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ISAF World Sailor of the Year Nominees announced

'The Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year Trophy'    © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

ISAF and Rolex are proud to announce the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2008.

ISAF received nominations from across the world representing all aspects of the sport in two categories - male and female - and the following 10 nominations have been shortlisted. The qualifying period is the year up until 1 September 2008 and all achievements during this time are taken into consideration.

The 2008 nominees are:

Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB & Pippa WILSON (GBR)
Claire LEROY (FRA)
Alessandra SENSINI (ITA)

Francis JOYON (FRA)
Vincenzo ONORATO (ITA)

The winners will be selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities, the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, who are now invited to vote for the one male and one female nomination who they believe most deserves the Award.

The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner which is being held on Tuesday 11 November 2008. The venue for the event is the stunning Quinta de Jarama in Madrid, Spain.

Each winner will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.

The achievements of the 2008 Nominees are:


Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB & Pippa WILSON (GBR)

With one goal in mind for 2008 - Olympic gold, the talented British team of Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON spent the lead-up to the Games proving to the world they were the number one Yngling crew by claiming a clean sweep of the highest graded events of the year.

Heading to Miami for the Yngling Women's World Championship in February 2008, AYTON, WEBB and WILSON were keen to start the Olympic year with a gold medal and they did just that, convincingly defending the World title they picked up in 2007 with a massive 39 points margin over the second place Australian team.

A return to Europe saw the team competing in Palma, Spain at the HRH Princess Sofia Trophy MAPFRE where they picked up a silver medal before travelling to Blanes, Spain for the Europeans, where once again they ended the regatta at the top of the podium. There were bronze medals at the next two ISAF Grade 1 events in Hyères and Medemblik before the team settled into Qingdao for the big one, the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

It was in wet, blustery conditions that the first ever Medal Race of an Olympic Games took place and the British Yngling team led by one point from their closest rivals from the Netherlands. In an extremely close race AYTON, WEBB and WILSON demonstrated once again their cool, calm style and supreme ability to make it count when it really matters. They controlled the race from start to finish and in securing the race victory they entered the record books as the first crew to win an Olympic Medal Race and with that, the first gold medal of the Competition. The ultimate dream was a reality; Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON were the 2008 European, World and Olympic Champions.

1 - RYA Winter Challenge Match Racing, GBR - ISAF Grade 4 - Nov 2007
5 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA - ISAF Grade 1 - Jan 2008
1 - Yngling Women World Championship, Miami, USA - ISAF Grade W - Feb 2008
2 - HRH Princess Sofia Trophy MAPFRE, Palma, ESP - ISAF Grade 2 - Mar 2008
1 - Yngling Women European Championship, Blanes, ESP - ISAF Grade C1 - Apr 2008
3 - Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - Apr 2008
3 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2008
1 - 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, Qingdao, CHN - ISAF Grade W - Aug 2008

ISAF World Sailing Rankings position at the end of the nomination period (3 September 2008) - # 1

ISAF World Sailing Rankings # 1 from 3 October 2007 to 6 February 2008 and 9 April to 3 September 2008

Claire LEROY (FRA)

2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, French skipper Claire LEROY continues to dominate women's match racing. In 2008 LEROY notched up another five ISAF Graded event wins, defended her World Champion title and maintained her seat at the # 1 position on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings where she has been since 4 May 2005.

Her first victory in 2008 came in February when she secured the RYA Women's Winter Challenge. She then clinched the New Zealand Women's title in Auckland and the Harken Women's International Championship in Australia before returning to Auckland for the 2008 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship. The successful defence of her title was shared with crew member Elodie BERTRAND and new crew mates Marie RIOU and Claire PRUVOT.

After the Worlds it was back to Europe and another gold medal at the ISAF Grade 1 Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand followed by a silver medal in Calpe, Spain at the ISAF Grade 1 International Women's Match Race Criterium. This remarkable young skipper continues to prove her ability to dominate her field of women's sailing.

8 - IV Open de España, Calpe, ESP - ISAF Grade 2 - Sep 2007
2 - Brasil Women's Cup, Vitoria, BRA - ISAF Grade W - Nov 2007
12 - Brasil Sailing Cup, Vitoria, BRA - ISAF Grade W - Nov 2007
1 - RYA Women's Winter Challenge, GBR - ISAF Grade 2 - Feb 2008
1 - New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championship, Auckland, NZL - ISAF Grade 2 - Mar 2008
1 - Harken Women's International Match Racing Championship, CYCA, AUS - ISAF Grade 2 - Mar 2008
1 - ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, Auckland, NZL - ISAF Grade W - Apr 2008
1 - Match Cup Sweden, Marstrand, SWE - ISAF Grade 1 - Jun 2008
2 - XI International Women's Match Race Criterium, Calpe, ESP - ISAF Grade 1 - Aug 2008

ISAF World Match Race Rankings position at the end of the nomination period (30 July 2008) - # 1


Well known faces from the ISAF Youth Worlds, this young team showed their intent at the 2008 470 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, where they picked up their first bronze medal of the year. Hitting the European graded event circuit, they posted some mixed results before once again making the results count where it mattered with another bronze at the ISAF Grade C1 European Championships in Italy.

But it wasn't bronze that this team was after when they got to Qingdao for the Olympic Sailing Competition. Gold was the colour they dreamed of and their win was convincing. One of just four crews who won a gold medal with no previous Olympic experience, RECHICHI and PARKINSON went into their Medal Race with an 18 point lead over their nearest rivals, the three time World Champions from the Netherlands.

They sailed a tactical Medal Race to ensure the Dutch team could not steal their gold medal away and crossed the finish line to secure an Australian 470 double for coach Victor KOVALENKO. At just 21 years old RECHICHI and PARKINSON were the youngest gold medallists at the Olympic Sailing Competition and look set for a bright future.

24 - Sail Melbourne International Regatta, Melbourne, AUS - ISAF Grade 1 - Jan 2008
3 - 470 World Championships, Melbourne, AUS - ISAF Grade W - Jan 2008
15 - Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - Apr 2008
9 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2008
3 - 470 European Championships, Riva del Garda, ITA - ISAF Grade C1 - Jun 2008
1 - 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, Qingdao, CHN - ISAF Grade W - Aug 2008

ISAF World Sailing Rankings position at the end of the nomination period (3 September 2008) - # 6

Alessandra SENSINI (ITA)

Alessandra SENSINI entered the record books in 2008 when she became the first woman to win four Olympic medals in sailing.

At the age of 38, SENSINI has been a force to be reckoned with on the windsurfing circuit for decad



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