Category Archives: Sailing

Public Voting Opens For 2018 Rolex World Sailor Of The Year

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, and Rolex, the leading name in prestige watches that includes watches engineered specifically for sailing, are now inviting the public to vote for one male and one female who they think should receive the 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year title.

Public voting is open now through to 12:00 UTC on Monday 29 October, one day before the announcement at the World Sailing Awards in Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Click here for the online voting form.

The 11 nominated sailors personify excellence and represent the best of the best in international sailing over the last 12 months with kiteboarders, offshore racers and Olympic class specialists all shortlisted.

The names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:

Female
Caterina Banti (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion
Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winners
Daniela Moroz (USA) – 2018 Formula Kiteboarding World Champion
Wendy Tuck (AUS) – Clipper Round the World Race winning skipper

Male
Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) – 2018 49er World Champions
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) – 2018 Laser World Champion
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) – 2018 Men’s RS:X World Champion
Ruggero Tita (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion

Click here for more information on the nominated sailors.

The public vote will contribute 30% of the overall vote with World Sailing’s Member National Authorities making up the final 70%.

Each winner will be presented with the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.

The Awards night is the social highlight of the World Sailing Annual Conference and 2018 is
set to be a ground breaking edition with the introduction of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, the Team of the Year and the Boat of the Year.

Alongside Rolex World Sailor of the Year and the new Awards, the Beppe Croce Trophy, President Development Award and eSailing World Championship Trophy will be presented.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is the most prestigious award of recognition in the dynamic sport of sailing. Since the awards’ inception in 1994, the trophy has proudly accumulated the names of those who have demonstrated unparalleled endurance, performance and accomplishment in sailing.

Beginning with Sir Peter Blake, Sir Robin Knox Johnston and Teresa Zabell (ESP), the inaugural winners, the trophy reads like the definitive who’s who in sailing.

Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award include:

2017 Peter Burling (NZL), Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
2016 Santiago Lange (ARG), Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark (GBR).
2015 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL), Sarah Ayton (GBR)
2014 James Spithill (AUS), Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA)
2013 Mat Belcher (AUS), Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL)
2012 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Lijia Xu (CHN)
2011 Iker Martinez & Xabier Fernandez (ESP), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2010 Tom Slingsby (AUS), Blanca Manchon (ESP)
2009 Torben Grael (BRA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2008 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
2007 Ed Baird (USA), Claire Leroy (FRA)
2006 Mike Sanderson (NZL), Paige Railey (USA)
2005 Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz (ESP), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2004 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2003 Russell Coutts (SUI), Siren Sundby (NOR)
2002 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2001 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2000 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl (USA), Shirley Robertson (GBR)
1999 Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), Margriet Matthijse (NED)
1998 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
1997 Pete Goss (GBR), Ruslana Taran & Elena Pakholchik (UKR)
1996 Jochen Schümann (GER), Lai Shan Lee (HKG)
1995 Russell Coutts (NZL), Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
1994 Peter Blake (NZL) & Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR), Theresa Zabell (ESP)

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Argentina Win Nacra 15 Gold At home Youth Olympic Games

Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone (ARG) won gold in the Mixed Nacra 15 fleet in front of a packed Club Nautico San Isidro at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

On home waters, and in a variety of conditions, the Argentinians sailed consistently throughout the week and led the fleet for the vast majority of the competition.

Already in first place ahead of the Medal Race, Cittadini and Romairone finished sixth, which was enough to hand them the gold medal with a seven-point advantage.

“It’s really exciting to see all the people on this river, which we’ve been sailing on for a long time, cheering for us – it’s amazing,” said Romairone.

“I’ve learned a lot of things this week, such as how to stay focused all the time and how to manage nerves. I never usually get nervous, but this time I did!”

The Athlete Role Models for Sailing are Argentineans Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, who won gold in the Nacra 17 fleet at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

They have been present at the venue daily, and Romairone believes that gave herself and Cittadini extra inspiration throughout the week.

“They [Santi and Ceci] always give us encouragement and advice – they were a really big help,” she said.

“They are such good sailors, and just to see them in the club and be so close to them was very motivating.”

