They finally got their hands on the Race trophy back in June – fulfilling a childhood dream – but 2018 could be about to get even better for Dongfeng's heroes Charles Caudrelier, Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou, who have all been nominated for the prestigious World Sailor of the Year prize.
The trio, who wrapped up the Volvo Ocean Race victory with a last-gasp finish in The Hague, are joined by eight other world-class athletes on the shortlist, which features the best talent from across the sport of sailing.
It's not the first time that Brouwer has caught the attention of the wider sports world. She won the award back in 1998 as a 25-year-old whilst preparing for her first Olympic Games in Sydney, and now returns to the reckoning some two decades later as a Volvo Ocean Race winner.
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year title is a prize that has long had strong roots in our Race – ever since the first award was won by Race legend Sir Peter Blake in 1994.
That Kiwi/Volvo Ocean Race connection has continued over the years, and Team Brunel's NZ star Pete Burling has scooped the trophy in two of the past three years, once with long-term sailing partner, MAPFRE's Blair Tuke.
Looking back to 2014, the award was won by team AkzoNobel's Martine Grael (and her 49erFX partner, Kahena Kunze) – following in the footsteps of her father, Volvo Ocean Race winner Torben Grael, who took the honours in 2009.
MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández stole the plaudits in 2011, when he and partner Iker Martínez grabbed the award, before turning their attentions to a 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race entry as MAPFRE.
Kiteboarders, offshore sailors and Olympic specialists are all in the running for the awards, which will be given to a male and a female winner at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Florida, USA on 30 October.
The Awards night is part of the World Sailing Annual Conference, where other prizes including the 11th Hour Racing Sustainability, Team of the Year and Boat of the Year will be given out.
The full shortlist for the awards is as follows:
Caterina Banti (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion
Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winners
Daniela Moroz (USA) – 2018 Formula Kiteboarding World Champion
Wendy Tuck (AUS) – Clipper Round the World Race winning skipper
Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) – 2018 49er World Champions
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) – 2018 Laser World Champion
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) – 2018 Men’s RS:X World Champion
Ruggero Tita (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion