Thursday, August 13, 2020

Willem Van Waay of Coronado a Finalist for US Sailing’s 2019 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year

US Sailing Announces Finalists for 2019 Rolex Awards of the Year in San Diego

The top performing U.S. sailors of the year have been shortlisted for US Sailing’s 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. The annual determination of this year’s awards represents a wide range of accomplished sailors at different stages of their respective careers and from various disciplines in the sport. Local San Diegan, Willem Van Waay of Coronado, has made the list of finalists.  All six of the finalists represent their own unique pathway to the top of the sport and have each mastered their craft with a dedicated focus on precision and performance on the grandest stage. The winners will be announced on February 6, 2020 in San Diego, aboard the USS Midway museum as part the Sailing Leadership Forum, organized by US Sailing. This is the first time this national event will be held in San Diego.

Photo: Top (L to R): Mike Martin and Adam Lowry, Daniela Moroz, David and Peter Askew. Bottom (L to R): Berta Puig and Bella Casaretto, Willem Van Waay, Nicole Breault. Image courtesy of US Saling

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Willem Van Waay (Coronado, Calif.): Willem Van Waay proved his wide array of skill sets again in 2019 for several teams across many events and various classes. The tactician’s year was highlighted by a win at the J/24 World Championship in Miami with skipper Keith Whittemore aboard Furio. Van Waay and crew outlasted the fleet of 79 to claim the first-place prize by 16 points through 10 races. They won two races, including two of the last three of the regatta, and posted six top five finishes. The stacked fleet featured five former J/24 World Champions.

Van Waay stated, “The apex of the year was winning the J24 Worlds with Keith Whittemore. I’ve been racing J24s 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.”

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On his role as Tactician Willem says, “In half of the regattas listed in my 2019 resume I’m the trimmer as well as the tactician. In the other half, I’m listed as a trimmer, but always played a role in tactics as well. I’m often the one with eyes outside the boat making big picture tactical calls. I’ve been racing close to 200 days per year, on all sorts of different boats, for as long as I can remember. My ability to transition from class to class and team to team is, I would say, a result of my work ethic.”

Willem Van Waay (center) at 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series. Photo by Sharon Green, courtesy of US Sailing.

Van Waay 2019 Sailing Resume Highlights:

J24 World Championship (Tactician)
Miami, FL / October 19-26, 2019
Results: 1/79

J24 Kiel Race Week (Tactician)
Kiel, Germany / June 22-30, 2019
Results: 1/28

J24 D-10 District Championship / Pre-Worlds Regatta (Tactician)
Miami, FL / October 12-13, 2019
Results: 1/14

J70 Midwinters (Tactician)
Miami, FL / February 21-24, 2019
Results: 1/50

Rolex Big Boat Series – J70 (Tactician)
San Francisco, CA / September 11-15, 2019
Results: 1/14

San Diego NOOD Regatta – J70 (Tactician)
San Diego, CA / March 15-17, 2019
Results: 1/15

Marblehead NOOD Regatta – J70 (Tactician)
Marblehead, MA / July 25-28, 2019
Results: 1/25

Long Beach Race Week (Tactician)
Long Beach, CA / June 21-24, 2019
Results: 1/18

New England Championship/Newport Regatta- J70 (Tactician)
Newport, RI / July 6-7, 2019
Results: 1/10

Cedar Point Regatta – J70 (Tactician)
Westpoint, CT / June 1-2, 2019
Results: 1/10

Fan voting is open. Vote for US Sailing’s 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year



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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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