May 2003

Rolf Vrolljk (SUI/GER)

A younger RolfVrolijk surveys the lOR fleet at the 1989 Admiral's Cup. With quiet persistence and a relatively small customer base, by the early 1990s Vrolijk had become numero uno in lOR design. He then did the same in the Mediterranean cauldron of IMS, until taking some time out for his next project! Now he has led the newly created Alinghi design team to a first-time win in the America's Cup - in which his principal US-based design rival has yet to score ...
 Why they won
I guess Russell Coutts has won enough this year already. Certainly 76 per cent of you voted to recognize Rolf Vrolijk's fabulous efforts and also in turn those of his design team at Alinghi. 'Rolf is not just an outstanding designer, having sailed with him I have to add that he is also an outstanding sailor' - Jorgen Heinritz; 'Rolf wins because of getting it right from the start with his hull designs, and especially for having the courage to take a different course in terms of his shaping in the forward sections' - Lawrence Wilhelm; 'A rare example of a top designer who is nice, friendly and very down to earth .. .' - Rainer Wilhelm. 'Hear hear!'