US Sailing provides recognition to individuals and organizations for excellence in variety of areas. Those areas include:

Past Award Recipients


Organizational Awards

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US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year Awards

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Yachtsman of the Year award recognizes one male sailor for his individual outstanding on-the-water achievement within the calendar year; the Yachtswoman of the Year award recognizes one female sailor for her individual outstanding on-the-water achievement within the calendar year.

These prestigious awards are viewed by the sail-racing industry as among the nation’s top sailing distinctions. A slate of nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, is presented to a panel of accomplished sailing journalists, who together discuss the merits of each nominee and then vote to determine the ultimate winners.

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Herreshoff_two_shot_layout Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy

The Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy is US Sailing’s most prestigious award. It was donated in 1957 by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, and is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing in this country in any associated activity.

Mr. Herreshoff was one of the preeminent marine designers and builders of his time. Born in Bristol, R.I. in 1848, “Captain Nat” was a mechanical genius with a love for boats. He learned building techniques from the old craftsmen of Bristol, studied mechanical engineering at M.I.T., and began an unprecedented career which included many innovations in the design and construction of military, commercial and pleasure craft, both steam powered and sail. Perhaps his greatest feat was designing and building yachts that successfully defended the America’s Cup in six consecutive matches from 1893 to 1920, a span of 27 years. His success in the varied aspects in the industry earned him the nickname “The Wizard of Bristol.”

The recipient is selected by the Board of Directors from nominations made by members of the Board, Division and Committee Chairs, past Presidents and Counselors of Honor.


Hanson Medal

 The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal

The Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal is an award given to skippers of pleasure boats or race support vessels who effect rescues of victims from the water. The award is made for rescues in U.S. waters, or those which occur in races originating or terminating in a U.S. port. The purposes of the award are to recognize the significant accomplishment in seamanship which has saved a life, and to collect further case studies in rescues for analysis for the US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Committee which will eventually be incorporated into the extensive educational programs of US Sailing.

The Hanson Rescue Medal is normally awarded to racing sailors, cruising sailors, race management personnel or amateur powerboat operators, although other persons may qualify. Professional rescue personnel (policemen, firemen, Naval and Coast Guard personnel, salvage boat operators, etc.) may be eligible to receive the award, if they participated in a rescue effort while in an off-duty capacity; or if their rescue effort went above and beyond their normal call of duty; or if the rescue involved an exceptional achievement of seamanship.

The rescue or attempted rescue must take place within territorial waters of the United States, or the rescue or attempted rescue must have taken place as part of a sailboat race or voyage that originated or stopped in a United States port. At least one person involved must be a citizen of the United States and one vessel or aircraft involved must be owned or operated by a citizen of the United States.

Award Criteria

When considering an award, the Committee shall take into account the following factors:

  • The prevailing weather and sea conditions at the time of the rescue.
  • The types of vessels involved.
  • The proximity to shoals, headlands, shipping traffic, and other hazards.
  • The number of, experience and/or qualifications of the victim(s).
  • The specific details of the rescue process.
  • The rescuer’s intrepidity or risk of his or her own life.
  • The involvement of other parties in the rescue effort, directly or indirectly.
  • The proximity to the scene of professional rescue services.
  • The role or function of the rescuer at the time of the incident.
  • The rescuer’s professional training or experience.


 W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Trophy

Sportsmanship is a word that we hear nearly every day, but what does it mean? Everyone who competes in any form of athletic endeavor is expected to display it and although it can be difficult to define or describe, we all recognize it when we see it.

Demonstrating good sportsmanship is very noticeable and necessary in competitive sailing. Whether it is the conduct of the skippers and their crew, or even the event organizers or race officials, cooperation, courtesy and fair play are essential to the continuation and growth of competitive sailing and to keep our sport fun. How you race is as important as how you finish, and fortunately, our sport still recognizes that fact.

The W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Award, presented annually, recognizes an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of sportsmanship in sailing. The respect of your peers and fellow sailors is an essential component of any successful sailing career and it is for this reason, that US Sailing is looking to you, the sailors who are out on the race course, to assist in nominating a person for this prestigious award. Your nomination could be for an individual who demonstrated a single extraordinary example of sportsmanship during the year or it can be based on years of continuous sportsman like conduct.

A Call for Stories of Sportsmanship
Make a nomination


C.R.E.W Award

The C.R.E.W. Award recognizes an individual — a US Sailing staff member or volunteer — who consistently demonstrates the values expressed in the C.R.E.W. agreement. Because US Sailing has an extraordinary set of responsibilities as a world leader in the sport, its volunteers and staff must function as efficiently as a skilled sailing crew.

  • Commit to exceptional service to our constituents.
  • Respect the integrity and work of fellow C.R.E.W. members.
  • Expect excellence as a group and personal standard of accomplishment.
  • Work together in a responsible consistent fashion.

Those responsibilities encompass the following:

We will be positive about US Sailing and fellow C.R.E.W. members at all times.
We will be easy to reach, friendly, and on time in responding to constituents and fellow C.R.E.W members.
We will give C.R.E.W. members and constituents who seek us out our undivided attention and establish deadlines for unfinished business or the next agreed-upon actions.
Respect the integrity and work of fellow C.R.E.W. members

We will interact using candor, honesty, and constructive criticism as benchmarks.
We will value each other’s work and our need/right to have a life away from work.
We will be aware of the similarities and differences in the roles and responsibilities of volunteers and staff.
Expect excellence as a group and personal standard of accomplishment.

We will establish goals and give those responsible the tools and freedom they need.
We will remember that asking each other for help is a powerful tool.
We will compliment each other for work well done, and acknowledge when we haven’t kept our promises.
Work together in a responsible, consistent fashion.

We will listen carefully to understand each other’s positions before making judgments.
We will negotiate first, then compromise to find win-win solutions.
We will acknowledge what we have heard and agreed to do, as a measure of good communication.
We will address serious disagreements or concerns in person or by phone, before involving others

Make a nomination

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