It was a victory that captivated a nation, so it was little surprise when Emirates Team New Zealand were named Executive Travel Sailor of the Year at the annual Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards tonight.
Emirates Team New Zealand convincingly beat Oracle 7-1 in Bermuda in June to win back the America’s Cup and were tonight presented with the Sir Bernard Fergusson trophy at a gala dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, now home of the Auld Mug.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had won the previous four Sailor of the Year awards and had a big hand in Emirates Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup campaign as key sailing members.
Neither were able to attend the Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards with both chasing a rare treble of the Volvo Ocean Race to go with their Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup win.
Burling also picked up a performance award for finishing second at this year’s Moth world championships, something he achieved against a high-quality field despite very little time in the single-handed foiling dinghy following an intense period that included the Olympics and America’s Cup.
Team New Zealand were recognised throughout the night, with Murray Jones and Ray Davies being named joint winners of Coach of the Year, the board of directors collecting the President’s Award for work done in promoting, supporting and developing the interests of yachting, team principal Matteo de Nora winning a service award and Emirates Team New Zealand picking up a performance award.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in the Emirates Team New Zealand campaign,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “It was a genuine team effort and they succeeded in winning international sport’s oldest trophy despite the odds being stacked against them. It was great to see the impact our Olympic sailors had throughout the campaign.
“We’re excited to have the America’s Cup in New Zealand and excited by the look of the new design of boat. We wish Emirates Team New Zealand every success in establishing a true event venue in Auckland because we see some significant long-term legacy benefits for the public of Auckland and New Zealand from an event and commercial perspective.”
Emirates Team New Zealand’s win was the highlight of another very successful 12 months for sailing and boating in this country.
Multiple world champions were crowned from junior to elite level in a variety of classes, and many were recognised tonight with youth performance and performance awards. New Zealand also played host to the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships – the Torbay Sailing Club were also recipients of the President’s Award – and a number talented sailors are starting to develop as the NZL Sailing Team gear up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Sisters Kate and Greta Stewart were named Young Sailor of the Year after winning their second youth world championships medal and 13-year-old Seb Menzies picked up the Emerging Talent Award.
There were also a variety of service awards presented to recognise the outstanding work done by a handful of mostly volunteers who play an integral role in their clubs or organisations to ensure yachting and boating remains strong in this country.
Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards
Executive Travel Sailor of the Year: Emirates Team New Zealand
Volvo Young Sailor of the Year: Kate & Greta Stewart
Aon Emerging Talent: Seb Menzies
Zhik Official of the Year: Doug Elder
Nespresso Coach of the Year: Murray Jones & Ray Davies
Lawson’s Dry Hills President’s Award: Torbay Sailing Club & Emirates Team New Zealand board of directors
George Anyon, Taylor Balogh & Matthew Hughes (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
Peter Burling (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
Conrad Colman (Vendee Globe)
Emirates Team New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
Giacomo – Jim Delegat & Crew (Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
David McDiarmid, Matthew Steven, Bradley Collins (Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
Alex Maloney & Molly Meech (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
NZL Sailing Youth America’s Cup Team (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
Phil Robertson, William Tiller, Stewart Dodson (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
Youth Performance Awards
Josh Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Mattias Coutts (Manly Sailing Club)
Sean Herbert (Torbay Sailing Club)
Sebastian Lardies & Scott McKenzie (Kohimarama Yacht Club)
Eli Liefting & Rose Dickson (Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
Seb Menzies (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Brianna & Courtney Reynolds-Smith (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Kate & Greta Stewart (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
David Anderson (Naval Point Club Lyttleton)
Stephen Cranch (Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
Peter Dawson (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Matteo de Nora (Emirates Team New Zealand)
Richard Gifford (Queen Charlotte Yacht Club)
Ray Haslar (Kerikeri Cruising Club)
Helena Horswell (Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
Gary Key (St Johns Rotary)
Scott Leith (Murrays Bay Sailing Club)
Ian Wallace (Panmure Lagoon Sailing Club)
Emily Riley (Solo circumnavigation of New Zealand