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Sailors Honored for Distinguished Service at US Sailing Awards Dinner in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 5, 2016) – A remarkable list of sailing’s most accomplished received high honors during Thursday night’s US Sailing Awards Dinner Presented by Rolex at the Hilton San Diego Resort. US Sailing recognized these esteemed award winners for their extraordinary achievements in support of sailing.

US Sailing Awards 2016
Photo courtesy of US Sailing
  • Mary Savage (Larchmont, N.Y.) received the prestigious Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for her outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing.
  • Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz, Calif.) received the Timothea Larr Award for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of sailor education in the U.S.
  • Steve Maddox (Essex, Md.) received the Virginia Long Award for his demonstration of outstanding sail training service and support.
  • Rob Crafa (Throggs Neck, N.Y.) received the Marty Luray Award for his outstanding contributions to further public access sailing.
  • Chris Williford (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) received the Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy for his remarkable display of sportsmanship in sailing.
  • Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.) received the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for her outstanding contributions to sailors with disabilities.
  • Means Davis (Acworth, Ga.) received the Harman Hawkins Award for the major role he has played in the advancement of race administration.
  • Community Boating Center (Providence, R.I.) received the Captain Joe Prosser Award for excellence in sailing instruction.
  • Bayview Yacht Club (Mich.) received the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for excellence in race management.
  • Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club and the US Sailing Center – Long Beach (Calif.) received the President’s Award.
  • Lauren Cotta (Newport, R.I.) received the C.R.E.W. Award that recognizes a US Sailing staff member or volunteer who consistently demonstrates the values consistent with US Sailing and regularly fosters a positive teamwork environment with staff and volunteers.

Photos from the 2015 US Sailing Awards Dinner (additional photos will be added to the gallery in the coming days).

Nathanial G. Herreshoff Trophy – Mary Savage

Mary Savage is a true pioneer for women in race management. She started her involvement in this area of the sport in the 1970s as a member and eventual chairman of the Larchmont Yacht Club Protest Committee. In 1979, less than a year after the US Sailing Judges program was created, Mary was one of the first women to become a US Sailing Judge. In 1990, she was certified as an International Judge by ISAF. She continues to serve as both a National and an International Judge to this day and is one of the longest serving judges in the program. Mary has officiated all types of events from youth to collegiate to regional to national, international and world championships.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, Mary was a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club Yachting Committee, organizing and running regattas for the club on Long Island Sound. In addition, she organized and served as an instructor of judge-training seminars before there were formal US Sailing Judge Seminars, like we have today. She was an integral part of the group that developed programs for these seminars. Mary has been an instructor at many US Sailing Judges Workshops and has served on the Judges Committee Testing and Training Sub-Committee. During the 1990s, she was the Regional Administrative Judge for Area B.

When the Umpire Program began in 1990, Mary was one of two women to become a US Sailing Certified Umpire. She maintained her certification as an umpire until November, 2006, when she retired and was appointed Umpire Emeritus by US Sailing in recognition of her long and dedicated service to the US Sailing Umpire Program as one of its pioneers, teachers and mentors. With this appointment, she became the first woman in the US Sailing Umpire Program to become Umpire Emeritus.

Mary was asked to join the US Sailing Racing Rules Committee in 1991 and was the first woman to serve on that committee. While serving with the Racing Rules and Judges Committees, Mary chaired the US Sailing Race Administration Committee for several years and was also the first woman to serve as Vice President of US Sailing.

One of the biggest and most unique contributions that Mary made to our sport was serving as the contact for sailors with the US Sailing Competitor Classification Committee.

She was elected to lead the YRA of Long Island Sound, as its Vice President in 1987 and as its President from 1988 to 1990.

In 2007, Mary was awarded the Harman Hawkins Trophy for the major role she has played in the advancement of race administration.

