Britain’s double gold Olympic star turned Extreme 40 tactician Sarah Ayton, and New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been named 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year.
Five top British sailors had been in the running for the prestigious men’s and women’s award, with other contenders including Olympic Finn sailor Giles Scott, Volvo Ocean Race-winning skipper Ian Walker, five-time World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams, Team SCA Volvo Ocean Race skipper Sam Davies,
Launched 21 years ago, the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year is recognised as the pinnacle award a sailor can receive for his or her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing.
Ayton, tactician on board Extreme Sailing Series‘ ‘The Wave, Muscat’, was named as the winner from the five-sailor women’s shortlist, at today’s award ceremony in Sanya, China.
The double Olympic gold medallist is the sole female sailor racing in the Extreme Sailing Series fleet, and as tactician on The Wave, Muscat, has guided them to five wins from seven regattas with the team now in touching distance of the series victory when Sydney hosts the finale in December.
The ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs) – the national governing bodies for sailing around the world – voted for the one female nominee and one male nominee whom they felt deserved the honour of receiving the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award 2015.
Attendees at the awards were also able to cast their votes.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who were also in the running for last year’s World Sailor award, have continued to dominate anything sail powered.
A run of 20 consecutive 49er Olympic class regattas spearheaded 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.
Burling also dominated the Moth World Championships early in 2015 to take the title with Tuke following in sixth.
Story by Laura Hodgetts at Practical Boat Owner
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