ISAF and Rolex are delighted to announce the male and female sailors shortlisted for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2001.
The criteria for nomination for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor was "outstanding achievement" in the period 1 September 2000 to 31 August 2001, and the sailors shortlisted embody the diversity and spread of the sport, both geographically and in the sailing disciplines they represent.
It is difficult to imagine the physical, mental and emotional demands that these sailors have gone through to get to the elite level at which they perform, and in some cases have performed over a considerable number of years, dominating in their disciplines. There is no doubt that all these sailors deserve accolade for their accomplishments.
In reaching the shortlist, nominations were openly invited, with sailing clubs, classes, individual sailors and ISAF Member National Authorities proposing sailors. The Nomination Panel held a telephone conference on 6 September 2001 to determine the final shortlist in the male and female categories.
When it comes to determining the winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2001, it will be the 112 Member National Authorities of ISAF - the national sailing federations of the world - who will vote for the winners. The Awards will be presented on 13 November 2001 at a unique event which will honour the sport and these sailors' achievements. The Awards Presentation will be hosted by Mateusz Kusnierewicz of Poland, the 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist in the Finn Class who was the winner of the World Sailor of the Year Awards in 1999 and continues his successes in the Finn Class.
For the male and female winners, Rolex has commissioned a stunning soladite and silver trophy. A solid sphere of soladite depicts the world and is crowned by five silver spinnakers representing the continents. A Rolex chronometer will also be placed on the wrists of the sailors accorded the honour ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year 2001.
On confirming the shortlisted sailors for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2001, ISAF President Paul Henderson commented:
"ISAF is very excited to, together with Rolex, be recognising the achievements of these outstanding sailors. These sailors are extraordinary and talented individuals who have reached the top echelons of our sport. I wish them all every success in the voting and on behalf of ISAF congratulate them on their achievements."
The shortlisted sailors are:
Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
- with wins at every Grade 1 event in the double-handed 470 Class in the past 12 months, this pairing currently sit firmly at the top of the world rankings, having taken the European title, and most recently (although outside the achievement period) the 470 World title to prove their dominance.
Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
- this extraordinary sailor proved that size doesn't matter by trouncing all, except the winner, in the Vendée Globe to become the fastest single-handed female circumnavigator (second fastest ever), completing the Vendée in 94 days, breaking the previous record by just over 30 days. Ellen went on to be co-skipper of the winning boat in the EDS Atlantic Challenge (a five-leg race including trans-ocean) and the Challenge Mondial Assistance.
Sari Multala (FIN)
- has taken the Europe Class by storm, having claimed the World Championship title, alongside numerous Grade 1 event titles, in the past 12 months and in so doing sits at the No 1 position on the World Rankings.
Lee Lai Shan (HKG)
- the boardsailor who made history by winning Hong Kong's first medal in any sport at the 1996 Olympics is back again, with an outstanding win at the Mistral Worlds and bullets at many of the graded events over the past 12 months, including several of the coveted Grade 1 events.
Grant Dalton (NZL)
- renowned over many years for his involvement in ocean races, Grant's nomination is in recognition of his win as skipper of 12 crew on the 110 ft catamaran Club Med in the inaugural "The Race", the no-holds barred non-stop round-the-world race, which he won in fantastic style in 62 days, 2 days ahead of his closest rival. Supporting this win was the new world record set on 7-8 February 2001 for the longest distance run in 24 hrs of 655.13nm (an average speed of 27.33 knots).
Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA)
- the winner of the Vendée Globe and sailing hero of the French nation, Michel broke all previous records by becoming the first person to sail single-handed around-the-world in under 100 days, and the fastest by completing the race in 93 days, and in so doing beating the previous Vendée Record by more than 12 days.
Torben Grael (BRA)
- a four-time Olympic medal winner, three in the Star and one in the Soling, Torben is nominated for his continued dominance in the Star Class. He is currently ranked number 2 in the World, having won 2 of the Grade 1 events over the past 12 months. On top of that, an America's Cup sailor, he will be sailing Prada in the 2002/3 Louis Vuitton Cup.
Heiko Kroger (GER)
- despite his left arm amputation and classification as a disabled sailor, Heiko manages to win both open and disabled events, with a Gold Medal at the 2000 Paralympic Regatta, followed by winning the 2.4mR World Championships, an open event with 89 entries.
Fredrik Loof (SWE)
- having sailed a leading position in the Finn Class for many years, he jumped ship 9 months ago to the Star Class and stunned all by immediately taking the runner up positions in the northern hemisphere's opening Grade 1 events, to be followed by an outstanding win at the Star Europeans and then the Worlds - outclassing even last year's male World Sailor of the Year title holders.
Yves Parlier (FRA)
- his determination to finish the Vendée Globe, despite enormous setbacks, was followed by many around the world. Using ingenuity most people would never need to call on, Yves improvised an oven to cure the resin needed to fix his broken mast and create a jury rig. Overcoming his setbacks, Yves completed the Vendée ahead of two of the competitors in just under 127 days.
Robert Scheidt (BRA)
- this man has dominated the Laser Class over the years to such an extent that any sailor would be hard pushed to match across any other class. He won his fifth Laser World Championship title in 2001, an addition to his collection of Olympic Medals, a Gold in 1996 and Silver in 2000. A sailor who aims to continue his domination to achieve a further Gold in 2004.
Full details on the achievements of the nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2001 can be viewed on the ISAF website. Tickets are available to attend this prestigious event and full details are available at: www.sailing.org/worldsailor
For further information:
Luissa Smith, ISAF Secretariat. Tel: +44 2380 635111 Fax: +44 2380 635789.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.sailing.org
Susannah Bourne, The Strategic Organisation (on behalf of Rolex).
Tel: +44 20 7228 8800 Fax: +44 20 7228 8899
Email: email@example.com Web: www.rolex.com
Note: Image is of Mateusz Kusznierewicz who will be the Master of Ceremonies for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards