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Burling and Tuke make history with New Zealand Sailing’s Top Honour

Published on November 28th, 2015

(November 28, 2015) – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have taken New Zealand’s top Award in the sport of sailing for the third consecutive year and are now among the most celebrated sailors in New Zealand.

Burling and Tuke, who currently have an international strangle-hold over the Olympic 49er skiff class, were tonight named the winners of the 2015 Executive Travel Group Sailor of the Year at the prestigious Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards.

Their names will now feature on the historic Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy, (first presented back in 1963) for three consecutive years – 2013, 2014 and 2015 – a feat not achieved by any other individual or crew in New Zealand sailing history. [Find the archives here]

Volvo Young Sailor of the Year, recognising outstanding achievement for sailors under the age of 21, also went to a skiff sailing pair. Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot-Johnson from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club have taken the honour following their 2015 results in the 29er skiff class.

The Aon Emerging Talent category, introduced in 2010, was jointly awarded to Sam Bacon and Josh Armit. In other announcements made tonight Nespresso Coach of the Year went to Hamish Willcox (coach to Burling and Tuke), and Zhik Official of the Year was awarded to Megan Kensington of Auckland.

Executive Travel Group Sailor of the Year: Peter Burling (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) and Blair Tuke (Kerikeri Cruising Club)
Peter Burling (24 years old) and Blair Tuke (26 years old) are widely acknowledged as the most successful sailors in the world right now.

Earlier this month the pair took out the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of outstanding achievements in the world of sailing, when named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for 2015.

This was before they went on to take victory at their pinnacle event for the year. Burling and Tuke won the 2015 49er World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 21st and became the only 49er sailors to ever win three consecutive world titles in the Olympic skiff class.

It also saw them extend an unprecedented unbeaten run of regatta wins to 22 victories in a row. Since being beaten by Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen for the London Olympic gold medal, the NZL Sailing Team crew has won every 49er event they’ve sailed prompting international yachting commentators to describe them as being ‘in a class of their own.’

The previously dominant Australians (Outteridge and Jensen) haven’t left the class – they’re still campaigning towards Rio 2016 – Burling and Tuke have simply surpassed them and stepped onto a new level of consistThe kiwis should once again be the real story leaving Argentina, with an unprecedented 22nd Olympic class victories under their belts. This surely puts them into the top echelons of Olympic class dominance with the likes of Ainsley and Scheidt, who each had exceedingly long unbeaten streaks in the Finn and Laser respectively. It’s never been done quite like this in the 49er before, with three years of uninterrupted dominance. ency and performance.

Both sailors have also been promoted into key roles with New Zealand’s America’s Cup Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. With Burling and Tuke on board, (Burling at the helm) Emirates Team New Zealand has taken podium finishes at the America’s Cup World Series regattas in Portsmouth (2nd), Gothenburg (1st) and Bermuda (2nd) to hold the overall lead in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

At the 2015 Moth World Championships Peter Burling took victory, and Blair Tuke was 6th overall (and best placed rookie) in a large and talented fleet of sailors including Olympic medallists from a range of classes, plus three of the four helmsmen from the last America’s Cup AND many previous Moth World Champions.

Volvo Young Sailor of the Year: Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot-Johnson
Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot-Johnson, both from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, are at the head of a group of young New Zealand sailors achieving great results in the 29er class.

In July this year, they won the UK 29er National Championships and just a week later placed a credible 7th at the 29er World Championships in Wales.

Aon Emerging Talent Award: Josh Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) and Sam Bacon (Worser Bay Boating Club)

2015 Aon Emerging Talent Award was jointly awarded to two separate individuals Josh Armit from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club and Sam Bacon from the Worser Bay Boating Club.

Josh Armit not only won the Starling National Championships, but at just 13 years of age, became the youngest ever sailor to do so. This saw him beat Dan Slater and Peter Burling’s record when they won at age 14.

Sam Bacon started the year with a win in the P Class Tanner Cup and followed this up a few months later by winning the New Zealand Optimist National Championships on his home waters of Worser Bay.

Nespresso Coach the Year: Hamish Willcox
Nespresso Coach of the Year for 2015 went to coach of this year’s Executive Travel Group Sailor of the Year winners, Hamish Willcox.

Hamish has been an integral member of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke’s tight team over the last three years coaching them throughout their 22 consecutive victories in the 49er class.

Zhik Official of the Year: Megan Kensington, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
For many years Megan Kensington has provided the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and New Zealand with exceptional service to race management.

Highlights include being course setter for the 2003 America’s Cup in Auckland, the deputy PRO for the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover in 2012 and again in 2015. Megan is currently Chair of Race Management at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron overseeing some 1200 races a year!

Yachting New Zealand President’s Award supported by Fuji Xerox: Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
The Yachting New Zealand President’s Award, which recognises work done in promoting, supporting and developing the interests of yachting, was tonight awarded to the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club.

Queen Charlotte Yacht Club won the award for their very popular Interislander Optimist Regatta. From humble beginnings, the regatta has become an iconic event in the New Zealand sailing calendar and is now the largest centreboard regatta in the South Island.

Richard Gifford, Commodore of Queen Charlotte Yacht Club was in Auckland and accepted the Award at tonight’s dinner ceremony.

Also recognised at tonight’s 2015 Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards were…

Yachting New Zealand Service Awards for 2015
Merlin Caskie – for services to Panmure Lagoon Sailing Club
Matt Hall-Smith – for services to French Bay Yacht Club
Dave Gunn – for services to Murrays Bay Sailing Club
Martin Tasker – for broadcasting services to yachting
Bill Miller – for services to Stewart 34 racing
Rob Burn – for services to Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
Craig Jones – for services to yacht race handicapping
Phil Turner – for services to youth sailing
Roger Badham – for weather forecasting services to yachting
Will Calver – for promotion of sailing through photography

Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards for 2015
Emirates Team New Zealand – Leaders of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series
Dave Shaw – Paper Tiger International Champion (three consecutive titles)
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 49er, Moth, AC45
Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech – 49erFX class
Daryl Wislang – Winner Volvo Ocean Race (Abu Dhabi)
Matt Stechmann – Winner 2014 OK Dinghy World Champs
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – Nacra 17 class
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie- Women’s 470
Scott Leith – 2015 Laser Radial Masters World Champ
Luke O’Connell – Silver medal 2014 OK Dinghy World Champs
Grant Loretz – Sole kiwi on the highly successful TP52 Azzurra

Yachting New Zealand Youth Performance Awards for 2015
Alastair Gifford (Queen Charlotte Yacht Club) – Byte II class
Sam Bacon (Worser Bay Boating Club) – 2015 Optimist National Champion and P Class Tanner Cup winner
Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot-Johnson (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) – 29er class
Josh Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) – 2015 Starling National Champion
James Wilson and Oscar Gunn (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) – 29er class
Tam Lindsay and William McKenzie (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) – 29er class

Source: Jodie Bakewell-White, Yachting New Zealand Communications Manager

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