Timothea Larr Award – Chuck Hawley

Chuck Hawley has been volunteering for US Sailing for over a decade. He is a Powerboat Instructor, Safety at Sea Moderator, leader of the Safety at Sea Committee and member of the Offshore Committee. Currently, he is working as a member of National Faculty to improve best practices in sail and boating training. He is a respected member of the offshore community, serving on multiple panels investigating offshore sailing tragedies to help improve our best practices. Chuck has also served on the US Sailing Board of Directors, taking on several projects as a board member that helped drive US Sailing goals and objectives.

Chuck headed the Independent Review Panel for the Chicago to Mackinac Island Wingnuts tragedy in 2011. He set the standard and format for subsequent panels. Most recently, he was part of a panel that investigated the Vestas Wind Volvo Ocean Race grounding on the Cargados Carajos Shoals. As part of Low Speed Chase sailing tragedy investigation occurring during the 2012 Farallones Race, Chuck worked with the US Coast Guard and the yacht clubs of the San Francisco Bay area to craft user-friendly Safety Requirements written in easily understandable language for use in races outside of the Bay. These were expanded into the US Safety Equipment Requirements (SERs).

Chuck has long been a Moderator for the Safety at Sea seminars that are the backbone of offshore sailor safety training. He is also at the forefront of creating online safety training units used to supplement the standard seminar topics so that an abbreviated version combined with hands-on training can be done in one day, as opposed to two.

During the Low Speed Chase investigation, Chuck realized the need for an intermediate safety training format and constructed the Coastal Safety at Sea Seminar format that captures the fundamental requirements in a half-day.

Virginia Long Award – Steve Maddox

Steve Maddox has devoted countless hours to helping US Sailing improve its curriculums. He has authored publications, developed tests, helped create policy and worked to develop consensus among a wide array of subject matter experts. He is universally respected and has served as the change agent for sailing instruction at both the national and regional levels.

For many years he worked tirelessly to make Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore, Md. one of the top community sailing centers in the country. More recently, he has dedicated his efforts to SeaAffinity, a life skills development organization that uses sailing and boating education as a platform for challenging and enabling youth and adults to realize their potential, including those impacted by disabilities.

Steve is a Regional Training Coordinator, a Powerboat Training Coordinator, and a member of the Training Committee. He has been an Instructor Trainer for countless new instructors in both the Powerboat and Smallboat tracks and his ability to inspire, while providing constructive feedback, is unparalleled.

Beyond just his involvement with US Sailing, Steve has committed himself to helping people experience sailing, regardless of ability. He focuses on the education, not the financials. No child is ever turned away from SeaAffinity because they can’t pay and, through his partnerships with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore, he’s been able to expose kids to sailing that might otherwise not had the chance.

Marty Luray Award – Rob Crafa

During his tenure as the Waterfront Director at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, Rob Crafa has played an integral role in the development of one of the most comprehensive boating programs in the country. SUNY Maritime’s waterfront programs reach beyond the school and engage the local community through summer sailing programs, marine education, powerboat instruction and more.

Rob has been deeply involved with the development of US Powerboating. As one of the most active Powerboat Instructors and Instructor Trainers, Rob directly shapes the future of the powerboat program that he helped build by training the next generation of American boaters. US Powerboating continues to benefit from Rob’s strategic thinking, expertise in the field and outright passion through his involvement on the Powerboat National Faculty.

Prior to joining SUNY Maritime College, Rob served as the founding Executive Director of The Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay, N.Y. where he helped pioneer the development of Long Island’s largest sailing program. Previously, Rob served as a Coastal Resource Specialist for the New York Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources and as Executive Director of Friends of the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization, dedicated to preserving and protecting Oyster Bay. In 2007, Rob also played a key role in the founding of Hudson River Community Sailing, a nonprofit that uses sailing and boating as a platform for youth development. For his contributions, he received the organization’s prestigious Founder’s Award in 2015.

A true leader and visionary, Rob’s experience demonstrates his commitment to supporting both his community at home and the greater boating community in New York and the United States.

