Emirates Team New Zealand was named Carlson Wagonlit Travel Sailor of the Year 2007 at the Yachting New Zealand Excellence Awards tonight.
Young Sailor of the Year was jointly awarded to Optimist World Champion Chris STEELE and 420 World Champions Carl EVANS
and Peter BURLING
The winners were announced in front of a packed audience at the presentation ceremony and dinner held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Peter MONTGOMERY, acting as Master of Ceremonies made the announcement and Dean BARKER
accepted the Award on behalf of Emirates Team New Zealand
The line-up of finalist nominees for the pinnacle annual yachting title in New Zealand was impressive, making it a tough year for the judges. The medal and trophy haul accumulated by the group of finalists over the past twelve months is tremendous with multiple World Championship titles and medals, Pre-Olympics medals, numerous ISAF Grade 1 medals and the Louis Vuitton Cup amongst them.
"Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007 and the right to challenge for the 32nd Americas Cup off Valencia, Spain,"
said Master of Ceremonies, MONTGOMERY. "Emirates Team New Zealand, lead by Grant DALTON successfully raced through to win Louis Vuitton capturing and inspiring the New Zealand public and restoring their faith after the disappointment of 2003 with an outstanding performance. In doing so, they put sailing back into the headlines in such a positive way."
It was this significant achievement which has earned them the title of Sailor of the Year in New Zealand for 2007 despite tough competition from Olympic campaigners including Barbara KENDALL
, Jo ALEH
and Tom ASHLEY
His Excellency the Governor-General Anand SATYANAND presented BARKER with the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy while Debbie KELLY of Carlson Wagonlit Travel handed over a travel prize pack and framed certificate.
Young Sailor of the Year 2007 was hotly contested and was jointly awarded to the winners of two separate world titles.
Carl EVANS (Kohimarama Yacht Club) and Peter BURLING (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club), two-time winners of the Open 420 World Championships who won the Young Sailor trophy in 2006 and have graduated to the Olympic class 470 are joint winners together with Optimist World Champion, Chris STEELE (Wakatere Boating Club).
STEELE is the first New Zealander ever to win the Optimist World Championships where he came out on top of an enormous fleet of 250 other junior sailors from around the globe. STEELE and his four team-mates were also last night awarded a Merit Award having won the Team Trophy at the Optimist World Championships for the best overall team performance.
Click here for the full list of finalists and awardees