Published: Thursday, 12 November 2015

ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year have been announced at the ISAF Annual Conference in Sanya, China, with Sarah Ayton, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke crowned as the evening’s winners.

Isaf Rolex World Sailors Of The Year Crowned

(Sarah Ayton)

Determination, persistence and the pursuit of excellence were clearly shared among the impressive list of nominees for this year's awards.

"This award is truly a special recognition for an individual or pair of sailors that has stood out during the year,” says International Sailing Federation President Carlo Croce. “It is a culmination of hard work and endeavor, combined perhaps with a bit of good fortune. Most nominees are here tonight, and if they are not, they are doing what they do best ­sailing.”

This year's winners of the male ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award are the talented duo from New Zealand campaigning in the 49er for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. 

Burling and Tuke have dominated the sailing scene over the last year, winning ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas, Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia, while also competing in the America's Cup World Series with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Currently preparing for the 49er Worlds, the pair could not attend the ceremony but commenting on their win from Buenos Aires, Tuke explained, "It is a really big honour for us to win this award. We don't 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,” continued Tuke. “We've 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 and keeping the hammer down towards the Olympics and then towards bringing the Cup back to New Zealand.”

Isaf Rolex World Sailors Of The Year Crowned 2

(Peter Burling and Blair Tuke)

Double Olympic gold medalist and the only female competing on the Extreme Sailing Series, Sarah Ayton was awarded the female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

After commending her fellow nominees, the golden girl of British sailing, Ayton commented, “It means such a lot to me to have won the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. I'm truly touched and proud. I hope to continue being an inspiration to women, young children and individuals who enjoy the sport that we love so much.”

Rolex has sponsored the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards since 2001 and is the highest recognition a sailor can achieve based on a sailor's results over a 12-month period.

Competition for the 2015 Awards was remarkable, with five female and five male candidates short-listed from a list of nominations made by the public.

The Member National Authorities (MNAs) votes were tallied earlier in the day and then each guest at the awards ceremony had the opportunity to cast one vote. 

The winners were presented with a Rolex timepiece and the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy.

Isaf Rolex World Sailors Of The Year Crowned 1

2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Nominees:


Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL)

Loick Peyron (FRA)

Giles Scott (GBR)

Ian Walker (GBR)

Ian Williams (GBR)


Sarah Ayton (GBR)

Sam Davies (GBR)

Elena Kalinina (RUS)

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN)

Charline Picon (FRA)