First time Volvo Ocean Race sailors Peter Burling and Martine Grael have each been nominated as World Sailors of the Year.
Team AkzoNobel’s Martine Grael and her skiff class 49erFX partner Kahena Kunze won an Olympic gold medal on home waters in Rio 2016 and followed that up with a dominating performance this year with three World Cup event wins and a second place in the world championships.
"When I heard that we were nominated it was a wonderful feeling," she said. "I used to watch the nominations closely and have always really looked up to those sailors, so it's amazing to be counted amongst the top sailors in the world and to be in that list."
Burling, now with Team Brunel, is nominated largely on the strength of leading Emirates Team New Zealand to a win in the America’s Cup in Bermuda earlier this summer.
An Olympic gold medallist, Burling was previously named World Sailor of the Year in 2015 after an undefeated season of racing in the Olympic 49er class with partner Blair Tuke.
As with Grael, this would be a second World Sailor of the Year award for Burling, who is also attempting to become the first sailor to win the coveted triple crown – Olympic gold medal, America’s Cup victory, Volvo Ocean Race win.
And for the first time in years, his mate Blair Tuke is a rival for that title, rather than a partner, with Tuke suiting up with MAPFRE.
Also nominated for World Sailor of the Year is previous Volvo Ocean Race winner Thomas Coville (2011-Groupama), who shattered the single-handed, around the world record at the end of 2016, shaving more than eight days off the previous mark.
The male and female World Sailor of the Year winners will be announced on Tuesday 7 November 2017 at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
On that day, Grael and Burling will be two days into a three-week race between Lisbon and Cape Town on Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race.