Van Alan Clark, Jr. Sportsmanship Award – Chris Williford

Chris Williford slowly started to get back in the boat during the 2014-15 high school sailing season following a bout with leukemia. Throughout the season he found himself back at the front of the fleet. St. Thomas Aquinas qualified for the Mallory Nationals in Annapolis just as Chris found his stride. Not only was Chris back sailing at the national level, he dominated the event winning A-Division by 10 points. Chris is now a freshman on the Dartmouth University Sailing Team.

Chris became an inspiration to his fellow teammates and sailors throughout the SAISA District. Many other ISSA sailors had competed against Chris before he became ill and were cheering him on once back on the water. Chris got back into the 29er and competed in the 2015 29er World Championships finishing third overall with a bronze medal out of 219 teams. His sportsmanship on the water during the Worlds earned the respect of his fellow competitors who were unaware of his illness until after the event.

Chris was recently awarded ISSA’s highest distinction, the Bullivant Sportsmanship Trophy. His accomplishments on and off the water and, more specifically, his ability to take adversity in stride during his recent medical issue was noted. More importantly he became an inspiration for sailors on his team, in the district and across the nation.

Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy – Jen French

In 1998, as a result of a snowboarding accident, Jen French suffered a spinal cord injury and became a quadriplegic. In her mid-twenties, Jen was told she would never leave a wheelchair, but she refused to accept that outcome. She began evaluating an implanted electrical stimulation device intended to assist her in standing. In her first book, On My Feet Again, Jen detailed her experience with a spinal cord injury and participation in the clinical trial process.

In 2002, Jen was introduced to disabled sailing, and the same year entered a regatta for the first time in her life. With the support of her husband, Tim, she became an active racer, competing in races throughout the country. Her persistent hard work paid off and she was selected to the US Sailing Team Sperry and represented the U.S. at the 2012 Paralympics. Jen French went on to earn silver medal honors at the London Games. Later that year she became the first woman with a disability to receive the US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award.

Just one year later, Jen co-founded the Warrior Sailing Program, a non-profit organization that introduces wounded members of our armed forces, both active and retired, to sailing. She collaborated with Ralf Steitz, Director of the Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation. Because of the efforts of Jen and the Warrior Sailing Team during the last two years, over 120 members of our military have been introduced to sailing. Of these Warrior Sailing graduates, 75% suffer from, either or both, Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Warrior team has organized seven Basic Training Camp sessions around the country for the purpose of learning the basics of sailing. Some of the Warriors have developed into excellent competitors and during the last two years have participated in major disabled sailing regattas around the country.

Jennifer French and the Warrior Sailing Program have made significant contributions to disabled sailing and the lives of military veterans who have given so much to our country.

Harman Hawkins Trophy – Means Davis

Means Davis has held countless positions at US Sailing over the past 40 years, including National and International Judge, Regional Race Officer and Judge and Race Management Instructor. He has served on the Board of Directors, the Review Board, the Judges Education and Training Subcommittee, the Risk Management Committee and many others.

Davis began sailing in high school after an injury knocked him off the state championship track and field team. He was a serious Snipe sailor for 25 years before turning his attention to race management and judging full-time in 1989. In that time, he said, he “learned every one of the rules one at a time, the hard way.”

In 1996, Davis moved temporarily to Savannah, Ga. where he was one of a group of three people who were responsible for race management at the Olympic Games.

His “passionate love,” Davis says, is Optimist Dinghy racing, and he has run and judged at events from local club races to world championships. At the same time, he has taught numerous judges how to implement rules and how to work with race committees and, perhaps most important, mentored them in how to interact with junior sailors in the protest room.

Captain Joe Prosser Award - Community Boating Center Providence

The Community Boating Center (CBC) in Providence, R.I., embodies exactly what a sailing center should be. Through the leadership of John O’Flaherty, CBC’s Executive Director, they offer the type of quality, affordable programming that any organization, public or private, should provide. From a small organization that opened their doors in 1994, they’ve grown into a player within the Providence network. They have a boathouse and a fleet of over 60 boats.

