Please select your home edition
Marine Resources 2016

Conner wins US Sailings Greatest American Sailor Tournament

by Jake Fish, US Sailing on 17 Jul 2012
US Sailing’s Greatest American Sailor Tournament © US Sailing

National Sailing Hall of Famer and three-time winner of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Dennis Conner is the last man standing in US Sailing’s Greatest American Sailor Tournament. Six weeks ago, US Sailing launched an online tournament featuring 64 American sailing living legends in a bracket style format, similar to the NCAA’s March Madness. Sailors went head-to-head each week and fans were encouraged to submit their votes for these intriguing match-ups. Conner proved to be the people’s choice after edging fellow Hall of Famer Buddy Melges in last week’s Championship Round.

“Winning the tournament really meant a lot to me in view of all the great sailors included, many who were my heroes,” Conner explained. “This is my legacy and I am very appreciative of all those who voted for me, especially with Buddy involved, who I have great respect and affection for.”

In 1987, Conner and his San Diego based crew on Stars & Stripes won back the America’s Cup in dominating fashion as a challenger over Australia’s defender Kookaburra III. Just over 25 years later, this career defining win remains one of the most iconic achievements in American sailing history.

Conner’s sailing resume is long and distinguished. He is most widely known for his four America’s Cup wins. However, the diversity of Conner’s career is highlighted with a number outstanding wins in elite international competition. The San Diegan is a two-time Star and Etchells World Champion. He is also a two-time winner of the Congressional Cup and a four-time Southern Ocean Racing Circuit Champion. Conner won a bronze medal in the Tempest at the 1976 Olympic Games.

Participating fans appeared to be split on the Championship Round match between Conner and Melges for most of last week. Conner’s supporters came out in full force over the weekend to push him over the top. Conner received 60% of the votes to claim the title. Just under 2,600 total votes were recorded for the Championship Round.

US Sailing and a panel of sailing journalists determined the field of 64. Four divisions were created and sailors were ranked and seeded 1 through 16 in each. Divisions included a mix of sailors of different backgrounds and disciplines, from legendary world champions, to Olympic greats, to America’s Cup and ocean racing stars. Other participating sailors included Lowell North, Ed Baird, Betsy Alison, Paul Foerster, Mark Reynolds, Paul Cayard, Anna Tunnicliffe, and more.

Fans who registered to vote entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize that includes the ultimate America’s Cup experience in San Francisco, an invitation to US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year ceremony and another special Grand Prize revealed only to registered participants. Weekly prizes have also been awarded to lucky winners.

To view the final bracket and see the weekly results, visit US Sailing’s Greatest American Sailor Tournament and Sweepstakes website at

This tournament and Sweepstakes is a feature of US Sailing’s Membership Matters campaign. Learn more about US Sailing at

Related Articles

2017 U.S. Multihull Championship
Phil Collins wins on Biloxi Bay The fleet of 16 Hobie 17 catamarans completed their fourth and final set of races on Sunday at the 2017 U.S. Multihull Championship, hosted by Ocean Springs Yacht Club on Biloxi Bay. Posted on 10 Apr
Oakcliff Triple Crown Series
$500K in Grants to Olympic Sailing Hopefuls Oakcliff Sailing have announced the Oakcliff Triple Crown Series, a groundbreaking plan to reward athletes for their hard work and provide significant financial resources to assist them in achieving Olympic success. Posted on 8 Apr
2017 US Sailing Team Roster Announced
A mixture of newcomers and returning veterans US Sailing has named 18 Olympic-class athletes to the 2017 US Sailing Team. The national team is selected annually and is comprised of the top sailors competing in the events selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Posted on 28 Mar
Caleb Paine and Daniela Moroz win
US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman, Yachtswoman of the Year Sailing's diversity was celebrated today when Caleb Paine and Daniela Moroz were presented the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, respectively, at a luncheon in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. Posted on 3 Mar
US Sailing's Charlie McKee to step down
Farewell to High Performance Director US Sailing today announced that following an annual review and resulting team reorganization, two-time Olympic medalist Charlie McKee will step down as High Performance Director for the US Sailing Team. Posted on 5 Feb
Anna Tunnicliffe withdraws
From Sailing World Cup Miami 2017 Olympic Champion Anna Tunnicliffe has withdrawn from competing in the Laser Radial class at Sailing World Cup Miami 2017, due to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s denial of her expedited request to return to active status in January of 2017. Posted on 24 Jan
Caleb Paine, Daniela Moroz named winners
US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year Olympic Bronze Medalist Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) and IKA Formula Kite World Champion Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) today were selected as US Sailing's 2016 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Posted on 13 Jan
Malcolm Page takes the helm
New era begins for US Sailing Team Malcolm Page, US Sailing's newly-appointed Chief of Olympic Sailing, on Wednesday addressed US Sailing Team athletes and other American Olympic hopefuls for the first time as head of the program. Posted on 5 Jan
Olympic Champion Malcolm Page selected
To lead US Sailing Team US Sailing today announced the selection of two-time Olympic Champion and seven-time World Champion Malcolm Page as the Chief of Olympic Sailing, succeeding Josh Adams as head of the national team and overall U.S. Olympic sailing effort. Posted on 28 Nov 2016
U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship
Paralympian Smith wins at Clearwater, Florida Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) captured the 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship today in Clearwater, Fla. following three days of racing at this US Sailing National Championship, hosted by Clearwater Community Sailing Center. Posted on 21 Nov 2016