Storm Trysail Club member Steve Benjamin has been named the 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that featured 10 wins, including the Etchells North American Championship in Rye, NY and numerous wins in his offshore boats called SPOOKIE that is co-owned with his wife Heidi.
Benjamin’s dominance in the Etchells went beyond the North American Championship. He placed second out of 43 boats at the World Championship in Hong Kong. His Etchells teams won at the Piana Cup, Long Island Sound Championship and Coral Reef Cup, among others.
In reflecting back on his successes, Benjamin commented on how everything came together for him and his teams in 2015. “It came down to all the quality time we were able to spend on the water together. We raced and practiced so much this year, it really helped us continue to improve from one event to the next, and be better teams.”
“This award goes to all the great sailors and crew I’ve had the opportunity to race with this year,” added Benjamin. “I had some incredible team members to help me every step of the way, and perhaps the biggest supporter of them all is my wife, Heidi.”
Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek 40, SPOOKIE, had a clean sweep of overall wins in every offshore race they entered in 2015, including Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Marblehead to Halifax, Ida Lewis Distance Race, and the Vineyard Race. For this achievement they won the Storm Trysail Club’s prestigious Monte Santo Trophy for 2015, an honor they earned in 2014 as well.
“I’ve been at this a long time, so this is truly an astonishing honor.”
Benjamin, son of a boatyard owner, started sailing at the age of nine when his parents introduced him to the sport through a junior sailing program at Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, NY. Benjamin went on to experience an outstanding college sailing career, earning College Sailor of the Year honors in 1978 as a member of the Yale University sailing team, and then on to earn a Silver Medal in the 470 Class at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
This next week Steve, Heidi and the SPOOKIE team will be competing at Quantum Key West Race Week on the latest SPOOKIE, a TP 52, following yet another win earned this week in the 41st Ft Lauderdale – Key West Race.
For more information on the Rolex awards, visit http://www.ussailing.org/about-us/awards/us-sailings-rolex-yachtsman-and-yachtswoman-of-the-year-awards, and for more information about Quantum Key West Race Week visit www.keywestraceweek.com.