After going all out for the Youth Olympic Games, Romairone admitted she is unsure of their imminent plans, but expressed an interest in one day moving into the senior Nacra 17 boat.

“Our objective was always the Games. We didn’t project anything further, so at this moment I don’t know,” she added.

“Anything can happen. There are a lot of boats to sail in. It would be amazing [to sail the Nacra 17] – it’s a really cool boat.”

Titouan Petard and Kenza Coutard (FRA) claimed an impressive Medal Race win, which moved them from fourth place overall up to a silver medal position.

The French duo won the opening race of the competition and actually enjoyed more top-three results than their Argentinian opponents, but a discard of 14th and three further finishes outside the top five added extra points to their total.

However, they hit form just at the right time, winning the last race on Friday before their sublime victory in the Medal Race gave them France’s second silver in Sailing so far.

“It’s really amazing to win this medal – we didn’t know if it would be possible so we are very happy,” said Coutard.

“To take bronze or silver, all we had to do was attack in the final race, and we did that.

“After this we won’t continue to sail together – I have another helm and Titouan has another crew – but it’s been an incredible event.”

It meant Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer (NED), who started the day in the silver medal position, lost out by just one point after finishing fourth in the Medal Race.

But after narrowly missing out on a medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA earlier this year, they were pleased to claim bronze and finish on the podium this time.

“It was so close and we were so afraid because we didn’t want to finish fourth again, but everything came together,” said Bouwer.

“We had a good start and then chose the right side. We lost our chance at winning silver in the last few metres, but we are so happy with bronze.

“This week, the boat-to-boat racing has been intense. With everybody so close, you have to be good at that, and you have to be so sharp because every point counts here.”

On their future ambitions, Bouwer added: “We are going into the Nacra 17 together, so we will now spend some time learning the boat.”

Elsewhere, Henri Demesmaeker and Frederique van Eupen (BEL), level on points with the Dutch sailors before the final race, could only finish eighth, which wasn’t enough for a medal.

The Kiteboarding class managed to complete the first of two semi finals in both the Boy’s and the Girl’s fleets, heading out onto the water shortly before 15:30.

They will use tomorrow’s reserve day to complete the second semi final, before racing the Petit final (which will determine fifth to eighth place) and the main winner-takes-all Final to crown the Youth Olympic champion.

Racing continues at 10:00 local time on Sunday 14th October – an earlier start for the Kiteboarders to take advantage of better wind conditions in the morning.

German Kiteboarder Continues Dominance At The Youth Olympic Games

A dazzling display on the water from Alina Kornelli (GER) ensured she remains top of the Girl’s Kiteboarding fleet at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition at Club Nautico San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With lighter windspeeds than the previous day, all three classes were able to race. Windsurfing reverted back to fleet racing, and though Kiteboarding was initially affected by a postponement which saw them return to shore, the wind picked up sufficiently for them to return to the water.

Kornelli has won four out of five races so far, including two wins today, and is five points ahead of Sofia Tomasoni (ITA) in second and six points ahead of Nina Font (ESP) who is third.

“The last A final was really close between me and Nina; at the beginning I was first, then she was first, but I won it in the end,” Kornelli explained.

“I’m really happy with my results in the competition. I will try and stay focused and really do my best.”

In the Boy’s fleet, Slovenian kiteboarder Toni Vodisek moved into the top three with a win in the last race of the day.

“The wind was pretty light today; we had the 17s, the biggest kites we have, and we finished a race from yesterday before doing two more,” he said.

“Yesterday I was unlucky as the equipment I took was too small, but today with the same equipment it went better.”

Deury Corniel (DOM) lost his 100% record with two sixth places but keeps the overall lead, two points ahead of Cameron Maramenides (USA).

In the Nacra 15 fleet, the Dutch duo Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer stormed into second place, taking two wins from four races.

They are now six points behind leaders Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone (ARG) who took a race win, a second, a sixth and one seventh, which they discard.

“The wind was really shifty and gusty; it was hard to predict what was going to happen,” explained van der Meer.

“The number three is always the tricky spot, so the number two feels good, but we’re still not there,” added Bouwer.

