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On The Bay: February 29, 2012

In an earlier column this month, mention was made of the Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. For the first time since the early 60s, this ceremony took place at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco rather than at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. Yours truly has attended most of these up until it was moved out west this year, and it was one ceremony not to be missed. Over the years, each winner has an inspiring story to tell, and Gary Jobson, the MC of the event for what seems like forever, adds the perfect touch to make the afternoon a highlight of the year in sailing.

This year was no exception. Except that the recipients raised the bar a bit. News of what occurred on a spectacular afternoon in San Francisco came via Scuttlebutt and my friends at Media Pro Newport, a PR firm covering all things sailing. Turns out that Bill Hardesty, a first-time recipient, had a deal with his father that went way back in time… to when a very young Bill won the Bemis Trophy back in 1990.

According to Bill, “After winning the Bemis Trophy (in 1990), I was honored by being named to the Rolex Junior Sailing Team. There was a group of us, but we didn’t know what that meant. I was 15 years old at the time. All we knew was that we were on this extraordinary team. It was sponsored by Rolex. And we thought, wow, we are probably going to get watches. This is going to be so exciting. So a couple of weeks later we went to the Rolex Junior Sailing Symposium. All the Olympic class boats were there, and all the Olympians were there, and we got to go sailing with them. And we all got these really cool red team jackets. I wore that jacket until it didn’t fit anymore. So I came home after the symposium, and it had kind of been the joke at the house whether we would be getting Rolexes. Well, obviously we didn’t get a Rolex. And when I saw my dad, he said, ’Okay, let’s make a deal. You can go to whatever sailing events you want, but when you win a Rolex, you have to give it to me.’ So I thought, okay, seemed like a fair deal.”

At this point, Bill looks out in the crowded room, finds his father and says, “So dad, why don’t you come on up and get your Rolex.” And readers, if you are interested, you can see the video of Bill’s father approaching the podium to receive his Rolex. Video highlights: http://www Pretty nifty stuff, right?

The other recipient of the day, Anna Tunnicliffe, who has been shortlisted for seven consecutive years, and is the first woman in the award’s history to earn it in four consecutive years, gave a very emotional speech, which at the end of it, she spoke directly to her two teammates, Debbie Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer, “But I wanted to take the final moments of my comments to tell you publically that I could not have won this award this year, or last year, without you two. In my mind, this award belongs to you guys as much it does to me. I love you guys, and you guys are the best teammates I could ever hope for.”

Craig Leweck, from Scuttlebutt, that online, daily sailing newsletter that readers who want to be in the know should be reading every day, added a comment about this year’s awards. He called the afternoon “you had to be there” moments: a son fulfilling a 20-year+ old deal with his dada and a skipper offering her tearful thanks to her crew. And to top it off, the view outside from the second floor of the St. Francis YC was of Oracle Racing’s two AC45s training on the Bay. Oh, be still my heart! Thanks, Craig, for the great recap of the afternoon, and making all east coast sailing buffs green with envy at having missed this very special day. Let’s hope next year, they will bring it back to the New York YC! Read the full report oneline at /Awards/Rolex.htm.

Oh, and just so readers know, both these recipients have been to Port Washington in connection with the Knickerbocker Cup. Anne to race two times and Bill one year to be a part of the excitement. Both are the nicest and most deserving winners of this prestigious award and our sincere congratulations go to both of them.

On to local news: Andy Green, America’s Cup sailor, coach, commentator, who has also been commenting on the World Match Race Tour and the Extreme-40 tour is coming to Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay on Sunday, April 1. He will be discussing what is new on the America’s Cup and Match Race Circuit along with his tips for match racing a SM 40. Jump ahead of the pack with speed, crew and tactics tips specifically focused on Match Racing. Participants will focus on learning from other sailors, your crew and the boat itself, to put your team in the lead from the season’s first splash. Shake off the cobwebs, start thinking about Match Racing and get prepared for your best summer season yet. Topics covered will include: How match racing works, some of the rules you need to know, classic tactical moves you won’t see in fleet racing, how match racing skills translate to fleet racing, tips that good match racing crews need to know and be ready to perform. So why not wander over to Oakcliff and learn more about the 2012 match racing events Oakcliff has to offer. Discover how to catch the advancing match racing wave in the U.S. So if you join us on April 1, you will start your ride on the big wave of opportunity to become the best match racer you can be! (No kidding – this is not an April Fool’s joke). Check out Andy Green on YouTube at: /watch?v=dmmXtgB6QQ&feature=related. Call Oakcliff at 516-662-4926, or register online at:

Other seminars at Oakcliff:

March 3: What to Wear – Focus on Bermuda

Ever wonder what different layers are and different types of foul weather gear? This seminar discusses how to choose. /event?oeidk=a07e5f5qbq921f84cb8.

March 11: North U Sail Trim Seminar

March 17: Warm-up on Shore Match Race Seminar