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On the Bay: November 20, 2009

The ISAF Sailor of the Year awards are recognized as the highest honor a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements and this year’s official award ceremony took place Nov. 10 in Busan, South Korea at the Busan Yacht Club in Haeundae-gu. The winners of this esteemed award for 2009 were Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Torben Grael (BRA).

Tunnicliffe is no stranger to success. In the past 12 months, she set her sights on a variety of challenges across a range of boats and disciplines: she won the gold medal for the USA in the Laser Radial at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the first U.S. Women’s Olympic sailing medal in 20 years, and has kept herself busy ever since, sailing not only the one-person Laser Radial, but also a Snipe alongside her Match Racing commitments.

Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster, England, but has lived in the United States since she was 12. She began sailing at a young age and keeps herself busy with constant training and competing in a variety of classes. “I love sailing different classes,” said Tunnicliffe. “The two disciplines are quite different. I really like sailing by myself and it’s a physical game in the Laser, all about putting yourself in the right position and working it as hard as you can. When you’re with a team, it’s still about working as hard as you can, but together with everybody. At first it was a bit hard, because I have to relinquish some of what I’m used to doing and give it to my team mates so I can get the boat going fast. But sailing with a team gives you someone to talk to, and we decide together where to go, so it’s a bit more relaxing because you are not out there making all the decisions by yourself.” She continued, “I would say that one of my personal highlights of the year was being able to compete quite successfully in two disciplines: Match Racing and Laser sailing. I’m really excited to see where it goes next year.”

Anna Tunnicliffe says that Match Racing is alluring to her “because of the intense pressure before, during and after the start, pitching one’s own tactics and wit against one other boat, rather than a fleet, and also because of working with a team on a much larger boat than the Laser Radial.” Yet she is the first to admit that sailing in many classes requires one to hone a different set of skills each time, and that diversity across many disciplines will vastly improve one’s ability and knowledge in all aspects of sailing.

“It’s such an honor to even be nominated,” said Tunnicliffe, “but to have them read your name out is just incredible. It makes all that hard work you’ve put in all your life worth it. Last year was hard and there were times when I wanted to take a break, but I really love the sport and I really love what I do, and to be awarded with this honor is just fantastic.”

This award could not have been awarded to a nicer person. There are many right here on Manhasset Bay that are delighted that this down-to-earth, kind, and generous sailor has been recognized with such a prestigious award. It was Anna who, with other racers, came early to the Knickerbocker Cup this year and spent a day teaching the ins and outs of match racing. Throughout the week here, she always took the time to speak to spectators and explain the intricacies of match racing. She even took time to reach out to a very young, star-struck junior sailor, who now has a framed photo of herself with Anna and her crew proudly displayed in her bedroom, alongside the Knickerbocker Cup journal that Anna made sure was signed by her crew and other match racers. Anna is that rare individual who has both the skills to be the best in sailing and the character to make those around her feel proud that they had a chance to get to know her a little.

So what’s next for this terrific lady? Tunnicliffe is very clear: “London Olympic Games 2012,” she said, confirming that once again that she is going for the gold, but this time in Match Racing. With a clearly defined mission, and well on her way to future success, all of us can only wish her the best as she tries to make her mark in the world of match racing.

For the second Sunday in a row, our frostbiters were greeted with no wind. At least this time, all the boats were rigged and out near the starting line, hoping for some wind, which never materialized. The highlight of the day was the food cooked by the RC, which usually is for the RC and crash boats, but the kind Race Committee must have felt sorry for the racers waiting…and waiting for wind. So all comers were treated to hot dogs and chicken, hot off the BBQ. Maybe next week, the wind will be up and the frostbite season will start.

Now that the season is over, most of us have to pack up our boats and make sure they will survive the winter. The winterizing process can be quite involved, so to make the process easier, this site has outlined the major and not so major tasks. Antifreeze needs to be added to cooling systems at a minimum, and there are many more essential and recommended tasks. For the full article, go to: http://www.myboatsgear.com/newsletter/20091111.asp.

For those of you who are looking for a different kind of vacation, there might be a yacht for you to charter. Be forewarned, though, that this falls into the category of “fantasy adventure” for most of us.

In March the world’s biggest, riskiest, fastest, most technologically advanced, single-hulled sailing mega yacht in the world, the Maltese Falcon, was listed for sale. Silicon Valley magnate Tom Perkins had only had it built two years before. Rumors abounded and finally the story came out that the new owner was none other than one of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs.

But Hedge-fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou says she won’t have time to sail the boat. “I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I doubt if I’ll be spending much time on her,” she told the Times. Otherwise, the yacht can be chartered for £375,000 a week. “This is an enterprise,” she said. Ambrosiadou, who grew up in Thessaloniki, in Greece, founded Ikos (which means “home” in her native language) in 1992. A chemical engineer by training, she achieved early success, becoming its youngest-ever senior international executive at 27. Her fortune is now estimated at £200 million.

The Maltese Falcon has six guest cabins, eight crew cabins, a gym and a sculpture of a vintage Bugatti racing car. For fun, it carries two 32ft Pascoe RIB tenders (with water skis), four Laser sailing boats, and a 14ft Castoldi tender. Any takers?