Australia's Mathew Belcher and New Zealand duo Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie scooped the ISAF crowns

Olympians stormed the 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards winning the men’s and women’s categories.

Australia’s Mathew Belcher and New Zealand duo

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were awarded the prestigious titles last night.


Having being nominated twice before in 2010 and 2012, it proved to be

third time lucky for Mathew Belcher, the Australian Olympic and World

champion in the 470 dinghy class, whose current winning streak stretches

to an amazing 17 consecutive regattas.


‘It’s a complete honour,” said Belcher during the awards ceremony held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. ‘It’s

great recognition for this year and the efforts we’ve put in and the

results we’ve achieved. I am very fortunate to have great support, from

my coach Victor Kovalenko, crew and support staff.


470 sailors were also rewarded in the female category of the Awards. The

New Zealand pairing of Jo Aleh and Olivia ‘Polly’ Powrie are the

current women’s Olympic and World champions in the Class.


‘I’m a little bit shocked,’ said Aleh. ‘There were some

amazing nominees this year and we are delighted to be part of this. We

feel honoured to be part of the group.’

‘We haven’t done this alone and

we had some wonderful people behind us who have been truly supportive,’ added Powrie.

How the awards were decided


The winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards were

decided by vote by the Member National Authorities (MNAs) of ISAF

following a worldwide selection process that began with an open

invitation for nominations.

Two awards, one for a female sailor/crew and

one for a male sailor/crew, were presented to the individuals who are

deemed to have most distinguished themselves during the qualifying

period from 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013.


Past recipients of the Awards – which were launched in 1994 – have been

drawn from the diverse disciplines of the sport: Olympic dinghy and

keelboats, single-handed ocean racing, transatlantic record breaking,

match-racing, America’s Cup and windsurfing are all represented. In

addition to the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Trophy,

each winner is presented with a Rolex timepiece.


The full list of nominees for this year’s awards were:


Male

Mathew Belcher (AUS) – Men’s 470 World & Olympic Champion

François Gabart (FRA) – IMOCA World Champion & 2012-13 Vendée Globe Winner

Johnny Heineken (USA) – Kiteboarding World #1 & 2012 Men’s Course Racing World Champion

Paul Larsen (AUS) – Vestas Sailrocket 2 Outright Speed Record

Ian Williams (GBR) – Match Racing 2012 Match Racing World Champion

World #1 Open Match Racer for 16 consecutive releases starting in January 2012


Female

Jo Aleh & Olivia Powrie (NZL) – Women’s 470 World & Olympic Champions

Deneen Demourkas (USA) – Farr 30 2013 World Champion – third consecutive title

Erika Heineken (USA) – Kiteboarding 2012 Course Racing World Champion

Raiya Al Habsi (OMA) – First Omani Woman To Sail in the Rolex Fastnet Race

www.sailing.org/worldsailor

Pictures: ISAF World Sailor of the Year 2013 winners and group of nominees. Credit: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex