Terry Hutchinson and Stephanie Roble today were named US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A total of ten men and seven women had been shortlisted for the 2014 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the noteworthy distinction by a diverse panel of sailing journalists.
Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. The winners will be honored on Thursday, February 26, 2015, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.
Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. A first-time shortlisted nominee, she was recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women. One panelist remarked that Roble “has made bold and courageous choices in her post-collegiate sailing life,” while another lauded her as “the latest in a generation of women sailors who are working hard to make a name and a living at sailing. She is a trailblazer; she is a tremendous ambassador for the sport.”
A member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, Roble also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship, and the fifth place-finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship. As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, and placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer, with a ranking of number three in the world.
“The nominees for this year were incredibly talented, and I am truly honored to be the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year,” said Roble. “The past year has been a fun adventure and true test of personal determination as I dove into professional sailing. I love sharing my passion for sailing with others and learning more about the sport each day. I was fortunate to be a member of several teams throughout the year, including my own match race team, which allowed me to reach many personal goals. In the end, it was through the massive support of my teammates who pushed me to become a better sailor and ultimately receive this coveted award. I am thrilled to join this admirable list of American sailors!”
The 25-year-old Roble began her sailing career in dinghies and scows from Lake Beulah Yacht Club in her hometown of East Troy. A successful junior sailor, she twice earned ICSA All-American Honors (2010, 2011) while competing for Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) from which she graduated in 2011. Roble has made the transition to match racing, with a goal of winning the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, while continuing to compete in the Melges 20, J/70 and Etchells classes.
Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that saw him atop the leaderboard at major regattas more times than any other American sailor. The 2014 award is Hutchinson’s second; he previously earned the honor in 2008 following his win of the TP52 World Championship.
One member of the selection panel remarked that Hutchinson “has this magic; he is the lead figure in campaigns for a lot of different classes,” while another noted that he is “committed and passionate about being at the top of his game.”
As tactician on Alex Roeper’s Plenty, Hutchinson won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, capping a successful season that also saw him win the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and the California Cup, and take class honors at the Rolex Big Boat Series. He also reclaimed the World Championship title in the TP52 class, collecting a class win at Quantum Key West Race Week, as well as the TP52 U.S. Championship title. His success in one-design classes did not stop there. In the RC44 he won the Oman Cup as tactician; in the J/70 class, he drove to the win of the Fall Brawl in his hometown; and he finished second at the Melges 32 Gold Cup, again as tactician.
“Being honored with this award is just an incredible feeling,” said Hutchinson. “It is acknowledgement of the hard work done in 2014. Knowing that 99% of my season was as a tactician, it also represents the team concept and the process that goes into winning. I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of family and great team mates; not much separates those two entities. In 2014, as always, we were only as smart as we were fast and that comes at the hand of some great helmsmen in Alex Roepers, Ed Baird and Doug Devos.”
“Being awarded the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award for a second time is quite humbling,” added Hutchinson. “It puts me into a group of American yachtsman that I have always respected and admired for their achievements on the water. I am struggling to find the words, as I am incredibly appreciative of those around me. Quite honestly I am a bit blown away.”
Hutchinson’s records stand best in the Farr 40 and TP52 classes, among the premier pro-level monohulls in the world. With a transition to Maxi 72 class, via the Bella Mente campaign, he will soon have that end of the sailing spectrum covered as well. The 46-year-old father of three is a native of Annapolis. He learned to sail at age three in a Dyer Dhow that was attached by a line to his parent’s Concordia yawl. Going back and forth on the end of that line set him on a course to becoming a college star at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) where he earned Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-American honors four times (1987, ’88, ’89, ’90), and was twice recognized as College Sailor of the Year (’89 and ’90).