Emirates Team New Zealand picked up the big prize, the Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year award, at the annual Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards last night.
It was the fifth time Team New Zealand had won Sailor of the Year since the awards were introduced in 1963 and came on the back of their impressive defence of the America's Cup on home waters earlier this year when they defeated Luna Rossa 7-3 in the America's Cup match.
The Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards were due to be held during a gala dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron last night but were instead held online due to the ongoing lockdown in Auckland.
It didn't diminish from Team New Zealand's achievements and chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge, in accepting the award, said their victory this year was their "most complete team effort".
"Emirates Team New Zealand is honoured to be named the 2021 Sailor of the Year," Shoebridge said. "It's been a fantastic journey for us over the past three or four years and we were really thrilled to be able to defend the America's Cup in 2021 here in Auckland.
"In a lot of ways, I think it was our most complete team effort with the America's Cup victories we have had so far. It was the cumulation of years of work to get to that point.
"We were particularly proud of this win, having come up with a completely new concept of boat, a very technical boat that our design team of 25 guys did a great job on, and the overall team of 150 people that not only designed, built and sailed the boat in such a great fashion at that end."
A raft of awards were handed out last night which recognised success from club level through to achievements on the world stage.
You can catch the full awards presentation, hosted by yachting commentator Jesse Tuke, in the video below.
Andy Maloney and Erica Dawson were named Zhik Male Sailor of the Year and Zhik Female Sailor of the Year respectively.
Maloney won the 2021 Finn Gold Cup and was also a key member of both Team New Zealand and the New Zealand SailGP Team. Dawson recovered from a fractured leg only five weeks out from the Olympic Games to compete in the Nacra 17 and then became the first New Zealand female to compete in the SailGP.
Lucy Leith and Lizzie Shapland collected the NZL Sailing Foundation Young Female Sailor of the Year Award and Caleb Armit the NZL Sailing Foundation Young Male Sailor of the Year Award.
Aaron McIntosh was named Coach of the Year for his ongoing success with the Netherlands windsurfing team, highlighted this year by Kiran Badloe's success at the Tokyo Olympics on top of his three world titles.
The Yachting New Zealand Sustainability Award was won by Live Ocean, the environmental charity established two years ago by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, and the North Sails Sportsmanship Award was handed out to all the teams and individuals, led by Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, who assisted in the rescue and support of American Magic after their serious capsize during the 2021 America's Cup.
"I would like to congratulate all of this year's award recipients," Yachting New Zealand president Ross Blackman said. "You have all made major contributions to sailing in New Zealand.
"Whether you were first across the finish line or whether you laid the finish line, you have all played a part in inspiring New Zealanders of all ages and all walks of life to get out on the water and experience what we all love."
2021 Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards
SeaLogs Official of the Year: Megan Kensington
Yachting New Zealand Coach of the Year: Aaron McIntosh
Lawson's Dry Hills Presidents Award: Pleasant Point Yacht Club
Yachting New Zealand Sustainability Award: Live Ocean
North Sails Sportsmanship Award: All the teams and individuals, led by Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, who assisted in the rescue and support of American Magic after their serious capsize during the 2021 America's Cup
Lucke Young Leadership Award: Vaughan Bamford
Aon Emerging Talent Award: Tessa Clinton, Will Leech, Nicola Hume, Sean Kensington
NZL Sailing Foundation Young Female Sailor of the Year: Lucy Leith and Lizzie Shapland
NZL Sailing Foundation Young Male Sailor of the Year: Caleb Armit
Zhik Female Sailor of the Year: Erica Dawson
Zhik Male Sailor of the Year: Andy Maloney
Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year: Emirates Team New Zealand
Service Awards supported by Boating New Zealand: David Austin (Yachting New Zealand), Richard Brown (Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Doug France (Kerikeri Cruising Club), Gary Hill and Ian Young (Windfoil New Zealand, Wakatere Boating Club), Wayne Huang (Bucklands Beach Yacht Club), Wayne Keen (Naval Point Club Lyttelton), Jonathan Kline (Mercury Bay Boating Club), Anna Leslie (Macandrew Bay Boating Club), Jamie Sutherland (New Plymouth Yacht Club), Brendan Tourelle (Sailability Auckland, NZ Hansa Class Association), Brian Trubovich (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron).
Cruising Award supported by Wichard, on Safety at Sea: Andrew Ventura
Youth Performance Awards supported by Harken: Amelia Angus & Carrington Brady (Wakatere Boating Club), Caleb Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Brayden Hamilton & Seb Menzies (Wakatere Boating Club & Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Sean Herbert (Manly Sailing Club), Rebecca Hume (Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Lucy Leith & Lizzie Shapland (Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Blake McGlashan & Jack Frewin (Murrays Bay Sailing Club & Howick Sailing Club), Mason Mulcahy & Cam McGlashan (Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Greta Pilkington (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron).
Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards: Jo Aleh (Takapuna Boating Club), Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club, Kerikeri Cruising Club), Erica Dawson (Murrays Bay Sailing Club, RAYC)
Emirates Team New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron), Alastair Gifford, Max South, Frankie Dair (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron), Josh Junior (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Worser Bay Boating Cub, Weiti Boating Club), Knots Racing - Nick Egnot Johnson, Zak Merton, Sam Barnett, Bradley McLaughlin (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron), Liv Mackay (Napier Sailing Club), Andy Maloney (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Sam Meech (Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club), Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Wakatere Boating Club and Murrays Bay Sailing Club), Lukas Walton-Keim (Takapuna Boating Club).