Last night, during CYA's Annual General Meeting, Curtis Florence was appointed CYA’s Rolex Sailor of the Year Award during the Awards Dinner hosted by the Royal Canadian Yachting Club. Curtis’ two sons, Trey (16) and Jordan (12), were present to accept the award on behalf of their father. Curtis was able to make his gracious acceptance speech via SKYPE.
Curtis was born in Kingston, Ontario on September 14, 1969 and grew up in Kingsville, Ontario. At the age of 9, he started sailing at Cedar Island Yacht Club and through the years strived to be a great bowman. At high school, Curtis joined the Canadian military. With the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he served a UN tour in Croatia in 1993. After the military, Curtis went on to work for Casino Windsor for 13 years while continuing his dream of sailing on everything from a Shark to an 80’ Maxi boat.
Curtis’ sailing achievements are numerous. One of his first big victories was the 2004 Mumm 30 World Championships in Toronto, Ontario. He went on to win the Swan 45 World Championships in 2007 and currently holds World Championship titles in the Farr 30, Farr 40 and Melges 24 classes. Along with his three World Championship titles this year, he also holds the S2 7.9 North American Championship title for the 11th consecutive year.
Now living in Cleveland, Ohio, Curtis is married to Suzie Florence. Curtis is a true ambassador to our sport and the rightful recipient of this year’s Rolex Sailor of the Year Award for Canada!
The recipient of Canadian Yachting Association’s (CYA) Rolex Sailor of the Year Award – the most prestigious of the awards presented by CYA – is the dream of every Canadian sailor, is a true representative of the close relationship that exists between Rolex and Canadian Yachting Association. The award that has a long and well-respected history is the true embodiment of Rolex philosophy of promoting human brilliance and excellence in sports in general and sailing in particular. With Canadian Yachting Association taking all measures to ensure that potential talent can be recognized and achievements can be rewarded, CYA’s Rolex Sailor of the Year Award has become the single most important representative of the success and performance of Canadian sailors all year long. Ever since its inception CYA Rolex Sailor of the Year Award has been the most sought after and the most prestigious of the awards at the CYA Annual Awards. The award that is presented annually is an appreciation for the recognition that the sailors bring to the Canadian sailing as well as Canadian Yachting Association.
Only those sailors are eligible to be bestowed with the prestigious CYA Rolex Sailor of the Year Award who have managed to achieve excellence in tournaments of the stature of Olympic/Paralympic class sailboat competition. In addition to the performance as a sailor the other traits required include showing leadership qualities in an event or activity as well as showcasing spirit of sportsmanship, which is what Rolex also tries to promote through its efforts. The sailor must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and must have gained the respect of other fellow sailors. The award has been conceived with the goal of awarding a sailor not just for the sailing achievements but also for the overall performance that is the hallmark of the greatest sailors.
Sailor of the Year Award was started in the year 1986 and Paul Phelan was the first deserving winner of the prestigious Rolex award. All along its more than two-decade-old history the award has been awarded to sailing greats of Canada and the award has become the benchmark that rightfully recognizes the immense contribution the winners have made towards the Canadian sailing and Canadian Yachting Association.