2016 Nominee: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke

Published on October 31st, 2016

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is the most prestigious award of recognition in the sport of sailing, with five nominees in 2016 under consideration in the Male and Female categories. Meet nominees Peter Burling and Blair Tuke…

Pressure effects people in different ways. When current Rolex World Sailors of the Year, New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, arrived at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games they were far and away clear favourites to take the 49er gold with a quite astonishing four year run of results.

And while others collapse under the pressure of being tagged as favourites, it just didn’t register with the Kiwi boys. They took gold with two races to spare.

But the confidence that they took in to the Games did not come around through luck, it was a result of hard work and mastering the skiff in all conditions which built up the one thing that every sports team strives for, that air of invincibility that gives a team an edge over their competitors before a regatta has even begun.

The pair started the 2016 Rolex World Sailor of the Year period with a win in the South American Championship, quickly followed by the 2015 49er world title. The 2016 world title was ticked off next. Then the 2016 European title. The Sailing World Cup Hyeres title followed. Kieler Woche carried on the run. The titles just kept on coming. But then disaster, although a disaster for Burling and Tuke isn’t the same as a disaster for the rest of us.

A bronze in the South American Championships sailed in the waters of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games just a month before they took a tilt at the gold medal they had set their sights on and worked so hard towards. It was the first time in four years the ‘invincibles’ had tasted defeat in the Olympic class.

The question was, how would they respond to finishing anywhere other than on the top step of the podium? Burling and Take answered in their synonymous cool, calm and collected style, domininating the fleet to claim the coveted gold with races to spare.

The nomination for Burling and Tuke isn’t just all about the Olympic classes either, despite the obvious dominance. The pair are an integral part of Emirates Team New Zealand’s challenge for the America’s Cup. Balancing an Olympic campaign and the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series has only further strengthened their tags as ‘sailing’s hottest properties’.

Sandwiched between two 49er event wins in Europe, Burling and Tuke notched up an America’s Cup World Series win in New York, USA in spectacular fashion. With Burling at the helm and their catamaran stuck on the starting buoy’s anchor line, partner in crime Tuke jumped in to the water to unhook before climbing back onboard and helping the team to race and series victory.

Seemingly in sync with one another, Burling and Tuke continue to impress on the world sailing stage and are undoubtedly a formidable partnership.

The announcement of the 2016 Rolex World Sailors of the Year will be made on Tuesday November 8 in Barcelona, Spain, the host city of the World Sailing’s 2016 Annual Conference. The nominees in 2016 are:

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL)
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO)
Santiago Lange (ARG)
Giles Scott (GBR)
Damien Seguin (FRA)

Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG)
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA)
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR)
Charline Picon (FRA)

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

Source: Richard Aspland – World Sailing

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