Ellen MacArthur has taken ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award for her outstanding achievements over the last 12 months
Dame Ellen MacArthur and Tornado World Champions Fernando Echavarri Erasun and Antón Paz Blanco of Spain have paid tribute to the international sailing community after being named as winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2005.
At the Awards Ceremony in Singapore, the three sailors were honoured for their outstanding sailing achievements during the 12 months to 31 August 2005, when MacArthur completed her record-breaking solo sprint around the world in her maxi-trimaran B&Q and Echavarri and Paz were crowned Tornado World and European Champions after a string of strong performances.
“I would like to say thank you to ISAF, its sponsor and its members for this Award,” said MacArthur, who is currently racing in the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabres with Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain on the Open 60 Sill et Veolia.
“I was fortunate enough to have received this Award in 2001 and it is as much of a surprise and honour to me now as it was back then. The International Sailing Federation provides a great service to the world of sailing, by utilising the 117 member nations it continues to promote sailing by raising its profile and encouraging as many people as possible to become involved in this sport. I would also like to congratulate the other sailors who have been nominated for the Female Award. They are at the forefront of their own sailing discipline and I feel privileged to be nominated along side them.”
In 2001, MacArthur dominated women’s sailing after taking the runners-up trophy in the 2000 Vendée Globe and becoming the fastest female and youngest sailor ever to race around the world solo, non-stop. The year previously, she also earned a nomination for the Award by winning Class 1 of the Europe 1 New Man STAR (Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race Plymouth to Newport).
On 7 February this year, MacArthur carved a unique place in history by crossing the finishing line off the coast of Brittany to set a new single-handed round the world non-stop record. She sliced more than a day off Francis Joyon’s time set in 2004, to finish in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds, achieving an average speed of 12.66 knots over the 27,354 nautical mile course. When she arrived back in the UK, she was greeted by thousands of supporters and was promptly made a Dame by HM Queen Elizabeth II.
A few weeks later, she also set a new SNSM (St Nazaire to St Malo) crewed maxi record on board B&Q, although an attempt on the Transatlantic record from New York to Lizard, UK last month had to be abandoned due to unsuitable weather conditions.
Tornado sailors Fernando Echavarri Erasun and Antón Paz Blanco continued in 2005 where they left off the previous year and have enjoyed an extraordinary 12 months, starting with victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week in March where they won five of the nine races. In May, they took the gold medal at the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta then followed it up the following month by winning the ISAF Grade W Tornado World Championship.
In August, they reinforced their credentials as the most exciting talent on the Tornado circuit by adding the European Championship title to their portfolio and as a result accumulated more points to boost their ISAF World Ranking position. Through the nomination period they climbed steadily to the top spot, making it theirs on 29 June.
Since then, skipper Echavarri has indicated where his future might ultimately lie after his Olympic ambitions have been fulfilled. He has spent the past few weeks with the crew of the Spanish yacht movistar, one of the favourites for the Volvo Ocean Race title, and has been put on standby by skipper Bouwe Bekking to compete in a leg or inshore regatta depending on his availability.
Echavarri, 33, and Paz, 29, started racing Tornadoes together in 1997 after starting their careers in Lasers and Europes respectively. By the Olympic Games in 2004, they had worked their way into the world’s top ten though a disappointing performance in Athens, where they finished in eighth place, proved a turning point in their fortunes.
The Awards Presentation at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore was hosted by distinguished triple Olympic medallist and multiple World Champion Alessandra Sensini of Italy and attended by more than 500 guests from 50 nations, including international sailors and prominent personalities from the sailing world, such as World Sailor nominees Peter Gilmour (AUS), Finian Maynard (BVI), Blanca Manchon (ESP), Claire Leroy (FRA), Bruno Peyron (FRA) and Rohan Veal (AUS). Presenting the Awards were ISAF President of Honour HM King Constantine and Claudio Mariani of Rolex Singapore.
The winners were each presented with a Rolex timepiece and the marble and silver World Sailor Trophy – a solid marble sphere depicting the world and crowned by five silver spinnakers representing the continents.
The other nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2005 were:
Claire LEROY (FRA)
Blanca MANCHÓN (ESP)
Paige RAILEY (USA)
Peter GILMOUR (AUS)
Finian MAYNARD (IVB)
Bruno PEYRON (FRA)
Vincent RIOU (FRA)
Rohan VEAL (AUS)