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Sailor of the Year 2013 - Who Will it Be?

9th January 2014
Sailor of the Year 2013 - Who Will it Be?

Once again the time has come to decide who among the deserving winners of Sailor of the Month should take the top honour of Afloat's Sailor of the Year.

As in previous years, Afloat magazine is asking the public to make their choice from among Ireland's finest sailors who delivered on the water in 2013.

The overall national award will be presented to the individual or individuals who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to, Irish watersports during 2013.

This year voting will take place through from January 1st 2014.


The boating public gets to nominate their top three through the online poll, Afloat gets a vote too, and the Sailor of the Year judges decide the final winner.

Cast your vote by midnight on February 18th. The awards are administered and judged by Afloat magazine. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.


Gordon Maguire - Top helm down under

Though he's now based in Australia, Gordon Maguire maintains strong links with home, and his many successes as sailing master of the 63ft Reichel Pugh sloop Loki are shared by Ireland's maritime community.

Maguire began 2013 celebrating 53 straight weeks of achievement at the head of a mixed pro-am crew, confirming Loki as overall champion in the Australian Blue Water Points Score, the ultimate test of offshore racing dedication.

Four years of hard work are paying off in spades!


Simon & Nancy de Pietro - Caribbean's dynamic duo

A convincing win in Class 1 in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race demanded that Simon and Nancy de Pietro be named Sailors of the Month for February.

The couple, with strong links to North Cork and Sligo, fly the burgee of Kinsale Yacht Club for their international sailing programme on the 76ft Lilla, alternating between racing success and a regular working life cruising the Caribbean.


Fergus & Kay Quinlan - A worldwide double act

Fergus and Kay Quinlan's three-year voyage around the world in their own-built 12m steel cutter Pylades has been an inspiration to Ireland's sailing community.

And it's netted the Kinvara couple the Ocean Sailing Club's special OCC Award for doing so much to encourage small-craft ocean cruising. That's on top of their three years of Faulkner Cup awards.

But for the Quinlans, awards are less important than the "boundless horizons" of the ocean.


Robert O'Leary - Consistency key for varsity success

He might be the youngest of the Crosshaven clan that includes a double Olympian, but Robert O'Leary is hardly overshadowed.

Indeed, the young skipper at the sporting hotbed University of Limerick played a key role in Irish varsity sailing through March and April this year - and was especially consistent at the Student Yachting Worlds selection trials in Howth.

Such success was more than enough for the younger O'Leary to be named Sailor of the Month for April.


Annalise Murphy - Another outstanding performance

Annalise Murphy was the runaway winner of May's Sailor of the Month award for her gold medal success in Lake Garda and Medemblik.

The latter venue - at the David Lloyd Regatta - saw our Olympic hero make up for missing out on bronze at London 2012, while China's Olympic gold winner Lijia Xu had to settle for sixth.

It was a complete reversal of the form Murphy showed in the Olympic final, and bodes very well for her future.


Brian O'Sullivan - D2D winner is Kerry's gold

June's Sailor of the Month Brian O'Sullivan secured victory by more than 1 hour 40 minutes in the 280-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race.

The 33-year-old from Tralee Bay Sailing Club only took ownership of the storied Oyster 37 Amazing Grace in spring this year.

But he knew what he was buying, and made the most of her potential with an enthusiastic crew - and just the right conditions - to get a decisive win in the biennial race.


Bruno Sroka - Kitesurfing king of the seas

Never has the mid-year International Award been presented for anything as extraordinary as kitesurfer Bruno Sroka's 240 nautical mile solo voyage from Brittany to Cork Harbour on Friday 19 July.

With just board and kite, the Frenchman defied the threat of light winds to catch a 16-knot nor'easter that carried him almost all the way across the mouth of the English Channel, past the Scilly Isles and over the Celtic Sea well under his target time of 17 hours.


Liam Glynn - Topper teen's big week

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Liam Glynn arrived at the Topper International Worlds in France with a silver in the Youth Nationals and a win at the Topper Nationals already notched this year.

But the teenage helm turned in an even better performance in Loctudy from 22 to 26 July, despite difficult tidal waters and flukey breezes - and a 100-strong fleet.

Though day five was lost to calm, Glynn's work was done in the first four races. We have a new World Champion!


John Twomey - A dab hand at sail and on land

An active sailor himself to Paralympic level, John Twomey's election last November as president of the International Association For Disabled Sailing (IFDS) was an indication of the high regard in which he's held in global sailing.

In bringing the Worlds to his home port - and ensuring it was a popular success - Twomey played a unique role deserving of national celebration. And his hand in next year's merger of the IFDS with the ISAF should bring further plaudits.


Finn Lynch - Captain Cool's triple medal haul

September provided a host of achievements to choose from, but Laser sailor Finn Lynch stood head and shoulders above the rest for his trio of medals in Dun Laoghaire: gold in the U21 division, silver in the Europeans and bronze in the Worlds.

It's the second Sailor of the Month award in as many years for the 17-year-old from Carlow (but sailing from the National YC) who's been dubbed 'Captain Cool' - and with very good reason.


David Kenefick - Figaro rookie holds his own

Figaro 'rookie' David Kenefick was the youngest sailor in the 2013 schedule, turning just 22 as the demanding Gallic season progressed.

But the Corkman - mentored by Marcus Hutchinson - only rarely let his age or inexperience show across 7,000 gruelling offshore miles, nearly all of them sailed single-handed.

And a decisive 12th place overall in the three-stage Generali Solo in the Mediterranean secured our October Sailor of the Month the coveted position of Figaro Solo Rookie of the Year.


Adrian Lee - Muscat Magic for offshore racer


Ireland's tame Kiwi Ben Duncan was in close contention for Sailor of the Month more times than any other skipper during the 2013 season, his successes in the SB20 being achieved at home and abroad. He also scored a convincing win in the All-Ireland Helmsman's Championship sailed in J/80s. Thus at year's end, we make him December's Sailor of the Month.ore racer



Ben Duncan - Helmsmans victory for Duncan


A comprehensive victory (including a new course record) in the annual 360-mile Dubai to Muscat Race by Adrian Lee (RSTGYC) with his Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners was November's top achievement in Irish sailing. It added further lustre to a remarkable boat whose successes include the overall win in both the 2007 Fastnet and the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 in 2009.


Published in Sailor of the Month Team

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