It takes a village to get a Rolex

Published on February 10th, 2020

When 2019 5O5 World Champions Mike Martin and Adam Lowry and Kiteboarder Daniela Moroz won the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, it was a huge endorsement to St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA.

All three are club members, and all three elevated to the top of their game through a culture of cooperation.

As a major hub for kiting, Daniela was mentored by the best which included world champion siblings Johnny and Erika Heineken, both also past nominees for the award with Johnny getting a Rolex in 2012.

As for Mike and Adam, they’ve long been on the front end of class excellence, but also recognize to remain there requires pressure from their peers. Here’s an excerpt of an interview with the duo from the International 505 Class:

How does it feel to win the award?
MM: I have been a finalist 6 times so this feels really great. Adam did it the right way: first nomination and he wins! One of the things that I’m most happy about is that we won together. In past years, members of the full crew are not always nominated so I am thankful that they recognized us as a team. The 5O5 is a team boat, period. (Ok, I know the crew is more important, but we want skippers to feel like they are equal!)

How does it rate compared to winning a 5O5 World Championship?
MM: They are kind of one-in-the-same. The Yachtsman of the Year is for the greatest on-the-water accomplishment by an American sailor in 2019, so it is nice to not only be recognized for our 5O5 Worlds, but also that this win, in the 5O5 class, was considered the top achievement. US Sailing referenced the depth of the field of sailors competing in these year’s Worlds. To us, the award spoke volumes about how competitive the 505 class is around the world.

Talk about your approach to your training program.
MM: We have built a training program that brings together top sailors in our fleet to train. We share information and push each other to be the best we can all possibly be. We train together every Tuesday during the season and it is this program that has not only helped us to hone our skills and speed, but also help advance our fleet and the opportunities for other 5O5 sailors to find success.
AL: I think Mike captured it well. I would only add that consistent practice and sharing info is really key. It keeps us sharp and helps others develop.

How does racing a 5O5 compare to your other sailing activities?
MM: Both Adam’s and my other main sailing activity is Foil Kiteboarding. Both are fun. Here are some of the benefits of each:

• 5O5 sailing is great in a wide range of conditions from 3 to 33 knots. You don’t have to get rescued if the wind drops below 6 knots
• Foil kiting is (other than a Formula 50) the fastest wind powered device around a racecourse. Mid 20s boatspeed upwind, and mid 30s downwind.
• In 5O5s, we are good enough at boat handling that we can sail the boat tactically. This is not always the case on the foil board, neither of us are quite there yet to pull off every tactical move we’d like to make!
• The foil gear fits in the back of your car.
• The crashes hurt a lot less in the 5O5.
• Both fleets have an interesting and fun bunch of characters to sail against and hang out with after racing.

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