On the golden anniversary of the Award the prestigious 2013 House of Travel Sailor of the Year has gone to Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
It has been a massive year for New Zealand sailing with an extraordinary three Olympic class world titles, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup title and the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup; the list of sailing achievements during 2013 was unprecedented and in many ways fitting for the golden anniversary celebration. In another year a number of this year’s contenders could easily have secured the Sailor of the Year title making it no easy decision for the panel of Awards judges.
Asked what it means to him to join the impressive roll call of sailors who have preceded them Blair Tuke says; “It’s really special, there are a lot of really great people who have done amazing things in our sport. New Zealand is one of the top sailing nations, so the people on this trophy are some of the best sailors in the world so to have our names alongside them is pretty special and very humbling.”
He adds; “it’s not why we do the sport, we do it because we love it and to try and win regattas but to get recognised and get the accolade – it feels really good.”
Burling and Tuke’s stack of victories within the twelve months preceding 31 September 2013 highlighted by the 49er European and World Championship titles, (both career firsts for the pair) plus their roles as skipper and tactician with the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup winning team was enough to edge out the other contenders for this year’s Award.
While Burling has been collecting Awards at this event for many years, including an impressive four-time winner of the Young Sailor of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), this is the first time he has secured the big one. He and Tuke will now have their place in New Zealand sailing history with their names engraved on the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy.
At the end of the evening’s presentations Burling said; “We’ve been in the mix a lot of times, but to actually get a world title under us this year and a really get a really good year and get given it over a couple of the others who have had amazing years as well, it’s been an amazing year for the sport and we’re really looking forward to the future.”
Explaining what comes next Burling says; “We’re both doing the Sydney to Hobart on different boats on Boxing Day so that’s on the immediate future. It’s been a really busy time and we’re looking forward to some time off over the summer.”
Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards also went to Women’s 470 World Champions and winners of the 2013 ISAF Female Sailor of the Year Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, to 2013 49erFX World Champions Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech (just 21 and 20 years of age), to Emirates Team New Zealand for winning the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup as well as both New Zealand teams to podium at the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
Volvo Young Sailor of the Year 2013
20 year old Molly Meech, the younger of the 49erFX World Champion duo and just inside the age bracket, was named Young Sailor of the Year for 2013. The Young Sailor of the Year Award was introduced in 1996 and this is the first time in its 17 year history that someone this young has won and Olympic class world title.
Molly Meech, is ranked ISAF World number 1 in the new Olympic class along with helm and team-mate Alexandra Maloney. Going up against sailors with years of Olympic campaigning under their belt the young kiwis’ results have been quite outstanding throughout 2013 highlighted with the World Championship victory in France in September.
The full list of RAYC Awards Winners in 2013…
House of Travel Sailor of the Year: Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (49er World and European Champions)
Volvo Young Sailor of the Year: Molly Meech (49erFX World Champion)
2013 YNZ Performance Awards
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 2013 49er World Champions
Full Metal Jacket Racing – 2nd at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (Team consists of several RAYC members)
Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski – Silver at the 2013 49er World Championship
Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech – 2013 49erFX World Champions
2013 YNZ Youth Performance Awards
Isaac McHardie and Micah Wilkinson – Gold in the SL16 at the 2013 ISAF Youth World Championships
Molly Meech – 2013 49erFX World Champion
2013 YNZ Service Awards
Tony Stevenson – Royal Akarana Yacht Club and Ponsonby Cruising Club