Yacht Racing: Sailing toward a Second Olympic gold The list of accolades won by champion sailor Anna Tunnicliffe keeps getting longer. Tunnicliffe won a gold medal in Laser Radial during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Photo Courtesy: yachte.com/Richard Palfreyman - Nominee and Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe.
The list of accolades won by champion sailor Anna Tunnicliffe keeps getting longer.
Tunnicliffe won a gold medal in Laser Radial during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, marking the first time in 20 years that an American female sailor accomplished that feat. Now she’s set to race in the London 2012 Olympic Games after qualifying in the new women’s match racing event. She qualified by winning the world championship in mid-December 2011 in a three-person keelboat.
And, last week Tunnicliffe was named as the 2011 US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the year — the fourth consecutive year she’s captured the prestigious honor. She joins Ted Turner and JJ Fetter Isler as the only other sailors to win the award four times. Only one sailor, Betsy Alison, has won a record five times.
“I am very honored to have won US Sailing’s 2011 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award,” Tunnicliffe said in a statement. “It is a great acknowledgement of Team Maclaren’s success in 2011. Molly (Vandemoer), Debbie (Capozzi), Dave (Dellenbaugh) and I worked incredibly hard to achieve our 2011 goals, and we are now focusing on our 2012 goal — winning a gold medal in (the 2012 Games).”
Tunnicliffe’s match racing team, called Team McLaren, includes Capozzi and Vandemoer and coach Dellenbaugh.
Team McLaren is deep in training out of its winter base in Miami, preparing for the 2012 World Cup season and the London Games.
“We spend up to three weeks per month on the water training,” Tunnicliffe, 29, said during a teleconference earlier this month with the national media. “We’re all over the country, so getting together — we make a big effort.”
Tunnicliffe lives in Plantation, Fla., Capozzi resides in Bayport, N.Y., and Vandemoer is in Redwood City, Calif.
In the spring, the training will shift to Weymouth, England, the sailing home for the London Games, and also to Chicago and Wisconsin for sailing on Lake Michigan.
Training at the Weymouth venue will allow Tunnicliffe and her teammates to learn the wind and its intricacies. Tunnicliffe, who was born in England and lived there until she was 12 before moving to Perrysburg, Ohio, with her family, has sailed in Weymouth many times.
All three women are very accomplished international sailors, and have been competing against each other for years. However, taking sailors who are used to competing solo and putting them together on one team takes some adjustment.
“It was quite a big shift. It was really difficult at the beginning, switching from sailing by myself to working with two other people,” Tunnicliffe said. “Fortunately, I have amazing teammates and our personalities really all click quite well together. It’s a difficult thing having three people on one boat, because a lot of decisions will turn into a 2-1 decision. The one is a little picked on.
“We’re very good at being open with each other and expressing our feelings when someone is not feeling not