World Sailing has released the nominees for the prestigious 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards

22 September 2017

There is a diverse line-up of nominees for this year’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.

The list features sailors drawn from the America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, windsurfing, offshore and Olympic class racing.

Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark and Santiago Lange take the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award

The winners of the 2016 awards – Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark and Santiago Lange. Credit: Nick Harvey/Rolex

The world governing body for sailing – World Sailing – drew up the shortlist from more than 80 nominations.

The winners will be announced on 7 November 2017 at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Continued below…

Last year’s winners were Argentina’s Santiago Lange, and British Olympic gold medallists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark.

 

Nominees for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2017:

Female

Marit Bouwmeester (NED): 2017 Laser Radial World Champion

A laser sailor in her boat

Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) continued her fine form, claiming a well-earned gold medal at the year ending World Cup Series Final in Melbourne, Australia.

However, Bouwmeester was overcome with repetitive injuries, resulting in her unable to compete at major regattas throughout 2017.

After months without competition, Bouwmeester made an astonishing comeback at the Laser Radial World Championships on home waters in Medemblik, the Netherlands and claimed an emphatic third world title.

 

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA): 49erFX World Cup Series Champions

Two sailors on a boat

Credit: Agência Brasil Fotografias/Wikimedia Commons

In the aftermath of Rio 2016, Brazil’s golden girls, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze enjoyed some deserved rest to digest the feat of their achievement. After months out of the 49erFX the pair could have been excused for being rusty as they made their comeback at the start of 2017 at Sailing’s World Cup Series event in Miami, USA.

They were far from it, dominating to win gold. They followed their success up with victory at the French leg of the World Cup Series in Hyères, before sealing another comprehensive gold at the World Cup Final in Santander. The only imperfection in their 2017 record was a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships

 

Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU): Pro Windsurfers Association World Tour Freestyle and Slalom World Champion

A windsurfer in white and a black gillet raises her trophy

Credit: Juergen Tap / HOCH ZWEI

No one has dominated the Pro Windsurfers Association World Tour quite like Sarah-Quita Offringa.

In 2008, Offringa won her first freestyle world title and in 2017, she made it ten consecutive titles in a row. The Aruban is a formidable force that is rarely beaten but her skillset is not confined to freestyle. In 2017, she won her fourth slalom world title and has now moved across to wave where she is once again a leader in the pack.

 

Tara Pacheco (helmed by Fernando Echavarri) (ESP): Nacra 17 World Cup Series Champions

Two sailors out on the water in a white dinghy

Credit: Getty Images

The Spanish team started the year with victory on their home waters at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, Mallorca, Spain. They moved on to Hyères, France where they successfully defended the World Cup Series France title they won in 2016. Heading back to their home waters, Pacheco (helmed by Echavarri) claimed the World Cup Series Final title.

As the Nacra 17 went fully foiling, the Spanish team made a seamless transition. They remained at the top of the fleet, sealing a silver medal at the World Championships La Grand Motte, France.

 

Male

Glenn Ashby (AUS): America’s Cup winning skipper

A man with stubble wearing a Fly Emirate baseball cap

Credit © ACEA 2016/Photo Ricardo Pinto

The inspiration behind Emirates Team New Zealand’s, Glenn Ashby worked relentlessly for four years to inspire and build a team to achieve success at the 35th America’s Cup.

A formidable sailor, Ashby was not only at the forefront of the sailing team but drove the design team forward, taking innovative calculated risks that culminated in a winning design. Emirates Team New Zealand dominated the America’s Cup defenders, ORACLE TEAM USA, to take the Auld Mug back to New Zealand.

 

Peter Burling (NZL): America’s Cup winning helmsman

Peter Burling wearing his team colours lifts up the America's Cup

Credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

A previous Rolex World Sailor of the Year winner, Peter Burling was cool, calm and collected during the 35th America’s Cup, delivering the silverware to New Zealand.

With the weight of an expectant nation on his shoulders, Burling never once looked deterred throughout the Challenger Series and America’s Cup Match. Even a dramatic capsize, that could have jeopardised the whole campaign, didn’t put him off his stride.

Facing off against ORACLE TEAM USA and the bullish Jimmy Spithill, Burling worked with his hard-working team and spearheaded a 7-1 victory.

 

Thomas Coville (FRA): Singlehanded Round the World Record holder

Thomas Coville - Sodebo

Thomas Coville’s pursuit of the singlehanded round the world record became an obsession. The record had eluded Coville on his previous attempts but at the end of 2016, a rare window of opportunity arose for Coville where he was able to combine his expertise with favourable weather systems.

Setting off on 6 November 2016, Coville pushed his 102ft trimaran Sodebo Ultim to the limit and on Christmas Day, 49 days 3 hours 4 minutes and 28 seconds later, Coville had not only set a new record, he had completely obliterated the previous record by eight days.

 

Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA): 2016-2017 Vendée Globe winner

Vendée Globe winner, Armel Le Cléac'h

Known as the Jackal due to his ability to overwhelm his opponent and never give an inch, Armel Le Cleac’h demonstrated these attributes in abundance on his way to winning the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe.

With Alex Thomson in pursuit, Le Cleac’h used his Jackal-like instinct to keep the British racer at bay. It may have seemed close to observers but it was never in any doubt to Le Cleac’h, sailing across the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne in a record 74d 3h 35m and 46s.

 

25 August 2017

The public have until 1 September 2017 to nominate their favourite male and female sailors for this year’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.

Nominations can be made by anyone but the sailor or crew.

Those nominated for the 2017 award must have performed an “outstanding achievement in the sport of sailing between 19 September 2016 and 31 August 2017”.

The world governing body for sailing – World Sailing – will then draw up a shortlist of nominations with the highest and most inspirational achievers going on to become the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Nominees.

Ben Ainslie

Sir Ben Ainslie has won the award a record four times

Nominations must be received by no later than 19.00 UTC on 1 September 2017.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Last year’s winners were Argentina’s Santiago Lange, and British Olympic gold medallists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark.

They follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest sailors including Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who were the inaugural winners of the award when it began in 1994.

America’s Cup skipper, Sir Ben Ainslie, has won the accolade a record four times in 2012, 2008, 2002 and 1998.

His rivals – Jimmy Spithill from ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling – have both won the award, as has America’s Cup boss, Sir Russell Coutts.

A woman in black and wearing a lifejacket celebrating winning a sailing competition

Shirley Robertson won the award after taking gold in the Women’s Europe Sailing class, at the Sydney Olympics. Credit: PA

Dame Ellen McArthur took the silverware in 2001 and 2005. The first time for coming second in the Vendée Globe which made her the youngest competitor to ever finish the race, the fastest woman around the globe and only the second person to go round-the-world solo in under 100 days.

She was then awarded it again in 2005 after she claimed the world record for a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation.

Other previous recipients include Pete Goss (1997), Isabelle Autissier (1995), Shirley Robertson (2000), Tom Slingsby (2010) and Sarah Ayton (2015)