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Displaying items by tag: World Sailor of the Year

#WorldSailor - America’s Cup winner Peter Burling has been named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year — only the second Kiwi sailor to take the prize more than once.

The New Zealander, who previously shared the honour with compatriot Blair Tuke in 2015, was confirmed as the 2017 winner at a ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last night (Tuesday 7 November).

But Burling was unable to be there in person, as he’s currently busy on the deck of Team Brunel off the coast of North West Africa as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet slogs it out in the trade winds on their run south towards the doldrums.

Their first big strategic hurdle looms large in the first of several climate zone transitions the fleet will have to make on the way to Cape Town.

As of Wednesday afternoon (8 November), just four nautical miles separates first-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing from Team AkzoNobel in fourth, with Burling’s Brunel boat losing some ground another 50 miles behind in fifth.

Mark Chisnell reviews their options for the Volvo Ocean Race website HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex has announced five male and five female nominees for the 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, half of those shortlisted are British.

Set to be held on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 in Sanya, China, the Awards ceremony celebrates the world’s finest sailors' achievements during the qualifying period from the end of September 2014 through to 31 August 2015.

Only one nominee wins in both the male and female categories. The names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:

Male
Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL)
Loick Peyron (FRA)
Giles Scott (GBR)
Ian Walker (GBR)
Ian Williams (GBR)

Female
Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Sam Davies (GBR)
Elena Kalinina (RUS)
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN)
Charline Picon (FRA)

The achievements of the 2015 nominees are:

Peter Burling & Blair Tuke – New Zealand

When nominated for the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) were labelled as sailing’s hottest properties. One year on and that tag is as relevant as ever as they continue to dominate anything sail powered.

A run of 20 consecutive 49er regattas spearheads their nomination, including victories at the 2015 Aquece Rio, Olympic Test event, ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth and Portland as well as Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

Alongside their Olympic campaign the pair have become the leading lights of Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup World Series. A second at the first leg in Portsmouth, Great Britain turned into victory a few weeks in Gothenburg, Sweden to give them the overall advantage.

If the America’s Cup and Olympic Games wasn’t enough to whet their appetite, Burling dominated the Moth World Championships early in 2015 to take the title with Tuke following in sixth.

Loick Peyron (FRA)

Loick Peyron broke a spell that haunted him for 32 years in the 2014 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. After six attempts at victory across the mythical passage a victory had eluded Peyron, one of offshore sailing’s superstars but that all changed in November 2014.

Offered the opportunity to skipper the Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII trimaran following Armel Le Cleach’h’s withdrawal two months before the race, Peyron duly accepted and delivered. In rough seas Peyron kept his cool, pushing the 103ft beast to the extremes and with an average boat speed of 22.93 knots he set a new outright course passage record of 7 days 15 hours 8 minutes and 32 seconds.

Giles Scott (GBR)

In the shadow of one of the greatest Olympic Finn sailors of all time, Great Britain’s Giles Scott has emerged as the next in line for the Finn throne.

Scott has dominated racing in the Finn class for the past two years and remains undefeated since October 2013. Among his achievements this year, Scott has won the last two Olympic test events, three Sailing World Cup events and the ISAF Worlds in Santander.

Despite dominating an Olympic class, Scott stills takes time out to compete in the America’s Cup where he is part of the Ben Ainslie Racing team. He helped the team win the first event of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, Great Britain and currently sits in second with the team overall.

Ian Walker (GBR)

Olympic medallist Ian Walker made his way to the start line of the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race with only one thing in his mind following two previous disappointments as skipper.

It really was third time lucky as Walker skippered the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew to a resounding win. He led the team to an insurmountable point lead on the second to last leg meaning he could fully enjoy his triumph on the final leg in to Gothenburg.

Not content with just the overall win, Walker led the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team to the in-port race series win and set a 24 hour distance record of 550.82 nautical miles while approaching Cape Horn.

Ian Williams (GBR)

Ian Williams wrote his name in to the history books in 2015 when he took the ISAF Match Racing World Championship for a record fifth time.

A Match Racing specialist, Williams finished the 2014/15 season boosting 13 event wins and 35 podium finishes which culminated in the history making fifth Championship crown.

His record breaking exploits in Match Racing saw Williams surpass great names in the Sailing world such as four time World Match Racing Champion Peter Gilmour and three time champions Russell Coutts, Chris Dickson and Ed Baird.

Sarah Ayton (GBR)

The golden girl of British Olympic Sailing turned superstar of the Extreme Sailing Series, Sarah Ayton has shone throughout the 2015 series successfully guiding The Wave, Muscat to five victories from seven regattas. As the only female crew member in the Extreme Sailing Series fleet the strong presence of the two-time Olympic gold medallists has been felt. Her strategic ability has seen her rise to the top calling tactics on The Wave, Muscat.

Just one regatta remains in the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney, Australia and with Ayton’s experience led by helm Leigh McMillan the champagne could well be on ice.

Sam Davies (GBR)

Sam Davies is the skipper of a special crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. With a project aimed at inspiring and empowering women, Team SCA was the first all female team to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in over a decad and sailed in to the finish of the in their home port of Gothenburg with a leg race win to their credit.