“The Olympics is so much more than a normal regatta. My roommate won a medal in rollerspeed skating and he was so happy. We are enjoying every second.”

In Girl’s and Boy’s Windsurfing, the overall leaders remained unchanged as Giorgia Speciale (ITA) and Alexandros Kalpogiannakis (GRE) kept up their excellent form on the water.

Speciale has yet to finish outside the top three during the competition and is 13 points ahead of second-placed Manon Pianazza (FRA).

Entering the top three for the first time is Naama Gazit (ISR) who is now level on points with her French opponent.

“I started the day not so good (7th, discarded) but my second race was better and in the last race I finished second,” she said.

Alina Kornelli at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition

“The wind was really shifty and the course kept changing so we spent a long time on the water, but I’m really happy to be in the top three.”

There’s a close fight between Kalpogiannakis and Nicolo Renna (ITA) in the Boy’s fleet. The pair are separated by six points, with third-placed Finn Hawkins (GBR) 15 points behind the Italian.

“It was a really tricky day today; a lot was happening and the wind was flicking about all over the place,” said Hawkins.

“You had to pick your spot, find your outwind and try and get some consistent results.”

Racing continues at 12:00 local time on Thursday 11th October. It will be a reserve day for the Nacra 15 fleet, meaning only Kiteboarding and Windsurfing will be competing.

By Liz Owen – World Sailing

Buenos Aires Prepares To host 100 Sailors At The Youth Olympic Games

The third Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 6-18 October 2018, will welcome 100 sailors from 44 different nations.

Five sailing events will take place at Club Náutico San Isidro in the Argentine capital, including debuts for two classes – Girl’s and Boy’s Kiteboarding (Twin Tip Racing) and the Mixed Multihull (Nacra 15). Elsewhere, Girl’s and Boy’s Windsurfing (Techno 293+) will return for its third consecutive Games.

The Nacra 15 will race in one fleet, with up to 12 opening series races and one final race.

In the Techno 293+, the first race of the opening series will be a fleet race. Following the first race, either a fleet or slalom single elimination series race will be held. All fleet races will race in one group and each slalom race will be divided into four heats with semi-finals and finals to decide who gets maximum points from that race. The final race will be a fleet race, featuring all the competitors.

The Twin Tip Racing Kiteboarding, however, will include up to 24 qualifying races, with a heats-based system eventually determining which four athletes will progress to the final. The racecourse will also contain several obstacles as an extra challenge for the kiteboarders.

A host of qualification regattas across all five events were held to help dictate which nations would compete at the Youth Olympic Games. Places were awarded to the highest performing nations in the World Championships of each class before a series of continental qualification regattas across six regions took place. Hosts Argentina were automatically awarded a spot in each fleet.

No fewer than eight medal-winning athletes from this year’s Youth Sailing World Championships, held in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, will be competing in the Youth Olympic Games, including three World Champions.

Nacra 15 sailors Teresa Romairone and Dante Cittadini stormed to gold in Corpus Christi by an astonishing 36 points, dominating the fleet with just one race finish outside the top five throughout the competition. The Argentine duo will be sailing on home waters at Buenos Aires, with Cittadini also selected as his country’s official flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony.

Islay Watson (GBR) is the other 2018 Youth Worlds gold medallist participating at the Youth Olympic Games. In a competitive RS:X Girls fleet, the British windsurfer won three out of her last four races to claim the title by two points. In Buenos Aires she will be racing on the Techno 293+ and will be joined by some tough competitors.

Veerle ten Have (NZL) and Giorgia Speciale (ITA) shared the podium with Watson in Texas and they will both be aiming to claim the Girl’s Windsurfing fleet in Buenos Aires.

17-year-old Ten Have, who took the silver medal at the Youth Worlds, has had a busy few months – she also made an appearance at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, finishing 52nd overall out of 62 sailors.

Speciale, meanwhile, picked up bronze in Corpus Christi, finishing 23 points ahead of fourth-placed Palma Cargo (CRO), who will also race at the Games. The Italian heads to Argentina in good form, with a recent 2018 RS:X Youth European Championship title under her belt.

