British sailor Sarah Ayton named ISAF World Female Sailor of the Year 2015
British sailing star Sarah Ayton, and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, have been named the 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year. The award ceremony took place the ISAF Annual Conference in Sanya, China last night (November 10th 2015).
Weymouth born Ayton has long been heralded the ‘golden girl of British Olympic Sailing’ – a double Olympic gold medallist. More recently she has turned superstar of the Extreme Sailing Series. Throughout the 2015 series she successfully guided The Wave, Muscat to five victories from seven regattas.
As the only female crew member in the Extreme Sailing Series fleet she has been a valuable asset. Her strategic nous and ability have seen her rise to the top calling tactics on The Wave, Muscat.
Ayton said: “It means such a lot to me to have won the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. I’m truly touched and proud. I hope to continue being an inspiration to women, young children and individuals who enjoy the sport that we love so much.”
Burling (24) and Tuke (26) have dominated the Olympic 49er class over the last year, impressing the world’s sailing community with consecutive victories.
As they are preparing for the 49er Worlds, the Kiwi pair could not attend the ceremony but spoke from Buenos Aires. Tuke said, “It is a really big honour for us to win this award. We don’t sail and race to win these awards, but it is really nice to get these accolades for all the hard work we put in. We are really proud to have won.
“All the nominees have achieved some awesome things this year in our sport, especially Ian Walker for winning the Volvo Ocean Race. We’ve been working hard all year and the results have come our way, not only in the 49er, but also in the other boats we sail. So we are looking ahead and keeping the hammer down towards the Olympics and then towards bringing the Cup back to New Zealand.”
About the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards
The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards took place during the ISAF Annual Conference, the most important gathering of the year for the top athletes, leaders and decision makers in the sport of sailing.
These prestigious Awards, sponsored by Rolex since 2001, are the highest recognition a sailor can achieve and are based on a sailor's results over a twelve-month period (eg. from September 2014 to the end of September 2015).
Competition for the 2015 Awards was remarkable, with five outstanding female and five equally exceptional male candidates short-listed from a list of nominations made by the public at large.
The Member National Authorities (MNAs) votes were tallied earlier in the day and then each guest at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards ceremony had the opportunity to cast one vote. It was an evening of intense suspense and anticipation, for both the nominees and guests in attendance.
The winners were presented with a Rolex timepiece and the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy.
The 2015 Nominees were:
Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL)
Loick Peyron (FRA)
Giles Scott (GBR)
Ian Walker (GBR)
Ian Williams (GBR)
Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Sam Davies (GBR)
Elena Kalinina (RUS)
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN)
Charline Picon (FRA)
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