Andy Maloney took out the supreme award at the Harbour Sport Excellence Awards on Friday night but felt he was a small part of a big team who won yachting's biggest prize - the America's Cup.
The 27-year-old also won the Sportsman of the Year award during an evening when yachting was well recognised. Twins Courtney and Brianna-Reynolds Smith were named Junior Team of the Year after winning the under-20 title at the 470 junior world championships in Japan and the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships hosted by the Torbay Sailing Club won Event of the Year.
Maloney was a key member of the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing group who comprehensively beat Oracle 7-1 to win back the America's Cup in Bermuda but admitted it felt strange to accept an individual accolade.
"It was a pretty big honour," he said. "There are some pretty big names on the trophy but it was a little strange because it was an individual award.
"I felt like I was there representing all of Team New Zealand. I was one person out of about 100 so I was a small part of a big team. But it shows how much the country got in behind the team and what it meant to everyone. It was a very special team to be a part of. There were some really clever people from a wide variety of areas all joining forces and having one common goal."
Maloney is now juggling a few ambitions. He's still involved with Team New Zealand and is keen to be involved in the next America's Cup and later this month will compete in the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series in Mexico with the NZ Extreme Sailing Team, but his main focus is getting to grips with a Finn heavyweight dinghy.
Maloney came close to securing a spot at last year's Rio Olympics in the Laser but is now campaigning in a Finn, given the additional weight he put on for the America's Cup. He is training with fellow Team New Zealand member Josh Junior, who was seventh in the Finn at last year's Olympics, and the pair of them will compete at February's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta in Auckland before heading to Spain for the Finn European championships in March.
"It's going really well," Maloney said. "Josh and I are in full swing with the Finn campaign and we're spending a lot of days on the water but also in the gym."
Sailing was well represented at the Harbour Sport Excellence Awards, with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (team performance), Nathan Handley (coach), Kate Stewart (junior sportswoman), Greta Stewart (junior sportswoman) and Josh Armit (junior sportsman) all finalists.
Harbour Sport Excellence Awards
Supreme winner- Andy Maloney
Sportsman- Andy Maloney
Sportswoman- Lisa Carrington
Junior Sportsman- Connor Bell
Junior Sportswoman- Olivia McTaggart
International team Performance- New Zealand Sprint Kayak Team (Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan)
Regional Sportswoman- Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
Regional Sportsman- Mark Hutson
Regional Team- Tiger Turf North Harbour Men’s Team
Junior Team- Junior Girls 470 (Courtney and Brianna Reynolds-Smith)
Referee/Umpire- Ryan Jones
Coach of the Year- Gordon Walker
Sporting Event- 2016 Aon youth sailing world championships (Torbay Sailing Club)
Maori Sports Performer- Brad Rona
Club of the Year- Northcote Softball
Volunteer of the Year- James (Jim) Fitzsimons