Her compatriot Nicolo Renna is the sole male RS:X Youth Worlds medal-winner to be making the trip to South America; he won silver in Corpus Christi, 12 points ahead of third place.

World Champion Geronimo Nores won’t be at the Youth Olympic Games but his younger brother Manuel (USA) is part of the Techno 293+ line-up in Buenos Aires. Similarly, the younger sister of Youth Worlds bronze medal-winner Fabien Pianazza, Manon, is amongst the Girl’s Windsurfing pack.

Concluding the 2018 Youth Worlds podium representatives are silver medal-winners Andrea Spagnolli and Giulia Fava (ITA), who will be taking on Romairone and Cittadini in the Nacra 15 fleet.

Elsewhere, some of the brightest young names in Kiteboarding will light up the water as the discipline makes its Youth Olympic Games debut.

The winners of the 2018 Kiteboarding TwinTip: Racing Youth Worlds completely dominated the regatta. Both Deury Corneil (DOM) and Nina Font Castells (ESP) ran riot to claim a winning total of just four points each, and they’ll be eager to recapture that form on the global Olympic stage.

And there were several teenage competitors at this year’s Kiteboarding TwinTip: Racing World Championships in Italy, with many of the Youth Olympic Games representatives tasting success.

Sofia Tomasoni (ITA) won her first senior championship, while the Pump Kite Trophy was won by Poland’s Oliwia Hlobuczek.

Tomasoni qualified for the Youth Olympic Games via the Africa and Europe Qualification tournament in Dakhla, Morocco, in February this year, where Toni Vodisek (SLO) also snatched a place in the Boy’s event after a tight battle with France’s Benoit Gomez.

Elsewhere, Jingle Che (CHN), who became Asia’s first Kiteboarding World Champion in 2017 at the age of 16, finished first in the Asia/Oceania Kiteboarding Qualifier regatta in March this year to seal her spot at the Games.

From the two previous Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore in 2010 and China in 2014, a host of participants have gone on to compete in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Several medallists are continuing to perform at the highest level of sailing – six previous Youth Olympic Games medal winners were present at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, including Kieran Holmes-Martin (GBR), Techno 293+ bronze medallist in 2010, and Daphne van der Vaart (NED), Techno 293+ silver medallist in 2010.

Additionally, all 31 sports are also represented by Athlete Role Models, who will provide support in a mentoring capacity throughout the competition. Taking on the task for sailing are Rio 2016 Nacra 17 gold medallists and Argentine nationals Cecilia Carranza Saroli and Santiago Lange; Lange himself is from San Isidro, the very heart of this year’s Games.

Windsurfing racing begins at 12:00 local time (UTC-3) on Sunday 7 October, with the Kiteboarding and Nacra 15 events following suit at the same time on Monday 8 October.

Windsurfing will then finish one day earlier on Friday 12 October, before Kiteboarding and the Nacra 15 wrap up on Saturday 13 October.

Liz Owen
World Sailing

SailGP gains World Sailing Special Event Status

SailGP, a thrilling new fan-centric grand prix racing circuit, has received Special Event status from World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport.

Special Event status ensures the world governing body formally recognises and sanctions the event.

Over the course of the 11-year partnership, SailGP sanction fees will be invested back into the sport to support World Sailing’s development initiatives.

World Sailing will support SailGP with promotional and marketing activities as well as supporting the World Sailing Race Officials overseeing the event. SailGP will be held under World Sailing’s Racing Rules of Sailing and Regulations, with World Sailing overseeing in particular the anti-doping and nationality rules.

Founded and owned by Larry Ellison, SailGP’s day-to-day operations are overseen by CEO Sir Russell Coutts. The new property sets out to redefine sailing with five global grands prix featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.

Five-person teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States of America will compete in the inaugural season.

In season one, SailGP will bring inshore racing to the following locations:
Sydney, Australia – 15-16 February
San Francisco, USA – 4-5 May
New York, USA – 21-22 June
Cowes, Great Britain – 10-11 August
Marseille, France – 20-22 September

Each event will be comprised of two competition days with five fleet races culminating in a final match race between the two leaders to decide the victor. The final in Marseille will feature a winner-take-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.

