Blanca Manchón and Tom Slingsby are announced winners

Blanca Manchón was nominated for the third time and had her family and friends with her at the Awards ceremony in Athens.

“This is really fantastic,” said a radiant Manchón as she accepted her trophy and her Rolex timepiece. “As this is my third nomination for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award we were all hoping this would be it… and here I am! I cannot believe it. I worked very hard to get here but I’m young – only 23 years old – so I hope I continue to do many things and maybe I will see you again here someday.”

Tom Slingsby could not make the ceremony due to electrical storms over Sydney that grounded international flights, but was surprised when his phone call to “discuss laser sailing”, turned into a live announcement from HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, announcing that he had won the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

“Wow, thank you! I just remember sitting on the rocks in Sydney harbour watching the Olympics. I remember seeing people like Ben Ainslie and Robert Scheidt winning, two former winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, and thinking, ‘I want that, that’s really what I want to do.’ To be considered among them today is really an incredibly big honour.”