A Bad Year to be Shortlisted

Published on October 3rd, 2018

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
As an ongoing voting participant in the US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, and the National Sailing Hall of Fame, I’ve become accustomed to the arduous task of comparing accomplishments over the increasingly diverse landscape of our sport.

It’s brutal duty, tearing down and peeling apart the highlight moments of individuals, seeking the candidates that can endure the slaughter.

Among the challenges in the process is for the jury to have a thorough knowledge of what each accomplishment meant. Not every World Championship is the same, even from year to year within the same class. As Scuttlebutt editor, I have needed insight, but it remains a painful task.

However, I’m no fan of how the World Sailor of the Year awards are decided. Prior to 2016, the votes came from each of the 145 World Sailing member nations, launching a political and geographic debate. Now the public is invited to vote too, making it a popularity contest. Really?

But despite my reservations, among the 11 nominated sailors for the 2018 award, I’d be shocked if the winners didn’t come from the Dongfeng Race Team that won the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.

Among the women, I’d love to see Daniela Moroz (USA) someday win, but women’s kiteboarding needs to significantly grow for that to happen. And I am a huge fan of Wendy Tuck (AUS) as she became the first woman skipper to win an around the world race, but the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is not a front-line event.

As for the men, it’s hard not to embrace Croatia’s Fantela brothers. After Sime won the 470 gold at Rio 2016, now he has the 2018 49er World title after just entering the class. As for Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED), he is pure magic, crushing his competition while having way more fun than anyone else.

All the shortlist nominees are deserving… they just picked a bad year to be a winner.

The finish of the Volvo Ocean Race was just too climatic, and skipper Charles Caudrelier (FRA) is too easy to cheer for. As for Carolijn Brouwer (NED) and Marie Riou (FRA), being the first women to win the event, enough said.

I will be in attendance on October 30, eating my banquet chicken, when the winners are announced at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Sarasota, Florida, USA. Look for me to be shocked if I’m wrong.

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