“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan friendly elite racing league to life,” said Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”

“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”

The new F50 boats will begin launching in Marsden Point, New Zealand, later this month, with the inaugural race to set sail on 15 February in Sydney.

SailGP becomes World Sailing’s seventh Special Event joining the Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Your, Star Sailors League and the Global Kitesports Association’s freestyle world tours.

Personification Of Excellence; 2018 Rolex World Sailor Of The Year Nominees Announced

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, and Rolex, the leading name in prestige watches that includes watches engineered specifically for sailing, are pleased to announce a line-up of Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2018 nominees that personify excellence.

The 11 nominated sailors represent the best of the best in international sailing over the last 12 months, with kiteboarders, offshore racers and Olympic class specialists all shortlisted.

The names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:

Female
Caterina Banti (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion
Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winners
Daniela Moroz (USA) – 2018 Formula Kiteboarding World Champion
Wendy Tuck (AUS) – Clipper Round the World Race winning skipper

Male
Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) – 2018 49er World Champions
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) – 2018 Laser World Champion
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) – 2018 Men’s RS:X World Champion
Ruggero Tita (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion

2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards
photo credit: world sailing

Members of the public will be invited to vote for who they think should be crowned Rolex World Sailor of the Year on Monday 15 October via World Sailing’s website. The public will contribute 30% of the overall vote with World Sailing’s Member National Authorities making up the final 70%.

On Tuesday 30 October 2018, the winners will be announced at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Each winner will be presented with the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.

The Awards night is the social highlight of the World Sailing Annual Conference and 2018 is
set to be a ground breaking edition with the introduction of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, the Team of the Year and the Boat of the Year.

Click here for more on the new awards and how to submit a nomination ahead of the 8 October 2018 deadline.

Alongside Rolex World Sailor of the Year and the new Awards, the Beppe Croce Trophy, President Development Award and eSailing World Championship Trophy will be presented.

Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA)

With female representation on all seven Volvo Ocean Race teams competing in the 2017-18 edition, it was inevitable that a first female winner of the gruelling race would be crowned. But no one could have ever predicted the drama that unfolded to decide the winner.

Ahead of the race, Dongfeng Race Team’s Carolijn Brouwer (NED) and Marie Riou (FRA) were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Brouwer was an experienced offshore racer with two Volvo Ocean Race editions completed, whereas Riou was a two-time Olympian in Match Racing and the Nacra 17.

The two came together and worked in unison, making brave and bold decisions when they mattered.

On the winner-takes-all 970-mile drag race from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague, The Netherlands, Dongfeng Race Team made the right call to move inshore and take a narrow leg win to seal the Volvo Ocean Race title.

Wendy Tuck (AUS)

A veteran of 11 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, offshore racing is at the heart of Wendy Tuck’s life.

After becoming the first Australian female skipper appointed to lead a team on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for the 2015-16 edition, Tuck became hooked on the race and leading amateurs on the epic 40,000 nautical mile round-the-world venture.

In 2017, ahead of her second Clipper Race, Tuck achieved a lifelong goal of making the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race honours list, finishing as first female skipper to earn the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy.

Just months after her feat, Tuck made history once again, this time in the 2017-18 edition of the Clipper Race. Having led Sanya Serenity Coast to victory, she became the first female to skipper a winning yacht in the race.

Daniela Moroz (USA)

At just 17 years old, Daniela Moroz (USA) is the leading competitor in Women’s Foiling Kiteboarding.

Moroz became a first-time World Champion in 2016 in the IKA Foiling Formula Kite, and successfully defended her title a year later. At the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark in 2018, she held on to it again for a third successive year.

The American’s dominance in Aarhus was astonishing. Out of 15 races sailed, Moroz won 14, blowing past all of her rivals with ease to take a convincing gold. At the 2018 European Championships she was just as commanding, winning 13 of 14 races.

