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Submit Your Nominations for Yachtspeople of the Year

Nominations for US Sailing’s 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are open to the public. Fans can nominate male and female sailors who they believe turned in the most outstanding on-the-water performances this year.

Carmen, Jud and Emma
The 2018 Rolex Yachtswomen and Yachtsman of the Year were Carmen and Emma Cowles and Jud Smith. St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the presentation on February 28.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Do you know of an American sailor who performed extraordinarily well at the highest levels of competition in 2019? Your nomination(s) may ensure a deserving sailor will receive recognition by making the shortlist or even winning one of these awards to earn their place in the history of the sport.

Following the close of the nomination period on December 20, 2019, US Sailing will select three finalists for both the Yachtsman and Yachtswoman based on the merits of the nominees. The finalists will be posted to a ballot and presented to panels of past award winners and sailing media journalists who will vote for the winners. This year, the public will have an opportunity to be part of the selection process and vote online for the 2019 winners. Votes from the three groups will count equally in determining the winners. The online public voting will begin in January following the shortlist announcement. We’ll let you know when it’s time for that.

In another interesting revision to the presentation of the awards, the winners will be announced live at the US Sailing Awards Ceremony on February 6, 2020, as part of the Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego. Winners will receive US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards and specially engraved Rolex timepieces.

President of US Sailing and two-time winner of the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, Cory Sertl, expressed the importance of nominating worthy sailors for these awards: “Being nominated for the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards in a given year is recognition from our peers for excellence in sailing over the last 12 months. The nomination process is an opportunity to hear from all sailors about who has impressed us over the last year across the variety of racing US sailors have excelled in. We need to hear from you about who should be considered.”

US Sailing established the awards in 1961, and Rolex came onboard as the sponsor in 1980.

Awards Criteria

  • Awards recognize the individual male and female US sailor who has demonstrated on-the-water excellence in the calendar year. As in 2018, there have been outstanding situations resulting in a skipper and crew nomination being accepted (Olympic years).
  • Must be eligible to represent the USA under World Sailing regulations, and actually representing the USA at the event(s) for which the nominee is being considered for the award.
  • Must have won a major international or national event and/or performed at a high level consistently in multiple events against elite competition.
  • There is no minimum age required to win the award.
  • The awards are not based on career racing results (lifetime achievements) or philanthropic contributions to the sport.

Learn more about the awards’ criteria and submit your nominations at

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Here’s your November Caption Contest(!) This photo was brought to us by Mark Bettis.