The winners of the 2016 Rolex World Sailors of the Year were announced at an awards ceremony held at the 18th century Casa Llotja De Mar yesterday in the presence of some 500 guests.
The stories behind some of the nominees marked out sailing as a sport that encourages and rewards determination, precision and passion.
After a public, MNA and on-night vote the Santiago Lange (ARG) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) received the title of Rolex World Sailors of the Year.
The Awards ceremony was held during the 2016 Annual Conference in Barcelona. Debate and discussion has been centred around the overarching theme of #OurSustainableFuture throughout the week. Forums on Sustainability, Para World Sailing and the Commercial Strategy of the Sport have been the catalyst of the conversation and World Sailing news releases.
The Conference continues through to Sunday 13 November with the General Assembly concluding the week.
Male Winner: Santiago Lange, Argentina
Santiago Lange provided Rio 2016 with the fairy tale storyline of the Olympic Games as he won gold with Cecilia Carranza Saroli in the Nacra 17. At 54-years-old, six-time Olympian and two-time bronze medal winner, Lange was the oldest sailor competing, but his story goes beyond his age. Just one year prior to the Games Lange was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a lung removed. Making the start line of the competition was an achievement in itself for the resilient Argentinean. Lange showed what is possible when passion is backed by courage and determination.
Female Winners: Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark, Great Britain
Spurred on by missing out on London 2012 gold in the 470 Class, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark set about the Rio Games in determined fashion. They were near flawless in their build up. Gold at the 2015 Sailing World Cup Final, silver at the 2015 World Championships and two 2016 World Cup golds proved Mills and Clark were a force to be reckoned with. Once at Rio the British pair kept their focus on the task ahead. Only a disaster in the Medal Race could separate them from gold. That was never going to happen. Clark and Mills finished what they had started and wiped clean the disappointment of London.