Helsinki, Finland (November 6, 2006) – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex announced US Sailing Team member Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) as winner of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award 2006 today. At an awards ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, Railey was honored for her outstanding sailing achievements between September 1, 2005 and August 31, 2006, when she won a number of major international regattas in the Laser Radial.
This is the second consecutive year that Paige Railey was nominated for the female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. Railey, who is 19 years old, has proven herself as the sailor to beat in the Laser Radial, which was selected two years ago as the new equipment for the Women’s One Person Dinghy Olympic event.
With no prior experience of Olympic level sailing, the teenager’s meteoric rise to the top of the sport has shocked Railey more than anyone. But her lack of experience proved no barrier to success as she has moved seamlessly from the top of the youth sailing world to the top of the sport at senior level. In 2005, Railey won the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Korea and a few months later went on to win the Laser Radial World Championships in Brazil.
Railey opened the 2006 season with victories at the French Olympic Sailing Week and the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria, although she struggled during the summer at the European and World Championships with some below par performances. However in August she bounced back in fine style, to win a challenging Olympic Test Regatta in Qingdao, China, the venue for the Olympic Sailing Competition in 2008.
Paige Railey commented:
“This comes as a shock, I didn’t really think I had the chance to win. I was really excited just to be nominated again. So to win it, I can’t tell you how excited I am. It has been an amazing year. Winning the World Championship in Brazil last year, I really didn’t expect to win that regatta. It was my first World Championship at the senior level, and when I first got into Olympic sailing I was really stressed about being immersed in that scene. I was told I’d have to work my way up from the bottom, so to get in at the top was a real surprise. This year winning the Olympic Test Regatta in Qingdao was a real high point. I was just coming out of a slump, and then I had a really good event in China.
“I’d like to thank my family and my coach, Kaj Glinkiewicz, because they’re pretty much the backbone for my sailing campaign. And thanks to my training partner Ben Paton and to my federation, US SAILING, for all the excellent work they’re doing on behalf of sailors like me.”
Railey won the award along with Mike Sanderson (NZL), winning skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race. The two winners were each presented with a Rolex timepiece and the marble and silver World Sailor Trophy – a solid marble sphere depicting the world and crowned by five silver spinnakers representing the continents. The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards dinner took place during the ISAF Annual Conference. The awards presentation was hosted by renowned sailor and sailing commentator Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.) and attended by more than 400 hundred guests from 45 nations, including international sailors and prominent personalities from the sailing world. Presenting the Awards were ISAF President of Honor HM King Constantine and Arnaud Boetsch of Rolex.
This is the second time that a USA sailor has been named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year since the awards were first presented in 1994. In 2000, USA’s Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl won the award after winning gold medals in the Star class at the 2000 Olympic Games and 2000 Star World Championship, as well as several other major events that year.
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