Marit Bouwmeester won female Rolex WSOY 2017

Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA)

After the Nacra 17 went fully foiling, Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti set about learning the intricacies of the boat immediately – and it paid off in 2018 as they completely dominated everywhere they competed.

Their golden 2018 started in March at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Victory at the World Cup Series event in Hyéres, France followed before they clinched the World Cup Series title in Marseille, France.

European gold in Gdynia, Poland followed before they clinched a hard-earned World Championship title in Aarhus, Denmark by a single point.

Charles Caudrelier (FRA)

After 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race came down to a 970-mile sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague, The Netherlands.

Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team went head-to-head with MAPFRE and Team Brunel knowing that whoever finished ahead would claim the title.

It was risk and reward for Caudrelier as he and his team made a bold move to split away from their rivals, sail close to the shoreline and wait for a projected wind shift. After slipping behind, the risk paid off as favourable conditions propelled them ahead of their rivals to claim their first leg win and with it, the Volvo Ocean Race title.

Pavlos Kontides (CYP)

Winning silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games firmly embedded Pavlos Kontides into Cyprus’ sporting history as his success was the first Olympic medal for his nation. Since then, Kontides has continued to inspire nationally and globally with his achievements.

Kontides won gold at the 2017 Laser World Championships in Split, Croatia, and retained his title less than one year later at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.

After ten testing races, Kontides faced off against Matt Wearn (AUS) in the Laser Medal Race. Although Kontides finished a place behind the Australian in a tense final duel, he had enough points to give him a two-point victory and a second world title.

Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO)

After winning Men’s 470 gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Sime Fantela switched to the 49er to race with his brother Mihovil.

Following several years of competing at the front of the fleet in the Men’s 470, Sime and his brother were made to settle for the middle of the pack, and saw mixed results for much of their build-up to the Hempel Sailing World Championships.

However, come crunch time in Aarhus, Denmark, their hard work and Sime’s experience in high-pressure scenarios paid off as the Fantela brothers claimed gold convincingly.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED)

Never without a smile on his face, the Netherlands’ Dorian van Rijsselberghe further enhanced his RS:X windsurfing legacy at the Hempel Sailing World Championships. The Dutchman had a series of up and down results leading up to Aarhus but, as he does so often, he turned on the style and found an edge over his opponents to claim gold.

Like many of his would-be title rivals, the 29-year-old double Olympic champion only won two races, but his consistency was unmatched. Only once in the 12 races leading to the Medal Race did he finish out of the top 10. Ahead of the final race, he could not be caught, an achievement he’s also managed on two previous occasions – at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is the most prestigious award of recognition in the dynamic sport of sailing. Since the awards’ inception in 1994, the trophy has proudly accumulated the names of those who have demonstrated unparalleled endurance, performance and accomplishment in sailing.

Beginning with Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the inaugural winners, the trophy reads like the definitive who’s who in sailing.

2018 Rolex World Sailor Of The Year

Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award include:

2017 Peter Burling (NZL), Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
2016 Santiago Lange (ARG), Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark (GBR).
2015 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL), Sarah Ayton (GBR)
2014 James Spithill (AUS), Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA)
2013 Mat Belcher (AUS), Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL)
2012 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Lijia Xu (CHN)
2011 Iker Martinez & Xabier Fernandez (ESP), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2010 Tom Slingsby (AUS), Blanca Manchon (ESP)
2009 Torben Grael (BRA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2008 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
2007 Ed Baird (USA), Claire Leroy (FRA)
2006 Mike Sanderson (NZL), Paige Railey (USA)
2005 Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz (ESP), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2004 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2003 Russell Coutts (SUI), Siren Sundby (NOR)
2002 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2001 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2000 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl (USA), Shirley Robertson (GBR)
1999 Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), Margriet Matthijse (NED)
1998 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
1997 Pete Goss (GBR), Ruslana Taran & Elena Pakholchik (UKR)
1996 Jochen Schümann (GER), Lai Shan Lee (HKG)
1995 Russell Coutts (NZL), Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
1994 Peter Blake (NZL) & Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR), Theresa Zabell (ESP)

Australian, British and Brazilian Sailors Conquer at Para World Sailing Championships

Australian, British and Brazilian competitors clinched gold at the Para World Sailing Championships as the regatta drew to a close in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA.

