On Oct. 17, World Sailing announced the nominees in this year’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year, 11th Hour Racing Sustainability and Team of the Year awards.
The nominees for each award represent the highest achievement in the sport over the past year. The recipients will be determined by a public vote, which is currently open and will close at midnight UTC on Oct. 30.
The honors will be presented during the live World Sailing Awards on Nov. 14 in Malaga, Spain.
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a prestigious honor presented annually by World Sailing, the international governing body for the sport of sailing. Established in 1994, the award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in the field over the previous year.
The recipients are selected through a nomination and voting process involving national sailing federations, the general public and a panel of sailing experts.
“This year’s nominees are drawn from far and wide across the entire sport of sailing,” said World Sailing CEO David Graham in a press release. “With so many diverse disciplines, inspirational figures and great achievements to honor, selecting the nominees was an incredibly difficult task for the judging panel as every one of them has a strong case.
“We can also take pride in the huge progress in sustainability throughout the sport, from the use of recyclable materials to extending the lifespan of existing equipment and making a change in the way events are organized. This year’s finalists reflect the impact sailing can have on communities across the globe, and we are very proud of everything all of the entrants have achieved.”
The 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominees:
- Betsy Alison (USA): Alison showed great courage with an inspirational win in the Hansa 303 at the Allianz Sailing World Championships, less than a year after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her hip.
- Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE): The duo’s dominant performance in the 49erFX secured victory at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague as they won seven out of 15 races and earned podium positions in five others.
- Kristen Neuschafer (RSA): Neuschafer wrote her name into the history books by becoming the first woman to win the solo Golden Globe Race, a journey around the world without modern technology. The South African also came to the rescue of a fellow competitor during the race.
- Lauriane Nolot (FRA): Nolot defined consistency in 2023 with Formula Kite victories in the Sailing World Championships, the Paris 2024 Test Event, the Princes Sofia Regatta and the Semaine Olympique Francaise De Voile.
- Charlie Enright (USA): An exceptional performance in The Ocean Race saw Enright become the first American skipper to win the event with his leadership of the 11th Hour Racing Team.
- Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken (NED): Lambriex and Van de Werken won the 49er world title for the third time in a row, this time with a race to spare on home waters at the Allianz Sailing World Championships. The Dutch pair also won 49er gold at the Paris 2024 Test Event in Marseille with a race to spare.
- Max Maeder (SGP): The teenager collected many medals in 2023, including golds at the Allianz Sailing World Championships, the Asian Games and the Formula Kite Youth World Championships.
- Tom Slingsby (AUS): Slingsby secured victory for Team Australia in SailGP Season 3 in May, marking their third consecutive season win, and has achieved four podium finishes in Season 4. He also skippered American Magic to victory in the inaugural event of the 2024 America’s Cup held in Spain in September.
The 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award nominees:
- Biotherm Sailing Team: The Biotherm Sailing Team studied biodiversity, capturing data onboard their IMOCA class using an automated microscope to analyze phytoplankton in understudied ocean parts.
- Club de Vela la Ballena de Alegre: Hosts of the 2023 Optimist World Championships, the club created a sustainability program for the event, focusing on the environment by reducing waste and improving biodiversity conservation, as well as socially through community engagement and education.
- Ecoracer Sailing: Manufacturers of the Ecoracer 30 boat, the world’s first 100% recyclable production boat, the firm is also aiming to develop a racing series using the boats to showcase the issue of end-of-life composite materials that are not reused.
- The Magenta Project: A global leader in female empowerment in sailing, the project’s nine-month mentoring program has helped 150 women accelerate their progress into their chosen sailing field over the last four years.
Team of the Year nominees:
- 11th Hour Racing Team: The 2022-23 Ocean Race winners demonstrated all the qualities needed to succeed in one of the sport’s most demanding events and supported several initiatives to improve ocean health.
- Australia SailGP: Skippered by Slingsby, Australia SailGP won their third series title with a victory in Season 3 of SailGP when they prevailed in the Grand Final in San Francisco. Slingsby’s team won four of the 11 regattas throughout the season to finish atop the overall series leaderboard before winning the three-boat Grand Final.
- Lambriex and van de Werken: Also nominated for Rolex Sailor of the Year, the crew of won the 49er world title at this year’s Allianz Sailing World Championships on home waters, making it their third consecutive win, and 49er gold at the Paris 2024 Sailing Test Event in Marseille, claiming both titles with a race to spare.
- Match In Pink Normandy Elite Team: Skippered by Pauline Courtois, team has had a stellar year. In 2023, they won the Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Denmark and the Women’s Match Racing European Championship in Italy. They finished first in the Women’s World Match Racing Tour in Normandy and the World Sailing Match Racing Ranking.
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year award ceremony is held annually, bringing together the sailing community to celebrate the accomplishments of the nominees and winners. It’s an occasion where the sailing world recognizes and honors athletes who have made remarkable contributions to the sport and have achieved excellence in competitions at various levels.
For more information, please visit https://www.sailing.org/2023/10/17/nominees-for-world-sailing-awards-2023-revealed.