Sports

Palo Alto man honored as Rolex Yachtsman of the Year

 

Trophée Jules Verne winner Stan Honey of Palo Alto has been named U.S. Sailing's 2010 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

He was among 10 nominations submitted by members of U.S. Sailing and was evaluated by a panel of sailing journalists who selected him for the noteworthy distinction.

Honey will be honored on Feb. 25 during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when he will be presented with a specially-engraved Rolex timepiece.

Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of U.S. Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award is considered the sport's ultimate recognition of an individual's outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 39 men. There's also an award for women.

Honey, previously nominated for the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award in 2006 as the Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator aboard ABN Amro One, was cited as "one of the most outstanding offshore sailors known world-wide" by a member of the award's selection panel that recognized him as the 2010 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Honey becomes the second American in the history of the award to receive the honor for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe. Cam Lewis won the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1993 for winning the Jules Verne prize aboard Commodore Explorer with a record time of 79 days, six hours, 15 minutes and 56 seconds -- a record that had been surpassed five subsequent times before the trimaran Groupama 3, with Honey as navigator, set the latest benchmark.

In 48 days, seven hours and 45 minutes, Groupama 3 made the fastest non-stop circumnavigation under sail in history and claimed the Trophée Jules Verne while eclipsing a record -- by more than two days and eight hours -- that had stood for five years.

Another member of the selection panel noted that Groupama 3 would not have broken the record without Honey correctly calling the weather window when they had to re-start after the first attempt was thwarted (a breakdown in the South Atlantic forced them to retire to fix the boat).

"He did an extraordinary job getting the boat around the planet. This was the crowning achievement for a hell of a career," said the panel member in a press release.

After sailing around the world, some might have expected Honey to spend some time on dry land, but in mid-June he was taking aim at another record, this time in the Newport Bermuda Race as navigator aboard Speedboat.

"I've been navigator on Speedboat since she was built, so I carried on," Honey said in a press release. "You get hooked on spending time at sea."

After leading the 183-boat fleet for most of the 635 nautical-mile race, Speedboat was the first boat to cross the line after racing for 59 hours.

"I am honored to receive the U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award," said Honey upon hearing the news. "It is humbling to read through the list of previous winners. As an American, it was an unexpected opportunity and honor to be asked to sail with the legendary all-French Groupama offshore multi-hull crew. Groupama 3's success in the Jules Verne is a tribute to Franck Cammas' leadership and the seamanship of the entire crew. I would also like to thank Rolex and US SAILING for all they do to support sailing."

After graduating from Yale with a degree in Engineering and Applied Science, and from Stanford with a Masters in Science Electrical Engineering, Honey, in 1998, co-founded Sportvision Inc. which evolved into the leading developer of live-tracking enhancements for sports TV broadcasts.

Honey led the development of the yellow first-down line for televised football; the NASCAR racecar tracking and highlighting system; and the baseball K-Zone system, which highlights the pitch location and strike zone in televised baseball.

He holds eight patents in navigational system design, 21 patents for TV special effects, is a member of the board of directors of KVH (a manufacturer of satellite communications and navigation sensors), and currently works for the America's Cup Event Authority on TV technology for the America's Cup.

Honey is married to Sally Lindsay Honey, herself a two-time Yachtswoman of the Year (1972, '73).

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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