Steve Fosset and Cory Sertl have been awarded the US Sailing Rolex Yachtman and Yachtswoman Award for 2001, at a luncheon in New York.
Chicago's Steve Fossett
has garnered plenty of international media attention for his half-dozen attempts to make the First Solo balloon flight around the world, but this 57-year-old self proclaimed "adventure sportsman" apparently has another passion: sailing at top speeds aboard his powerful 125-foot multihull PlayStation. Already holding nine world records in jet airplanes and balloons, Fossett accepted the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award on February 15 at the New York Yacht Club in New York City. He received the accolade, the sport of sailing's highest, for shattering not one, but five world speed sailing records over the last 12 months. His most amazing record was for a west-to-east passage across the Atlantic Ocean that shaved nearly 48 hours off the existing time and set a new benchmark of four days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds. On that same passage, he smashed the record for distance sailed in a 24-hour period, covering an astounding 687.17 nautical miles (790.2 statute miles) at an average speed of 28.63 knots. "I'm a happy, happy guy," said Fossett. "It is very gratifying to be recognized by my peers in the sport, especially for the kind of sailing I do. Normally sailors measure themselves against others in boats of the same class. My goal is also to be the fastest. Even when in a race, I focus on setting the race record as well as winning my class." Fossett, who began sailing in 1993, holds a total of 18 world sailing and race records. Legendary for his ability to achieve seemingly impossible feats, he also holds nine world records in jet airplanes and balloons. His six attempts to make the First Solo balloon flight around the world have set many records and attracted international media attention. Piloting his Citation X jet, he has set Round the World as well as transcontinental airplane records for Australia and North America.
, age 42, has garnered plenty of media attention for her sailing accomplishments over the past decade, but today the 2004 Olympic hopeful shared a stage with 57-year-old adventure sportsman Steve Fossett of Chicago to receive yachting 's highest honor. At the New York Yacht Club in New York City, Sertl accepted the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award while Fossett accepted the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award. Sertl, who also was named the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year in 1995, was cited for her versatility in two disciplines: fleet racing and one-on-one match racing. She showed prowess both as a skipper and a crew at several different regattas throughout the year, many times sailing with Long Beach, California's Pease Glaser and Buffalo, N.Y.'s Jody Swanson, with whom she has launched a campaign for the 2004 Olympics in Greece. Sertl was honored that her kind of Olympic-style sailing was showcased next to Fossett's speed-sailing accomplishments. Aboard his 125-foot multihull PlayStation, Fossett shattered not one, but five world speed sailing records, including one for crossing the Atlantic Ocean. He already is world renown for his half-dozen attempts to make the First Solo balloon flight around the world. "It's a totally different kind of sailing that he does," said Sertl, "but we both are committed to this sport, and it's important that we each are recognized for what we have worked so hard to accomplish."