CBC is a pioneer in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through sailing programming. The relationship with US Sailing and CBC has grown, with much of the focus continuing to be on STEM. With John’s help the US Sailing Reach Initiative was launched, and as Reach has grown, so has the national awareness of what CBC has accomplished. US Sailing recognized them as the first “Reach Center of Excellence” in 2015. They’ve created strong partnerships with local organizations, including the Providence After School Alliance and the Boys and Girls Clubs through the Reach program. US Sailing asks all our Reach Centers to go through an assessment to determine program quality but the evaluator we use originated from CBC.

For his contributions to public access sailing, John was awarded the 2015 Marty Luray Award, community sailing’s highest honor. His ability to see the big picture, while not losing sight of the details, has allowed CBC to grow to where it is today, as well as assist US Sailing is making the Reach Initiative the National Standard for STEM Education. His efforts, with the support of CBC, have helped create resources that programs of all types have been able to apply.

St. Petersburg Yacht Club Award – Bayview Yacht Club

The Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit, Mich. hosted the 2015 T-10 North American Championship regatta in August. Principal Race Officer Matt Bounds and his race committee ran an exceptional event, running 10 races for 22 boats over four days in varying conditions.

Skippers spoke highly of the open, communicative style with which the event was managed. One skipper noted that the race management team demonstrated a commitment to excellence and leadership. Accurate and professional decision-making in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere made this event memorable for all of the participants.

The race management team’s preparation and meticulous attention to detail inspired the competitors as they displayed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for the event and our sport.

President’s Award - Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club and the US Sailing Center – Long Beach

The 2015 US Sailing President’s Award is presented to Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club and the US Sailing Center – Long Beach for their exceptional contributions in organizing, hosting and providing race management for the Special Olympics World Games in August, 2015.

Organizing and running a five-day regatta for 29 teams is no small undertaking. There are a myriad of details to attend to and countless opportunities for Murphy’s Law to wreak havoc with carefully-laid plans. Add multiple teams of sailors who speak little or no English, more than 150 race management volunteers to organize multiple classes of athletes, a large fleet of support boats, enhanced safety, medical and communications protocols and sailors with varied special needs, and the tasks become enormously complex.

One of the elements that made this event unique was the close personal connections that developed among the sailors, the volunteers and the spectators. Because the support of families and spectators is a crucial part of the Special Olympics competition, the race management team arranged the course so that the leeward mark was close to the head of the pier, where the spectators cheered them on as they rounded.

“In all the races I have run and participated in, I have never seen a sailor get a standing ovation when they rounded a leeward mark,” observed Mark Townsend, the Principal Race Officer for the event.

This competition was much more than a regatta – it was a deeply rewarding experience for the participants, families and race management team alike. US Sailing is proud to recognize Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club and the US Sailing Center – Long Beach for their exceptional efforts, and we hope that their work will stand out as a model and inspiration for others to reach out to new groups who will benefit from the joys of sailing.

The following Community Sailing and One-Design Awards were named prior to the US Sailing Awards Dinner:

Outstanding Program Director

  • Mark Zagol - New England Science and Sailing (Stonington, Conn.)

Excellence in Instruction

  • Rachel Bryer, Nate Coolidge, Haley Barber, Lee Dumaliang, Katie Dobbin - Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation (Jamestown, R.I.)

10 Years of Hallmark Performance

  • Sail Sand Point (Seattle, Wash.)

Outstanding Adaptive Community Sailing Program

  • Sea Scout Base (Galveston, Texas)

Outstanding Organizational Leader

  • Alan Jenkinson - Edison Sailing Center (North Ft. Myers, Fla.)

Outstanding Community Sailing Center

  • Hudson River Community Sailing (New York, N.Y.)

Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion

  • Rocking the Boat (Bronx, N.Y.)

Volunteer of the Year

  • Diane Brancazio - Community Boating, Inc. (Boston, Mass.)

National One-Design Regatta Award

50th E-Scow Blue Chip Regatta, hosted by Pewaukee Yacht Club (Pewaukee, Wisc.)


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