and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. For more information, please visit .