America's Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling and Dutch racer Marit Bouwmeester have been crowned the male and female 2017 Rolex Sailor of the Year

10 November

Peter Burling and Marit Bouwmeester now join the likes of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Sir Ben Ainslie, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark having been named the male and female 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

The announcement was made during the inaugural World Sailing Awards at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Emirates Team New Zealand’s Burling, who is currently taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race on board Team Brunel, was described as “cool under pressure, calm and collected on the water”.

This was clearly evident at the helm of Emirate Team New Zealand during the America’s Cup, where the 26-year-old led a 7-1 victory over ORACLE TEAM USA.

Meanwhile, Dutch racer Marit Bouwmeester was praised for her “outstanding comeback” following repetitive injuries after claiming gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2016 World Cup Series Final in Melbourne, Australia.

A laser sailor wearing a red buoyancy aid and white cap on her boat

Marit Bouwmeester. Credit: PA Images

The 29-year-old was unable to race at major regattas throughout the early part of the 2017 but had targeted returning to the sport at her home Laser Radial World Championship in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

Bouwmeester made an outstanding comeback and stormed her way through to claim an emphatic third world title. Just two months later, she claimed the European Championship title ensuring she holds all the current major titles – Olympic, Worlds and European.

In attendance in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Bouwmeester was voted the female Rolex World Sailor of the Year by the public, World Sailing’s Member National Authorities and guests voting on the night.

More below…

An astounded Bouwmeester was almost lost for words upon receiving the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.

“I’m just a girl from Friesland, north of Netherlands,” she commented.

“I have always had big dreams and I didn’t just want to go to the Olympics but I wanted to win a gold medal and dominate the sport of sailing, being the best sailor there is. People laughed at me because at that time, I wasn’t even ranked in the top 20.”

“I guess if you enjoy what you do and if you work hard and stay dedicated then dreams do come true. I want to spread the message to the young and the old, to follow their dreams,” added Bouwmeester.

The 2017 World Sailing Awards also saw the presentation of the Beppe Croce Trophy and the President’s Development Award.

The Beppe Croce Trophy is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. Carlo Croce, President of World Sailing from 2013 – 2016 received the trophy.

Stan Honey was the recipient the President’s Trophy, an award that recognises an individual for their work in developing sailing.


07 November

The public have just hours left to vote in the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

Nominees for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year feature sailors drawn from the America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, windsurfing, offshore and Olympic Class racing, highlighting the breadth and depth of the sport.

The nominees are:

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) – 2017 Laser Radial World Champion
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) – 49erFX World Cup Series Champions
Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU) – 2017 Pro Windsurfers Association World Tour Freestyle World Champion
Tara Pacheco (helmed by Fernando Echavarri) (ESP) – Nacra 17 World Cup Series Champions

Glenn Ashby (AUS) – America’s Cup winning Skipper
Peter Burling (NZL) – America’s Cup winning Helmsman
Thomas Coville (FRA) – Singlehanded Round the World Record holder
Armel Le Cleac’h (FRA) – 2016-2017 Vendée Globe winner

The results of the public vote will be announced at the inaugural World Sailing Awards in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Alongside the public vote, World Sailing’s Member National Authorities and an on-night vote will decide who will receive the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.

For the first time in 2017, the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is incorporated into the inaugural World Sailing Awards. A

head of the presentation, the recipients of the President’s Development Award and Beppe Croce Trophy will be announced.

21 August

World Sailing is inviting nominations for the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.

There are two categories – male and female – and sailors nominated may represent any discipline of the sport.

Nominations can be made by anyone but the sailor (or crew). Those nominated for the 2017 Award must have performed an “outstanding achievement in the sport of sailing between 19 September 2016 and 31 August 2017”.

Click here to nominate a sailor (or crew) for the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

Nominations must be received by World Sailing no later than 19.00 UTC on Friday 1 September 2017.

World Sailing will draw up a shortlist of nominations with the highest and most inspirational achievers going on to become the 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Nominees.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 7 November 2017 at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is the most prestigious award of recognition in the dynamic sport of sailing. Since the awards’ inception in 1994, the trophy has proudly accumulated the names of those who have demonstrated unparalleled endurance, performance and accomplishment in sailing.


Beginning with Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the inaugural winners, the trophy reads like the definitive who’s who in sailing.

Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award include:
2016 Santiago Lange (ARG), Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark (GBR).
2015 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL), Sarah Ayton (GBR)
2014 James Spithill (AUS), Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA)
2013 Mat Belcher (AUS), Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL)
2012 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Lijia Xu (CHN)
2011 Iker Martinez & Xabier Fernandez (ESP), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2010 Tom Slingsby (AUS), Blanca Manchon (ESP)
2009 Torben Grael (BRA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2008 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
2007 Ed Baird (USA), Claire Leroy (FRA)
2006 Mike Sanderson (NZL), Paige Railey (USA)
2005 Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz (ESP), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2004 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2003 Russell Coutts (SUI), Siren Sundby (NOR)
2002 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2001 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2000 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl (USA), Shirley Robertson (GBR)
1999 Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), Margriet Matthijse (NED)
1998 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
1997 Pete Goss (GBR), Ruslana Taran & Elena Pakholchik (UKR)
1996 Jochen Schümann (GER), Lai Shan Lee (HKG)
1995 Russell Coutts (NZL), Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
1994 Peter Blake (NZL) & Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR), Theresa Zabell (ESP)