Who will win the World Sailing Awards?

Published on November 13th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The World Sailing Awards 2023, celebrating excellence and achievement in sailing, will take place November 14 starting from 19:30 UTC (2:30pm ET) in Málaga, Spain. There will be no live video stream of the ceremony, with viewers left to follow along on World Sailing’s social media channels.

As the achievement awards will be decided by a selection committee and a public vote, how much will popularity influence the outcome? With any luck, not at all but here are my bets:

Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2023
• Women: When Kristen Neuschafer (RSA) became the first woman to win the solo Golden Globe Race, which included a rescue of a fellow competitor during the course of the race, it rocked the internet. Despite this being a retro race for dreamers, she’ll win.

• Men: Among the four nominees is a kiter and a skiffer with small audiences, plus they are up against champions from the heavily promoted SailGP and iconic The Ocean Race. Given the drama for how the around the world race ended, my bet is on Charlie Enright (USA).

World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award
This award celebrates the delivery of high-impact, highly-replicable sustainability initiatives, aligned to World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030. Among the four nominees, Ecoracer Sailing stood out by presenting the Ecoracer 30 boat, allegedly the world’s first 100% recyclable production boat. That’s pretty much the definition of sustainability.

Team of the Year
This recognition was created as the individual awards tend to favor small boat achievement or fail to recognize how a recipient was just a cog in a bigger team. My guess is if Enright doesn’t win the Rolex, his 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) will win this award. Otherwise, this award goes to Australia SailGP (AUS).

Other Awards
The remaining award nominees have not been disclosed, nor has the process for the recipient’s selection. So much for transparency:

• World Sailing Boat of the Year award recognizes outstanding boat design, innovative concepts and ground-breaking technological advancements that change the face of sailing and impact change across the world.
• Beppe Croce Trophy goes to an individual who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.
• President’s Development Award is presented to an individual or organization in honor of their contribution to the growth and development of sailing, either nationally or internationally.

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