Despite rough winds and seasickness among the crew, Davies steered Team SCA from Lisbon to Lorient on Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race and on 11 June 2015 they crossed the finish line first, making history for their female team.

Elena Kalinina (RUS)

Since finishing second at the 2014 Formula Kite World Championship in August 2014 in Turkey, Elena Kalinina has been undefeated in every single major championship in kiteboard racing.

With a list that includes the 2014 Asian Championships, the 2014 European Championships, the 2015 Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia, the 2015 Formula Kite European Championship and her first World Championship, Kalinina has been busy filling her trophy cabinet all year – and all before her 18th birthday.

If this year is an indication of the future, Kalinina is a superstar in the making. She has dominated her class, performing like a seasoned professional, unfazed by the competition, all at such a young age.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN)

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen is one of the most experienced sailors on the Womens World Match Racing Tour, and with her current team of Anne Sophie Munk, Josephine Nissen, Tina Gramkov and Nina Grunow won the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championships in Middelfart, Denmark.

With more than 20 years experience in over 40 different boats, Meldgaard Pedersen needed every part of her know-how to beat a stellar cast of Women’s Match Racers. In her homeland of Denmark, Meldgaard Pedersen and her team moved through the competition to a thrilling finale with her compatriot Camilla Ulrikkeholm which went down to the wire. Meldgaard Pedersen won the very last race of the regatta to write her name on the trophy as World Champion.

Charline Picon (FRA)

With consistency the key, Charline Picon has always produced at the big events throughout the year against stiff competition in the RS:X class.

Podium finishes in both the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final 2014 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres 2015 compliment wins at Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2015, Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia 2014 and ISAF Sailing World Championships 2014.

The ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander was a high point for Picon as she beat a fantastic fleet of female windsurfers to not only take the title, but to also secure her place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the second time she will represent her country at the Games.

The Voting
The winners will be selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, by a process of voting prior to the event and on the night of the Awards. The MNAs are now invited to vote for the male and female nominee they believe most deserves the Award. This vote will contribute to 50% of the overall result, while the remaining 50% of the vote will be decided by those in attendance on the night in Sanya.

Each winner will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece at the Award ceremony on 10 November 2015 in Sanya.

Published in World Sailing

Eyes were on Dublin last night when two dinghy sailorswere crowned the world's top sailors. Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Lijia Xu (CHN) were named the male and female winners of the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards at a ceremony held at the Mansion House, Dublin, last night.

Four-time Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie commented, "Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is a huge honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award."

It is the fourth time that Ainslie has been named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, following titles gained in 1998, 2002 and 2008. Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. The 35-year old's achievement at London 2012 elevated him to five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), surpassing Rolex Testimonee Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), winner of four gold medals between 1948 and 1960.

Lijia Xu, Laser Radial Gold Medallist at London 2012, expressed her delight at becoming only the second Asian athlete to be crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and spoke of her passion for the sport, "Sailing has given me the chance to chase my dreams and the stage to show my potential. It has provided me with the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world. Sailing leads me to a path of a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences."

In August, Xu became the first Chinese, and indeed Asian, sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy sailing boat.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) – History Boy

The greatest of his generation. Four Olympic gold medals and now as many ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. Ben Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. The 35-year old's achievement at London 2012 elevated him to five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), surpassing Rolex Testimonee Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), winner of four gold medals between 1948 and 1960. On receiving the award, Ainslie paid tribute to the team that has supported him, "Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is an honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award."

Ainslie headed into his home Olympics under a colossal weight of expectation. He was given the honour of welcoming the Olympic torch on its arrival in the United Kingdom, and was chosen as the first of 8,000 torchbearers. Fittingly, after making history on the waters off Weymouth, Ainslie was selected as Team GB's flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony. "To take part in a home Olympics was a completely unique experience," reflected Ainslie. "I have never felt quite the same level of expectation but also level of support."

Once competition started, it was another Dane - Jonas Høgh-Christensen - who contrived to stand between Ainslie and his fourth Olympic Gold. Ainslie began the 2012 competition better than any previous Games, but not as well as Christensen. Ainslie needed to react and he used a racecourse incident during the second half of the week to channel his competitive energy. The reigning Olympic champion found a new level, won two of the last four races and went into the decisive medal race needing to beat the relentless Dane but avoid conceding too many points to his other closest rivals. In front of a partisan crowd and following a nail-biting encounter, Ainslie emerged victorious. He cut an exhausted and emotional figure on the finish line. "These Olympics were not that easy for me, sometimes it flows, sometimes you have to fight for it," he admitted. "It was tough fight all the way to the finish. Taking the gold medal in front of a home crowd - I don't think I will ever experience an emotion quite like that again."

Ainslie has been at the top for 20 years, enduring enormous self-sacrifice in his quest for perfection. A pursuit that involves never giving an inch in training sessions and a relentless competition schedule. His remarkable career has seen him claim nine European titles and ten world championships – the first back in 1993. Few sportsmen, in any discipline, have been at the forefront of their profession for such a sustained period.

