Emceeing the event was Gary JOBSON, while Rolex Vice President and Director of Communications Peter NICHOLSON awarded the watches with assistance from US SAILING's President Jim CAPRON and past Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year Jody SWANSON STARCK and Cory SERTL.
The 27 year old Sally BARKOW, who was first recognized as Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year in 2005, now joins a select group of women who have received the accolade more than once. But like the football star who cannot win the Heisman Trophy without his fellow players, BARKOW acknowledged she would not have received this award for the second time without the support of the talented team on which she relies. She and Yngling team mates Debbie CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE will represent the USA at the Olympic Sailing Competition this summer in Qingdao, China. Also joining BARKOW at the luncheon were Annie LUSH from Poole, Great Britain and Amanda CALLAHAN, who crewed for her at US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship.
"Our effort is always as a team," said BARKOW, who also acknowledged the support of her attending family. "Winning the Rolex watch is testimony to the goals we were able to achieve."
Although BARKOW's primary focus has been helming her Yngling, her performance in other classes, whether fleet or match racing, were what set her apart in 2007. BARKOW started the year with her third consecutive win of US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR in the Yngling class. On task in the Yngling, she finished second at the North American Championship in Miami, won the Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain and collected silver at both Semaine Olympique Française in France and the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Portugal.
BARKOW's turn on the match racing circuit was highlighted by wins at the Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup in Annapolis and the Vitória Brasil Women's Cup in Brazil. Flying straight from Brazil to Houston, Texas, BARKOW took the helm of a J/22 to close the year as she had started it - collecting another championship title for the third consecutive time. She won US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship without having to sail the final race of the series.
The 45 year old Jeff LINTON was recognized primarily for his domination in the Lightning class, where he won the 2007 World Championship and Winter Championship. His success in the class also included the South American Championship held in Bogota, Columbia; the title win at the Florida District Championship; a second-place finish at the Lightning Deep South Regatta in Savannah; and second overall in the Lightning Southern Circuit
"2007 was one of the most fantastic years we ever had," said LINTON, whose wife Amy Smith LINTON is always included in his crew and joined him onstage along with crew Jahn TIHANSKY. "We have a living room full of silver this year and this is the icing on the cake. After 35 years of competition, it hasn't gotten better than in the last 5-7 years because we are just relaxing and having fun. Winning the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award is one of those things you dream about."
LINTON also won in two other competitive one-design classes: the Flying Scot North American Championship and the Classic Moth National Championship.
A video Podcast from the awards luncheon, produced by the luncheon emcee Gary Jobson, is available at www.jobsonsailing.com/reports/210.
For additional information on the awards please visit www.ussailing.org/awards/rolex.