The eight World Sailing Awards 2018 were unveiled on 30 October in Sarasota, Florida, USA. The names of the best of the best were announced in the categories «Rolex Yachtsman of the Year» (male and female), as well as in the categories«Team of the Year» and«Yacht of the Year». Other awards include the «Special Prize for Sustainable Development» from World Sailing 11th Hour Racing, the Andrea Giuseppe «Beppe» CroceAward, the first Italian to head the International Sailing Federation (a position previously held only by the British) and the International Sailing Federation President's Development Award.
«Yachtswoman of the Year» were Dutchwoman Carolijn B rouwer and Frenchwoman Marie Riou, the first women to win the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race together as part of the Dongfeng Race Team. Prior to this race, Brower had already competed in two VORs and had plenty of experience in similar races, while Riou was a two-time Olympic champion in the Match Race and Nacra 17 catamaran races.
«It's a huge honour. I won the Word Sailing Award 20 years ago and to be able to be judged again in a different discipline just shows how versatile the sport of sailing is and how many different styles of sailing there are. To be able to say that Marie and I were the first women to win a VOR is something special. We are part of history. It's something that will definitely be remembered forever»," said Brower.
Team Brower and Rew had already, along with Dongfeng Race Team skipper Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, taken the stage one more time that evening to receive the prize as «Team of the Year».
«The» Yachtsman of the Year is Cypriot Pavlos Kontides , his country's first ever Olympic medallist. His success in London in 2012 inspired his entire nation and since then he has tried to set an example for compatriots and yachtsmen around the world. He won the world title twice in 2017 and 2018.
«There are many great stories associated with this prize. Ever since I was 14, I've been dreaming of getting it. I wrote a lot of wish notes. Maybe that sounds overdone, maybe it was an overly ambitious dream, but here I am today. I was able to achieve this by being born on a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean, and I hope that this will inspire young sailors to believe that big dreams don't have to scare them, that these dreams are worth holding on to. The word "impossible" is only in your head, only your brain is the barrier to the dream. Once you understand this, it becomes your main weapon and your main ally»," Contides said.
«The» jury chose RanVII, the new racing sailboat of Skype founder Niklas Zennström, whichis powered by an environmentally friendly electric motor, as the Yacht of the Year.» The title was earned by Carkeek Design's «outstanding design and«innovative concept and breakthrough technological solutions.». The Ran VII crew has won every race they have entered, including the prestigious One Ton Cup where the team took an unprecedented six first and two second places.
Also among the contenders for Yacht of the Year was the design L30 by Ukrainian yachtsman and 2005 World Champion Rodion Luka.
His yacht is a light and cheap model which was designed specially to promote yachting. The L30 can be handled without a crane, a simple trailer will suffice for transportation, while two people will be enough to man the mast. Thanks to her spacious cabin and wide bottom, she is also suitable for racing, corporate team-building, and for training in yacht schools.
«Green» award for activities in the Sustainable Sailing Program was given to the Corpus Christi( Texas) Yacht Club. The club organized the 2018 World Youth Championships, during which volunteers consistently brought attention to ocean protection issues and the issues identified by the program. Organizers were presented with a trophy created from bio-rubber and recycled carbon parts by one of the participating boats in the America's Cup «» .
The second sailing prize was The President's Development Award. The award went to Massimo Digheof Italy,Manager Disabled Sailing for the International Sailing Federation.
«We were deeply saddened to learn that the International Paralympic Committee would not include sailing in the Paris Games in 2024. As representatives of the discipline, we have taken a big step in its development. Today's winner has helped more countries start to develop the sport. 32 countries were represented at the World Championships in 2016, already in 2017 37 countries participated, and in 2018 - 39»," said Kim Andersen , President of the World Sailing Federation.
The special Beppe Croce Award «for Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Sailing» was awarded to Briton Bryan Willis, one of the most experienced figures in the world of sailing, which he has served faithfully since 1975. «Willis is one of the most respected members of the» Royal Yachting Association and International Sailing Federation. He has also been an International Judge and International Umpire since 1981 and 1986 respectively, when these judging systems were first being used. Organizers have involved Willis in eight America's Cup «» , three Volvo Ocean Race (until 2001, Whitbread Round the World Race) and countless world championships in various classes.