STRONG 420 PEDIGREE IN 2017 ROLEX WORLD SAILOR OF THE YEAR NOMINEE LINE-UP
World Sailing and Rolex has announced the nominees for this year’s Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, with the winners set to be announced on Tuesday 7 November at the Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
In the mix are plenty of former 420 sailors, who transitioned from success in the 420 Class to success in Olympic Sailing and beyond, including Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze (BRA), Tara Pacheco (ESP) and Peter Burling (NZL).
Former 420 sailors, Grael and Kunze won the 420 Class at the 2009 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, as well as a fourth place for Grael with another crew at the 420 Worlds the preceding year in 2008. Grael spent three years campaigning the 470 Class, before deciding her Olympic success was more likely to be found in the 49er Class, and partnered back up again with Kunze. The pair pocketed Olympic Gold in Rio 2016.
Before success in the 470 and Nacra 17 Olympic Classes, Pacheco earned her colours in the 420 Class, stepping up to the podium at the 2006 World Championships in silver medal position, just a few points off gold, which was claimed by Hannah Mills/Peggy Webster (GBR). Pacheco switched to the 470 a few years later, securing silver at the 2008 470 Junior World Championships and winning the 2011 470 World Championships. At the 2012 Olympic Games she finished 10th and switched to the Nacra 17 the following year, going on to make an appearance at Rio 2016.
In 2006, Peter Burling won the 420 World Championships with Carl Evans, making history as the youngest team ever to do so. They defended their title in 2007. Just one year later, aged 17 years and the youngest member of the New Zealand Olympic Team, Burling with Evans was representing his country at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 470 Class. By 23 years, Burling was signed up to bring new blood to Team NZ’s assault on the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda, and at the same time as preparing for the AC won 49er Gold in Rio 2016. In 2017, aged 26 years, Burling became the youngest helmin history to win the America's Cup.
Alongside these 420 Class protégés, the names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2017 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:
Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
2017 Laser Radial World Champion
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA)
49erFX World Cup Series Champions
Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU)
Pro Windsurfers Association World Tour Freestyle and Slalom World Champion
Tara Pacheco (helmed by Fernando Echavarri) (ESP)
Nacra 17 World Cup Series Champions
Glenn Ashby (AUS)
America's Cup winning Skipper
Peter Burling (NZL)
America's Cup winning Helmsman
Thomas Coville (FRA)
Singlehanded Round the World Record holder
Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA)
2016-2017 Vendée Globe winner