There is no surprise that sailing superstar Annalise Murphy is the front runner for tonight's top prize at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards in Dublin. This month, the Olympic Silver Medalist topped the public online vote for the award but the overall winner cannot be confirmed until the judges decision is announced tonight at the RDS Concert Hall in Dublin from 6.30pm.
As reported in this morning's Irish Times Sailing Column here, twenty-two sailors and pairings are shortlisted for the top prize at the ISA hosted event at the RDS. Among these achievements, a GP14 world title was won by Shane MacCarthy in Barbados, Ireland entered the Vendee Globe thanks to Enda O’Coineen and mono and multihull round Ireland speed records were set.
This year marks two decades since Afloat Magazine inaugurated the Sailor of the Month awards, with their peak achievement of the Sailor of the Year accolade – the latest of which will be presented tonight at the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Awards ceremony at the RDS in Dublin.
Celebrating 20 Years of Ireland's Premier Sailing Awards
Created in 1996 – with the first prize going to dinghy sailor Mark Lyttle, a race winner at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – the Sailor of the Year award represents all that is praiseworthy, innovative and groundbreaking in the Irish sailing scene.
The national award is especially designed to salute the achievements of Ireland's sailing elite, whether amateur or professional. After two decades, the awards has developed into a premier awards ceremony for water sports.
In the last 20 years the scheme has honoured over 340 sports sailors of every kind, of many ages, and from all parts of Ireland – occasionally adding special monthly awards for cruising, or international achievement, to name a few.
In 2017, as in previous years, the overall national award will be presented to one of the monthly winners from 2016 who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in – or made the most significant contribution to – Irish sailing during the year.
And while the judges retain their right to make the ultimate decision, once again the boating public and maritime community had their say who should be crowned Ireland's Sailor of the Year for 2016 via an online poll on Afloat.ie
The ceremony also includes awards for club, youth sailor and sailing school of the year.
To view a preview of Afloat Sailor of the Year nominees by WM Nixon click here