2013 is starting off right for Johnny Heineken. The Larkspur resident has been named the 2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year by the sport's governing body, US Sailing. Heineken will be presented with custom Rolex timepiece on February 26 at the St. Francis Yacht Club to mark the honor.
Established in 1961 by US Sailing, the coveted US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards recognize outstanding achievement for the previous calendar year. Heineken's win marks the remarkable fifth time a Marin County resident has won sailing's top individual prize.
- San Rafael-born John Kostecki won in 1988 and 2002
- Kentfield home owner Paul Cayard won in 1998
- San Rafael's Liz Baylis won in 2002
- Mill Valley resident Terry Hutchinson won in 2008
The 24-year old Heineken won for his outstanding performances in international kiteboarding competition, headlined by his second consecutive win at the Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship in Cagliari, Italy. He set a new course record (14 minutes, 4 seconds) in the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race in San Francisco among 58 entrants, a feat made more impressive when you learn that he took a full two minutes off the previous course record.
(Photo credit: Roberti Foresti)
“To even be mentioned in connection with this award is an honor; so many of my role models are on the list of recipients,” said Heineken through a press release issued today by US Sailing. “But it’s also exciting that kiting has been accepted into the world of yachting. It’s pretty amazing how far the class has come in the last five years and exciting for me to be involved in the development of the class."
Born in Greenbrae, Heineken is not the only kiteboarder of note in his family. Sister Erika was a runner-up for this Year's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award, having won the women's division of the Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship.
For more on Johnny's win at the Kiteboarding Course Racing World Championship, see our interview with him.