Three-time World Champion «Optimist», 15-year-old Italian Marco Gradoni has been crowned Rolex World Sailor of the Year. The awards ceremony was held in Bermuda on the evening of 29 October.
«The list of previous winners includes some of the most famous people from the world of sailing. I can't believe I'm one of them. But I know I have to stay focused on my goals. It's important. I have no words. It's a dream come true. It's such an honor»," the young man admitted.
Gradoni became the youngest recipient of the award.
Since September 2018, he has won every competition he has competed in, winning 14 gold medals.
«Since 2017, I've been working hard and trying to stay focused. Every day I thought about what I had to improve, what I had to learn, I thought I had to give it my all. And it worked. Since 2017, I've won a lot of competitions. In the last 12 months I've won them all»," said Gradoni.
The Yachtswoman of the Year was in turn the Danish Anne-Marie Rindom, a two-time Laser Radial World Champion. In addition to the World Championship gold in 2019, the athlete has won 3 more gold medals at the highest level of competition: the Princess Sofia Cup , the Hempel World Cup Series and the European Championships.
«Being nominated for Rolex World Sailor of the Year means a lot to me. I was happy, thrilled just to be here. But to win is incredible. This year has been the best year of my career so far, I am happy with the way things are shaping up. We're training for next year, the Olympic year. It's going to be a big year»," said Kingdom.
In addition to the Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, the Team of the Year also received their awards.Davidand PeterAskew's American Wizard, winners of the RORC Caribbean 600, the West to EastTransat Race and theRolex Fastnet Race.
The Sail GP series' F50 catamaran was named Boat of the Year.
This year World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award went to British Royal Yachting Association for the environmental awareness programme The Green Blue.
And The Beppe Croce Trophy and President's Development Award for his contribution to sailing was posthumously presented to Jeff Martin , who has dedicated his life to the Laser class, and to Oman Sail, an organization that supports the sailing community in the Sultanate of Oman.