2016 Nominee: Giles Scott
Published on November 1st, 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 nominee Giles Scott…
Turning up to an event as favourite always adds that little bit of pressure. When you come from a country that has dominated a class and are following in the footsteps of one of the greatest ever Olympic sailors, it somewhat multiples that pressure.
That was the unenviable task that Great Britain’s Giles Scott had to deal with and he passed the test with flying colours.
As part of the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team with compatriot and five-time Olympic medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, Scott was juggling an Olympic campaign with sailing in the America’s Cup World Series throughout the nomination period.
Stepping out from the shadow of Ainslie and entrusted with the Finn Olympic crown, Scott had to perform or else face heading back home and telling his friend and team mate he had dropped the Olympic baton for his country. This was not an option.
Carrying on in his so far impressive Olympic pursuit which was littered with titles, Scott claimed the Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand at the end of 2015 before a second place at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia, the first time he had not been on the top step of the podium since April 2013.
Scott was however back to winning ways in Gaeta, Italy as he secured yet another Finn Gold Cup before he took gold in his home waters of Weymouth and Portland at the Sailing World Cup. It was a winning goodbye to his homeland before he had to move on to Rio 2016, and the cauldron of the Olympic Games.
Every single Finn sailor in Rio de Janeiro knew Scott was the one to beat. He had a target on his chest for the whole fleet to aim at, the pressure was on.
Down to business, Scott steamed ahead of the fleet and secured the Finn Olympic gold in a style that even his predecessor Ainslie couldn’t manage. He had won with a race to spare. If you are going to continue on a country tradition and win gold, you do it in style and step out of the shadows of those before to cast your own.
Usually reserved and business like in his regatta wins, Scott crossed the Rio 2016 finish line with gold secured and the pressure valve was released. What lay beneath the surface was a character bursting with both self and national pride, safe in the knowledge he could return home, and to Land Rover BAR HQ, with his head held high and a gold medal around his neck.
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