Tunnicliffe Becomes First Ever To Earn Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Three Consecutive Years

January 06, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 6, 2011

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. -Former ODU great and Snipe Women's World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) was named US Sailing's 2010 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Thursday. Tunnicliffe becomes the first woman ever to win the award three consecutive years.

Tunnicliffe will be honored on February 25, 2011, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when she will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.

"I'm very excited and honored to again be selected for the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award," said Tunnicliffe. "I knew it would be tough to get it this year, so it was a great surprise when I heard the news. I have to thank my teammates for this year. It was a group effort at the Snipe Worlds and all of the match racing events. Molly [Vandemoer] and Debbie [Capozzi] are fantastic crew and played a huge part in this award!"

Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US SAILING's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport's ultimate recognition of an individual's outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 39 men and 32 women.

This achievement is the latest milestone for Tunnicliffe, who joins Jane Pegel (1964, '71, '72) and Jan O'Malley (1969, '70, '77) in the record book as three-time winners of the Yachtswoman of the Year distinction. Only two women have won the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year title more: JJ Fetter Isler (1986, ` 91, '97, '00) and Betsy Alison, whose five honors (1981, '82, '84, '93 and `98) have eclipsed even Ted Turner's four title wins, the most for any American man.

Tunnicliffe's position at the forefront of women's sailing, both nationally and internationally, appears deceivingly effortless. The selection panel lauded the number of classes in which she competes and is competitive in.

"She hardly trains in the Laser Radial anymore, yet wins when she sails that boat," remarked one panelist about the 2008 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist who won the 2010 Laser Radial Women's North American Championship. Another panelist commented that "she is our modern-day Betsy Alison - doing it all."

In 2009, Tunnicliffe, previously ranked number one in the world in the Laser Radial, committed to a match racing campaign in the Elliott 6 Metre with a goal of racing in the 2012 Olympic Games. In just two years she has moved from 36th to fourth in the match race rankings - a clear demonstration that her goal is within reach.

During 2010 Tunnicliffe raced in the Elliott 6 Metre to win US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR; place second at Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France; and take third at Skandia Sail For Gold in Weymouth, England, site of the 2012 Olympic Regatta. She won the XII International Women 's Match Race Criterium in Calpe, Spain, sailed in Tom 28s, and was second at the Toyota International Match Race in Detroit, Michigan in Ultimate 20s. She picked up a bronze medal in the match racing event at Kieler Woche in Germany and also placed third in the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup in Annapolis, Md., sailing in J/22s.

The 28-year-old Tunnicliffe, a native of England, grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, sailing from the North Cape Yacht Club in Michigan. Her college sailing career at Old Dominion, where she earned ICSA All-American honors three times (2003, '04, '05), was highlighted with being named the 2005 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year.