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Italian duo sweep the 2022 Rolex World Sailor of the Year at World Sailing Awards

by World Sailing 25 Oct 2022 14:11 PDT 25 October 2022
2019 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards nominees announced © World Sailing

The unstoppable Nacra 17 duo of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti have added more awards to their impressive collection after being named Male and Female Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2022, respectively, at the World Sailing Awards at the Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, tonight.

The pair struck Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold and continued to dominate the event, winning both the European Championships and World Championships by impressive margins.

Also celebrating after the World Sailing Awards were Greenboats, who won the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award for pioneering the design and manufacture of natural fibre products and components, demonstrating and establishing sustainable alternatives to conventional composite materials.

Team Australia SailGP was named Team of the Year after winning back-to-back SailGP titles, and the Vortex Pod Racer won Boat of the Year.

David Tillett received the Beppe Croce Trophy for his many years of service to the sport. The President’s Development Award went to the Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau and was collected by Qu Chun, President of the Qingdao Yachting Association.

Quanhai Li, World Sailing President, said, "Sailing is able to tell such unique stories and tonight’s winners are worthy of the accolade of becoming Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2022. Congratulations to Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti. Your achievements this year have been exciting to watch, and we cannot wait to see where you go from here. I would like to also highlight the work of Greenboats, winner of this year’s World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. This is an innovative project that demonstrates that becoming more sustainable creates new opportunities for sailing. I hope your ideas can inspire others and create a legacy that resonates around the world.

"The accomplishments of all of this year’s nominees have been truly incredible to witness. Sailing is blessed with so many talented, determined and accomplished athletes who I am sure will continue to amaze and inspire throughout their careers.

"My congratulations also go to David Tillett. The years you have dedicated to the sport have been integral to the development of sailing and the entire sailing community is grateful to you. Similarly, the achievements of the Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau have created a legacy the for the sport and left an impression on sailors around the world."

World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award

The World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award went to Greenboats for the pioneering design and manufacture of natural fibre products and components which has demonstrated a viable sustainable alternative to conventional composite materials. The FLAX27 Daysailor concept boat has been tested in the harshest of marine environments and has the potential to completely change the footprint of sailing.

The 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact, highly replicable sustainability initiatives that work to protect and restore the health of the ocean and are aligned with the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030. The award is open to National Federations, sailing clubs, event organising committees, individual sailors, or any other sailing-related organisations.

Greenboats will receive a 10,000 USD prize from 11th Hour Racing to fund their continued sustainability efforts as well as the iconic trophy made from recycled carbon fibre from an America’s Cup boat, infused with bio resin.

Todd McGuire, managing director, 11th Hour Racing, said, "Congratulations to the four finalists of this year’s World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. Each nominee represents an important step forward in making sailing more sustainable and you are all an inspiration for change within the sport. This year’s applications covered the full spectrum of initiatives in sailing, from non-profit organisations, sailing classes, and manufacturers, to teams, individuals, and events, showing that the sport is full of innovation and that our sport is united in improving the sustainability of sailing and restoring the health of our ocean."

Team of the Year

Team Australia remains the only team to have lifted the SailGP trophy, winning it in both Seasons 1 and 2. Skippered by 2021 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby, and featuring four America’s Cup winners, and two-time Australian Female Sailor of the Year Nina Curtis, Team Australia currently leads season 3 of SailGP and could be on course to win their third successive championship.

Boat of the Year

Boat of the Year was awarded to the Vortex Pod Racer which has launched a new era of high-performance foiling by making the sport both safe and accessible to a larger audience. Built from carbon fibre, the Vortex Pod Racer is lightweight, stable and requires minimal operational effort from the pilot to get underway and airborne.

Beppe Croce Trophy

The Beppe Croce Trophy was awarded to David Tillett in recognition for his contribution to the sport of sailing.

David has lived a life on the water. He became International Cadet World Champion in 1969 before moving to the administration side of the sport. He joined Yachting South Australia in the 1970s, later becoming Secretary, Board Member and Chairman.

David was a member of the Olympic Jury at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012, serving as Chairman for the latter three Olympic Games. He was umpire for the America’s Cup from 1992 to 2007, Chairman of the Jury for Valencia 2010 and Chairman of the Jury Arbitration Panel for San Francisco 2010-2013, and he is currently Chairman of the Arbitration Panel for Auckland. He has been actively involved in the Volvo Ocean Race Jury, serving for five years from 2007-2012, and a World Sailing Council Member from 1998 to 2017. He was also Chairman of the World Sailing Racing Rules Committee from 2000 to 2012 and currently Chairs the World Sailing Constitution Committee where he has been a member since 2012.

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In 2000, David was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to sailing and 2014 he was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for the same, among his many honours in the sport. He was inducted into the South Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.

Winner of the 2021 award, John Doerr, was also presented with the trophy he was unable to receive in person last year.

John has left his mark on the world of sailing at all levels. An accomplished sailor, he became an International Judge, Umpire and Jury Member and has officiated at the highest profile events including numerous Olympic Games, America’s Cups, World Championships, World Cups and Paralympic Games since 1988, and a member of several World Sailing committees throughout an illustrious career.

President’s Development Award

Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau was awarded the President’s Development Award in honour of its efforts to develop the city of Qingdao as China’s Sailing City. Qingdao was the host venue for sailing during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and since then the city has hosted top-level international events including the Volvo Ocean Race, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Extreme Sailing Series, and Sailing World Cup, as well as creating its own national and regional competitions to expand the reach of sailing.

The Qingdao Municipal Bureau has also introduced programs to increase participation in sailing, such as the Promoting Sailing in Schools program which has helped over 37,000 students from 114 schools learn to sail, with 10,500 gaining sailing certificates and over 200 becoming national first-level athletes.

Meanwhile, the Welcome on Board program has enabled 530,000 people so far to experience public sailing and made sailing a part of the city’s lifestyle.

Qingdao has also built close relationships with the International Olympic Committee, World Sailing, World Union of Olympic Cities, and International Optimist Dinghy Association, and are extensively engaged in international sailing and cultural exchange activities to promote the Sailing City brand and seek guidance on the development of sailing in Qingdao.

Andrea Camin, winner of the 2021 award, was also acknowledged after being unable to receive the trophy in person last year. As President of the Fraglia Vela Riva Yacht Club, Camin was recognised for the success of the Lake Garda Optimist Meeting. The event has been providing opportunities for young sailors to race each other since 1982 and in its 40th edition welcomed over 1,000 sailors from 34 nations.

About the World Sailing Awards

World Sailing launched the World Sailor of the Year Awards in 1994 to reward individual sailors for outstanding achievements in the sport. Rolex has been sponsors of the award since 2001, celebrating more than two decades of excellence and achievement in sailing.

World Sailing and 11th Hour Racing joined forces in 2018 to celebrate the delivery of high impact and replicable sustainability within the maritime industry aligned to World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030. The winner will receive a 10,000 USD prize to fund their continued sustainability efforts and the iconic trophy made from recycled carbon fibre from an America’s Cup boat infused with bio resin.

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