Brits and Aussie claim 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

Published on December 2nd, 2021

Cowes, UK (December 2, 2021) – Olympic gold medalists Hannah Mills MBE (GBR) and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) were voted female 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year in a virtual ceremony streamed live from the Royal Yacht Squadron. Australia’s Tom Slingsby has won the male 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year in celebration of his achievements in three competitive classes over the past two years.

Mills and McIntyre claimed gold in Tokyo in the 470 class, a victory which made Mills the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time. This was her second Olympic gold, repeating her victory from Rio 2016 with her new partner.

McIntyre won her first gold medal in Tokyo and followed in the footsteps of her father, Michael, who won gold at the 1988 Games in Seoul. The pair received 37% of the votes, making them the clear choice among the five nominees for this year’s female Rolex World Sailor of the Year award.

Among the five male nominees, Slingsby secured 29% of the votes after defending his Moth World Championship, winning 13 of the 14 races, securing back-to-back 2019 and 2021 title wins. He has also set the standard in the global SailGP circuit, earning the season 1 title as Team CEO and Skipper of Team Australia, which is also currently top of the series leaderboard with just two events remaining in season 2.

He capped a fantastic year on the water by being part of the crew of ‘Comanche’, winners of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race.

A record-breaking 40,000 votes were cast this year to honour the achievements of sailors across all disciplines.

“I am completely blown away,” said Mills. “The line up this year was absolutely incredible. I am so proud of Eilidh for everything she put into this Olympic campaign, she was the absolute best teammate. I am really honored.

“I feel privileged to be a female in sailing right now, there are so many opportunities out there. I really hope to be a part of forging the pathway for female sailors of today and for the future. It is inspirational to be part of a federation like World Sailing who take sustainability so seriously and I feel so lucky to be involved in such an amazing sport.”

McIntyre added, “I just want to say thank you to Hannah, and everyone for voting for us and for all of your support. We wouldn’t be here without all of the amazing women pushing us.”

Slingsby was equally appreciative. “I remember when I was 15 years old, I wrote down my career goals and it was to win the Olympic Gold medal, win the America’s Cup and win World Sailor of the Year. I am very fortunate, this is the second time I have won the World Sailor of the Year award. I am so lucky to be in the position I am and to get these amazing opportunities. Congratulations to all the other guys, there were some unbelievable sailors nominated this year.”

A total of 13 athletes – including Olympic medallists, major offshore series winners, a kite world champion and new around the world record setter- had been shortlisted for their achievements between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2021.

World Sailing’s 146 Member National Associations and its 119 Classes had nominated a record number of 39 athletes representing a total of 19 nations from across the entire discipline spectrum for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2021.

These nominations were shortlisted by an expert panel including five former World Sailing Award winners – Jo Aleh (NZL), Theresa Zabell (ESP), Santiago Lange (ARG), Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Shirley Robertson (GBR) – alongside Dee Caffari (GBR), Craig Leweck (USA), Yann Rocherieux (FRA) and Luca Rizzotti (ITA).

The panel along with an online public vote decided the winners.

Female Nominees:
• Annie-Marie Rindom (DEN)
• Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA)
• Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR)
• Clarisse Cremer (FRA)
• Daniela Moroz (USA)

Male Nominees:
• Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL)
• Tom Slingsby (AUS)
• Yannick Bestaven (FRA)
• Kiran Badloe (NED)
• Giles Scott (GBR)

For additional information on the nominees, click here.


Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award:
2021 Hannah Mills MBE (GBR) & Eilidh McIntyre (GBR), Tom Slingsby (AUS)
2020 Not awarded
2019 Marco Gradoni (ITA), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN)
2018 Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA)
2017 Peter Burling (NZL), Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
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 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)

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