Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards recognize outstanding on the water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. The winners will be honoured and presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces at a 24 February, luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.
© US SAILING
SCANDONE chalked up two first place finishes in the eight race series to edge out his closest competitor - an able bodied sailor and three-time World Champion - by ten points for the Championship crown. Only two other disabled sailors finished in the top ten at the event. Additionally, SCANDONE successfully defended his U.S. Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup title and won the America's Disabled/Open Regatta. At the 33 boat IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship in Denmark, SCANDONE won the final two races of the nine race series to finish sixth overall in the 2.4 Metre fleet.
'How do I even say it: I'm overwhelmed,' said SCANDONE, who received news of the panel's decision just prior to leaving for the IFDS Disabled World Championships in Australia. 'I knew I had a good season, but I didn't think it would get this kind of recognition. This is something I never dreamed would happen. I've always admired many of the people who have received this award in the past, and to have my name included is something I will always be proud of and cherish for the rest of my life.'
A California native, the 39 year old SCANDONE grew up in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley where he attended Fountain Valley High School. He learned to sail through the junior programme at Balboa Yacht Club (Corona del Mar) in the Naples Sabot, progressing to other boats on his way to the college sailing scene. At UC-Irvine SCANDONE was a key member of the team that won ICSA's (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) 1988 North American Dinghy and Team Racing Championships, which also earned him ICSA All-American honours that year. He moved to the 470 and won the 1991 470 North American Championship in the course of training for the 1992 Olympic Trials. After finishing out of the money at the Trials, SCANDONE became a weekend warrior in a variety of classes - Schock 35, Snipe, Melges and the Lido 14 in which he is a two-time national champion - while making a career in advertising sales.
Three and a half years ago SCANDONE was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Schlerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Now 40 lbs. lighter, using a cane and with braces on both legs, SCANDONE has battled this progressive neuromuscular disease, for which there is no approved medication or cure, with a positive attitude.
'Sailing has allowed me to have something to look forward to,' he said. As often as is possible, he swims and gets out sailing in his 2.4 Metre while continuing to compete against able bodied sailors. While he has become physically weaker over the course of the illness, SCANDONE's tenacious determination and competitive drive have not diminished one bit.
Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year - Sally BARKOW, the selection panel's unanimous choice as US SAILING's 2005 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, was recognized for her 'versatility and consistency, both abroad and at home' after winning a string of noteworthy international events - including two World Championships - in four different keelboat classes.
© US SAILING
'This is something I've been trying to achieve for three to four years,' said BARKOW. 'It's been a fantastic year for our team. Receiving this award pays tribute to the effort and determination we have all put in and really makes the year complete.'
At the Virtual Spectator ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, held in Bermuda and sailed in J/24s, BARKOW recovered from two penalties - not to mention the mid-race loss overboard of one of her crew who she quickly pulled back on board - to come from behind twice in three matches to post a 3-0 sweep of the final round.
In France, BARKOW overcame a strong local contingent to win the ISAF Grade 1 St. Quay Match Race sailed in Beneteau First Class 8 before heading to Annapolis for US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship where she successfully defended the title she first won in 2003. This time it was with one race to spare after a consistent performance in the 42 boat J/22 fleet that featured several Olympians, World Champions and three previous winners of the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year title. 'There was Sally, and then there was the rest of us,' said two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Jody SWANSON about BARKOW's impressive victory.
In the Olympic Yngling class, BARKOW and team mates Debbie CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE traversed the globe and took the top prize at US SAILING's ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR; the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda/Eurolymp Regatta in Italy; and ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France. They cemented their top position in the Yngling, with the World title they claimed at the ISAF Grade W Yngling World Championship in Austria, where shifty conditions on Alpine Lake Mondsee were challenging for the 34 teams competing - including two medallists among the nine 2004 Athens Olympians in attendance.
Growing up in a family that counts five generations of sailors, BARKOW was exposed to the sport from a young age. She took over the tiller as a ten year old when her older brother could not skipper for a local regatta. With an admonition from her father to win and the added incentive that he would buy her a boat if she did, she crossed the finish line in first. After considering whether to ski or play basketball in college, BARKOW traded the inland lakes of Wisconsin for the waters of Norfolk, Virginia, while she pursued a Psychology degree at Old Dominion University (ODU). There she twice earned ICSA (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) All-American honours (2001 and 2002), and helped ODU win the 2002 ICSA North American Women's Championship for the third time in the school's history.
Since graduation, the 25 year old BARKOW has moved to the forefront of the pack competing for an Olympic berth in the Yngling event. Her meteoric rise in keelboats, both in fleet racing and match racing, has put her on this award's shortlist for the fourth consecutive year.
For additional information on the awards, including accomplishments of the nominees on the shortlist for 2005 CLICK HERE.