Olympic champions Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre have been named female Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2021 while champion Tom Slingsby won the male category. Sail Africa won the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
British gold medallists Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre have been voted female 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year at the virtual ceremony live from the Royal Squadron in Cowes, Great Britain.
The Team GB sailors claimed their gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the 470 class. This was Mills second Olympic victory after her gold in Rio 2016. McIntyre won her first gold medal in Tokyo following her father’s footsteps, who won gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. They received 37% of votes, earning the female Rolex World Sailor of the Year award.
“I am completely blown away. The lineup 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.” -Hannah Mills
Australian sailor Tom Slingsby won the male 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year, celebrating his sailing achievements over the past two years. The Aussie athlete secured 29% of votes after defending his Moth World Championship.
Also, he set high standards in the global SailGP circuit, leading the series leaderboard with two events remaining in the season. If this was not enough, Slingsby was part of the crew of Comanche, the winners of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race in the monohull class.
“This is a huge honour for me. Thank you to everyone who voted. 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.” -Tom Slingsby
This is the second victory for Tom Slingsby as World Sailor of the Year as he also won in 2019.
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An incredible 40,000 votes were casted this year in the World Sailor of the Year Awards 2021. They honoured the achievements of sailors across different disciplines, for example, the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation has won in this category for their increasing participation of diverse and female sailors in Durban, South Africa. They have helped women race and earn podium positions over the past years, making sailing become a more multicultural sport.
Moreover, the 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award celebrates the execution of high-impact sustainable initiatives that protect the health of the ocean, aligned with the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030.
“This award really means a lot to us and Sail Africa. Our focus on racing sustainability and looking after our oceans is a huge benefit to Africa and to smaller development bodies like ourselves. It gives encouragement to the rest of the world that together we can make a difference.” -Nigel Milln, Chairman of Sail Africa.
The Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation will receive a 10,000 USD prize to continue funding their sustainability efforts, as well as their iconic trophy from recycled carbon fibre from an America’s Cup boat.
World Sailing President, Quanhai Li has congratulated all winning athletes as well as this year’s nominees who “are truly inspirational”. The list of nominees included Vendée Globe participant Clarisse Crémer and Daniela Moroz, 2021 European and World Champion and now member of the United States SailGP Team.
Amongst male nominees, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke defended their America’s Cup title this year in New Zealand, while Yannick Bestaven crossed the line first in the Vendée Globe 2020-21 and participated in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021.
From Nautical Channel we want to congratulate all winners of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2021 awards and celebrate the high standards in sailing this year as all nominees have been worthy of winning the title.