Tom Saunders won the prize, Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year Award, at the Aon Yachting Excellence Awards
The 30-year-old late last year became just the second New Zealander to win the ILCA 7 (Laser) world title since the first event in 1974 and backed that up with fourth at the 2022 world championships. The ILCA 7 is considered the most competitive of all the Olympic classes and Saunders’ form over the past 12 months sets him up well for a tilt at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Saunders collected the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy from Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, who is also Yachting New Zealand patron, at a gala awards dinner attended by more than 250 people at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The Tauranga sailor was also named Aon Male Sailor of the Year and was a recipient of a Yachting New Zealand Performance Award.
Saunders’ partnership with coach Mike Bullot was also acknowledged with Bullot named B&G Coach of the Year.
2022 Aon Yachting Excellence Awards
Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year: Tom Saunders
Aon Female Sailor of the Year: Elise Beavis
Aon Male Sailor of the Year: Tom Saunders
NZL Sailing Foundation Young Female Sailor of the Year: Helena Sanderson
NZL Sailing Foundation Young Male Sailor of the Year: Seb Menzies and George Lee Rush
Aon Emerging Talent Award: Will Leech, Isla Barker
Yachting New Zealand Official of the Year: Harold Bennett
B&G Coach of the Year: Mike Bullot
Lawson’s Dry Hills Presidents Award: Queen Charlotte Yacht Club
Yachting New Zealand Sustainability Award: Delayne Salthouse
North Sails Sportsmanship Award: Jeff O’Leary
VMG Young Leadership Award: Angus Wright