US Sailing announces shortlist for Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards

Coronado’s Willem Van Waay is one of six finalists up for the annual honor; male and female winners will be announced Feb. 6 at USS Midway museum.

BRISTOL, Rhode Island—The 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards will be handed out at a ceremony at the San Diego waterfront on Feb. 6. The nine finalists (which includes three duos) for the prestigious honor were officially announced by US Sailing, Jan. 9.

Willem Van Waay is the sole Southern California sailor in the running; he is one of the five men up for Yachtsman of the Year. The sailor from Coronado won the J/24 World Championship in Miami. Other wins on Van Waay’s resume were: the J/24 Kiel Race Week in Kiel, Germany; J24 D-10 District Champion (Pre-Worlds) in Miami; J/70 Midwinter in Miami; Rolex Big Boat Series (J/70) in San Francisco; San Diego NOOD Regatta (J/70); Marblehead NOOD Regatta (J/70) in Marblehead, Massachusetts; Long Beach Race Week; and, New England Championship/Newport Regatta (J/70) in Newport, Rhode Island.

Van Waay won the J/24 Worlds aboard Furio with his teammate, skipper Keith Whittemore.

“The apex of the year was winning the J/24 Worlds with Keith Whittemore,” Van Waay said in a released statement. “I’ve been racing J/24s for 25 years, on and off, but Keith and his team have been hard at it even longer. The average age of our sailors is 57, perhaps the oldest of any team in the fleet. To help the team pull off the win in a very difficult venue, with lots of boats and five former World Champions, was extremely rewarding.”

Competing against Van Waay for the Yachtsman of the Year award are the duos of David Askew (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Peter Askew (Baltimore, Maryland), and Mike Martin and Adam Lowry (both of Mill Valley, California).

The Askews won the Caribbean 600 Trophy in Antigua and Rolex Fastnet Race in London, while Martin and Lowry claimed the 2019 International 505 World Championships in Fremantle, Australia and Columbia Gorge One-Design Regatta (505) in Portland, Oregon.

The finalists for Yachtswoman of the Year are Nicole Breault (San Francisco), Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, California) and the tandem of Berta Puig (Miami) and Bella Casaretto (Ft. Lauderdale).

Breault won the J/105 North Americans and Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta (J/105), both in Marblehead, Massachusetts, while Moroz was top in the IKA Formula Kite Class World Championship (Lake Garda, Italy), European Championship (Sardinia, Italy), ANOC World Beach Games (Katara Beach, Qatar) and Hempel World Cup Series Finale (Marseille, France).

Puig and Casaretto, meanwhile, finished first at the Youth Sailing World Championship (29er) in Gdynia, Poland, 29er Youth World Qualifiers in Miami, 29er Midwinters East in Miami, and 29er Midwinters West in Coronado, California.

The two trophies – one for Yachtsman of the Year and the other for Yachtswoman of the Year – will be awarded at a ceremony aboard the USS Midway in San Diego on Feb. 6. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Sailing Leadership Forum, which is organized by US Sailing.

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