Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards nominees

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World Sailing announce the finalists in this year’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.

The shortlist of sailors or crews, including world champions, Olympic medallists and world record holders, represent the wide range of disciplines in the sport of sailing and will be voted on by World Sailing Member National Authorities (MNAs), the international sailing community, fans and the public to decide a male winner and a female winner.

Voting for the awards will open tomorrow, Tuesday, 27 September, alongside voting for the World Sailing 11th Hour Sustainability Awards.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are recognised as the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of their outstanding achievements by the world of sailing. This year’s awards will be presented during the World Sailing Awards on Tuesday, 25 October in Abu Dhabi.

The winners will have their name engraved on the iconic marble and silver trophy depicting the globe and crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, as well as a custom Rolex timepiece to mark the occasion.

The 2022 Rolex World Sailor of the Year finalists are:

Female category

Male category

Scott Over, Commercial Director, World Sailing, said: “This year’s finalists have all excelled on the water and represent a high standard and diversity of achievement within the sport. We are delighted with a shortlist which shows what an exciting sport sailing is and the talent on show around the world at every event. Narrowing down a strong field of high achieving sailors was an immensely difficult task for our expert judging panel. All are deserving winners, and we now look forward to the vote to determine the male and female 2022 Rolex Sailor of the Year.”

About the nominees for Female Sailor of the Year

Helene Noesmoen (FRA): She has been dominant in the new Olympic windsurfing equipment for Paris 2024, ably shifting from the RS:X to the new foiling board. In the absence of a world title during the award’s qualifying period, she capped her impeccable season by winning the iQFOiL European Championship. Her elite skills also have her on the France SailGP Team.

Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz (NED):  This new pairing for 2022 has ruled the Olympic Women’s Skiff event, parlaying past success with other partners to win the 49erFX World Championship and runner-up at the Europeans. This is the second world title for Van Aanholt and third for Duetz.

Caterina Banti (ITA): When the Nacra 17 was modified for the Paris 2024 Mixed Multihull event, Banti along with partner Ruggero Tita have been unstoppable in the new equipment. After winning the European Championship by 74 points, their scoreline at the World Championship had wins in 14 of the 16 qualifying races, easily securing the title prior to the Medal Race.

About the nominees for Male Sailor of the Year

Ruggero Tita (ITA): Following Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, Tita with partner Caterina Banti have left the Nacra 17 fleet fighting for second in the Mixed Multihull event. With Class-approved changes to the rudder system that enhances foiling, this team has mastered the new configuration, winning both the European Championships and World Championships by impressive margins.

Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA): In what may be one of the hardest world titles to win, Bernaz toppled 126 sailors from 45 countries to win the ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship. After getting black-flagged at the start of the penultimate race, he regained his focus in the finale to win the title by 17 points. Bernaz also has excelled in match racing, winning an event on the US Grand Slam circuit, finishing second overall in this Grade 2 series.

Nicolas Goyard (FRA): Putting aside his Olympic equipment, Goyard won four of the five races at the Défi Wind, toppling more than 1200 athletes in windsurfing’s biggest event. His love of foiling has combined well with the new windsurfing equipment for Paris 2024, and while there was no world title to claim during the award’s qualifying period, he took wins in the iQFOiL at Semaine Olympique Française and the European Championship.

Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken (NED): After winning the Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta and taking second at the European Championship in the 49er Class, this Dutch duo put their stamp on the Olympic skiff event by defending their 2021 title at the World Championship, securing the victory before the Medal Race.

About the judging panel

  • Shirley Robertson (GBR) – Two-time Olympic gold medallist, broadcaster and winner of the 2000 Sailor of the Year.
  • Jo Aleh (NZL) – Former Olympic and world champion, chair of World Sailing’s Athletes’ Commission.
  • Yann Rocherieux (FRA) – Olympian and World Sailing Vice President.
  • Theresa Zabel (ESP) – Double Olympic champion and founder of the Ecomar Foundation.
  • Luca Rizzotti (ITA) – Founder and President of Foiling Week, President of the International Moth Class Association.
  • Dee Caffari (GBR) – First woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world, Chair of the World Sailing Trust.
  • Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) – Two-time Olympic medallist, four-time world champion.
  • Santiago Lange (ARG) – Former Olympic champion, America’s Cup sailor and naval architect.
  • Craig Leweck (USA) – Journalist, editor of Scuttlebutt News.

About the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards

World Sailing launched the World Sailor of the Year Awards in 1994 to reward individual sailors for outstanding achievements in the sport. Rolex has been the title sponsor of the awards since 2001, celebrating more than 20 years of excellence in sailing.

For more information and to see the Roll of Honour, please visit the World Sailing website.