After five days of competition in variable breeze, Matt Bugg (AUS) snapped up gold after the first ever 2.4 Norlin OD Medal Race, Will Street and Jonathan Currell (GBR) won a close RS Venture Connect Final and Christopher Symonds (AUS) and Ana Paula Marques (BRA) grabbed gold in the Men’s and Women’s Hansa 303.

Saturday’s final day played out in variable breeze that ranged from 3-5 knots early on and ended with up to 10 knots.

After winning the final RS Venture Connect qualification race, Spain’s Enrique Vives and Gabriel Barroso de Maria joined Alexandra Rickham and Hannah Stodel (GBR), John McRoberts and Scott Lutes (CAN) as well as Street and Currell on the start line for the Final.

The format of the race was simple, first past the line would claim gold.

In a fickle breeze that varied from 3-5 knots and quite often dropped below that, the four teams got off to a clean start. A fight for position unravelled but Street and Currell hit the first mark and were forced to do a 360 degree penalty turn and dropped to the back of the pack.

The wind was inconsistent across the track and a game of snakes and ladders unravelled. Street and Currell clawed themselves back into contention and they found some breeze to propel themselves to the front of the fleet to give them the victory.

“We had a lot of catching up to do after we hit the mark but we kept cool and sailed fast,” commented Currell. “We knew there was plenty of time left in the race and we kept a level head.

“The wind kept dropping off and it would come in from different angles. We played it tactically and we went to the side that we thought the wind would come in from and it paid off.”

Spain’s Enrique Vives and Gabriel Barroso de Maria narrowly beat John McRoberts and Scott Lutes (CAN) across the line to secure silver and the Canadians completed the podium.

Violeta del Reino (ESP), Austria’s Marina Peterer, Brazil’s Ana Paula Marques and Australia’s Genevieve Wickham faced off in the Women’s Hansa 303 final.

Peterer crossed the start early allowing Marques, Wickham and del Reino to fight each other hard off the line.

Marques was able to grab the lead and she extended to cross the line and claim gold. “For me, the most difficult thing this week was sailing in the light wind,” said Marques. “In Brazil, I trained in stronger winds. The competitors were all very strong and I’m just so happy.”

Wickham and del Reino fought hard for the silver medal however it was the former who crossed in second to clinch it as the Spaniard settled for bronze.

The top ten in the Men’s Hansa 303 sailed a semi-final to decide which four would advance to the Final. Wademar Wozniak (POL), Jens Kroker (GER), Piotr Cichocki (POL) and Christopher Symonds (AUS), the four standout competitors this week, finished in the top four and progressed to the final.

In a tense battle, there was no let up as each racer demonstrated winning attributes. Kroker took the lead early on but his three rivals remained close by. Wozniak pulled level on the downwind but on the second upwind, the pack reshuffled.

Symonds took the lead before Wozniak was forced to do penalty turn after a cross with Kroker. This allowed Wozniak to sneak through in second.

The Australian won the deciding race convincingly in the end but at the finish, the remaining three were split by less than 20cm. Wozniak did enough to pick up silver and 2017 World Champion Cichocki completed the podium.

Two points separated Damien Seguin (FRA), Matt Bugg (AUS) and Dee Smith (USA) ahead of the first ever 2.4 Norlin OD Medal Race meaning that whoever finished ahead of the three would claim the title.

The trio were tight at the start, keeping each other within reach but Bugg managed to jump ahead and hold position to finish the Medal Race in third to seal gold.

“It was a really tough, short race and really close. I managed to get ahead of them both midway through the race and I managed to hold on to my lead and take the championship.

“Five or six years ago I thought that winning a World Championship was a possibility and it’s taken this long for me to get the job done. It means the world to me and something I’ve worked for for a very long time.”

It looked as if Smith would take silver and Seguin bronze midway through the race but the French racer managed to climb up to steal silver. Smith completed the podium.

The next Para World Sailing Championships will be held in Puerto Sherry, Spain in June 2019.

Daniel Smith
World Sailing