Bouwmeester, Burling win World Sailor of the Year
Published on November 8th, 2017
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Peter Burling (NZL) were the big winners at the inaugural World Sailing Awards as they were announced male and female 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year on November 7 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Bouwmeester bounces back
After claiming gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and then a well-earned victory at the 2016 World Cup Series Final in Melbourne, Australia, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was overcome with repetitive injuries.
The Dutch racer was unable to race at major regattas throughout the early part of the 2017 but had targeted returning to the sport at her home Laser Radial World Championship in Medemblik, the Netherlands.
Bouwmeester made an outstanding comeback and stormed her way through to claim an emphatic third world title. Just two months later, she claimed the European Championship title ensuring she holds all the current major titles – Olympic, Worlds and European.
In attendance in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Bouwmeester was voted the female Rolex World Sailor of the Year by the public, World Sailing’s Member National Authorities and guests voting on the night.
An astounded Bouwmeester was almost lost for words upon receiving the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.
“I’m just a girl from Friesland, north of Netherlands,” she commented.
“I have always had big dreams and I didn’t just want to go to the Olympics but I wanted to win a gold medal and dominate the sport of sailing, being the best sailor there is. People laughed at me because at that time, I wasn’t even ranked in the top 20.
“I guess if you enjoy what you do and if you work hard and stay dedicated then dreams do come true. I want to spread the message to the young and the old, to follow their dreams.”
Brilliant Burling continues to thrill
New Zealand’s Peter Burling continues to thrill and excite those who watch him sail and compete. Cool under pressure, calm and collected on the water, at just 26-years old, Burling has achieved success that many aspire to, but very few achieve.
Burling personified cool, calm and collectedness at the 35th America’s Cup at the helm Emirates Team 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 was never fazed and with a hard-working team, spearheaded a 7-1 victory.
Burling was unable to join delegates at the 2017 World Sailing Awards as he is currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race on-board Team Brunel.
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, sponsored by Rolex since 2001, are the most prestigious awards of recognition in the dynamic sport of sailing.
The nominees for the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards were:
• Marit Bouwmeester (NED), 2017 Laser Radial World Champion
• Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), 49erFX World Cup Series Champions
• Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU), Pro Windsurfers Association World Tour Freestyle and Slalom World Champion
• Tara Pacheco (helmed by Fernando Echavarri) (ESP), Nacra 17 World Cup Series Champions
• Glenn Ashby (AUS), America’s Cup winning Skipper
• Peter Burling (NZL), America’s Cup winning Helmsman
• Thomas Coville (FRA), Singlehanded Round the World Record holder
• Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA), 2016-2017 Vendée Globe winner
For a complete list of the accomplishments for the nominees… click here.
Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award include:
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 MartÍnez & Xabier Fernández (ESP), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2010 Tom Slingsby (AUS), Blanca Manchón (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 Echávarri & Antón 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)
Source: World Sailing