Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are on top of the sailing world after being announced ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for 2015 at a dinner ceremony in Sanya, China overnight, after a remarkable year of sailing achievements.
The NZL Sailing Team pair was unable to attend the announcement at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year dinner presentation held in Sanya, China as they are in Argentina for the final build up to the 2015 49er World Championships.
Blair Tuke said: It is a really big honour for us to win this award. We dont sail and race to win these awards, but it is really nice to get these accolades for all the hard work we put in. We are really proud to have won.
All the nominees have achieved some awesome things this year in our sport, especially Ian Walker for winning the Volvo Ocean Race. Weve been working hard all year and the results have come our way, not only in the 49er, but also in the other boats we sail. So we are looking ahead, keeping the hammer down towards the Olympics and then to bringing the Cup back to New Zealand.
The only other New Zealanders to win the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year are Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in 2013 (New Zealands first ever winners in the Female category), Sir Russell Coutts who has won ISAF Male Sailor of the Year twice, in 1995 and 2003, Mike Sanderson in 2006 and Sir Peter Blake in 1994.
Burling (24 years old) and Tuke (26 years old) have totally dominated the Olympic 49er class over the past twelve months, and indeed the past three years, with an unprecedented string of consecutive victories.
Their most recent gold medal was at the 2015 South American Championships just this week in Argentina. In August Burling and Tuke won gold at 2015 Aquece Rio Regatta (2015 Rio Test Event) - significantly this victory was on the Olympic Games race track and they remain the crew to beat with less than a year to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
During the Awards period, both sailors have also been promoted into key roles with New Zealands Americas Cup Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. With Burling and Tuke on board, (Burling at the helm) Emirates Team New Zealand has secured podium finishes at this years Americas Cup World Series regattas in Portsmouth (2nd), Bermuda (1st) and Gothenburg (2nd) to lead the series.
At the 2015 Moth World Championships Peter Burling took victory, and Blair Tuke was 6th overall (and best placed rookie) in a large and talented fleet of sailors including Olympic medallists from a range of classes, plus three of the four helmsmen from the last Americas Cup and many previous Moth World Champions.
Also named as finalists for world sailings top honour in 2014, Burling and Tuke were pipped for the title last year by Australian Jimmy Spithill for his Americas Cup achievements.
This year the New Zealanders were up against Frenchman Loick Peyron (offshore multihull racer) and three Brits including Giles Scott (Finn campaigner and member of Ben Ainslie Racing Team), Ian Walker (Skipper of Abu Dhabi, Volvo Ocean Race winner) and Ian Williams (Match Racing).
Great Britains Sarah Ayton was awarded ISAF World Female Sailor of the Year for 2015.
The ISAF World Sailor Awards were launched in 1994, and just four other New Zealanders feature in the previous winners list. They include Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in 2013 (New Zealands first ever winners in the Female category), Sir Russell Coutts who has won ISAF Male Sailor of the Year twice, in 1995 and 2003, Mike Sanderson in 2006 and Sir Peter Blake in 1994.
Burling and Tukes track record Since September 2014
- 1st 2015 South American Championships
- 1st - 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event
- 1st - 2015 49er Rio International Sailing Week
- 1st - 2015 49er European Championships
- 1st - 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth
- 1st - 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
- 1st - 2015 Princesa Sofia Regatta (Palma)
- 1st - 2015 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
- 1st - 2015 New Zealand 49er National Championships
- 1st - 2014 49er Intergalactics Rio
Additionally, with Emirates Team New Zealand
- 1st Louis Vuitton Americas Cup World Series Gothenburg, August 2015
- 2nd Louis Vuitton Americas Cup World Series Portsmouth, July 2015
Prior to September 2014
- 1st - 2014 49er South American Championships
- 1st - 2014 49er World Championships, Santander
- 1st - 2014 Aquece Rio Test Event
- 1st - 2014 49er European Championships
- 1st - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
- 1st - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma
- 1st - 2014 New Zealand 49er National Championships
- 1st - 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
- 1st - 2013 49er World Championships
- 1st - 2013 49er European Championships
- 1st - 2013 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
The winners are selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, by a process of voting prior to the event and on the night of the Awards. The MNAs are invited to vote for the male and female nominee they believe most deserves the Award. This vote will contribute to 50% of the overall result, while the remaining 50% of the vote will be decided by those in attendance on the night in Sanya.
Each winner is presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.