He has given the sport some of its finest moments including two epic battles with Rolex Testimonee Robert Scheidt (BRA) at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games - duels that drew a wider public to sailing.

Driven and passionate, Ainslie is a compelling character whose future in the sport is expected to concentrate on his desire to launch a British America's Cup challenge. As part of his 'apprenticeship' Ainslie is part of Team Oracle under the stewardship of two-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Russell Coutts, and alongside the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor, Tom Slingsby.

Ainslie's excellence in the sport has been recognised with this record fourth ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award following titles gained in 1998, 2002 and 2008. However, Ainslie remains modest about his momentous achievements, "There are a lot of fantastic sailors out there and when you look at someone like Paul Elvstrøm, he revolutionised the sport of sailing in his day and I certainly don't think I can claim to have done that. I am very fortunate to have had the support to do what I have."

Lijia Xu (CHN) – Immense Competitor

The inspirational Lijia Xu etched her name in the history books in August 2012 becoming the first Chinese, and indeed Asian, sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy sailing boat. "I didn't expect to be the winner," admitted Xu. "It is an honour to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and become the first sailor from China to receive this award. I hope this award can inspire more children in China to take up the sport."

Xu triumphed in the Laser Radial, one of the tightest and most dramatic competitions at London 2012. This after the Shanghai-born sailor hardly made an auspicious start to competition, finishing in the top three positions in only one of the first six races. During the second half of the week, Xu's class came to the fore. In a manner reminiscent of her fellow 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, she showed grit and determination to put herself in pole position for the deciding medal race.

Going into that final race, Xu could not afford to slip up with three rivals all in strong contention. In a winner takes all finalé, the 25-year old Chinese sailor sailed best, winning the race and adding Olympic Gold to the Bronze she claimed in Beijing. Her victory lap following the dramatic medal race was one of the sailing competition's iconic moments. "It was a fantastic medal race that will be remembered forever," said Xu. "On crossing the finishing line I realized not only my own dream but also the whole nation's dream. Many people strived for this gold for so many years and despite all the difficulties and setbacks we conquered it."

Victory in London proved the crowning achievement following an impressive year, where she won three ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and peaked at the right time after claiming an impressive silver medal during a highly competitive Laser Radial World Championship in May.

A keen swimmer in her youth, Xu's passion for sailing began from the age of 10 when she started Optimist sailing in Shanghai. She took to the sport immediately. By 2001, at the age of 14, she was Girls' Optimist World Champion, a title she reclaimed in 2002. Her story is one of resilience. Xu has battled significant hearing and sight problems and missed out on a place at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when a routine medical examination revealed a tumour in her leg that subsequently required major surgery.

Xu resiliently bounced back and in 2006 won the Laser Radial Women's World Championship. That success, together with the Bronze medal gained at Beijing, on the back of a serious hand injury, propelled Xu onto the international stage. "The most challenging part of my career has been facing injuries. It is important to never give in, never yield," added Xu.

Xu, who was also her nation's flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 is assessing whether to mount a campaign for the 2016 Games in Rio. In the meantime, she is taking time to complete her studies and reflect on the love she has for her sport, "Sailing has given me the chance to chase my dreams and the stage to show my potential. It has provided me with the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world. Sailing leads me to a path of a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences."

Xu is only the second Asian sailor to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year following in the footsteps of female windsurfer Lee Lai Shan (HKG) who won in 1996.

Double Olympic gold medallist and World Sailor of the Year in 2000, Shirley Robertson, hosted the ceremony. The Awards were presented by ISAF President of Honour HM King Constantine and Joël Aeschlimann of Rolex SA. Both winners were presented with a Rolex timepiece and an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy.

A Stellar Supporting Class

In addition to the two winners, the list of nominees for the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award included:

Male

Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page (AUS) – Men's 470 - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, 2011 and 2012 World Champions & 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions

Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) – 49er - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists & 2011 and 2012 World Champions

Loïck Peyron (FRA) – Outright Around the World Record

Tom Slingsby (AUS) – Laser - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2011 and 2012 World Champion

Female

Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega and Sofía Toro (ESP) – Women's Match Racing - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists

Helena Lucas (GBR) – 2.4mR - London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist and 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion

Saskia Sills (GBR) – RS:X - ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion & European Youth Champion

With the exception of Loïck Peyron all of the nominees attended the Awards Ceremony, celebrating a year of outstanding achievement.

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards

The winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are decided by vote by the over 130 Member National Authorities of ISAF following a worldwide selection process that begins with an open invitation for nominations. Two awards, one for a female sailor/crew and one for a male sailor/crew, are presented to the individuals who are deemed to have most distinguished themselves during the qualifying period from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012.

Past recipients of the Awards – which were launched in 1994 – have been drawn from the diverse disciplines of the sport: Olympic dinghy and keelboats, single-handed ocean racing, transatlantic record breaking, match-racing, America's Cup and windsurfing are all represented. In addition to the magnificent ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Trophy, each winner is presented with a Rolex timepiece.

Published in Olympics 2012

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